Bro Safari and UFO! are back. After some considerable since from the pair of longtime collaborators, the two have released their new single “N.U.M.B,” which is an enamoring fusion of mysterious sounds, dark, experimental arrangements, and animalistic samples blending into a unique jungle-inspired track.
The duo have released countless collaborations before, but “N.U.M.B” is the first to skew away from the heavy bass sound they are known so well for. The single is the first from their newly announced forthcoming joint album the, titled Clockwork, which lands in full on September 21. Bro Safari and UFO!’s new project is said to be a conceptual listening journey, which is a new direction for both artists. The full album release will be accompanied by a North American tour this fall.
Over the years, several artists have bravely spoken up over their personal struggles regarding their mental health. Alison Wonderland has been extremely vocal about her ongoing battle with depression and emotional abuse. At the risk of romanticizing depression, Getter has shared some of his personal insights regarding his experience with mental illness and how, in some instances, it can inspire emotive pieces of art. British underground house veteran Steve Lawler even addressed the stigma of artists speaking out about mental health in the music industry in DA‘s Beyond The Booth 009 feature series.
To expound on these testimonies, a recent study’s findings indicate that musicians in particular are up to 3 times more likely to suffer from depression than the public. In the wake of Avicii’s sad and untimely death, the stakes for raising mental health awareness in the music industry are at an all time high — and for good reason.
“When it comes to mental health and well being, talking really is the key.” – Ben Verse of Pendulum
Enter: former Pendulum bandmate, Ben Verse, who is spearheading a series of drum & bass compilations which foreground issues of mental health and wellbeing. The first album in the series, titled MIND STATE Vol. 1, out now via Getahead Records, features 17 prominent artists and up-and-coming new talents in the DnB scene coming together to present a sonic journey celebrating life and raising awareness for those who are struggling and in need of support.
With over twenty years in the music industry as both MC VERSE and part of the platinum selling band Pendulum, Ben Verse has witnessed first-hand what effect the highs and lows, as well as pressures and strains, a life in the music industry can have on a person.
“At it’s worst, [my mental health] left me unable to leave my room, leave my house, unable to eat. I wouldn’t be able to sit in a restaurant or anything like that. It sounds funny, but at one point I found getting my hair cut really difficult. Just sitting still in that spot became a real source of anxiety for me. It’s a day-to-day thing. A few years ago, it got extremely bad and I had a breakdown. I was at my mum’s house. I was suffering really badly. I was on the edge and thinking about suicide. I couldn’t cope with anything. I felt like I’d lost my worth. I wanted out,” Verse expressed to Dancing Astronaut.
It is with this life experience and awareness that Verse approached AEI Group and Getahead with the concept of the MIND STATE compilation.
“The music industry is not a 9 to 5 job, it can be such an incredible rollercoaster. From traveling all over the world, finding yourself in different situations, meeting all sorts of people to giving it your all, we hope people will know they can reach out to others and work out a balance in their life — especially those younger artists,” Verse explained of the project.
The project’s end goal, according to Verse, is to raise money for a 24-hour phone support line for musicians hosted by partners Music Mind Matters, and Help Musicians UK (HMUK). “The first stage of avoiding mental illness is being able to talk to someone. For musicians to be able to call a number, have a chat, and share what they’re experiencing before it gets to last resorts such as drug or alcohol dependency to hide from the problem.”
Boasting 17 tracks from the likes of The Prodigy, D Bridge & Skeptical, Chase & Status, Sub Focus, Spor, and Artificial Intelligence, the first compilation album reflects the respect and unity that characterizes the bass community in the UK and across the world. Verse expands on how the album became a reality:
“This whole album happened insanely quickly. I wrote a list of people I know who might be into the idea. I called people up, met them at studios and it happened organically. Some people wanted to be involved but couldn’t be due to release plans. But when guys like The Prodigy are up for it, it really blasts the door open and it snowballed from there. Sub Focus, Chase & Status and so many more amazing names. we’re so honoured and really happy with it.”
“When guys like The Prodigy are up for it, it really blasts the door open and it snowballed from there.” – Ben Verse on The Prodigy
Especially in the wake of the #MeToo Movement touching the music industry in unforeseen ways — with sexual assault allegations made against The Gaslamp Killer and Datsik in particular — the project couldn’t come at a more timely cultural moment.
North Base, contributors on the compilation, jumped on the cause because of the gendered aspects of mental health and how men, in particular, aren’t encouraged to openly express their mental health status.
“When we heard Verse was compelling an compilation to support men’s mental health issues we had to be involved. This is an issue we are all very passionate about and something which isn’t discussed or highlighted enough. We have all had friends who have or are currently experiencing or have experienced difficulties with their mental health and sometimes we’ve only known about it after, due to the stigma attached to mental health, especially amongst young men. Anything we can do to support this cause has our full backing and we hope one day means mental health is as understood and accepted as any physical illness,” says North Base.
