In this digital age with new record labels being formed every day, getting heard in your chosen scene
can be a long and arduous task. This wasn't the case for Uprise Audio
and the label's founder Seven.
After forming at the end of 2012, the labels innovative brand of deep dubstep breathed new life into a
scene that at the time was struggling for new ideas. Within 12 months' time the label had won the best
newcomer award and was taking the scene by storm. Now less than three years later Uprise Audio is
established as one of the pillars of the scene with their latest release; debut LP by
Feonix soaring up
our charts and getting spins across the globe.
To celebrate the release of the album, man of the moment Feonix has recorded a very special and exclusive
mix for your streaming and downloading pleasure, he is also very kindly giving away exclusive track "Dreamer"
which you won't be able to find anywhere else, for absolutely nothing. Not only do we have those exclusive
free goodies for you, we have also caught up with label head honcho Seven for a chat about how the label
was formed and how his work in the DnB scene has shaped his path with Uprise Audio among many other things.
So download the track and get it in your set list for the weekend, read the interview, listen to the mix and enjoy!
Hi Eddy, for those who are uninitiated with the Uprise Audio brand please tell us about the label and how it came to fruition.
We are a record label based out of the UK run by myself and my partner Verity J. Uprise Audio has primarily been a deep dubstep label, but we also release other forms of bass music too. We have 6 exclusively signed acts (Dubtek, LSN, Feonix, Indiji, Juss B, Spec) and one non-exclusive (Asylum) in our family of artists we are blessed to be working with. Each of them bring their own individual character to the labels roster.
I primarily started the label to be a new platform for undiscovered and established artists. As soon we launch we built up a lot of momentum very quickly, winning Best new label in the DSF awards and gaining a loyal fan base who really got behind us and supported our movement as a label.
This week sees the launch of the highly anticipated album by Feonix, it is set to be one of the top selling Dubstep albums of the year, how pleased are you with the finished product?
It’s such an outstanding album. I have been so fortunate to have been hearing this being pieced together track by track for the past few months. But hearing it as a whole mastered piece was when it blew me away most. He worked so hard on this project, making an abundance of tracks to be shortlisted down to the final twelve. I am really proud to be putting it out. I think it’s seminal part of our back catalogue and it has a timeless appeal to it. I think it will be a cherished addition to many people’s record collections for a long time to come. It’s a proper album too; it plays through cinematically and has theme and order. That’s rare nowadays in dance music. It’s too easy to play it safe and put a collection of sure fire banger hits together and brand it as an album. Making a cohesive piece isn’t so simple, which makes me all the more proud of the outcome.
Did you have to offer any input on the album or was it more a case of taking a back seat and letting Feonix present you with the finished product?
Feonix is a very accomplished producer. But like all artists we often ask what each other’s opinions are on music we make. Sometimes it influences how the track ends up finished. But I could honestly say most of the feedback and opinions coming back from myself were ones of praise and eagerness to play the tracks in my sets.
The labels first release came at the end of 2012 and in such a short space of time the label has become one of the top names in the scene – did you expect this meteoric rise? Or did you expect that like most newly formed labels you would have to lay foundation s and slowly build the reputation?
We were quite taken back by it all to be honest. I never anticipated things to happen as quickly for us as they did. It wasn’t easy in the beginning due to this either. We were learning everything as we were living it and had very little knowledge of how to run a label so it become a little overwhelming at times and we made a few mistakes here and there. Verity works great under pressure though, so we held the fort together ultimately and learned a hell of a lot from the whole process. I think lesson learned the hard way is a lesson learned best and we stand firmly now.
Uprise seems to lean firmly on the deeper side of the Dubstep spectrum, was this a conscious decision of yours, or something that just happened?
When I first started the label, it was with a collection of artists who were making music to suit my DJ sets. I told them I might be able to hook them up with the labels I worked with at the time and began giving them advice on what I liked and didn’t like about the tracks they were sending me. So the sound was kind of started like that, but I never intended on being my own labels sound. It was just the sound I liked to play as a DJ and what appealed to me which is more leaning toward the deeper more forward thinking end of the spectrum of modern day dance music. So when I started to release music it just felt natural to lean towards what I make and play. Things seemed to work out well in that respect.
We know that you as an artist have been heavily involved in the Drum & Bass scene in the past, have there been many lessons learned that you have taken into your Uprise Audio journey?
Oh absolutely. I was very fortunate enough to have worked with some of the biggest DNB labels in the game, so I learned a lot about how they operate on a daily basis, who’s doing what and how they go about it, the sequence in which things happen, the people to manufacture with and distribute with. The list in endless, so thanks to all the labels I have worked with for the opportunities and knowledge acquired as a result. I kinda modelled the label on Ram for the business model and Virus for the cutting edge sound and following behind it. I knew would could emulate the best of both and create something new with the formula I worked out.
