After a few years break from his yearly tradition, Philth has brought back his annual retrospective mix series with this remarkable 2h45m mix loaded with nothing but pure 2018 fire.
Running the same stylistic gamut as his sets and productions, it smoulders from a hazy soulful burn to an all-out junglised fire before bidding us adieu on a glacial, spatial experimental tip – it’s the sound of Philth looking back over one of his favourite years in D&B for a long time and enjoying the craft.
“I’ve had so many messages asking me about my end-of-year mixes and it’s really motivated me to know that people look forward to the mixes and enjoy them so much,” he explains. “But doing a mix like this is a big task and I was just too busy to set aside the amount of time it takes. Now two things have changed that have made it possible again. First I changed how I organise my music. I now have a Phavourites folder that I copy and update for every gig, so I was able to go through my sets and pick out all my favourite tunes easily. Second, I changed how I organise my life! I decided to stop working as a college teacher and focus on 1-1 tuition and my music career. So now if I want I can spend a week doing a DJ mix, and it felt really good to spend a week DJing instead of always feeling too busy to get on the decks at home. It reminded me that DJing is the reason I do all this.”
With forthcoming sets in Slovakia with Flexout and the Czech Republic with Dispatch over the coming months, as well as releases confirmed for Dispatch, Flexout, Integral and Peer Pressure PLUS his debut album (of which there is a sneaky tease in his mix), Philth is marching into 2019 more refreshed and inspired than ever. And it starts right here. Enjoy the mix and see where he’s at with this short interview…
Did you make any new year’s resolutions?
I’m not really big on new year’s resolutions but I do try to take stock of the year and then think of something positive to do rather than a giving-up type thing… I decided that this year I was going to spend more time on the decks, in the studio and in the kitchen because those are the places that make me happy.
Did D&B in 2018 make you happy?
It was a fantastic year! I’m finding so much music that excites me, from all corners of the scene. The scene as a whole feels buzzing at the moment – there is surge in popularity with the young ravers again and it’s giving people the confidence to do what they want in the studio.
The range of possibilities within the framework of D&B is being stretched further than ever before, there is space for every style or subgenre to breathe and it seems like everybody is happy doing their own thing and not trying to fit in with what’s popular. The result is artists are making the music they truly want to make and the outcome is some great music from all directions.
Who smashed it last year for you?
Too many to mention but I’ll fire off a few that have been big for me…
1985 have consistently come with the futuristic killers and big props to Alix for pushing new artists – for example SubMarine who dropped two killer EPs recently. Ulterior Motive have been big for me, they’ve really mastered the fresh-old 2098 sound.
Satl has been killing it with the uplifting soulful vibes, there is a real buzz in the Integral camp at the moment bouncing off each other and the music from AI, Dawn Wall, Mohican Sun and Other Phil has been constant in my sets. I had to remind myself not too play too many in this mix!
I’m not surprised at all but Bredren absolutely smashed 2018. Everything they’ve released is pure dancefloor fire and the response whenever I’ve seen them DJ has been mental. Their energy on the decks is insane, when we do b2b’s it shows me how unfit I am!
Finally it was great to see Wreckless really come into his own with his solo debut for Dispatch among others. His tunes have been some of the biggest in my sets and trust me 2019 is going to be a big one for him.
Who took you by surprise musically?
Black Barrel surprised me with his album, he’s been firing out techy bangers for a while now but the deeper stuff on Last Frontier blew me away and showed a new scope to his music. Coincidence with Steo is one of my anthems of 2018. I’m hoping we can work together this year.
One crew who grabbed my attention are a group of producers from Toulouse called Visages. I met them when I played at their party in 2017 and when they started sending me their music a year later it went straight to the top of my Rekordbox playlists. In a short period of time they’ve done tunes for Dispatch and Flexout and are consistently coming with the killers.
Finally, not a total surprise because Surface never leaves my classics folder, but one artist who really smashed 2018 for me is Kasra. This last year he pushed a lot more of his own music and everything he has been involved in has been big in my sets – dark subby rollouts I love it.
100 tracks seems like a lot but considering the thousands of D&B tracks released per year, it’s still a fraction of the genre… Beyond the tracks you’ve enjoyed playing in your sets, what else influenced the selection process?
There have been a lot of great albums to think about and I was conscious to try not to play too many tunes from any one artist or label. But this mix was maybe a bit more selfish than previous editions – I just chose music I had been playing all year rather than trying to showcase everything that happened across the scene. There are some glaring omissions when you think of some of 2018’s big anthems but I just stuck to what I play in the clubs. However within that framework of my own favs I did try to represent all the flavours I love, to shine a light into the deeper darker corners and create a mix that was diverse and felt like a journey.
What would you like to see more of in D&B in 2019?
Longer sets! I am a firm believer in hearing artists represent their sound fully and one hour is just not enough time. It’s such a cliché but DJing is about the journey and longer sets give you the freedom to do that and express a range of emotions. But ultimately it’s down to the ravers and if a stacked line-up pulls the crowds in then that’s the way it’s going to stay, in the UK at least.
And less of?
I’ve actually been sat looking at the page for ages trying to think of something to moan about but D&B is so healthy at the moment, and honestly the music and scene has been such a vital and positive force in my life this last year. Less normal life and more D&B? And maybe less arguing/moaning on the internet…. If you don’t like something get off Facebook and learn how to make what you want to hear.
We’d like to hear your album in 2019…. How’s that’s looking?
It’s gone for mastering, artwork is in progress… It’s close! Don’t have a release date yet but once the vinyl goes into production then we will have a proper idea. I made a conscious decision not to rush it, you only get to do your debut album once, so I’m trying to enjoy the process (even the 700 mixdowns) rather than stressing about getting it out for any imaginary deadline.
To be honest that’s the music I’ve been playing the most in 2018 but I’m sitting on them for a bit longer yet before they go out to DJ’s and start appearing in mixes…. Although there is one album exclusive that I slipped in for the Drum&BassArena fam!