NickBee: Dimensional Shift

NickBee: Dimensional Shift

Nickbee portrait (1)

The enigmatic NickBee shifts up a few gears to drop the engrossing duo of ‘Another Dimension’ and ‘Splitting Hairs’, crackling and buzzing with his definitive style… and great cover art too you’ll note. Down to bees-ness then…

First off who came up with the art/art direction for the cover? It’s fantastic and would actually make a good tattoo…

I agree the cover artwork is sick, I love it. The ideas are coming straight from the designer doing all the artwork for Concussion (SHVLFCE). I believe it’s always best to stick with how the designer envisions things. I hope he listened to the tracks to draw inspiration but regardless we have ended up with absolutely quality art.

Why ‘Another Dimension’… do you believe there are shifts and rifts in time? Maybe we glimpse them… in dreams, in ghost stories for example.

The track name was initially slightly different. I usually send my tracks to my good friend and booking agent Lewis (Innate MC), and he helped me decide on ‘Another Dimension’. He has a habit of understanding the feel and dynamic I go for in my tracks. When I finished the tune, I imagined being deep in the universe, experiencing the birth of planets and stars, and the awe that this would inspire.

I think there is no way to tell what goes on in the sense of rifts in time or alternate dimensions, maybe they are very real, but we are unable to perceive them, or the possible effects they may have on our reality.

What place or time would you visit if you could enter a dimensional rift? Back in time, Moon, Mars, Antarctica, you name it.

I’d love to go back in time­ way back. Back to the point galaxies, planets and solar systems are being formed. To witness such large scale creation taking place is a very interesting concept to me. I think the universe is a mesmerisingly beautiful thing and I can only imagine what it would feel or look like to see the complex reactions that take place, that end up forming what we’ve come to call our home, and what people spend their entire lives.

Take us into the tune, the flow on this is brilliant and only you could do it.

From the beginning of any of my tracks, composition and flow play major roles. I believe both factors should be key priorities for any music style or genre. A track that is composed well should have the ability take the listener on a journey, invoking emotion and allowing the listener to find greater enjoyment.

I accidentally landed on the chords at the start of the track, and I think they really set the tone and depict an ominous uncertainty that would come with exploring another dimension.

Towards the progression of the drop and the sections afterwards I introduced some jump­up-influenced sounds. I’m not really a fan of jump up as a genre, but I think it’s good to take pointers and ideas from the broad spectrum of drum and bass, to merge with my own music and enhance the feel of the track.

I have to ask: why ‘Splitting Hairs’? is it a comment about how we may think too much?

Honestly, it’s a little less profound than it seems. When I first began working on the track I named it something like “Cutting Hairs”. As I worked on it more and inevitably sent it to Lewis for some input, he told me “F*ck off man, it’s not ‘cutting; it’s much more ‘splitting’”.

I decided to go with this and I think it’s helped influence the hard, ‘splitting’ sound of the tunes…

How does this track sound live? Bet it kills. Completely love it.

Thank you! I include it in most of my current sets, and everywhere that I have, it’s worked the crowd really well. It always gets people on their feet, and I think they’ve come to appreciate my signature sound and the groove present in my music.

What changes have you noticed about yourself as a producer in recent times?

I think it’s mostly in the details for me. I’m continually striving to increase my standards when it comes to quality of production, I also tend to experiment more with my sound design.

My most notable change has got to be my shift in attitude towards music as a whole. My approach is definitely quality over quantity ­it’s easy to just churn out track after track over a relatively short period of time but I’m not willing to release tracks that lack quality in any aspect.

I listen to the various elements in a track repeatedly, nit-picking the details, fine-tuning adjustments until I am completely satisfied with the end result.

I see many people working with their music like they are in a factory or something, mass producing new beats every month, all the time.

But I feel a lot of it is missing an idea or personality. No depth, just noise.

What are some habits and favourite things you do in the studio, little things that speed up time and maintain enthusiasm?

I don’t really have that many habits in that sense these days, mainly because besides my own production I also provide mixdown and mastering services, to try and help other people get the best out of their ideas.

If I’m feeling burnt out I try to switch things up a bit to always ensure a fresh approach in terms of production.

I also have a deep house/techno project with my friend Andrew under the alias ‘The Hive’, so I’ll sometimes put the drum and bass on pause to work with him.

How did you hook up with Concussion?

Adam, who runs Concussion, got in touch with me about a year ago with a proposal to work together on releasing a single on his label. I really respect what he’s doing in terms of the design work as well as the ethic he maintains behind pushing good tunes on vinyl. With that in mind, I agreed to his proposal – producing these tunes for this release and suspect we will be working together again in the not too distant future.

I can’t wait for this release to hit the shelves.

What tune is in your head right now?

Konflict ­’Messiah’!

Another Dimension/Splitting Hairs

You can follow Damian B on Twitter, @DAMIAN___B
D&B for some time now; studied at institution of Fabio & Grooverider.