“Mental health amongst musicians and producers, especially those under extra pressure associated with touring, delivery and social media presence has often been something that has been glossed over with assumptions of a glamorous lifestyle,” adds Artificial Intelligence. “We feel that it’s really important to educate and raise awareness around the topic.”
The album, including nothing but exclusives, is also linked to the first ever 24-hour musical gathering focused solely on Mental Health, Wellbeing & Music, Getahead Festival, which is set to take place in London, June 13, 2018. All profits of the unique musical project will go to charity in support of those struggling with mental health.
When asked how the Getahead Festival was a cause that was near and dear to his heart, Verse went deeper into his personal struggles to remind young artists that they are not alone:
“Yes it is. Massively. I’ve suffered anxiety and depression for longer than I ever realized. I’ve always been an anxious person, but I didn’t come to realize how much it was affecting my day-to-day life until I was 21 or 22. I was dealing with it in different ways. I was on medication for a while, which worked for a bit but it didn’t solve the issue of where the anxieties would come from.”
Getahead attempts to push the envelope on the stigma of mental health by bringing together a gamut of top-tier artists, inspiring keynote speakers, engaging panels, and relaxing activities ranging from yoga and massages to live comedy. The organization has a mission to help a billion people positively impact their lives in the next 25 years.
When it comes to mental health and well being, talking really is the key. In terms of the MIND STATE Vol. 1 compilation, Verse explains that it is “about action and raising funds.”
“This is just the start,” says Verse. “We want to develop the Mind State concept into a series and unite artists from other genres for the same or similar causes.”
The Geatahead event partners, Help Musicians UK (HMUK) and its Music Minds Matter mental health service, offers a free & confidential support line for artists and music industry professionals. If you are struggling to cope with addiction, depression, hopelessness, or just want to talk about pressures of working in the industry, dial 0808-802-8008 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For anyone struggling with mental health issues, please visit Dancing Astronaut‘s list of resources for seeking help and assistance.
Drum ‘n’ bass masterminds Monty and Hyroglifics have forged a bright, earthshaking new tune dubbed, “The Glow.” It serves as one of four on Folio /1, the first in a new EP series on 1985 Music which highlights the label’s most prized artists.
These two artists are clearly adept at creating an engaging, alluring mood in a track, as proven by “The Glow.” They combine the use of well-tuned, intricate percussion and unique, bassy synths that drone menacingly along with the sultry and soulful vocals of Benabu to keep things captivating from beginning to end. The production value is again amplified when we consider the quality of the sound in the track—just the right amount of reverb and echo to give the song that deep, dark, cavernous atmosphere.
Mat Zo‘s fellow Brit producer and latest MAD ZOO signee, counsel pop, has unveiled his marvelously maddening debut EP, counsel pop presents.
There is an air of nostalgia running through the EP, which CP himself describes as, “trying to recreate that feeling of driving around in your mate’s car listening to the only dance CD they ever had.”
The irreverent, four-track EP is almost dizzying in its ability to synthesize several genres into a single soundscape, with big beat prowess reminiscent of that of the Chemical Brothers, and liquid drum n bass evoking warranted nods at Mat Zo himself — most evident in “trino (counsel’s mental mix).”
The newcomer masterfully executes jolting electro synth stabs and frenzied vocal sampling in “fazeley industrial estate,” resulting in glorious, cinematic disarray. Meanwhile within “in a mcdonald’s carpark” CP lays down laser-esque synths and stuttering, quixotic percussion before moving into a vapory, utopian outro.
Canadian electronic/hip-hop experimentalist Ryan Hemsworth released his second weekly bootleg this April, of which lead up to his upcoming US tour dates. This week’s heavily sped up bootleg of Octavian’s “Hands” follows last week’s subtle, daze-inducing take on Z Money’s “Two 16s.”
In his uptempo “Hands” rendition, Hemsworth paints a sample-ridden night sky, within which he features a twinkling melody accompanied by vast varieties of obscure, swiftly looping vocals.
Hemsworth will kick off his jam-packed spring schedule in late April, starting in DC and making his way through major cities like LA, San Diego, Denver, and finally Chicago in mid-May.
Unquestionably one of the greatest drum n’ bass acts of all time, Pendulum changed the modern perception of DnB by pioneering the use of synths in their singles. Through their distinctive sound that mixes hard rock and electronic music, the Aussie/Brit band ushered in the second wave of drum n’ bass to the masses.
Now Pendulum has just lost a band member after 11 years of touring the world. Taking to his Instagram, Ben Mount, aka MC Verse, the MC behind the iconic band’s live act, recently announced his official goodbye to focus on creating his own songs and running his own label.
Mount expressed sorrow and humility in his final farewell to his fellow band mates and Pendulum fans.
Zeds Dead has never sacrificed quality in their weekly radio show output. Following an announcement they’d be taking time away from touring to focus on their Deadbeats radio show, the Toronto duo has delivered another robust mix. Every few weeks or so, the boys keep their mixes fresh by introducing special guests or special themed mixes, such as their dubstep throwback episode.
