Sun and Bass provokes much emotion by anyone touched by it. Except complacency.
To celebrate, there’s a forthcoming compilation and a special remix 12: the original tunes being by Lynx & Kemo and ArpXP and including work by Paradox, Arp XP and Calibre. The best way to get inside one of the best releases of the year?
Three conversations with Paradox, Arp XP and Calibre. Read on!
• PARADOX talks about the festival and the remix.
Tell me about this beautiful 12″ and your work on it. That cut is incredible.
I felt honoured when Sunandbass asked me. I don’t like remixing other artists too often but the Lynx & Hellrazor track was a no-brainer really. I loved the original and my job was made simple by the quality of the sample ettiquete in the original. Having too much to work with can be a distraction also but I bent certain melody hooks and shaped them around Kemo’s vocals to let the vocals breath. It was important to swing from a groove point of view different to the kick/snare original. The remix took around five weeks to complete overall.
How was Sun and Bass? As someone landlocked for the foreseeable future I feel nothing but contempt for you lucky people.
The festival is completely unique and when January 1st lands it means its SAB year. It’s truly the best festival out there and people forget it’s actually eight days of mayhem and not seven – only for the die-hards. 2013 was my show for Samurai Music and I loved it. All the sets that night were brilliant and I took influences into the studio when I got back. For a programmer living outside of the UK it’s great for me to see all my friends and peers in one go and chill in the bars, restaurants and get pissed to be honest. The cocktails are lethal.
10 years for this festival but also you must have some thoughts after so long in this music? How are you feeling right now, what with your fantastic legacy?
10 years for any festival simply deserves a medal! I’ve just released my 150th vinyl and didn’t get a parker pen.
After many years in the scene like A Sides and Marcus it’s the love for the music that keeps me going and SAB is something that was born out of it so I feel quiet privileged to be part of the Drum & Bass movement for two decades.
2013 in general?
2013 has been a good year for me personally in the recording studio. I’ve taken a few years off writing albums to concentrate on 12″s instead as I’ve missed that feeling of writing music and seeing the vinyl in the shops eight weeks later. There are more plastic discs to come too which is nice.
Some words on your labels: Paradox, Arctic etc, can you break it down for us?
There is a killer 12″ released on December 9th on Paradox Music from Gremlinz & Ahmed. The next Alaska Arctic 12″ drops in January 2014 but test-press 12″s will arrive this month. I’ve just completed new tracks with Nucleus for Esoteric Music that I’m excited about plus I’ve started my 2nd 12″ for Samurai Music, the follow-up to ‘Crate Logic’. A secret remix plus a new Seba, Paradox & Robert Manos 12″ will be finalized pretty soon so a few projects to come over the next quarter.
Let me have some departing words?
Wish SAB 2014 would hurry up.
• ARP XP talks about the Sardinia effect
How’s tricks sir?
Everything is fine! I´m going through a very good moment of my life.
I’ve just released my first 12″ on Metalheadz which is a collaboration with Reza, from Poland and I’ve a lot of tracks ready to go. I can say that I’m inspired and productive, finally.
What inspired this beautiful track for the Sun & Bass? Was it the festival or maybe the country?
Landscapes, clouds, trees, ancient traditions, urban skylines: every single detail of this country inspired my music. You must see what happens when the Gennargentu mountains are covered with snow and a cold northern wind blows violently.
This is the Sardinia you probably don’t imagine.
Why the title? It makes me thoughtful of what hot countries are like in winter!
Sometimes this beautiful place, during the winter, is not hot. But it’s quiet, meditative, empty, romantic.
Forget the classic cliché “Beach, white sand, and crystal clear water”. There’s a different Sardinia you should discover at least once in your life.
Have you changed as a producer since we last spoke? I feel like in general we as a species are/should be evaluating.
I’m sat in front of my computer – every day – making beats and basslines for about 15 years: I belong to a species with a weird behaviour!
I think it’s natural at a certain point to grow up and to move forward to a new direction, trying different genres, at lower tempos. But my first true love is around 170 bpm: it’s very hard to get away.
What music are you checking, name five things?
Martyn – probably my favourite producer, Tessela, Deft, Jon Hopkins and Bibio.
Some departing words?
‘Winter in Sardinia’ Calibre Remix is going to be available on 18th November as you will know. I’ve also another track included on the LP: it’s a collaboration between me, Seba, Alite and Mc Fava called ‘Love Again’.
Huge thanks to SUNANDBASS Bosses, Stefano and Martina for everything! And many thanks to my SUNANDBASS family, I got to know a lot of wonderful people in these amazing 10 years!
• CALIBRE talks about his approach to the remix
I must say that it is an unusual one in reflection: festivals don’t seem to inspire releases, normally the producers would be inspired to WRITE for the festival? So how did it inspire your work?
It’s a remix of Arp XP’s tune that I thought was the best tune on the SNB compilation that came out a while ago, the title ‘Winter in Sardinia’ captured the imagination as my experience of Sardinia is usually in late summer, when the festival is on.
In Ireland I’ve witnessed the seasons changing as the tourist season ends, the autumn and winter colours inject a special feeling for the place, and I think the beautiful island of Sardinia must be similar in this respect.
I feel all misty-eyed now: for someone new to it, what’s the larger experience like around festival time?
I like to travel around the island quite a bit and have visited some significant and not so significant places, I like to be amongst nature so its great for that purpose, and there is a much history ancient and modern that is interesting to me, but yes I also like to swim in the sea and sit in the sun.
How did you approach your contribution: what was the hook, the thing that caught you?
It’s hard to remove the drifting sensation from the original tune, so I just built around that.
2013 in general?
It’s been busy, its hard to find time for the music in the same way as I did years ago, but that’s the inevitable change that comes with being involved with music over a period of time.
I wanted to diversify a bit this year, in some ways I did that, in other ways I didn’t, I still love making music very much though.
Have you changed as a producer in recent years? In terms of outlook and attitude? Sometimes I wonder if things that used to matter don’t now… or the things that used to matter are actually really precious and should be retained and cherished as you mature?
I think you learn to accept those things that you can’t change, but it’s hard to encapsulate life in words, writers have been trying for an age, but I think that if you love something like music it’s a richer life.
Are you drawing/producing visual art?
When I came back from SNB I did a few paintings from imagination that were influenced by the natural environment there. It should be part of a body of work I’m building up now, not sure where I am going other than learning right now, but I’m used to that…
Calibre pic: Beta Photographie