Founded back in 2010 by sibling duo Vital Techniques, Second To None Music has swiftly become one of the go to brands for Bass driven dance music with a particularly British flavour. The label was born with the intent to promote 'the sickest...130-140bpm bass' from around the UK and they've certainly done that with their latest landmark release "The Next Chapter" which features an all-star line up of producers and tracks that have been on heavy rotation from the likes of DJ Q, Flava D, Ts7, My Nu Leng, Marcus Nasty and more. We caught up with up with founders Vital Techniques ahead of the release, they also brought along a killer free track and mix for your listening pleasure.
Hi guys, how are things? How has 2016 been treating you so far?
It’s been mad busy to be fair. Despite having some time off from gigs over the holidays and that, we’ve been kept busy with the build-up for “The Next Chapter” release, as well as working on our own EP which is set to follow, and throwing out a free download or two. We don’t stop in all fairness!
For those uninitiated with your label, please describe the Second To None Music sound.
Second To None Music is about the UKG vibe. Representing 130-140bpm bass music whether it be Garage, UKBass, Bassline or Grime. Stuff to make you move on the dance-floor and stuff to make you want to throw down!
This week sees the release of your hotly anticipated album/ compilation “The Next Chapter” which features an all-star line up. Tell us a little about the release.
We wanted to put together a compilation that represented our sound, whilst showcasing some of the best talent the UK has right now. We picked artists that we vibe with and think have something to offer everyone, “The Next Chapter” is the result!
Is the title “The Next Chapter” an indication that fans can expect something new from the label in 2016?
It’s a sign of the progression of the label. We originally released Dubstep, moved a bit towards Grime and then as we started playing more of the UKG and Bass sounds in our sets, the natural progression was to move the label the same direction. We have a strong foundation now and decided since we’ve moved in this direction we needed to make a statement. The Next Chapter seemed to some that all up in one.
If people didn’t know you’re both brothers… are there many advantages or disadvantages to working with family, particularly siblings, in the music industry?
It’s quite easy really. We know each other well and work well together. The only things that ever happen, like studio disputes when working on a track, they happen with any duo or collectives of people working together. Everyone has a creative input and sometimes you may not agree on a direction for the track, but it always works out in the end… whether you win or lose! haha
You have been running the label for almost 6 years now, over the last 18 months or so Second To None has really exploded in popularity, especially in our charts! What would you put this down to?
When we made the conscious decision to push out a new sound with a new team of people, and do a bit of a re-brand within the label, we linked up with fellow Leeds producer Mikey B, who has helped throughout the whole process and now helps run the label alongside us. We have such a strong foundation now. It was down to team work to be real with you. Krissi B was straight on getting involved and put out the first of the new UKG release‘s, and since then the label has consistently followed it up with big releases.
Your based in West Yorkshire, UK, birthplace of the 4x4/Bassline Garage scene, which also exploded into popularity throughout the UK around 8 years ago now. Do you feel that the scene/sound is set for another boom or did it never really go away?
All music comes in waves. It definitely took a back seat for quite a few years but the scene in the UK is buzzing right now in a great place. We’ve been playing Garage and Bassline in our sets for ages now and it seems like this year it’s really going to take a front seat within the scene! Second To None Music is looking to be there in the thick of it all!
Can you tell us about the exclusive mix that you have recorded as part of the Takeover?
The mix consists mainly of Second To None tunes, or tracks from people within the label. As well as a couple of cheeky other tracks in there. But yeah, the mix is basically a quick showcase and something to skank out to!
For several years now you’ve played at the infamous Outlook festival in Croatia, would you predict that more Garage and Bassline acts will be performing at such events from now on?
