Sabre: Let me talk about…. Vocals

Sabre: Let me talk about…. Vocals


This week sees the release of Oblique. A rare breed of tune in more ways than one… It unites the talents of three producers to form an invigoratingly refreshing sound and carries one of the most soulful vocals we’ve heard in D&B since Calibre last took to the mic.

It’s been warming dancefloor heart cockles for a strong six months now, and you can thank Sabre, Stray and Halogenix for it. We called Sabre in his new Thailand base for some thoughts on the tune, the vocal and tips on how YOU can get vocals as genuine and rich as Frank Carter III’s….“Really the perfect vocalist is someone who can write decent lyrics,” says Sabre. “As ‘producers’ we’re really button twiddlers, not song writers. The trickiness is having the boldness to let someone know the lyrics they’ve written are banal. I’ve attempted so many tunes with singers who are all like “deep inside my love for you still blah blah blah ” or  “the vibe tonight is blah blah blah”. Unimaginative songwriters who struggle to capture depth in the lyrics.”

No danger of this with Frank Carter’s vocals on Oblique, then. Over a bed of sultry chords he mourns love lost and raw regret with incredible Otis-levels of spine-tingles. What’s more, before Stray discovered him on an unsigned artist forum, Frank had never really heard of drum & bass.

“Drum and bass perhaps lacks some of the depth and sultriness that his native genres of neo-soul and classic RnB  possess,” admits Sabre. “But he’s never once shown any kind of snobbery, or been hesitant – the guy is basically a dream to work with. Needless to say we have every intention of doing a lot more work with him.”

Needless to say there’s plenty more work in the pipeline from his new dream trio in general. Sabre, who guided both Stray and Halogenix in their early years, describes the union as a “bunch of mates working on a collabo with no strings attached”. Now, with Oblique ticking every box possible, they’re already working on a whole “vault of music.”

“It’s too soon to reveal our plans,” he admits. “But I’m certain a lot of this music will have the same, if not greater, impact than Oblique has had.”

Before we prise Sabre’s selected vocal releases from our download section, we had one more question to ask… Where the hell has he been? Years have passed since his unique debut LP entranced many a deep, smoky session or long car journey. Will he ever go that deep or conceptual again?

“I’d been working so hard on music for so long with the LP, I just wanted a break and some time to clear my mind regarding where I was heading,” he explains. “The LP was exactly what I wanted it to be, but after it was done I suffered a bit from a lack of direction and wasn’t sure which camp I was pitching my flag in… Had I now become so synonymous with experimental ‘minimal’ D&B that it’d be tough for me to go back to making moody liquid or tech rollers? I wasn’t sure what I wanted really. So rather than fuck things up by over analysing things, I figured I should walk away for a bit.”

Thankfully, he’s back. And this time he’s brought mates. We can’t wait to hear what they’re delivering next. In the meantime, let’s enjoy a few vocal bullets, all available in our download section, as selected by Sabre himself…

Solid State – Just a Vision (Marcus Intalex & ST.Files remix)
Listen & Download

Twisted Individual – Trench Foot
Listen & Download

Influx Datum – Back for More
Listen & Download

TC1 & Stress level – Lost in Music
Listen & Download

Zero T & Steo – Refusal
Listen & Download


Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.
Bringing you the full spectrum of D&BSign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest streams, news, and events, all tailored to you.

By clicking Sign Up, you have read and agreed to the Drum&BassArena Privacy Policy.