Mav: Depth Charge
Utrechtian Mav has recently released the mesmerising Sounds Of The Deep and it’s splendid remix array. Fitting then, to go in deeeeeep and for some considerable fathoms further.
Mav, what does Sounds Of The Deep say about you?
In short, my main goal with this album was to create a D&B-only album aimed not only at the dancefloor, but also something that you would be able to play and enjoy at home.
I wanted it to be something different than what people are used to in drum & bass-land, with a high focus on musicality and diversity. At the same time I tried to go all across the board by experimenting with combinations of all sorts of sub-genres of drum & bass, such as atmospheric d&b, techmospherics, neurofunk, liquid funk, experimental and halfstep. There’s also a high degree of polyrhythmic experimenting with beats going on across the 14 tracks on the album.
Energy is key here, and the power of nature sort of ties in too… hence the cover and the mentions of nature. I am just going on my gut feeling.
Your gut feeling is right: energy definitely plays a big role on the album and so does nature which has always been a big inspiration source for me, especially the underwater world. This also definitely explains the cover art, for which I asked the designer to make an underwater landscape that leaves a lot of room for imagination. I wanted the cover to be a piece of art, which is why I also made a poster of it that you get for free when ordering the 12″ vinyl sampler. If you look carefully you can see me standing there in the design somewhere.
For people new to you, you’re based in the fabulous Utrecht? A D&B stronghold I think!
Correct! Glad that you like our lovely little city. I moved from Brussels/Belgium to Utrecht/The Netherlands around 1998-1999, which is the same period I made the switch from more 4×4 beat oriented music such trance, techno and house to – in my opinion – more challenging-and-fun-to-make D&B. It’s also the year I seriously started DJing and started my label Scientific Records.
It’s a great city to live in which I definitely recommend checking out.
D&B-wise Utrecht is definitely a stronghold in Holland, being the hometown of many D&B producers including Black Sun Empire, June Miller, Pythius and many more.
Tell us about you and key moments in your D&B history.
Deepflow AKA PRPLX AKA Rob Raider was a key figure. He introduced me to Kom’ah, a good friend of his. Both of them were doing vinyl releases at Amsterdam-based D&B label Purified Audio run by DJ Nubian, and were getting played by LTJ Bukem. This gave me huge motivation to write D&B tracks like a madman.
I think it was about 2002 or so when I burned about 100 demo CDs and physically mailed them out. This turned out to be a key move as I got a much more positive response than I ever expected, which resulted in my first vinyl release on Offshore Recordings that came out in 2004 which is still one of my most memorable releases. Funny thing to note is that two tracks on my current album ‘Skylines’ and ‘Trigger the Rabbit’ were also part of that same demo, yet in a more basic form. I re-edited them for the album and gave them more of a ‘2014’ sound.
Meanwhile Kom’ah had introduced me to Auxiliary label head ASC, who back then had just started his atmospheric D&B label Covert Operations. He introduced me to all sorts of producers, label heads, DJs, etc in the D&B scene, and basically taught me so much, for which I’m still very grateful.
Another crew that I got to know over the years were the guys at Fokuz and Citrus recordings, who are also behind the infamous Triple Vision distribution. It was through them that the first two releases, ‘Me Against the Machine’ and ‘Ocean Phantom’, which both got played by guys like Pendulum, Noisia, Corrupt Souls and Teebee.
Tell us more about your label, Scientific Records?
I’m proud that I managed to ‘revive’ my label Scientific Records after 12 years of inactivity. The album is an example of how I’m running it: consisting of two full-coloured sleeve 12″ vinyl samplers, a CD, a poster and various digital releases. Something that I definitely would like to repeat in the future!
Back to Sounds Of The Deep, can you isolate a tune here and talk us through it? Perhaps the mysterious ‘Break Is The Legend’?
‘Break is the Legend’ is a special tune to me as it is my tribute to the legendary amen-break, a breakbeat sample I still remember using as ‘layering-sample’ back when I was still making happy hardcore – ha ha- in the early 90s. Funny enough it is my only D&B amen track ever until now. I’ve always liked those atmospheric amen rollers from back in the day, dating back to PHD & Conrad’s ‘Presence’ on LTJ Bukem’s Progression Sessions 1 mix, so I decided to make one myself and go all out on it.
You mentioned ‘Me Against The Machine’ earlier, what is the treatment here?
The original of this track has been one of my more notable releases up till now, which basically ‘put me on the map’ so to speak.
I also made a music-video for this track actually, which can be found here:
Can you tell us how this stunning tapestry of remixes for Sounds Of The Deep came about? By Seba, Chris.Su, Paul SG, Naibu, Bungle… wow.
I have always loved collaborating with others, be it by making a track together or by remixing each other’s work. All the artists that have done remixes for my album and future releases, as there’s actually more remixes coming up by the likes of Krone, Mindmapper & Fre4knc, Derrick & Tonika, Bop, Lm1, Inertia and Submorphics.
All the artists are producers that I really like and have been following for years.
Tying it up: you are such a fan of D&B that you must have some particular favourites: tunes that people may not instantly ‘know’, as such.
OK. The following are D&B tracks that mean something special to me and definitely formed an inspiration source for my own music. All are from lesser known artists, both from the past and the present. I could name many more:
Flytronix ‘Offshore Drift’
Artemis ‘Inner Worlds’
Chris.SU ‘Solaris Theme’
Seba ‘Painted Skies’
Blu Mar Ten ‘The Beginning’
Bungle ‘The Source’
Intense ‘1st Contact’ (ASC remix)
What do you have in mind in terms of promoting this release live… any dates?
Last year we did an interesting Scientific Label night with Future Engineers, P.B.K., myself and VJ E202 in a thermal bath in Budapest that might be interesting to check for promoters if interested in booking a label night!