Being a label manager, radio host, artist manager, busy DJ probably doesn’t leave a man with much time for the studio, which explains why we have been eagerly waiting over 12 months for Uprise Audio visionary Seven to drop his latest solo release. The time has finally come as the forward thinking producer drops Shaker/Elevate this week. We caught up with the busy label boss to talk about the new sound on his latest release, his exclusive mix recorded with mic man Joe Raygun and the free track "Walter White (VIP Edit)" that you can download now, it is available for a limited time only so be quick!
Hi Eddy, how are things? So it has been over 10 months since we last caught up, back when you were preparing for the launch of the Feonix album, a record which held top spot on the in our Dubstep for a lengthy amount of time, were you expecting such success for the record?
Hi guys, I’m good thanks. Feonix is a phenomenal talent. I had a great feeling about that album. It really touched our souls when we heard it for the first time. It’s a true expression of his versatility as an artist. At Uprise we never release anything expecting it to hit the number one spot and it’s always so exciting when we do manage to top the charts. His album did great, especially lingering around for so long after release. It’s was a blessing and we are really grateful that it was received in the way it was. Big up Feonix!
Uprise has of course been busy bringing the fire releases in the time between now and then, how was the rest of 2015 for the label, your artists and yourself personally?
My plan for last year was to focus mainly on artist development and repertoire. I wanted my team to be able to express themselves in their works so I gave everyone on the label a solo EP release as well as an inclusion on the 7 days EP. I introduced Spec to the public with his Titan EP and got his career rolling. We signed Juss B and put out his first release on UA this year too, the Vain EP. Indiji blew us all away with his Surgeon EP and we took our first full venture into drum n bass with LSN’s Walkyman single, exploring new terrain and planting some seeds to bloom in that direction.
2015 saw us finally get www.upriseaudio.com active too. Our website has been a great way for us to promote ourselves and keep our fans updated with current happenings and also try out concept ideas for marketing and releases. We all took to the air on an international tour together too, spanning over 10 gigs. A first for Uprise Audio. It’s was an incredible journey and we showcased our sound far and wide. All in all, it was another good year for us all and I feel like we spread our wings a bit too. You can be rest assured we will be pushing ourselves even further this year though. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Although perhaps best known for your speaker shaking Dubstep releases, the label has of course never claimed to be a straight Dubstep label, with a broader focus on Bass music as a whole, with that in mind, what direction do you expect the label to be heading in musically over 2016?
We are going to be putting out a whole bunch of music with different tempos this year. Take LSN’s album for example, it’s so diverse and it’s hard to tie it to any specific genre. Their album breaths the UA identity throughout, but expresses itself in unique way. I also plan to put out more DNB on the label too. It’s something people have been requesting a lot from us, coz we have some unreleased killer D&B tracks which are floating about in peoples’ sets at the moment. I wanna open up the sound to new audiences and captivate them with our music though and we can’t do that if we only cater to one crowd. Dubstep is still at the core of our hearts though, so expect plenty of that too.
This week sees the release of your first solo production on the label since your self-entitled album dropped at the back end of 2014 (aside from a cameo appearance on the “Seven Days” record, another lingering number one success). What are the reasons behind the scarcity of your own productions on the label of late?
It feels like an even longer period of scarcity to me than just from my album release up until now. My album was more of a concept project, something more cinematic for listening to, rather than going out to hear raving and certainly not a typical collection of tracks for DJs. Whereas pretty much every single I’ve ever put out I aimed towards the dance floor and DJ sets. My last single on the label before that was actually UA003 in 2013 so it feels like a long time ago now since I had a single out too, especially one for the dance floor and DJs alike. It’s not been a main priority for me though to be honest. I have been far more focused on building the profiles and careers of my artists on Uprise.
It takes a lot of time and effort and doesn’t leave much room in my schedule for my own studio productions. I have missed being in the thick of things and having time to make music myself, but it’s been just as rewarding seeing my artist’s successes and watching them grow into the artists they have become. I’m really proud of them all. They inspire me and I learn just as much from them as they do from me. Having said all that, I do plan on making more music this year and putting out more releases too. I feel hungry again and have just had a new born baby girl with my partner Verity, so I wanna do her proud and push the limits of my own potentials and see what I can bring to bass music as a whole, as well as dubstep of course.
