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.
British Columbia's deepest export Abstrakt Sonance has enjoyed spins and support from the likes of Mala and Cotti, Seven and J:Kenzo over the years. And it's really not hard to hear why with stark designs like these. "Open Heart" plays with space as AS throws down an array of unique designs and laces them together with off-beat funk, "Soldier" lives up to its name as its percussion militantly charges a rhythm with no relent, "Sometimes" is a warped skanker with a woozy bass purring beneath scant bouncy elements while "Harder Than AMF" hurls us into the fires of bass Hades with its uncompromised saw tooth savagery. No dubstep stone left unturned, there's something for everyone right here.
Aussie label Aquatic Lab presents Manchester bass merchant Zed Bias, going undercover occasionally using the Maddslinky alias for particularly dark and deconstructed deep dubstep excursions and "Hammerhead is all that, trust us! It gets some pretty severe remix treatment too we might add. Bardeya gives the track a Berlin bass style treatment, that crosses over into techno just nicely.. and ferociously! Bristolian Sam Binga gives the track some hyper dub makeover; you can hear the lighter going off in the background, almost. Finally Cliques from Sydney gives the track a deconstructed junglist re-interpretation. Nasty!
According to their SoundCloud page, Kantyze are comprised of Igor and Fred from Tours in France and have "been making the finest bass music since 2005": There we have it! This is deep dubstep bass therapy; submit to the power of the low frequency on tracks such the exotic percussion workout "Blackboard Dub" (this one's very atmospheric too!), "Criminal Bass" lives up to its name on this street level dose of future-shock. And of course "Liberation Frequency" which goes out all guns blazing on this deconstructed future-junglist steppa.
Longstanding UK rhythm weaver Taiko writes the next chapter for exciting Venice/Leicester-based bass community Albion Collective. "Splinted" fires with a great Indian jig, all sprightly and carnivalian. "Fractal" is more of a trippy, cosmic beat piece with eerie arpeggios and haunted pitched vocal textures while lets rip with percussion so pummelling it's taken up 40 ciggies a day. Just so it can't possibly quit. Dedication.
Tribe 12 continue to dig deep and deliver. Their fourth release of 2016 is one of their boldest manoeuvres to date: Prism shakes up the template with an unrelenting Afro funk roller, all keys and percussion and pure hypnosis, it's not dissimilar to the output Mo Kolours and his cronies are conjuring right now. Marcus meanwhile lays down the deep dub Tribe 12 have always been known for as "Adoni" takes us down a very twisted slo-mo path. All alien subs and plate-shifting snares, it's the perfect counter to Prism's frenzied funk. Spotless.
Two stone cold Coki/DMZ classics from the golden 2007s. The rapid flow of Vybz Kartel's "Emergency" is given full focus as Coki lays down subtle rolling snares and an icy leads with enough space for the Kartel's strong characters. Coki's famous shake-up of Mavado, meanwhile, is known to all; far-away bass groans, ricochet snares and elements so cosmic they still sound futuristic almost 10 years later. Never officially released digitally before now, grab a two walloping slices of history today.
Bona fide dungeon master from New Zealand, Headland makes his FKOF debut with four cosmic chasm explorations: "Break Out" rides on an alluring industrial texture most likely sampled from an oil rig in the furthest reaches of the known universe. "VHS Weather" takes us even further into the unknown with a woozy, seasick dynamic that's both paranoid and uplifting. "Trade Off" plays with the concept of space as the beats build with a roomier view, allowing the piped tones and waft through like thick green smoke. Finally we hit "Inflekshun". The swampiest side of the square, be prepared as deep washes of tones and textures coat you indelibly. Unique.
Acclaimed London producer Arkwright has already created quite a stir in the music biz with less than a handful of releases. Here the Rinse FM fave, makes his debut on Duploc, bringing fire with just two fierce tracks. The shadow of dubstep is naturally all over the release but never obscuring the music from its own unique sound. "Fool" is brooding and full of menace, with creepy horror melodies and tough echoing drums. "Networks" meanwhile is more sublime with dreamy synth washes layered to devastating effect. A truly new talent emerges.
Silent Motion slide into 2016 all stealth-like and shadowy to the creeped out sounds of Belgian duo Polygone. "Drone" is a chilling night stroll through the local cemetery, the ricochet percussion causing paranoid shadows and trick-playing light. "Wardrum" says it all, too; big tub-thumping bongos and kicks entwining with rhythmic one-shot elements, heightening suspension through to the bitter end.