Kanine, Philth, Becca Jane Grey, and Simula celebrate massive 60-track ‘Drum&BassArena 2019’ [Q&A]

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Kanine, Philth, Becca Jane Grey, and Simula celebrate massive 60-track ‘Drum&BassArena 2019’ [Q&A]Kanine At Glastonbury 1

Birthed out of the UK’s early ’90s jungle scene and rapidly gaining mainstay status shortly after, drum ‘n’ bass has celebrated its popularity at its heights notably in concentrated pockets—although never quite enjoying the mainstream bliss of its newer peers like dubstep and trap in the U.S. However, the veteran genre has shown resilience and a particular resurgence in the past few years as first-time listeners tread new territory, devoted fans continue to push its popularity, and both the underground scene and festival circuit champion diverse forms of drum ‘n’ bass on its stages.

Now, drum ‘n’ bass follows suit in the massive growth of the electronic dance music scene as a whole, but with its own persuasive milestones that signal it intends to stay whether or not the EDM bubble bursts. 2019 has been a particularly telling year for the genre’s success, from it experiencing the most growth of any EDM genre on Beatport until now, to trending when Adele joked about making her own drum ‘n’ bass album. The genre is once again hitting its cyclical sweet-spot in the industry; Pendulum has new music in the works, Chase & Status celebrated 15 years together with the release of RTRN II JUNGLE, and newcomer Benny B landed the genre’s first-ever No. 1 on Beatport.

As drum ‘n’ bass nears 30 years of existence, the scene finds itself in a uniquely exhilarating space where it’s simultaneously unbound by genre limitations and empowered by young and old blood that evolve the sound while maintaining its roots in the underground. All of this finds itself translated in Drum&BassArena 2019—Drum&BassArena’s long-standing annual album, chock-full of 60 tracks, seven exclusives, and a bold appreciation of the multifaceted talent built across generations of drum ‘n’ bass. Recognizing another year of the genre and its momentous acts, Dancing Astronaut has curated a round table discussion from a selection of Drum&BassArena’s most anticipated and coveted artists: Kanine, Simula, Philth, and Becca Jane Grey.

Read our Q&A and listen to Drum&BassArena 2019 below. Check out bonus questions for Kanine at the end of the round table Q&A.


Have there been any noticeable shifts in the drum ‘n’ bass scene in recent years and if yes, why do you think so?

Kanine: Definitely. I think everyone can agree most of the sub-genres have opened up and the lines between them have blurred. I think this is due to two things. Firstly, I think there’s been a change in opinion in the ravers/fans where people now tend to be more open-minded and don’t just listen to one main sub genre. This is probably because of how easy it is to access new and different music nowadays through streaming platforms. Secondly, I think across all styles of drum ‘n’ bass, the production value has increased drastically making it easier to appreciate previously un-preferred music styles.

Simula: In the last few years I’ve noticed a rise in popularity of a new style that people have affectionately dubbed “foghorn rollers,” a style pioneered by artists like Benny L and Serum. It is a hybrid style, incorporating elements from jungle and jump up as well minimal. Many of the new generation producers are now making this style and pushing it. 

Philth: One interesting and very positive development in recent years is the new generation of artist-run labels: 1985, Sofa Sound, Guidance, The North Quarter, Ish Chat, Index… This is a generation of producers who came through around a decade ago and changed the game with their production skills and style, the bar was raised by Alix Perez and the Shogun camp, DLR, Ulterior Motive, Lenzman. Now they are running labels and using their platforms to push things forward again, getting new music out quickly and taking risks that the established bigger labels might be afraid to take. It’s refreshing the scene, and these guys are bringing through a new generation of artists now to continue that breath of fresh air.

Becca Jane Grey: There have been shifts in different aspects of the scene. Consumption, for one; we’ve become a culture of quantity over quality, pressing two tunes per side on vinyl, good music seems forgotten about quickly and doesn’t stay too long in rotation. There aren’t many modern classics. There are novelty songs that do the rounds, bootlets etc. (nothing wrong with these but) they seem to be more popular than original tunes. The throwaway culture doesn’t allow for a good tune to develop in a club environment unless it’s a hyped dub.

Drum ‘n’ bass has both influenced and taken influence from a diversity of other music genres. Name your top three classic drum ‘n’ bass songs as well as three songs that have inspired you heavily (regardless of genre). 

Kanine: Hard pick but my top three would probably be “No Problem” by Chase and Status, “Time Warp VIP” by Sub Focus, and Pendulum’s “Tarantula.” All three are undeniable anthems that will always stand the test of time. So much great music out there so couldn’t possibly pick another three, but I’m a massive fan of techno hip-hop and basically all other bass music. All have inspired me a lot.