“Shaker” is a seriously dark track that provides a new spin on not only your own productions but on the Dubstep sound as a whole, was this something that you intended when writing?
Thanks for the compliment. I’d love to say yes of course I did intend on writing it that way, but in all honesty I am usually like a blank canvas when I start a track. My only objective was to make something that was gonna sound big on the Gritsy wall of bass sound system. I had a forthcoming DJ booking with them and I wanted to test it out with something freshly made by myself. I’m going to make more tracks like it and I hope other people do too, it’s a fun tune to mix.
So last time we spoke, it was Feonix who had recorded an exclusive mix for us, this time it is you who has done us the honour, please tell us a little about the mix, the selection process, recording set up etc.
The mix is a showcase of music by us at Uprise Audio, as well as some other artists in the scene who I feel are making waves. I mixed in some classics with timeless appeal, those of which are must hear tracks for new fans of our genre. I also included some recently released music in the mix too, so people can purchase some of the playlist if they like them. My good friend Joe Raygun joins me on mic duties throwing down some fresh bars to accompany the music and keeps the vibe at optimum levels all throughout. Joe used his Neumann TLM mic to record the vocals and I processed them through an 1176 compressor. I used my 2x 1210s, 2 x NI D2s, a Pioneer DJM850 mixer (I love the FX unit and beat colour FX so much) and an apple Macbook Air running Traktor. The mix is recorded through a valve summing mixer into UAD Apollo converters.
You are once again, giving away a free track as part of the takeover please tell us a little about the track.
I’m giving away my own personal edit of Walter White. It’s a varied stripped back version of the VIP cut; a version people have been asking me about since I started playing it. It rolls out in the mix on a more progressive tip and pretty mixes well with everything. The vocal is held back a lot and the main focus is really on the beats, bass elements and percussion build up. I’ll probably regret giving it away in a few months when I look back. But I know people are going to love getting their hands on it.
Do you have any more Uprise Audio releases already in the pipeline?
I will have more releases out this year. On Uprise and maybe other label(s). We shall see. I only have a certain amount of time I can allocate to my own releases on UA. I need to be fair to the artists on my book eager for their own releases. So although reluctantly, it would only be viable if I sign my own tracks to other labels too.
Which upcoming artists do you think we should all keep our eyes and ears open for over 2016?
LSN, Feonix, Juss B, Indiji, Spec, No Rules, Guesswork, Darkage, Co:Lateral, Markee Ledge, in fact way too many to mention.
Any final thoughts and shout-outs?
Don’t be a sheep, be a shepherd.
Big love and shouts to Verity J, Joe Raygun, Youngsta, all of my UA family, Paul - Gareth and all at SRD, Beau & Susana Thomas, all my Sub FM family, TRUTH, Liam Guesswork, Nathan Trojan Audio, Wil and Olaf at FKOF, Ill Chill, Urban Vault, Nousless Underground, Peter (WeSC), Toast MC, Pieter DUPLOC, Roy Malloy and so many more, but I will be typing all day if I list them all.
Foundation celebrate three years and 20 releases with this supersized clutch of deep, dark and forward-thinking exclusives. Painting a picture of dubstep's most exciting frontiers, highlights hang, slide and oozes from every cavernous corner: Drew's Theory provides meditative intensity on "Harmony", Deafblind & Darkimh twist up the drums in the sludge-packing "Concrete Groove", Krease soundtracks your next nightmares with his late night graveyard romp "Hindsight" while Dillard digs deep into the proper roots with its shimmering classical dub designs. Weighing at 24 tracks, Foundation have pulled out all the stops here... A seriously detailed piece of bass music futurism.
Uprise supergroup LSN step forth with their debut album; a stylised rummage through the genre vaults to paint a picture of the most exciting edges of bass music and how everything tessellates. Just within the opening four tracks we're treated to Massive Attack style barbed dub soul ("Oblivion"), rolling breakbeats ("Shelter"), subverted jungle ("SMBU") and deep, pneumatic dubstep ("Vibration") Deeper again we hit restrained space-aged poetry ("Earthtone") sci-fi Autonomic soul ("Demons") and deep, Samurai-style D&B ("Stillness") And that's just a potted selection of this highly accomplished, consistently detailed and arranged album. Whatever shade of bass you're rooted with, LSN will join the dots for you.