Can you give us your thoughts on the general health of the Dubstep scene at the moment?
Depends if you are looking from the inside out or the outside in. Varied responses would be the answer to both I guess. Musically it’s the healthiest it’s been for a minute and there is some music due for release this year what is just like no other. We have had all the bad press and association with the corporate bastardisation of other forms of dubstep and let’s not forget the media proclamations of dubstep being dead. The commercialisation was never really anything we had anything to do with, but unfortunately we fall under the same umbrella of music regardless of the sound. But the reality of it is no music scenes ever really die. Who loves a track one day and wakes up the next hating it just coz someone else says they do. And music fashions move in cycles. Be it full genres or the influences of them within others.
Our sales at Uprise Audio haven’t really changed at all, we still see our music charting in the main top 100s alongside all the other genres. I just think the media writing about music need to listen to the music they write about, rather than read about things which they have no actually knowledge about and then recycle it to suit their own publication without any thought of the consequences it may have.
Let’s face it, the guy who wrote that initial article in the Star about dubstep being dead probably hadn’t even listened to Dubstep and its many sub genres before, but still wrote and published the column anyways. The butterfly effect that had was incredible. Skream was even misquoted too, which is what makes it all even more annoying. The only part of the scene I’d say isn't so healthy is the club scene, in the UK anyways, it’s very healthy elsewhere. I’m not sure if this is because of the lack of clubs now a days in the UK and demand on the ones left, or if it’s because promoters are worried to put on Dubstep nights in fear of losing money to a so called dead genre’. Either way. Dubstep in my opinion will never die.
Please tell us a little about the track and mix that you are kindly giving away as part of the takeover.
The track is something we chose to be part of the Feonix album but it didn’t quite fit with the flow of the final chosen track list. We decided we should give it away because it’s way too good to just leave shelved up and not see the public light of day. So we’re very happy to be letting it go to everyone for free and hope they all enjoy it as much we hope they will. The mix is by the man of the moment himself, Feonix. It’s fully loaded with lots of fresh material, as well as his personal favorites from album. He’s a fantastic DJ too, so I’m confident people are gonna enjoy his mixing and selection.
What do you have in the pipeline for Uprise Audio over the rest of 2015?
We have a huge year of releases lined up .I’m introducing two new signings to the label too. The already established up and coming Juss B and the totally fresh off the block artists by the name of Spec. Both have some tremendous works to release this year and we’re very excited to be putting them out on Uprise Audio. We also have the LSN album penned in for later this year as well as a special release from myself and huge EP from Indiji. We have more events planned too. I think the next one is going to be at Fire with ourselves alongside the Wheel and Deal family. Very excited about that. We just launched our website too, so we plan to put out exclusive material on our store both vinyl and digital formats as well as including some really exciting features about ourselves and the artists. www.upriseaudio.com
Finally are there any up and coming artists that you are tipping to blow in the near future?
Indiji, LSN, Spec, Juss B, Feonix and Co:Lateral are my favorites. I stand firmly by these guys and believe them to be some of the best up and coming artists the scene has given birth to yet. The ones to watch.
Feonix - Uprise Audio Takeover Mix
Check out Uprise Audio Events and Get Darker shows
After putting out release for Macabre Unit, Imperial Audio and Phantom Hertz Recordings, Feonix debuts in full on Uprise Audio with a debut, self-titled album. Littered with collaborations, the album is a dark affair with light added by the voices of Simetra and Kaya, while Na Kika's contribution to "Central" keeps the mood hallowed. For a chunk of empty space punctuated by bass stabs, tribal drums and haunting chimes check out "Source", while "All I Ask" has the clunk of Scuba's "Latch" paired with detuned vocals that bring to mind FKA Twigs. And for no nonsense dubby dubstep it's all about "West".
Driving his dusty dub wagon through the complex planes of modern bass, confidently cruising the leftfield hand side, Drew is slowly building a very solid reputation for creative boundary pushing. Too hip-hop to be dubstep, too subby and twisted to be trip-hop, there's some real character to his cuts. Examples include the woozy strings and lolloping Thievery Corporation vibe of "Strange", the fine balance of dreamy elements and snarling bass on the EP title track "Defiance" and the Shadow-esque slumber-stamper "Hope". Confidently deep.
Welsh sludge merchant Feonix lays down an early treat ahead of his debut self-titled album. "West" comes with drums so loose, carefree and easy they don't even know undergarments exist. Complete with a down-pitched Alborosie vocal shot, it's an instant killer. "Honne" is much more of a slow murder joint; chill, spacious and eerier than a midnight meander through Chernobyl. Finally we hit "Central", a cut where high levels of intense drama are maintained through an ever-evolving drone and epic space between the tribal drums. Bring on the album!
