drumandbassarena

Smooth: The Black Hole / Rollercoaster

Smooth: The Black Hole / Rollercoaster

Smooth

Since his first release 10 years ago, Slovenian producer Smooth has proven he is a force to be reckoned with. Signed to Viper Recordings, his trademark anthemic dancefloor funk has cemented his place as one of the most exciting acts on the scene.

His latest release on Viper, The Black Hole / Rollercoaster, comes a year after the success of Drone. We caught up with the man himself to see what he’s been working on the past year, and to chat about the new beast of a release…

Hello from chilly London, Luka! Thanks for joining us! What have we interrupted you doing at this very moment?

Not a problem at all, it is a pleasure! I was watching trash TV so you definitely did not interrupt anything important and no need to feel sorry about it 🙂

Straight to business: You’ve just released ‘The Black Hole / Rollercoaster’ on Viper Recordings – both huge tracks! Tell us how the release came together…

Thank you very much! Well it was basically a decision between me, Brendan (Futurebound) the head honcho at Viper Rec. and my manager Asad. We were all thinking it has been way too long since the last single “Drone” and that we need to come back with a bang. So i was literally on a mission to make a completely banging and dance floor oriented tune which would be the A-side of the single.

From a couple of different tunes/clips I made we decided that “The Black Hole” was the one. So for the Aa side I wanted to spice things up and “Rollercoaster”, which was initially going to be on my forthcoming album, ended up backing up “The Black Hole”. I think it was kind of the best move since they are both dance floor orientated but at the same time they each deliver different momentum and feel on the dance floor!

Definitely! The Black Hole is an all-out assault! Brilliant intro, can you reveal where the sample is from?

Thanks! Yes i can: When the track was almost done, I decided that it needed a nice little vocal sample to deliver that extra impact of the breakdown. Since I already decided it will be a sort of an 80s sci-fi space-feel intro and breakdown, I knew I needed to find a sample that will reinforce my motive. The voice-over from the trailer of a movie from 1979 called “The Black Hole” (would you imagine?!) did the perfect job to push the breakdown into the black hole! 

Awesome! If you could launch 3 things from your life into a black hole, never to be seen again, what would they be?

Haha it would have to be mushrooms, speed radars and airplane food (replaced with normal food!)!

Back to the flip-side of the single: Rollercoaster. Love the funk sprinkled throughout it! It makes me want to drop everything and run in no particular direction. Was there an inspiration behind this tune?

Thanks! To be honest I wasn’t even trying to make a funky tune in the first place! I just had a nice resonant bass line and I started to play around with filter automations and lfos and all of a sudden it started to sound funkier and funkier. And then I obviously had to change the beats and melody of the bass to make it even more funky. So this tune is a pure example of just working on a tune that I had no clue where it will go or how I wanted it to sound. And thats why it makes it a bit more special to me personally. 

How does your creative process work anyways – are you the type of person to just jam in the studio and see where it leads you, or do you normally go in with a pre-conceived notion of exactly what you’re looking to achieve?

It’s actually different every time for me. Sometimes I really don’t have a clue what I will do so I just open a new project, start from scratch and see where it goes. But sometimes I really have a clear vision of what I want to do. “The Black Hole” is a perfect example: I always knew what i wanted to do with “The Black Hole” so it was literally just about putting the idea in my head in my daw. And “Rollercoaster” was just one of those tunes where I went in to the studio and just did random stuff not really knowing what I wanted do and just hoped for the best! I’d have to say that both approaches are good.. As long as you are not forcing an idea and it feels completely natural, you cant go wrong i think.

Agreed! This is your first release since ‘Drone’, was the break intentional?

No actually, it wasn’t intentional at all. I was just working really hard towards finishing my album last year as I didn’t want it to come out too late after we had already confirmed some dates.However, eventually in the process I realised I was a bit off course with it. A lot of people that are following me know that in the past couple of years I was really into a bit heavier dance floor stuff, and i felt that the album which was literally almost finished, kind of lacked my dance floor tunes. So thats why there was a bit of a “break” between the singles.

Makes sense! Can’t wait to hear the finished product! Did you approach the album with a different mindset than you would for a single release?

It is a completely different mindset indeed. An album is a good way to make something you would not normally put on a single which makes the creative process completely different and i think helps you develop into a better musician.

Smooth

For sure! Can we expect any collabs on the album?

I am actually talking with a couple of mates for a collab, yes. Unfortunately I can’t really confirm anything just yet though since its not yet 100%.

Any idea of a release date?

I am very much looking into finishing it this year. I wish i could give you an exact date but i wouldn’t want to be called a liar 😉

Which artists have been on your radar recently?

Lately I’m really enjoying The Prototypes – everything they put out ATM is just pure fire and seems like they can’t go wrong. From their Knife Party ‘LRAD’ bootleg to ‘Pale Blue Dot’ and ‘Moscow’ – Pure quality! They are also about to release their debut album “City of Gold”, which I’m sure is going to be sick! I also really enjoy what Tantrum Desire are releasing. Their tune ‘Shuffle’ is just insane and another one that did it for me last year was ‘Nightmare’, which I still use in my sets. Last, but definitely not least, Insideinfo. He impresses me more and more with each track he puts out. ‘Metamorphosis’ feat. Miss Trouble and Mushroom are just SICK! Insane production and sick basslines! He is killing it.

You’re originally from Slovenia – what’s the d&b scene like there?

Yes! I think the scene is growing stronger and stronger again. I do have to say that the peak of d&b in Slovenia was about 7-9 years ago when I started to really get into it and went to every party possible and tried to listen to all the amazing artists I now have the privilege of playing with. Back then in Slovenia d&b parties were really packed and steamy and thats exactly what I’m starting to notice again. There was a quiet period, but it’s getting back stronger than ever!

That’s great to hear! What’s coming up for you in 2015?

Right now the goal is just to finish the “Leap of Faith” album. Before that I might do another single or two and hopefully play as many gigs as possible. Definitely looking forward to what is coming up this year, feels like every year just gets better and better!

Did you have any failed New Year’s resolutions?

Yeah… As most people try to quit smoking, I tried to smoke a bit less, but it didn’t really happen….

You and me both… Don’t worry, it’s never too late! 😉 Final words of wisdom?

Thank you very much for having me for this lovely interview! And thanks to all the Viper crew for standing behind me and my music and also helping me develop into the musician that I am today. And big thanks to all the people supporting me and following me, I could not have been doing what I love the most without you all!

The Black Hole / Rollercoaster is out now. Available on iTunes, Beatport, Juno, TID and Spotify.

Follow Smooth on Facebook / Twitter / SoundCloud.

You can follow Maja C on Twitter, @_Maja_C
Head of content and curator of Drum&BassArena's YouTube and SoundCloud channels, Maja also works across UKF's editorial pages.

RELATED