NC-17: A Distant Dispatch
NC-17 beamed in from Canada to talk about D&B, his recent long-distance work with Quadrant and lays down a particular road story that, once read, you won’t be able to un-read, and weirdly links with one of the track titles too.
Hey NC-17 how’s things?
Thanks for having me. Always a pleasure talking to you guys. Just doing my thing as usual and trying to survive the Canadian winter. This year though has been much milder than previous winter years.
When did ‘Only One Way Out’ come about… I love it, and the title.
I always say the best tracks are the ones that come together the fastest. The major bulk of the song happened in one day. I think the main reason it came together so quickly was that I put all focus on the actual vibe of the track. When writing it I was in kind of at weird point emotionally. I wouldn’t say I was depressed or anything but a lot was on my mind. So I channeled a lot of my personal state of mind while writing it.
I also remember my studio being so cold in the middle of summer. Mainly because of the A/C running on high and since basements are already cold it felt like a freezer. Which don’t ask me why really helped. There’s an edginess the cold brings which really helped when drawing for inspiration.
Everything about the track came so perfectly together. Take for example the Christopher Walken sample before the drop. I would consider him one of my favorite actors of all time.
His style of acting invokes so much emotion that it was a perfect fit for the track.
Also the track is very straightforward. The basics do the talking. A lot of the soul and vibe of the track is built in the FX and atmospheres. Which I feel really gives it that cinematic feel I was going for.
Has the title of the tune come from any real life experience?
Personally the tune was where my head space was at the time. I feel most of the time the strongest tracks are the ones where you put as much emotional as possible into it. It truly will come across in your work. Only one way out is nothing but emotions and feelings of what I was dealing with at the time.
The coolest thing about making music is you can look back at past work and reflect on where you mind was both emotionally & musically. I feel very lucky because in way music can be like a diary of where you head space is at the time.
Actually speaking of real life, I love stories… what’s one from the road you can share, if you can?
Well I have one really creepy road story. Back in about May I had a gig in Providence Rhode Island. The hotel was about 3 hours from the actually venue in the middle of nowhere. So getting there no problem played the gig smashed it all good! Going back is where it got super creepy. I was in a car with two girls and myself. Now keep in mind I think we are driving past Salem. So 20 minutes into the journey there’s this strange car following us. It was a family. Very weird family all in these super weird religious gowns, that looked like the ones people use to sacrifice people. So as we were driving this car would follow us come next to us all of the family put up candles to their faces in the car with these sadistic smiles. Then we would speed up they would slow down go behind us and then high beam us.
Keep in mind were in the middle of nowhere.
Then every five or ten mins come next to us and they would all put their candles to their face with one of the most diabolical smiles you have ever seen. Now keep in mind I am huge fan of horror films. So I was scared shitless. One dude two girls in a car and I have seen this scene before…
Things are not looking good. Also keep in mind this is going for about two hours straight and everyone in the car is very scared. I knew we couldn’t stop and get out were on the high way and fuck that’s like rule no.1 in horror films NEVER get out of the car…. So as we’re driving the car starts trying to swerve us off the road. Things are now getting serious. I am thinking to myself great now I am becoming one of those horror cliché victims. Lucky we came to a toll both finally. And they went the other way but who knows what could have happened.
The car was following us for two straight hours. Very creepy even by my standards.
Take us behind ‘Dub Central’ and when did the title come to you both?
The name was just a working title that I sent to Leigh. We just ended up keeping it because since it is a very techy track it has a lot of Dub elements running through the whole track. Both of us really like the name so we kept it.
Tell us how you made the linkup for this with Quadrant: you’re all old comrades I take it, in beats?
Ya both myself and Leigh are work horses. You could consider us journey men who are just starting to hit their stride and potential in the last few years. So we’ve always had that bond.
I think we finally hit it off when I met him and his wife when I was in Seattle. It was just crazy talking back and reflecting on so much that has happened in the American Drum & Bass scene. We’ve both seen a lot of people come and go so its pretty cool that the two of us stuck it out.
… did you physically work together?
Well never worked live as I live in Canada and he is from the States. Usually we just work with stems. For collabs I think do stems is the best way. A lot easier imo…. But we definitely go back a lot on AIM chatting about where we should take the tune musically. We vibe very well & it’s always a pleasure making music together.
The release has had a lot of support I hear: who are the allies in the scene, who do you most spark off, in terms of inspiration?
The release has been getting a lot of support and it’s very humbling for both us. We are very blessed that many people in the scene are showing their love for it. The support has been ranging from London Electricity, Noisia, Hype, Friction and almost anyone you can think of.
It’s really rewarding getting this much love from the scene.
And on topic, what’s an inspirational tune(s) that you would like to share?
Drum & Bass wise ‘Feel My Pain’ by Dillinja. What a haunting masterpiece. Gives me chills.
Non Drum & Bass ‘Music: Response’ by Chemical Brothers
What a funky tune, gets me going every time!
Cinema-related Ennio Morricone and his score of Once Upon a Time in America.
Just beautiful and stunning.