Villem and Mcleod: Packed Out

Villem and Mcleod: Packed Out


Live DJ Villem

‘You’ll spend less time engineering and more time tune writing… ‘

Twin auteurs Villem and Mcleod took time to give us a totally holistic rundown on not only their flash new D&B sample pack – number two – but also the thinking and influences that run through what they do. So it’s not just about D&B; it’s more like DNA… &B.

You get the point. Beats.

Hi what’s new?

Had an great time in Slovakia recently, good people and nice vibes all round. Looking forward to Cross Club, Prague in February, which has industrial art design, looks great, looking forward!

There’s also shows in Bournemouth and Poland.

Someone who listens to your work will know the beautiful percussion, the excellent beats and we will get to how it all comes together but I wanted to ask a cultural one first: what beats-driven music really first inspired you and what sort of things popped up on your radar SINCE?

Beats have always been a part of the music I am interested in: if the beats are wack then I can’t listen to it. Hence why I can almost never listen to bands, usually guitar based as the beats just sound thin and tinny 9 time out of 10. But Led Zeppelin and John Bonham got it right.

Dr Dre with NWA was my first big love of music, then Prodigy, along with the hardcore movement in the early 90s, from there Chemical Brothers, Massive Attack, Aphex Twin, Bjork, Jungle/Drum & Bass, Dilla/Madlib I think anyone into beats is into Dilla, how can you not be?

I tried to listen to D’Angelo’s new album but the beats were wack and I shed a tear thinking back to Brown Sugar, apparently it was all recorded on analogue gear, but just sounds thin and papery – yes I’m pissed off!

To the pack: what’s it consist of?

Over 300 brand new samples custom built in 2015, using our ever growing knowledge and the advancement of plug ins to bring people what they need to build cutting edge drum & bass.


The pack’s done between the two of you: Is it a case where Villem and Mcleod (above) both have slightly different approaches? Or meet in the middle?

We work together and separately, we have different strengths but balance each other out in a really complementary way.

Regarding personal setups, is it fair to say that most D&B people use a DAW (PC music setup) now? Do any, erm, not? Can you use a hybrid?

I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t use a DAW.

Actually that’s not quite true as Dub FX was at the DNBArena awards doing everything live with loop pedals. But home studio set-up wise I don’t know anyone who doesn’t use a DAW.

OK, moving on… can people customize your sounds to make them their own? Can they pitch, stretch, reverse etc them? Or is that not advised?

It’s most definitely advised! I’ve had people show me tracks they’ve made and they mention they used a bass patch from a previous sample pack but I couldn’t even tell!

That’s how you should use the samples: they’re there to give you great start point, so instead of spending hours EQing snares to give you the correct frequencies these samples are already EQ’d/Compressed/Saturated, so there’s less time spent engineering and more time tune writing.

What was a highlight of 2014?

Getting to work with Riya – Mcleod & I were looking for a singer, and on our top spot was Riya, never thought she’d end up approaching us, but Smithy of Total Science had signed Dutch Oven to CIA Deepkut and recommended us to her – we’ve made a decent amount of tracks for her album.


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