Managing a full time job, raising 5 children and producing more drum & bass hits than most producers in the scene sounds like a tough challenge, has it become harder now Voltage has left the duo Cabin Fever? Jamie S23 speaks exclusively to the recently departed Voltage for Drum&BassArena..
Establishing a connection
“I was put in contact with Sam (Malachai) through our mutual friend MC Mekar who thought he would like to hear some of my tracks. We clicked straight away and decided to make a couple of tunes together. After a while I was asked to join Sam’s Cabin Fever brand, it was a wicked opportunity so I jumped at the chance.”
What the time…Dread?
“Originally signing an exclusive deal with Ray Keith and his label Dread Recordings, it was at this time we both realised our potential as a duo and set to work creating a huge amount of tracks that retained both our original style and blended well with the label’s history.
We both felt the scene at the time lacked the original jungle sound from the early 90’s that we grew up with so continued to produce in this style and although some of these tracks obtained DJ support, none saw an official release via Dread.
Most of the tunes are still sitting on my hard drive, never to be released, although we donated one to Saxon’s ‘Fed Nation’ project ‘Inside My Head’.”
During 2012 you hooked up with Twisted Individual and his label Grid Recordings, how did the link up come about? Do you have any favourite memories from this period of time?
“It all started with a track I made called ‘The Block’. I had sent it to Hazard and he played it at the World Of DNB event in Moscow, Tyke then hit me up saying he wanted a copy and he would also send it to Twisted Individual, as he thought it would be right up his street. Next thing I know Grid wants me to produce an E.P so I set about finishing a bunch of tracks I was working on at the time. Malachai added the vocal to the tune ‘Pure Acid’ which I thought gave it more of an identity and was, in my eyes, the only other track to get any real recognition from the E.P.
‘Pure Acid E.P.’ was published under the names Malachai & Voltage due to our agreement with Dread using the Cabin Fever name exclusively at the time.
The second E.P, ‘Four Faces of Bass’ (under the name Cabin Fever) was a good time for me. I was producing the main structure of tracks in about 3 to 4 hours and a lot of them were getting signed or receiving good DJ support as soon as they were finished.
Grid decided to take a track I had made with Kevin Lee Roy called ‘Memories’ and use it to finish the E.P. and although I wasn’t sure at the time it was certainly a great touch.
Twisted actually made me go back in on metronome and anti matter that many times to do edits and touch ups i lost count but it was well worth it and what he drummed into me will stay with me forever.”
The interim period between Grid and your career really blowing up must have seen a mass of tracks sitting on your hard drive, do you have any favourites from this era that remain unpublished? Would you consider releasing a collection of these for your fans in a similar way to Twisted Individual with his ‘shit that didn’t make it’ series?
“A favourite from this time would be a track called ‘Down’ featuring a singer called Hannah Taylor, its quite a chilled liquid track but when I uploaded it to Soundcloud it actually outperformed ‘Hard Goin’ on play stats.
I am going to put up a free download of unreleased tunes at the end of the summer featuring a loads of tunes that featured on the Cabin Fever mixes that never came out so keeps your eyes open for that!”
Pushing things forward but it’s still ‘Hard Going’
“I produced a lot of music under the name Cabin Fever in 2013 and it was at this point that I really started to reevaluate my situation. Sam (the other half of Cabin Fever) had given ‘Hard Goin’ to Andy C and it was literally blowing up, obtaining a regular place in his sets and featuring on ‘Nightlife 6’. The tune was signed to Co-Lab Recordings as the title track for an E.P. I had been working on for them, although RAM were incredibly keen to obtain the rights also.
It was sadly a tough time too as although the Cabin Fever brand was getting massive attention, I felt like all my efforts were being put into making tunes and fine tuning my skills while our partnership as a duo was being left behind.”
The missing link
“Writing tunes with someone else is a tough job, especially if it is not a total 50/50 thing. In an ideal world, making music with someone else is a two way thing – creating a vibe together in the studio, sharing ideas and the end result being a team effort.
For a while we really did have that bond, but possibly down to a few things from both of us it just drifted away. The efforts made over the past 16 months were mostly one sided and the main reason why I left the Cabin Fever brand.
When I’m able to produce a track in a morning’s work and feel confident that it’s going to get dj support and potentially be signed to a label, I want to retain that enthusiasm and push myself harder and harder,this is so hard to achieve if you are both not on the same page. Being able to do this solely for myself is what’s driving me to make the tracks I’m currently making.
I have already carried on at the pace I was working at under Cabin Fever and signed music with Innerground, Spearhead, Co-lab, Low Down Deep, Smokin Riddims and C.I.A all for release this year. Not to mention the label Natty Dub Recordings which Sam and I still run together which will see an E.P. from myself in August.
This week I’ve been working in the studio with Nicky Blackmarket, sampling loads of classic Soul, Funk and Rare Groove that Nicky used to rave to as a youngster. We have something in the making that’s really bringing back the mid 90’s to the dancefloor and I am sure it’s going to be well received.”