The brief? To remix this beast of a tune…
Serum, Northern Lights, original jungle mic-maestro De Bo General and a serious slab of D&B heritage: this was a golden opportunity for all budding D&B producers to show Drum&BassArena and Audio Warfare their skills.
The label was inundated with entries – many of them astonishingly heavy – but there could only be one winner, and it’s available this week on the Special Works EP. Featuring massive tracks from Bladerunner, Serial Killaz, Northern Lights and Serum, the winner is in premier league company. Hailing from Corby Town UK, Raz has already developed a strong profile.
So strong, in fact, this Audio Warfare competition will officially be the last production competition he enters. He’s recently been signed to Hangar Records and regularly receives radio props from Hype and Crissy Criss. If you’re not already acquainted, get to know him today. But first, his winning remix:
You’ve been on a few labels, you’ve had support from some seriously big players… This has got to be your last competition, surely?
Yeah that’s it! I wasn’t sure if I was eligible for this one at all. But I was playing alongside Steppa at a gig and asked him. He told me to go for it.
It’s been a while since we ran the competition – almost a year! – but back in Sept 2012 your profile wasn’t quite so big…
Definitely. This year has been incredible for airplay and hype. I’ve been featured on Ruffstuff’s 1xtra talent spot three times. It’s all coming together really nicely.
Which was the first DJ who gave you broadcast props?
It was about three years ago, I entered a competition that Joe Nebula was running on his website. I came second place in that and Crissy Criss played it on the radio. So things have been bubbling since then really…
Proof that these things take time!
Oh yeah man. I’m 26 and I’ve been into this since I was 13. I’m lucky that my dad knew a guy who DJ’d for Hysteria. He knew Juiceman and people like that, so I got brought up into this scene at a really young age. I’ve been DJing since school, doing the discos and things like that.
Nice. Tell us about the winning remix…
I made two versions of the remixes. Some remixes you just want to flip it completely but there are some tracks that are so strong and anthemic that you don’t want to mess around with them too much. Don’t Let Go is definitely a strong anthem track. I didn’t think I could pull off that original sound but it mutated into something much more different to how I imagined.
What else is popping?
I’ve been signed to Hangar Records so I’ll be working with them exclusively for the next year. It’s hard as there have been a lot of requests from labels to work with me but now I can’t. This is good though, instead of putting myself around here there and everywhere, I’m working with one label who want to push me. It’s given me direction.
Otherwise you’re all over the shop… you’re more focussed
Exactly. It’s been great working with everyone I’ve worked with so far but I felt I was trying to make tunes to impress them. With Hangar they’ve said ‘we love what you’re making, don’t worry about what you think we’re expecting, we just want you to make good music and we’ll help you do it’ How amazing is that?
Very amazing. Tell us more about your broad style. It ranges from proper savage jumpery to slick minimal stuff like this…
Yeah, I love it all! When I was 20 I was making a lot of jump up because the jump up guys seemed to be getting so much more exposure and gigs. But I’ve always been into that stripped back, rolling, industrial sound. With Forward Thinking I’m basically going back to my roots.
Are you playing with other sounds, too?
To be honest I make anything. I’ve made garage, I’ve made house, I make hip-hop, I’ve played around with the trap sound. I’m open to anything, I’ve done drum tracks for bands in the past! D&B is my staple music but I’m not scared to mess around with other genres.
What release is coming next?
Lots of stuff on Hangar! They’ve signed eight tracks so far, I know there’s an EP coming in September time and the tracks have already been supported by Hype and all the big boys which is amazing.
Wicked. Finally, tell us something random about yourself…
Oh wow. This is my first interview and I’m not prepared for a question like that!
Sorry man, we need to know these things!
There’s not too much to know: I work and I spend time in the studio and play shows sometimes. I’m a very primitive person, I keep myself to myself. You’d think for a DJ I’d be really sociable but I’m not.
You can do better than that…
I used to do karate, is that a good fact? I was massively into it and if I hadn’t got into it then I’d probably be a sensei by now! I got up to about orange belt, it was the seventh belt up and you have to do 15 grades to get up to black belt. I was half way there!
Special Works EP is out now on Audio Warfare. Listen and download!