Bay Area bassmith Dom Mali makes his Tuba debut with a quadrant of sublime steppers. "Neo Dub" has a simple but deadly allure as its elastic sub is stretched into a pulsing groove that builds on every twist and turn. "Secrets" is the early bird soundtrack, all crisp, dewy and full of hope while the oceanic ripples of "Fisherman's Dub" sees us reeling out for a trout but catching a barracuda. Finally we lean back and chill with "Benzo", all flutes, tubular subs and lazy beats, it's an instant soul soother.
In case the last wait of a year wasn't quite long enough between Subaltern outings, Taiko leaves us hanging even longer (16 months) this time. File under 'all good'... We've had an Albion release to chow down on in the meantime and beats like these really are worth waiting for: "De Maya" is a powerful hypnotic tabla session, "Flummox" throws cosmic textures into the dub melting pot, "Stick Fight" teases us with breaks through some seriously intricate percussive arrangements, "Game Show" while "Game Show" is more of a magic show, building and twisting with subtlety as the percussion becomes the melody and the melody becomes the bass all before your very eyes. Looking for more techy grit? Jump on Mentha's remix of "Stick Fight".
Babylon's fall has been foretold once more. This time by Dubstep Rotterdam co-founder Frenk Dublin. Continuing to whittle his impeccably authentic dub stick, "Time To Fall" hits with loose but stern command, powdered with refracted reverbs, a soft-but-solid skank and an ultimately bouncy kick/bass arrangement. "Pula Dub" marches with much more militancy; rampant kicks drive the way as the instrumentation is displayed in a much leaner composition. Finally we hit "Steppin' The Light" where a much more techno mindset is applied in the sonic aesthetic of the bassline and rolling kicks. Think mid 2000s Get Physical and you're not far off.
Los Angeleno Oxossi has been plying away at his craft for the last couple of years, with his debut release on Banana Stand Sound in 2015 and now for Sleeper's UK based imprint Crucial Recordings. "Solace" delves into the exotic, all full of esoteric charm like an opium haze and featuring Rider Shaffique's spiritually enlightening monologue. "Reflections" up the ante a bit with some well rolled bass frequencies and an infectiously wonky melody, both snaking away in densely reverberated bliss. Finally "The Tempest" gloriously crosses over from dub into something else altogether with its mesmerising harp melody, but just wait until that snarling sub bass sets in; pure fire bro!
Undisputed godfathers of UK dubstep Horsepower Productions are back with another full length; their first in 12 years since 2004's To The Rescue LP. As Tempa themselves put it succinctly: "Crooks, Crime & Corruption" draws from numerous facets of the UK underground and further afield in order to take you on a compelling, wholly immersive journey. Highlights include "Justify" featuring Harry Keyworth which sounds like Jah Wobble versus Ry Cooder, the deep spiritual house of "Bak 2 NY" or "Kurisoity 6" and the business as usual, street level bass therapy as heard on the raw "Change" or the pure fire junglist anthem "Criminally Insane".
Last spotted messing with the Wu, 6Blocc takes us even further back in time for his own dub side of the moon. A true Floydian odyssey rebooted for the modern bass lover, subtly is the name of 6Blocc's game: the paranoid, way-ahead-of-its-time "Run" gets a lick of 303 and swinging breakbeat, "Speak" retains all its dreamy majesty while the iconic moans and cries of "Sky" are stretched out from midnight fumble to 24-hour marathon. Elsewhere the till-chiming riff of "Money" is smothered in blankets of sub while "Colour" is galvanised with a classic Dig Your Own Hole era big beat. To some this may err on heresy, but to others this is a trip like no other. See you on the other side.
New Zealand warrior Dar Kist makes his Sure State debut with two grizzly, growling slabs of deep dark mechanical funk: "Don't Mention It" rides hard on a steppy kick arrangement as a detuned, distorted melody fights through the sonic fog to make itself heard. "Levitan's Calling" is just a tad more traditional with the seemingly endless array of bass textures making the main melodic presence over a swaggering halftime arrangement. Each bass fine-tuned with Dar Kist's dagger-like dynamics, dancefloor reactions to this will be nothing short of exultant.