TC and Crissy Criss drop a very big bombshell on the drum and bass scene by way of ‘Dark Mode’. Jamie links up with TC and goes in dark… very dark. Night vision goggles at the ready.
Darkside bass, darkside selection and all of the other MC one liners are certainly a staple of drum and bass. Given your roots in the scene date way back in time what was your first experience with the darker side of bass?
“I remember hearing ‘Brown Paper Bag’ on the radio when I was a kid and thinking it was sick AF. I heard another Roni track on the record deck at my piano teacher’s house and thought that drum and bass was for me. I was signed to Valve Recordings for 3 years so I definitely had a big love for the darker side. When I was coming through it always seemed to be that everyone would try and make dark tunes.”
What do you think Jakes would say if we asked him to drop a one liner about darkside?
“I don’t want to put words in his mouth but I know he would drop something to make me want to make a tune!”
Both yourself and Crissy have a huge combined experience in the scene. Do you find this helps when working together on a track? Pulling ideas from the past, slicing up classic breaks etc? Lets not forget the hardware!
“With this tune I was at the controls. Crissy came to my studio and it was one of those real natural ones that happened in like 4 hours! We had the goal of finishing off another collaboration which we had been working on for a long time. After that was wrapped up, we made ‘Dark Mode’. I had the vocal idea in my head as being the next single for me but it worked for this tune so well.
Crissy was on his laptop finding samples, the main bass is one of his. He is great to work with because we are just on the same page all the time. He suggested that key change from F to F# after the 32 and loads of other things that really made the tune come to life. Plus all the neurofunk bass sounds are from his personal library.”
Do you have a dream collaboration list your head somewhere? Imagine making an album with a bunch of drum and bass dons – who would you choose?
“I love working with nice people, that’s my goal – to work with socially aware, kind and compassionate people who really care about the drum and bass scene in all its forms.”
It’s been a busy couple of years for you with a steady flow of awesome tracks. The recent release alongside Jakes ‘Hype Ting’ seemed to just come out of nowhere. Do you find keeping momentum and getting everything sorted for release an uphill struggle sometimes? Is the reward sometimes less than expected?
“That’s really kind of you. Honestly I am just in my own lane right now. I don’t really look at music like its a struggle, I just love it and when a good record stands out – I have to get it released! I never expect anything amazing so I am never disappointed. My main motivation for making tunes is to play them in my sets.”
GTFU, Circle of Fifths, Unleash the Wolves – all impressive album releases with a multitude of styles and flavours. Do you find this works better for you than putting a regular stream of singles up for steaming? Does the hype machine generally work better when focussing on album end goals?
“If I was a better publicist than musician then I am sure I would strategize more about how I put music out.
I love the album format as it gives you more of a chance to show where you are as an artist. It does seem that a lot of producers are doing a stream of singles.
My focus at the moment is to not get distracted and make tunes that really sound like me. I think if I have made one mistake, it could be that I am not being true to my own sound and keeping the people who like my music happy.”
Crissy Criss certainly proved that you can pull off an anthem in drum and bass this year. Do you know the secret formula for this? Does one exist or is it purely based on what’s hot this minute? Got to be a catchy vocal at least no?
“Everyone wants that tune that becomes an anthem! I have been blessed with anthem tunes more than my fair share honestly with ‘Tap Ho’, ‘Get Down Low’, ‘Deep’, ‘Jump’, ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Where’s My Money’.
It is rare that I would be so contrived to set out to make an anthemic track, I think that would not work out at all.”
How do you find the support system works prior to pre-sale links etc going up? Is it still the same as back in the era of real dubplates only this time around with digital files? I guess choice and wading through the turds is a tough one at times?
“Downloads are dead really apart from beatport. Streaming is king and I have no problem with it as long as Spotify doesn’t turn round and change the royalty rate which they could do at any time. A lot of times I give my fans the opportunity to buy the tunes direct through my own outlet.
I have got a bunch of sample and patch packs on my site to help out producers and give them a chance to help support me. They are really sounds you can use and not a bunch of fillers.”
Got to big up Jakes for his quality composure and vocal ability. That partnership has stood the test of time man! ‘Deep’ for example was released WAY back in 2006, back when vinyl was still almost the only option still. Is this something that just works with you guys? How do the ideas come together for lyrics and beats? Is ‘Deep’ still in your virtual box these days?
“He is my brother from another mother. We talk pretty much every day and he is an incredible writer. We really have a great flow when I can get him in the studio. I still play ‘Deep’ in my sets depending on the show. I like to make sure I play all my hits when I play out because when people come to see you, they want to hear you play your own music.
Usually Jakes will write the whole thing and I will make tiny changes like a word here or there where I feel it’s gonna make it flow.”
As someone that has put together a ton of tunes, could you name your top 3 releases? Any in particular that stand out at a time where drum and bass might not have been going in the direction you were feeling. A certain “I’m doing it my way” moment perhaps?
“Drum and bass is never really going in a direction I am not feeling, There are so many producers making awesomeness! There is always a choice to select when you want to be playing. I dig very deep with all the tunes that come into my inbox. From a new producer sending me a bootleg to established producers, I listen to everything I can if there is time.
‘Hype Ting’ the last single is definitely connecting with my fans as it is definitely harking back to the sound I am mainly known for with the drums and vocals. ‘Dark Mode’ would be second as I just love the rawness and the fact that I can listen to it over and over and it always makes me smile.
‘Tap Ho’ will always be special for me as it came out on my own label.
What’s next on the agenda music and DJ set wise? Any other collaborations on the horizon?
“More and more touring as I love it and I think going back to my sound. I really wanna do some more songwriting and singing on my tunes on the next phase.”
“Big shout to Crissy and Jakes and Drum&BassArena! Long time soldiers.”