Zeds Dead have taken on a “Drum n’ Bass Special” for the 29th episode of their Deadbeats radio show. The entire hour-long mix is an ode to their personal inspirations in the genre over the span of twenty years. Featuring nods to Noisia‘s “Could This Be” to Adam F‘s “Circles,” Zeds Dead are vocal about the DnB artists who’ve had an influence on their own sound design as they began crossing over from hip-hop into electronic music.
“Coming from making hip-hop, drum n’ bass is double the speed of hip-hop and it was the first sort of gateway drug for us into electronic music, and it was cool because a lot of drum n’ bass people were remixing hip-hop songs and it had kind of the same attitude, back then at least. So it was sort of the natural progression and it was the sound designs and textures and insane production quality that really attracted us to it, and we wanted to use those sound in different ways, it inspired us to up our production game, and I think anyone who listens to drum n’ bass has a really high standard for beat making.”
The mix also features Zeds Dead’s monstrous collaboration with Jauz, “Lights Go Down,” and their special DnB flip of Drake‘s “No Tellin’.” The boys also reveal that they are going to start doing many more themed episodes in the future.
Zeds Dead x Jauz – Lights Go Down
Commix – Be True
Capleton, Chase & Status – Duppy Man feat. Capleton
Keeno & Whitney – Hold Ya (VIP)
Noisia – Could This Be
Memtrix – Numb Eye
Calyx And Teebee – Make Your Choice
Annix – Kilamanjaro (feat. Profile)
Break – Crunchy
Culture Shock – Low Frequency
Dimension (UK) – Maschinen
Hamilton – Bounce That
John B – Numbers (Camo & Krooked Remix)
Manikin – Berlin
Sub Zero – Inside the Beast
DJ Hazard – All I Can Say
June Miller & Teddy Killerz – Wildlife
1991 – VHS
Taxman – Evasion (VIP)
Mind Vortex – The Day After
Adam F – Circles
Konichi – Visions
Sub Zero & Dub Motion – Oh Girl
I Got U feat. Jax Jones (High Contrast Remix)
Maduk – Don’t Forget
MK – Always feat. Alana (Friction Remix)
Legion & Logam – When Stars Fall
DJ Fresh ft. Pendulum and Fats – Babylon Rising
Drake – No Tellin’ (Zeds Dead dnb Flip)
June Miller – Ups & Downs Feat. T & Sugah & Anouk Visée
Jauz and Zeds Dead are both respectively wrapping up on career years as 2017 draws to a close. To celebrate two independently successful campaigns, Hooks and DC are linking with Jauz to cap off the year with a bang, teaming up for three back-to-back NYE performances and officially solidifying the union with some new joint music. Linking up for “Lights Go Down” the trio offer up a heavy-handed drum n’ bass-inspired setlist weapon that seamlessly complements both of their distinct production styles.
The three-man outfit show off their shared penchant for pitch-bending vocals and cinematic builds, as “Lights Go Down” spirals into a thunderous uptempo glitch-hop rhythm polished with head spinning, percussive assaults for the breaks. Charging into 2018, the Sharksquad factotum and his veteran Canadian counterparts have now both entered the A&R game, each founding imprints to begin to groom the next generation of up-and-coming DJs and producers with Deadbeats and Bite This. The new offering is being dually released via the two labels, and could hopefully usher in a more cross-label collaborations between these two acts in the future.
In the year 2000 Planet Of The Drums — AK1200, Dara, Dieselboy, & MC Messinian — joined forces to create one of the most legendary electronic supergroups the genre has ever seen. Since then, the group has dramatically effected the drum & bass landscape across North America, helping to move the genre from basements & side rooms to the main stage of festivals across the continent.
For a quartet with such talent, it’s puzzling that the group has never released a mix — until now. The group released a gargantuan, hour and thirty-seven minute mix that is as thunderous as the group’s reputation.
“Feeling their work completed, the team turned their focus to personal projects & the Planet Of The Drums program was retired” says a statement on the Dieselboy’s Soundcloud page. “But as was soon discovered, the drum & bass scene in North America began a slow free fall into underground obscurity. This could not stand.”
Planet Of The Drums may have fallen off the face of the Earth for a bit, but the group is back with a vengeance.
A duo that barely needs an introduction: The Upbeats are back and in epic fashion. The de-evolution virtuosos have been steadily releasing music in 2017, with a wide selection of fantastic drum & bass to choose from. To further add to their music-filled year, the New Zealanders are primed and ready to make their Critical Music debut with a thrilling EP titled Punks.
Taken from their upcoming EP, “Ethers” is a neurofunk lover’s dream. Starting off on a spine-tingling note, the track gurgles into existence, with The Upbeats enhancing the chilling tone of the track with some filthy drum samples and dystopian chord progressions. The darkness oozing out of the intro continues throughout the track, as evil, atmospheric bass lines captivate and enthrall listeners in a rather sinister fashion. “Ethers” might be a stark digression from The Upbeats’ general high-octane style, but does well to typify their versatility and production expertise.
Punks will be released November 24 and is available for preorder here.