Last year at Outlook we saw a massive increase in the number of sets that showcased everything from UK Bass and House, to Garage, to Grime. It was in full force and we had an amazing time checking out numerous sets there, as well as DJing there ourselves. We’ve played there for several years now, but last year’s 2015 festival was something else. We played on the Butterz stage twice, which offered garage and grime all night long, a beach party, as well as representing for the Scrub A Dub label on a boat party with Mungos HiFi and all the gang... which we expected would be a bit of a different crowd, but when we brought in the Garage and UK Bass the boat was rocking from left to right… It was going off! So if this is anything to go by other festivals will be trying to come just as strong, and this year the UKG sound is paving the way believe us!
Do you feel that a focus on festival events will help avoid the trouble and violence that marred Garage events in the past, which ultimately led to the death of the scene?
The crowds at events now are so different to how they used to be back in the day.
Crowds now are out to have a good time and get mash up! All good vibes. Very rarely these days is there any trouble. This will definitely help the scene stay strong. At the end of the day people are just out to have a good time and hear some sick music all night!
What else can we expect from Second To None and Vital Techniques in 2016?
Just big release after big release! We’re also starting to organise Second To None takeover events, with STNM members covering the music all night. It’s been going off and there’s more on the way this year! Promoters get in touch! Also watch out for Bassline events, set to lead the way this year up north!
Any final thoughts or shoutouts?
Big up to everyone supporting the label and the music. We got loads to come this year! Shouts to Mikey B every time. Big up to MCs Pean and Jordache for always hosting sets and radio. Shouts to everyone involved in the compilation… all the artists who have helped with the construction. Big up Krissi B, the tech-guy! Shouts to Izaak and the Basslime crew. Big up Alan and 3000Bass.
And finally big up to everyone at Juno for the support!
Founded back 2010 by duo Vital techniques, Second To None, was born with the intent to promote 'the sickest...130-140bpm bass' from around the UK. They've certainly done that here, presenting 12 bleeding edge cuts for listening pleasure. Highlights include the linear, up-and-down hoover bass joint "Live My Life" by Deadbeat UK, Mikey B's heavy and eccentric 2-step gem "I Wonder" and Vital Techniques own deep bass workout, "News To Me".
Every now and then a producer comes along who changes the game with a forward thinking new approach to a familiar sound. Hailing from Leeds Dan Smith, aka 1Point5, is gearing up to be one of those guys. This, his latest for In:Flux, boasts three fresh new jams - the dubby, percussive moodiness of the title track, quirky, skippy 4 x 4 of "Brock 2000", a collaboration with GLVR, and the wobble/2-step mash up "Sun Comes Up". There are also three remixes, the best of which is the distorted crunch of Tik&Borrow's pounding rework.
Fresh from coughing up "Green Phlegm" all over the dance last summer, J Beatz returns with deep sea scudder. All synth horns and rifle snares, like its namesake, this is capable of going deep deep deep in the mix and it won't rust for decades to come. Remix-wise Project Allout have spoilt us with highlights coming from Spooky (twisted metal crunching sounds), Deadbeat UK (speed garage vibes) and Dubzta (uptempo rippage). Powerful.
Here we have clash of the Bristolian titans with rising R&B dude Conducta hooking up with bass man Notion for the long awaited "Felt This Way". This title track has a retro-futuristic 2-step vibe about it, with echoes of the early work of Craig David and Artful Dodger (officially no longer a bad thing). On the digital flip, "Vague" is a dirtier affair - all nasty bass undulations, pitched vocal snippets and sparse, high-rise beats. Fresh.
Never content to just trot out generic bass bangers, Spekktrum always seeks to push things forward. "Electronic Music" is no different being a spacey rhythm trip peppered with classic interview clips of ravers in their defiant youth. "Need Your Love" really takes his percussion skills to new heights, with various metallic effects ricocheting off each other in fine style. "Witness" is the darkest offering here - all break beats and wobble bass. A real standout however, is Spooky collaboration "House Of Haunted Horrors", which features a mean, dubby groove and an otherworldly breakdown.