Sometimes the title says everything you need without evening listening. Especially if you're already aware of the heavyweight work Matrix has done previously. "Big Guns" shoots with just as much deadly precision as you'd want it to. There's more in the chamber, too... "Cotton Mill" is a scratchy, shuffling roller galvanised with a hypnotic ricochet effect on the percussion, "Ego Death" is a tribal-minded 4/4 stomper with great use of a spoken word sample and a firing flex into half-time while "Roll" is the biggest bang of the shoot-out thanks to its elephantine steppy riddim and sheet-metal FX. Lock and load, fire on sight... Each one of these cuts will shred a floor in seconds.
Curated in celebration of this year's Miami attack, Flux and P deliver a multi-direction four-track attack that showcases just how pies the label has its grubby fingers in. The boss's shake-up of "Bada Bing" is the epitome of the label's past and future as metallic, ready-shreddy electro fuses with swaggering dubstep halfsteps. Cookie Monsta's take on "The Sound Of Science" is equally retro-future with its potty mouthed sonics shattering all windows in a five mile radius. Diskord's take on "Exostomp", meanwhile, fuses trap flavours, juicy funk glitches and dubstep with equal measures of raw aggression and silky synths. Finally Funtcase flips the switch with a killer D&B version of "Requiem" that nods deftly at the likes of Hazard and Majistrate. Heavy.
It's been a while since RS1 lay down any of their ice cold sermons, but the wait has been worth it. Teaming up with fellow NZ comrade Lefty, each of these cuts sound like they've been conjured in an old decrepit cathedral as strange shadows, reflections and echoes ooze with haunting promise. "Gravity" pins you down with squid-like sub that squeezes and slithers uncontrollably. "Her" takes us down a deeper route with wafting half-beats and pads that blast hurricane emotions. Finally "Lisa" taps into the two-step psyche with more ethereal airs and graces. Three wholly distinctive cuts for three different chapters of the night. Lefty is alrighty.
Dubliminal bossman Cessman jumps aboard the good ship Surfase with a far-flexing trio... "Ponder" is a real grizzler. With a waspy, middy 2010 style bassline and thundering beats, it's his aggiest track to date. "Sleeping Giant" is the complete contrast; a lush, breezy garage affair with beats that float like a fat lady's dress and a cold, confident air. Finally "Under Pressure" takes us back to Cessman's foundations. Writhing in authentic dub dynamics, it's the sound most people know him best for... And by jove he does it well. With a palpitating kick/bass combo it will lend itself well to techno lovers just as much as it does dub heads.
A hardcore slice of nasty from Bournemouth bass barons Genetix on their Big Tuna imprint... "Do 1" punches so hard it thrusts us right back to the late zeros with its aggy drops and drums so heavy they could crush a tank. With all sorts of trippy, mangled samples (including Ms Dynamite), it's an instant shock out that has potential to cause genuine riots. Handle with care.
The Northern Line crew have recently welcomed cult Leeds producer Nastee Boi (Joel Parris) into their fold and now we get a first taste of his sound for the label. This is the first installment of his "Nastie AS F**k" series and these four instrumentals fit perfectly into NL's minimal bass agenda. From the electro-swing meets 4x4 vibes of "Bass Chase" to the tropical snake charmer craziness of "Greez" via the dub-trap mayhem of "Blindside" and the bleepy 8-bit hip-hop synthfest of "Extraction". Killer sounds.
Be prepared for a daring ride through the imagination of a truly unclassifiable force in British electronic music, as Mumdance delivers a veritable statement of a Fabric mix. Far from plying a safe and steady club rocking trade, the London-based producer swerves wildly about across the run time with excursions into noise and sparse avant-garde states before sliding into twitchy techno only to be waylaid by dismembered jungle breaks and bass stabs. There are swerves around every corner, and each turn goes deeper into the nether regions of Mumdance's mind before the mix barges its way to the top via a deft progression from grime to nostalgic hardcore.
Daring Denver wave-racer Gunkst lets rip with this debut EP on Plastician's Terrorhythm imprint and it's a pretty important release for all concerned. "B Ball" is a whacked out paranoid affair with a strange arpeggiated rise that appears cold but leads to a really warm breakdown. "Pipelord" sits somewhere between juke and dubstep; all pacey kicks, dagger-sharp edits and rave references. Finally "Surface" gets back to the trap format and proceeds to tear it up. Similar to "B Ball", it's a cold start but an emotional Starkey-level synth-drenched finish. Full marks, full bodied, full steam ahead.