Having traversed a spectrum of labels and genres since his first release in 2006, Bicester-based producer, Alter Ego, seems to have finally found his perfect fit since signing for Live & Dangerous in 2012. Described by his label as being “a cross between Tantrum Desire and Sub Focus”, his first solo project for 2013, Dark Matter, has the potential to propel Alter Ego into the D&B stratosphere.
Overcome with intrigue, we gave him a call to find out more. And if that wasn’t enough, he’s even thrown a cheeky two hour mix in for good measure AND a free track – Born To Do It VIP – exclusive to Drum&BassArena!
For people who are new to your music, how would you describe your sound?
It’s a tricky one because I try and stay in the middle of a few different genres to connect with as wider an audience as possible. It’s kind of electro, dancefloor… almost verging on tech. I love my jump up as well so I think it all comes out in the tracks.
Which bring us nicely onto the latest release, Dark Matter. What can people expect from the track?
It starts off with an intense dark film score vibe – orchestral strings and choirs build up to a spacey vocal breakdown that builds with monster kicks and snares. Then BOOM it drops like a ton of bricks with driving synth basses that are sure to do damage to any dancefloor!
Big! It’s a far cry from a lot of earlier tracks you produced – how have things changed since you’ve been with Live and Dangerous?
There’s been a massive shift in my approach to production. The owner, Scoop, always gives me loads of feedback and encourages me to try different things. So I’ve definitely evolved as an artist and grown musically. I’ve always been quite musical anyway, but it’s almost like we’re a duo because he gives me plenty of ideas, I put my own spin on it, and so far it’s worked out really well. There’s a big focus on making original music, so I use a lot of orchestral synthesisers and electro synths. I’ve always thought it’s best to master a couple of production tools rather than trying to get to grips with everything all at once. I used to just produce everything on a Mac using Pro Tools but those days are long gone!
On the subject of how things used to be, how did you find yourself involved with drum & bass in the first place?
It all started for me listening to happy hardcore when I was at secondary school! I remember hearing some amen breaks in the middle of a track and thought that it would sound wicked if there was a style like that – and that led me to discover jungle and drum & bass which I fell in love with straight away. I started going to gigs and found myself just stood there watching the DJ most of the time, and I just knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life. It got to the point where I taught myself to mix but wasn’t playing out much so I started playing around with Fruity Loops and it all snowballed from there really.
Are there any big tracks or DJs that you look back on and recognise as being a major influence?
I think it was probably tracks like Alien Girl by Ed Rush, Optical & Fierce, The Nine by BC, tunes that were instant classics. I’m a massive fan of Mampi Swift and use to see him play out a lot, so he was a big influence on me.
If you can mirror the success of those tracks you’ll have done very well for yourself! So with Dark Matter just released last week, what’s next for you?
We’ve been really busy working on a remix of a track called “Superteng” by Wrongtom and Deemas J which is coming out on a label called Tru Thoughts. The track has got everything from old school house piano riffs to a big dubstep drop. It’s the first dubstep track I’ve done so hopefully we get a good response when it comes out. It was laid down over about three days, one of Scoop’s guys, Rico, jazzed up the bass, and it was done. I’ve worked with him before on a track called Martian Bar and he’s a really tight producer.
(Wrongtom Meets Deemas J – Superteng is out on April 1 on Tru Thoughts complete with a Momatic remix and a Benny Page remix of Jump Move & Rock)
Finally, what do you get up to away from music?
Well to be honest my whole life is pretty much music orientated, but when I’m not producing I spend time with the kids and usually give my ear drums a rest with a bit of fishing – I think looking after the kids does more damage to my hearing than music production!
Interview: Adam K & Chris D
GRAB YOUR FREE EXCLUSIVE ALTER EGO TUNE: BORN TO DO IT VIP
1. Alter Ego – Dark Matter (Live & Dangerous)
2. L Plus – Faces (Technique Recordings)
3. Unicorn Kid – So Real Inside Info RMX (Liquicity Records)
4. Optiv & BTK – Get Dark (Playaz)
5. Alter Ego,Rico Scoop & Repetition – Martian Bar (Subablock Remix) (Dangerous New Age)
6. Telekinesis – She Wants To Skate (EATBRAIN DUB)
7. The Clamps – Antinomic (Nocid Business)
8. Alter Ego – Into The Dark (DUB)
9. Computerartist – The Spell (Deafmuted Records)
10. Anthrax & Insom – Stramonium (Histeria Records DUB)
11. Dangerous & Miss Melody – Blue Slims Vip (Unknown DUB)
12. Bingo Players feat Far East Movement – Get-Up-Rattle (The Prototypes Remix) (Ministry Of Sound)
13. Dc Breaks – Shaman (Ram Records)
14. Black Sun Empire – All Is Lost (Memtrix Remix) (Lifted Music DUB)
15. Dirtyphonics – Dirty (Metrik Remix) (Dim Mak)
16. Rico – Command Post (Digii Code DUB)
17. Braincrack – Collapse (Order In Kaos)
18. Scoop, Dioptircs, Cainmos & Alter Ego – Memories Remix (Featuring Keri Greenaway) (Infrared DUB)
19. Alter Ego – Enter The Matrix (DUB)
20. Divine Elements – Hunt You Down (Dangerous New Age DUB)
21. Tantrum Desire – Guided Rhythm (Technique Recordings)
22. Coaxial – Trigger Happy (Culture Records)
23. Monsta – Holdin’ On (Skrillex & Nero Remix) (OSWLA)
24. UKS Apollo & DJ Melinki & Kinsella) – Turn It UP (DNB Source DUB)
25. Raw Theory – Into The Night (Free Track)
26. Ellis Dee & Twista – Touch Me (Featuring Marie Louise) (T Phonic Remix) (Bass Selection 1)
27. The Clamps & K12 – Dark Town (Subablock Remix DUB)
28. Matrix & Futurebound feat. Baby Blue – Magnetic Eyes (Smooth Remiх) (Viper Recordings/3Beat)
29. Dj Fresh (Featuring Ravaughn) – The Feeling (Metrix Remix) (Ministry Of Sound)
30. Mashur & Kevlar & Ozma – (Unknown Dub)
31. Westy – Redemption (DNB Source)
32. Alter Ego, Scoop & Repetition – Born To Do It VIP (Featuring Deemas J DUB)
33. Smooth – Virgo Cluster (Viper Recordings)
34. WRONGTOM MEETS DEEMAS J – JUMP MOVE ROCK (BENNY_PAGE_REMIX) (TRU THOUGHTS DUB)
35. Darkhalf – Rise Above It (Dangerous New Age DUB)
36. Franco & The Dreadnought – Last Man Standing (J Magic & Wickaman Remix) (Live And Dangerous)
37. Kurrupt Data – Piranha Fish (Dangerous New Age)
38. HMP – For The Sun (Ear Abuse Remix) (Dangerous New Age DUB)
39. Merikan – Double Bag It (Close2Death DUB)
40. Alter Ego, Cain Mos & Scoop – Where Does Love Go (Featuring Keri Greenaway) (Live & Dangerous)