Simula: My top three classic drum ‘n’ bass songs are DJ Fresh’s “All That Jazz,” Netsky’s “Pirate Bay,” and Technicolour’s “Ascension.” These are all tunes that got me into drum & bass so they had to be mentioned. The three songs that have inspired me the most are Konichi’s “Field Of Vibrations,” Neosignal’s “Planet Online (Culprate Remix),” and Decimal Bass’ “Dronezone.” All of these tunes have had a huge impact on my work and are still mind-blowing to me to this day. 

Philth: Ed Rush & Optical’s “Medicine (Matrix Remix),” Marcus Intalex & ST Files’ “Love & Happiness” and Konflict’s “Beckoning.” Also Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere,” Lynn Collins’ “Think (About It),” Amy Winehouse’s “Tears Dry On Their Own,” Max Richter’s “On the Nature of Daylight,” and Vangelis’ “Blade Runner Love Theme.”

Becca Jane Grey: High Contrast ft Diane Charlemagne’s “If We Ever,” Chase & Status ft Jenna G’s “In Love,” Lenzman ft Riya’s “Open Page.” Also James Blake’s “The Colour In Anything,” Cinematic Orchestra’s “To Build A Home” and Deftones ft Maynard’s “Passenger.”

With all the milestones this year, do you see drum ‘n’ bass crossing over into mainstream anytime soon? 

Kanine: I think drum ‘n’ bass has always had its place in the mainstream. Acts like Sigma and Rudimental are needed to introduce (especially younger fans) to the genre. The less commercial scene has grown massively in recent years yes, but I feel that no matter how big it gets it will always retain its underground sound and feel because that is what defines the genre.

Simula: I would like to think so! With some of the most talented artists to date coming through at the moment, I can only see the quality of the music getting better. A lot has changed in the last five years and I’m excited to see what the next movement to push the scene forward will be.

Philth: Drum ‘n’ bass has flirted with the mainstream for a long time, going back 20-plus years ago to Goldie and Roni Size. Then we stop being cool for a while, and then the media decides to pretend we are on a comeback when really the genre has been pushing on in the underground forever. We had it again a few years back with Fresh, Pendulum, then Sigma, and you’re hearing drum ‘n’ bass in TV adverts again, but really I don’t care about what is happening on Top of the Pops as long as the underground is healthy… and right now we’re at a real high point and showing no sign of slowing down 🙂

Becca Jane Grey: Drum ‘n’ bass has always had a toe dipped in the mainstream. Or rather mainstream music always keeps its little finger in the drum ‘n’ bass pie. The genre is built from the underground, you can’t take that away from it, certain producers have made it more accessible to the masses by softening it up. Just like any other genre that ends up with its 15 minutes in the commercial scene, its because it’s being presented to the masses in a nicer, more gentle, pleasant way. Die-hard drum ‘n’ bass fans call any mainstream drum ‘n’ bass songs that they like “guilty pleasures.” For another cheesy simile, look at it like mainstream drum ‘n’ bass is like asking for a snakebite at the bar: you’ll still get served but the barman will be judging you silently. Producers like Sigma and Wilkinson for example will always bridge the gap between the genre and mainstream music.

Both drum ‘n’ bass and the sub-genres within drum ‘n’ bass itself have evolved tremendously since the early days, from liquid to dark, breakcore, jungle, neurofunk and more; the term “drum ‘n’ bass” has been expanding to encompass a lot of different meanings. For you personally, what is drum ‘n’ bass?

Kanine: Anything 160-180 BPM that has drums a b-line. There never has been and never should be any rules. If people like it then who cares!

Simula: Drum ‘n’ bass is music you can lose yourself in. It is an escape and a release. Everyone likes different sub genres and in my opinion that is a great thing. Anyone and any style is welcome in drum ‘n’ bass, and that is something truly special.

Philth: Breakbeats, dark rooms, big subs. Futuristic music, making you lose yourself on the dancefloor…. the anticipation as the DJ builds you up to the drop, then the satisfaction as the bass hits you in the chest. No other music is as physical as drum ‘n’ bass, and that sensation of being squeezed by bass is what hooked me on the genre as as kid and has never let go. No matter what sub-genre, it’s all about the bass really, isn’t it?

Becca Jane Grey: Drum ‘n’ bass is a melting pot of culture, angst, happiness, expression, euphoria. It’s the meeting of seemingly every type of person suddenly having something in common. The energy and emotion it stirs seems to connect us all in a similar way. For me, I enjoy the softer emotive side of a vocal-heavy drum ‘n’ bass tune, but spend more time these days listening to vocal-less, beat-heavy nastiness. And the latter definitely makes me run faster at the gym… The genre for me is the variety of sub-genres that we’re lucky to have, with talented producers spread across the board.

