Get To Know: Emperor… Plus a free mix!

Get To Know: Emperor… Plus a free mix!

When it comes to exciting emerging producers, 2012 has been a fruitful year. A whole new generation of bass merchants, all eager to sling their sonic shizzle as far as possible, keeping the old guard on their toes with new ideas, re-interpretations and influences. Emperor is a fine example. Breaking through this time last year on Titan, his anarchic blend of chop-slapping D&B has since scored serious points with the likes of Kasra, Break and now Phace & Misanthrop with a slamming new double hitter on their Neodigital imprint.

We gave him a call. He gave us a mix. Not a bad deal, right? Read on….

Big ups on the mix.

“Cheers! I got into the DJing a lot later than production but I’m really enjoying it. I got into production through playing the piano and gradually worked my way into production. The DJing was natural progression really.”

You come from quite a musical background don’t you?

“I do. My dad plays guitar and used to play in bands, my brother’s a jazz session musician and my mum plays the violin. I’m very lucky to have grown up this way.”

Give us an early musical memory…

“My dad was playing his guitar and he told me he’d teach me a few chords. I sat down and learned them and I was instantly hooked! I found an old keyboard in our attic years later, I had a little play around a taught myself to play it.”

You make it sound easy! No structured tuition, then?

“No, none. I can’t read music or anything like that. I’ve done a music technology course in college but that’s more about audio production and recording bands. It’s all been really natural.”

Nice. So let’s chat releases… Critical, Symmetry, now Neodigital… You’re having what’s known in the industry as ‘a wicked year’!

“Yeah definitely! I’m really glad my music is out there being heard. It’s quite satisfying but it’s quite strange. A few years ago I was really looking up to people like Kasra and Break thinking I’d love to get stuff on their labels… It’s amazing that it’s happened so quickly.”

The strength of the music helps! So how did you hook up with these labels… Do you send them music or are you being headhunted?

“I’ve always sent my music out. I was sending loads of things to Kasra but he never got back to me. So I sent stuff to Foreign Concept and he played them to Kasra. The relationship took off from there. The same thing happened with Symmetry – I sent stuff to Break. That’s how all the label hook ups have come about: send music to them. And even if they don’t get back to you – don’t think they don’t like your music, it’s just that they’re really busy.”

Wise advice there! How’s about your name? Where did that come from… And how would you rule if you were an emperor?

“My sound is really powerful and energetic so I wanted something that reflected that. I couldn’t go for something naff like DJ Bass or whatever so I started looking online for strong words. Emperor came up, I thought it was cool and checked to see if anyone else had taken it. I like it because it’s also the name of a Norwegian death metal band who I really love.”

Death metal eh?

“Yeah, my first musical loves were heavy metal and guitar-based music. It’s a weird transition really. I was listening to a band called The Berzerker who had a lot of electronic elements in their music and that kinda led to me finding darkstep stuff and it went from there. There’s a lot of parallels between metal and drum & bass.”

Definitely. So come on then, tell us how you’d behave if you were an emperor!

“Haha! I don’t know. I’d probably be quite chilled and relaxed… Until someone pisses me off!”

Sounds fair. Finally… give us an exclusive. Tell us something you’ve not told anyone in an interview.

“How about this: one of my songs samples [CENSORED – INSERT VERY WELL KNOWN POP SONG HERE]”


“Haha, yeah. I actually sat down and listened to it all because I’d never heard it all through. There’s a bit in the middle with some strings so I thought I’d sample it and put some magic on it. I won’t tell you which tune though…”



1. Emperor – The Fire (NEODIGITAL)
2. InsideInfo – Honey Bee (Viper)
3. Alix Perez Feat. Noisia – Loose Ends (Shogun)
4. Emperor – Precursor (Critical)
5. Dub Phizix Feat. Fox – Never Been (Critical)
6. Break – Condenser (Symmetry)
7. Kasra & Enei – So Real (Critical)
8. Calyx & Teebee – Elevate This Sound (RAM)
9. Spectrasoul – Suppression (Subtitles)
10. Hybris – Keeping Me (Invisible)
11. Noisia & Phace – Micro Organism (Neosignal)
12. Emperor & Centra – Solar (DUB)
13. Noisia – Sandworm (Subtitles)
14. Enei Feat. DRS – Obsession (Foreign Concept Remix) (Critical)
15. Emperor – Sovereign VIP (Ammunition Dub)
16. Spectrasoul – Wedgehead (Critical)
17. Emperor – Contaminant (Critical)
18. Noisia & Phace – Floating Zero (Invisible)
19. Emperor – Missy (dub)
20. Dub Phizix Feat. Fox – Never Been VIP (Critical)
21. Emperor – Smokescreen (NEODIGITAL)

Check out Emperor’s skills on our download store


Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.