Loadstar: The Story Behind RAMLife
When it comes to big D&B mix releases this summer Loadstar win hands down with their electrifying blend for Ram Records’ inaugural RAMLife mix series. Galvanised with bulletproof VIPs and an dynamic energy that will leave your speakers in a state of repair, it’s set the benchmark for the label’s new series ridiculously high. Maja C caught up with them before another hectic weekends of performances in both Europe and the US…
Big up fellas! Where in the world are you right now?
Nick: This coming week is pretty busy for us. Its heading towards the end of festival season and we are finishing it off with some great shows….I’m heading out to LA for Nocturnal Festival which is a one of those massive festivals with ridiculous stage production, can’t wait.
Gav: I’m at Laundry Day in Belgium as well as Bestival this weekend. Goes without saying that Bestival is set to be massive!
You guys mixed the first edition of the new RAMlife series.. What a ridiculously HUGE mix! Does being the first in the series apply a lot of pressure or give you an advantage in setting the precedent for the rest of the series?
Nick: We didn’t put too much pressure on ourselves when approaching this mix. We felt really privileged to be the first artists to appear in the series so we wanted to make it really special. Over the years we’ve worked on a lot of mixes but with this one we wanted to make sure we represented Ram aswell as other artists and really mix it up.
Gav: We wanted to get the balance right and make it a really good listening experience.
It’s a perfect blend of monstrous tunes, old and new, as well as lighter tunes in between… How did you approach the mix?
Nick: It was great to be lucky enough to get hold of so many VIPs which may not have been available otherwise.
Gav: We approached this a bit like how we approach our live sets. We chose tracks that really are tried and tested, playing them out consistently and finding what works best.
Do you have any standout favourites within the mix?
Nick: In no particular order: Noisia – Stamp Out, Dimension – Digital World VIP, Loadstar – Stepped Outside, Cyantific – Type A, Culture Shock – Troglodyte VIP.
Do you generally approach recorded mixes differently to how you would mixing in a club? Or does it all depend on how you’re feeling on the day/night?
Nick: We always want to approach a mix like one of our sets, that’s where we start. Although we did find that this mix gave us more freedom to roll out tunes a bit more, and not make it too hectic. We love the process of going through a massive folder of tunes and just trying loads and loads of different mixes, trying to be creative with it.
Your debut studio album dropped last year. Was it more fulfilling to have an entire body of work completed at the end or do you still get that sense of gratification when you’ve spent ages on a single tune and finally get it finished?
Nick: It was our first really big, complete piece of work as a duo, and it was really satisfying to get it all out. But as soon as the album was done, we were looking at starting our next batch of music.
Gav: We are never satisfied with what we’re doing really! we are always looking forward and pushing ourselves to be better.
Do you feel you’re able to express yourself more through a long player?
Nick: I think so, as it gives much more of a scope for variation of sound, especially if you have a big collection of music coming out together. Our album wasn’t designed to be an album of dance floor bangers, as we wanted to show that we could be quite diverse with our sound.
Gav: It gave us the perfect platform to show that we can write tracks on either side of the musical spectrum.
Any plans for another album in the near future?
Nick: We’re currently working in the early stages of putting together our next project.
Gav: We’ve been locked down in the studio too this summer, and hopefully we’ll have a bunch of singles which could potentially lead up to the next album.
Before you joined forces as Loadstar you both had solo careers as Xample and Lomax – Do you still work on individual projects or focus solely on your work as a duo now?
Nick: Right now we’re 100% focused on Loadstar.
Gav: But, because we’re from individual producer backgrounds, it means we work separately and bring our work together, especially in the studio.
What made you both finally take the plunge and decide you’d work better as a duo? Whose idea was it, and was it a bit of a ‘get down on one knee’ proposal scenario?
Nick: We’d done a lot of collaborative tunes as Xample and Lomax, and it didn’t take long before we decided to put this under one name.
Gav: People were trying to distinguish each track as sounding like ‘Xample’ or ‘Lomax’, so we thought it would be better to release under one name and that way it’s something new and fresh.
What are both of your production strengths that you find complement each other so well?
Nick: I am the more musical, so i’ll come up with the ideas and the melodic elements.
Gav: I’m more focused on the techier side of things whilst Nick is much more musical. This is why our dynamics work so well, as it’s something we can capitalize on.
The recent BBC 1Xtra Soundclash put d&b in the prime time slot and RAM represented along with Hospital, Shogun & Viper… Some have been saying it was counterproductive for the genre to pit labels against each other while others are saying it put d&b in the slot it deserves which can only be a positive thing – what are your thoughts?
Nick: I thought it was a really positive thing and a celebration of where drum and bass is currently at. It’s not just your top 40 dnb tracks, it was giving drum and bass from all angles a good platform.
Gav: Yeah, it’s great that Radio1 gave it the exposure. Also, all the banter was good fun, we’re all mates really;)
Who are your greatest musical influences, old or new?
Nick: For me, it would have to be Michael Jackson and Prince, although when I got into dance music it was Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Leftfield
Gav: I started listening to drum and bass from a young age with my mates in Bristol, listening to the any of the rave pack tapes I could get my hands on that were floating around school!
You’ve done a lot of touring this year with festival season– is that something you look forward to or do you see yourselves more as home-bodies?
Nick: The summer festival seasons is the best part of the year, we’ve played some amazing shows worldwide.
Gav: We’ve been to America quite a few times this year and the crowds are always amazing. We love the big stage set ups and the standard of production out there. The energy is always amazing too.
What’s coming up next for you guys? Any huge collabs or releases we should know about?
Nick:We’re just working out what our next single are going to be and set to announce that soon.
Gav: And hopefully this leads us into another album but we’re staying in the moment for now.
Massive shout out to everyone at RAM records and also massive thanks to you guys at Drum&BassArena who’ve shown us a lot of support over the years.