There’s no arguing that drum ‘n’ bass is virtually a mainstay of the UK dance music scene, but are there any other places that you’ve either played or been to that have burgeoning drum ‘n’ bass scenes? How has the fan base for drum ‘n’ bass changed throughout the years? 

Kanine: The whole of Europe has pockets of drum ‘n’ bass fans of different sub-genres, and as an DJ it’s been lots of fun travelling and experiencing these different communities. Coming up through the jump up scene, I played a lot in Austria and Belgium in my earlier years. Austria has a wicked open minded crowd who tend to like any style you play for them. Events like Switch! XL and Mainframe in Vienna are always mad parties. Belgian ravers in the clubs prefer a certain jump up sound which I’ve strayed away from but the bigger Belgian events, like Rampage are some of the best parties in the entire world. In recent years I’ve spent a lot of time in the Czech Republic which has an amazing scene for drum ‘n’ bass – which is probably why they’re home to the biggest (and best!) drum ‘n’ bass festival in the world, Let It Roll.  

This summer I’m doing my debut New Zealand and Australia tour which has completely opened my eyes to the global reach of drum ‘n’ bass. The demand for the genre down under is actually crazy and shouldn’t be slept on

Simula: Every country that has a drum ‘n’ bass is different from the next. I’ve played all over Europe in the last three years and it’s interesting to see the differences in the music and the ravers. One thing all these countries have in common is that there is a constant influx of younger listeners and ravers that influence trends in the music. I can see drum ‘n’ bass continuing to spread to new countries and new fan bases.

Philth: When I first started raving, it was primarily a UK thing, but nowadays it truly is a worldwide movement – every country you can think of will have a drum ‘n’ bass scene whether it is big or underground. The internet has helped to spread the music so rapidly and as artists social media helps us to reach new fans. I’ve played in the U.S., Australia and all over Europe and it’s always a special moment seeing people in a different country singing along to my music <3

I hope the current tragic political situation in the UK doesn’t restrict artists ability to travel and take our music to new places, I love meeting people in new cities, trying new food, experiencing different cultures all united by our love of bass. Just last month, I played an amazing party up a mountain in Spain and met a crew of DJs pushing a sick style of dark rollers – I live for these moments and hope we can continue to share these experiences with our European cousins.

There’s been an accelerating decline in nightclub venues with the number in Great Britain declining by 21 percent from December 2017-2018. What do you think this means for the underground scene, in particular drum ‘n’ bass? 

Kanine: This is always really sad to see. The nightclubs, especially smaller ones, are the lifeblood of the drum and bass scene. It’s how communities, movements and sounds are born. Also, I think it’s important for society to have places were people can go express and enjoy themselves whether it be as a punter or as a DJ.

Simula: The UK is known for its underground music, from drum ‘n’ bass to garage to dubstep, they all started here! I think if the number of nightclubs continues to decline, the nation will lose something very special. With drum ‘n’ bass widely played at festivals and huge events across the UK, I don’t see the scene slowing down just yet, but declining numbers of nightclubs is never a good thing.

Philth: Losing venues hurt smaller promoters the most – the bigger promoters will always be able to find another 1,000-plus venue but the small places are where you get the most exciting nights with DJs taking risks and making true connections with the crowd. When I talk to my friends who run nights in London they say it’s the lack of venues and high DJ fees (driven up by the super-promoters who can pay more and lock DJ’s in exclusively) that are making things harder for them. I just hope that we can continue to have a wide cross-section of parties – it’s the small grassroots events where new DJs get an opportunity to earn their stripes and fans get a chance to see artists up close and personal. I think it’s important that in the current climate where the big parties are firing we don’t lose sight of the small intimate shows – I love playing these parties so much and always will.

Becca Jane Grey: The distinct lack of small, good venues (good sound system, 200 – 300 cap) in London (I can’t speak for other cities) is not helping the scene. Unless you have a loyal following (Rupture for example) or a die-hard fan base, or a promoter willing to spend loads on big acts that will sellout, you’re not going to be able to push certain sub-genres of drum ‘n’ bass. 

Cable is a larger venue but an example nonetheless. It was a staple for so many ravers at the time and when it went, it hit the drum ‘n’ bass scene pretty hard.

I think the decline in venues means promoters are facing an uphill battle trying to push to the fore underground labels and artists who deserve to be heard. Not impossible, but certainly an obstacle to overcome.


You’re regarded as one of the leading jump up acts right now, but you’re also incredibly versatile with your sound as well. What’s the key to specializing in your niche while still evolving and producing outside of your brand?

Kanine: Thank you. I think it really depends on what kind of artist you want to become. For some acts like Benny L, Serum and Macky Gee – they have an undeniable style that they have perfected and their brand follows suit. On the other hand there are acts like Chase & Status, AMC and arguably Noisia who have their own brand and fans but touch on different aspects of the genre. For me, as a fan of all forms of drum ‘n’ bass, it’s much more rewarding to branch out my production into different styles while still keeping one brand and sound behind it all. It’s also fun to keep people guessing.

