M-zine & Scepticz: Sonic Craftsmen
Belgian duo M-zine & Scepticz have just delivered an absolute monster of a debut EP on Dispatch, and it’s as forward-thinking, menacing, atmospheric and eclectic as we had hoped… Throw in a seriously deep roller on Lifestyle Music, as well as news of upcoming collabs with the likes of Bredren, Mystic State and Survey, and it’s clear the only way is up for the talented duo.
We caught up to chat about the EP and what’s coming up in 2017…
Thanks for joining us guys! How’s 2017 treating you so far?
Thanks for having us! It’s always good to get these opportunities to shed some light onto our lives. 2017 has been great already – new music, new studio, new studio monitors, no complaining here.
Vibes all the way then! 🙂 You’ve just dropped your debut EP on Dispatch. Massive big ups! Did it take long to piece the release together?
The release came together quite fluently, so no, it didn’t take too long from sending off the premasters to release date, which is always nice, it helps to keep the tunes fresh.
No doubt! A lot of artists are very process-based in their approach to production. How do you guys operate? Do you have a tried and tested method of starting projects?
In our opinion the backbone of any project is the drums and percussion, so we focus heavily on that at the start of any new project. Having a general idea what sort of vibe we’re doing helps, sometimes it’ll be a single sample that establishes the basis of what the rest of the tune is gonna turn out like.
You’ve had a few releases on Dispatch before, was this EP produced with the label in mind?
We love working together with Dispatch, they run a tight ship! This EP was definitely produced with the label in mind, that’s why we wanted an already established MC with the label to feature on it…
Makes sense! Few Things On My Mind is seriously deep. How did the link with Gusto come about then?
We first met Gus when we did our first trip to Bristol to visit DLR, we all had dinner together and it was vibes basically. We’ve always been a big fan of the content within his lyrics, and his flow is really unique, so we asked if he would be down with sending us a hook and some verses, and he did.
So you wrote the beats around the bars?
The beats were blended in around the bars with this one yeah, as we felt it was important to keep focus on Gus’ flow instead of the beats & bass overpowering his voice too much.
Diffraction is a gritty little stepper, is there a story behind it and the way you approached the concept for the EP?
Diffraction is the barebones minimal stomper, whereas the other tunes have a more distinguished vibe to them, this was the concept behind this EP as well, to have as many flavours on there as possible, as opposed to just banging out 4 bangers.
Great approach. Love the drum work and subtleties in Last Time… anything in particular inspire it?
Yeah, this tune was mostly inspired by an old Disney film, we sourced some pads & vocals from it, and the tone was set…
Well the tone is sick! Bent is an atmospheric gem as well, and rounds the EP off perfectly. You guys have a real eclectic sound which is highlighted in the diverse nature of the EP. Who were some of your biggest influences before you got into production yourselves?
Influences include Photek, Loxy, Break, Hydro, Optical (90’s), Dillinja, Skeptical, Adam Beyer, Carl Cox, Plastikman, Richie Hawtin, Troy Pierce, dBridge, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Clyde Stubblefield, Bernard Purdie, Missy Elliot, Timbaland…
Massive mix in there! And who is inspiring you these days? Any particular artists/ releases impressing you lately?
The entire Utopia family is killing it atm, head honcho Mako is a proper badman, Mikal’s album was amazing, Villem is killing it on every front, Hydro’s set to turn some heads this year, yet again. Skeptical & Alix Perez are really onto something together, as well as individually. Loving Xtrah’s new Disturbance EP on Dispatch too, that’s all killer no filler, make sure to check it out!
Agreed! You’ve been working together for 5 years now – What are the strengths you each bring to the fore on your tracks, and what allows you to work so well together do you think?
We each have our own little niche we love to dabble in.. M-zine’s would be the drums & bass, mad fx and vocals, whereas Scepticz provides the vibes, pads & atmospheres. What allows us to work so well together is the fact we have separate studios, so we can each do our own thing, but most of the tunes get finished together at M-zine’s studio.
You’ve released some mammoth collabs over the past few months – ‘Then Suddenly’ with Bredren, not to mention Still Alive with DLR over the summer last year… Massive tunes! Can we expect any more link ups in the near future?
Yes you can, there’s a collab EP coming out soon… Nothing’s confirmed ATM, so we can’t really give away which label or when, but keep your ears peeled 😉 Artist’s who feature on this EP are Survey and Mystic State, and there’s going to be an M-zine, Scepticz & Bredren EP dropping sometime this year also…
Woah… Cannot wait to hear all of that!!! How do you go about deciding who you’d would like to collab with?
Anybody who brings samples & vibes to the table is considered, however not every collab is as vibey as we want them to be 😉
Who’s on your ultimate collab bucket list then?
dBridge, Skeptical, Mako, Mikal, Arkaik, Loxy…
Absolute dons… So what else is coming up for you guys for the rest of the year?
As mentioned before, there’s a couple of EP’s in the works that will be coming out over the course of this year, so make sure to keep an eye out on our Facebook page!
Shout out to all the fans who keep on buying the music, and supporting this amazing scene!
The Diffraction EP is out now on Dispatch, get it here.