June Miller‘s new Robots & Romans opus keeps you guessing right until the end, what with unexpected moods, formidable structures, collabs, textures and random soundbites flying at you from all directions. And on the subject of things random… what would you do if it was the last night on earth?
Hi this album’s killer. And the title is interesting: is it referring to what modern reality is being reduced to?
Hello and thank you very much! We decided that the title Robots & Romans completely puts our style into context. It represents two sides to our writing and production, and we wanted to capture that in the title.
Our background in making music was solely playing in bands and that feeling has stuck with us, so naturally it just found its way into our production.
It almost clashes and collides with the electronic elements of writing D&B, and it’s the constant challenge of marrying the two sides which really excites us.
There’s so many things going on in the album: was it a challenge to start assembling it all into a coherent album?
We’d be lying if we said it wasn’t! We knew from the start that we wanted to build an album which constantly flowed, as in, every tune connected to each other.
It sounds a bit cliché but we really wanted to create a story and try and take the listener on a journey. In the drum and bass world, we find this is much more common in DJ sets, where most of the time the DJ will aspire to take the listener through a journey of music.
We never really had this feeling a lot when listening to some D&B albums, and we thought that was a shame. Sometimes it feels like a bunch of singles just thrown together, with a hip hop or down tempo track randomly thrown in to try and give a bit of diversity.
For us that lacks a lot of feeling, so we spent lots of time assembling all the tracks to try and make sure the feeling is what we wanted to portray.
And ‘Last Night On Earth’? Can you talk us through this title? it’s a filthy tune!
I remember us watching an old ninja movie one day. I’m not even sure how true the movie was, but it was based in the 60s and it was about how ninjas totally destroyed in the army.
It gave so much inspiration so we went and wrote ‘Last Night On Earth’ and the tune before it, 地球での最後の夜… which means ‘Last Night On Earth’ in Japanese.
The interlude before it tries to capture the scene we had in our head, so we recorded the old radio report, which was hilarious to do. Then we tried to put the scene into a build up into a fight, with the actual tune ‘Last Night On Earth’ being the fight!
It was a really fun project to work on.
OK so what would you do if you had one night on earth left? Read a book? Go for a walk? Take mind altering substances? Bungee jump?
Ha ha wow! If possible I would love to go partying with Lionel Ritchie ha ha! That would be just too much fun.
I love the exotically-named collab with Mindmapper and Tiiu, can you talk us through that?
We actually wrote this song together a long time ago! It was such a fun studio session and I remember us all being right weirdos, sitting in the dark, messing with drops of water and trying to make a beat out of them.
It was a great moment and it’s actually quite typical of Mindmapper and us when we get together ha ha.
We then sent the tune to Tiiu and she did the most amazing vocal. It literally left us speechless when we heard it.
The immortal ‘Saus’ is here, with Mefjus….
Well, we had been talking with Mefjus for a while about a collab, and one weekend he was playing a show in Holland, so he came over to the studio for two days. We had such a fun time and decided to break all rules and do something on the edge.
What with Hannah Lux, Tiiu, T & Sugah and so forth there’s loads of collab action here in general…
The other collabs were really fun! Virus Syndicate did an amazing job and they must have been the fastest vocalist we have ever worked with! amazing.
To ‘Brace’. Wicked. What inspired?
This was also a funny moment where we watched some war warrior film and totally fell into the scene. It’s basically a war army tune, and one thing that we wanted to do was create all the sounds ourselves.
So we spent a few days making loads of sound design for the intro, it was so much fun.
Track 11 ‘Περαιτέρω Φαίνεται Για Πάντα’ resonates… is it about the UK riots from a few years back?
It doesn’t actually have a direct influence on the tune, but more of the feeling and emotion it gives to the listener. The track is very sober and almost portrays the same melancholy feel which most people had when the UK riots escalated.
So the sample was designed to put the listener already into a mood before the track actually starts.
Who did the cover art? It’s very nice. Should be on a t shirt.
It was designed by our good friend Andreas who goes under the name ‘Tarum’.
He did an amazing job and we fell in love with it right away! Andreas does some amazing stuff and you check out the rest here
Can you take us behind the wicked ‘Further Seems Forever’? Love the crystal, widescreen vibe on this…
This track just came together out of nowhere really.
It’s mainly all based around a bell sample, which is constantly running in the background through out the whole tune. It’s so out of time and you can’t even hear it well but when it wasn’t present in the track it lost so much feeling and depth.
What artists in D&B continue to inspire you?
From a production sense, Mefjus and Noisia continue to blow our minds. The constant desire to experiment and keep improving the sound is so inspirational.
Break is another amazing example, how he manages to capture an old vintage sound but still manages to keep bringing that sound up to date without much compromise.
In other styles, we have loved every track Ivy Lab has released to date and there is so much more to mention… D&B rules!
Any shouts and forthcomings, JM?
Massive shout to the whole DNBA crew! Also to everyone that works at RAM, you guys rock it hard. And last but not least to everyone who supported us.
Hope to see and meet you all on the road soon!