MLH president Danny Rich returns with another late night soul-edged roller that fuses down the best elements of various styles; the bassline has just a smidgeon of jump up grit, the star-gazing synths and purring bass have that deep, cosmic texture while the vocal element adds the right amount of liquid charm. A really cool transition tune that no playlist should be without. Remix-wise DJ Direct lays down a chunky bass-tech house twist a la My Nu Leng. Vibey.
Dark designs from Utrecht's Locklead: "Deepcore" sits somewhere between Tim Wright's twisted bass garage of the late '90s and Mr G's rough-edged wonky techno. The result is a track that will work across all styles from techno to UKG. Speaking of UKG, "Diversity" is straight-up heady jacking garage with a steroid-soaked 2-step and a rhythmic hook that's so infectious you should warn your doctor before you make this purchase. Finally "Take One" pays homage to the Bleep era of electronica with just the right amount of detuned rave tones, a chiselled two-step and a walking bassline that's not dissimilar to Zinc's early zeroes UKG output. Immaculate.
Following the success of his sizzling debut, Start The Chase, a few months ago, Jodo Last is sticking with Kicks & Snares for this new follow up. It's all about depth and percussion this time round, with "Zillah's Groove" being a laid-back slice of head-nodding 2-steppy goodness. On a different vibe though, is "Luna Rossa" which is an effervescent slice of fierce carnival mania. Dancefloors everywhere are already cowering in terror!
Sirmo likes it lean and mean and, as such, his productions are sparse, slick and chrome plated. Here "Soundboy" sounds like a large, ominous space ship gliding through bass-3space destroying all in its path. Libra's remix follows up behind, mopping any debris with its scattershot beats and dreamy pads.
South London's King of 'African driven bass music' is back with two new remarkable tracks, "Lockdown" and "Glacier". Both are produced with the kind of precise, clinical expertise normal seen in keyhole surgeons. The former is all digital ripples in shimmering synth pools and pristine beats, whilst the latter mixes pan pipe riffs, night jungle percussion and vocal moans. Holloway's remix ups the percussive elements whilst stripping a lot of the rest away, and Majora gets deep and trippy with the title track.
Bass veterans Fat! recently introduced us to Taim via the anthemic single Blackout Blinds. Here it gets a second wind courtesy of a string of killer remixes - Niko the Kid goes electro-house with added wobble, whilst Dosage mixes escalating synth build ups and breaky beats and Litek reinvents classic south London garage vibes for a new era.
Although a relatively new name on the scene, Inkline has hit the ground running with solid, killer dance cuts that don't' mess about. "Shard" is a lacerating slice of tough and techy 4x4 with a little garage bounce for good measure. The title track meanwhile, is even more merciless, with deep bass judders and snappy snares. People get ready to move!
Leeds producer Joedan made a name for himself on the great Influx:Audio a while ago, and his effective d&b hybrids have been pleasing us ever since. He's up on F2 for his latest appearance, and he's in more of a garage mode than anything else, serving up an old-school rocker with a 4/4 beat and Chiverton's dangerous vocals on top of it - the main hook is instantly seductive...the inimitable "Lower My Glasses". "Tuff", on the other hand, goes for the jugular thanks to its mutant bass swarm, broken beats and heads - down flavour.
They say that the devil has all the best music, but some would say that Immoral have him well and truly beat. Here they present 16 of them, with highlights of these fresh cuts including the ominous synthwork on "Shake That Ass" by Dark Truth, the buzzy low end thrust of "The Heist" by DJ Jayne and the tropical laser-fest "Three Sided" by LDFR. Lucifer who again?
Originally a pioneer of fidget house with Herve and Switch, Graeme Sinden recently relocated to Los Angeles to regain his mojo. However, despite the ubiquitous EDM that surrounds him there, his sound still stays true to the good old UK. Here on the Crystal Maze EP he presents four sizzling new cuts - the dubby garage of the title track, the bouncey hip-house of "Southern Rhythm", the trippy bleeps of booty joint "To The Ground" and the badass wobble attack "To The Ground".