Congratulations on having your latest single “What I Said” featured on Spotify’s New Music Friday UK playlist not too long ago. Why do you think Spotify picked up this particular track?

Kanine: Cheers was great to see! Was a cool feeling seeing it playlisted along with some UK chart toppers. Initially I never planned to do anything with this track but it seemed to connect with a lot of people so I’m really happy I put it out. I’m guessing the people over at Spotify felt that same connection.

Photo credit: Jack Kimber Photography

Sub Focus looks to the heavens with cosmic two-track release

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Sub Focus looks to the heavens with cosmic two-track releaseSub Focus Snowbombing

Modern drum ‘n’ bass pioneer Sub Focus returns to low-end-gushing form with his latest, a double A-side single that gives newcomers to the genre a worthy welcome while still satisfying the headbanging tendencies of the UK producer’s longtime fans.

“Solar System” is the quintessential space track, and a great set opener at that, first walking its listeners to the launch site before penetrating synths slice the sky open wide and they’re catapulted through the atmosphere into Sub Focus’s low-grav d’n’b nether. Once breaking through, however, “Solar System” simply cranks, fusing equal parts melody and kinetic bass for a 174 bpm single that can stand with the genre’s best.

Following “Solar System” is second single “Siren,” dripping with low-end filth. While “Solar System” invites fans to ascend to the skies, “Siren” straight-up pushes them in the mud. The second single doesn’t try to be anything it’s not, but instead sticks to its strengths—tearing its way to the heart of avid bass lovers.

Sub Focus is in the midst of a gargantuan summer-long tour, having already made stops at EDC Las Vegas, NEVERSEA and Glastonbury. The drum ‘n’ bass laureate is next scheduled to play a back-to-back set with Wilkinson at UNTOLD.

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 100: The Ultimate Drum ‘n’ Bass Playlist

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Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 100: The Ultimate Drum ‘n’ Bass PlaylistDeters Beat Lab@0.

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.


There’s just something about drum ‘n’ bass that’s always spoken to my soul. I remember hearing my first Pendulum song a decade ago and thinking “what on earth is this, and where can I get more?”

The genre began making its way into the electronic music sphere in the early 1990s, right around the time I was born. Its rapid breakbeats took over London and Bristol, ramping up the jungle and rave scene to 160-180 BPM. While still more widespread in the UK to this day, the genre has slowly trickled into the United States EDM scene. We still have a long way to go before drum ‘n’ bass artists are regularly installed as main stage performers at major US festivals, but there’s so much to discover and embrace in the US drum ‘n’ bass scene (I see you, Flite and Boxplot). There’s also an endless stream of quality dnb being churned out overseas, with imprints like RAM Records, Hospital Records, and Liquicity Records as strong as ever in their supporters and fan base.

I regularly tell people that have never really gotten into drum ‘n’ bass to just try. It’s a diverse and ever-evolving genre, full of sub-genres and offshoots. I guarantee you’ll find something you like in some format. Dig through the 100-song playlist I’ve compiled to celebrate 100 installments of this series to see if there’s something there for you!

Thank you, drum ‘n’ bass, for your tireless energy, emotive vocals, and the ability you always have to yank me out of a bad mood and reignite my love for electronic music in today’s day and age. Here’s to you, and the brilliant artists who create you.

Adele is making a drum ‘n’ bass record in spite of us all

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Adele is making a drum ‘n’ bass record in spite of us allAdele Fan Grammy Nominee

“30 will be a drum n bass record to spite you,” says Adele in a recent social media post.

However, nobody makes drum ‘n’ bass like the British, so even though she’s joking, Adele could probably cut a better dnb record than most. Who’s to say? Additionally, in a world where a rapper is topping the country charts and a teenage girl who gave Dr. Phil shit on TV once has a record deal with Atlantic, Adele going back to back with, say, Chase and Status barely sounds far fetched.

In a heartfelt note, the UK powerhouse singer/songwriter assured fans her highly anticipated next studio project 30 is underway, complete with a message of self-love after a personally tumultuous year for the legendary vocalist. Capped with a tongue-in-cheek joke about making a drum ‘n’ bass record (which probably already exists in an alternate universe), Adele officially announces her return, likely with another chart-topping LP up her sleeve.

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This is 31…thank fucking god 💀 30 tried me so hard but I’m owning it and trying my hardest to lean in to it all. No matter how long we’re here for life is constant and complicated at times. I’ve changed drastically in the last couple years and I’m still changing and that’s okay. 31 is going to be a big ol’ year and I’m going to spend it all on myself. For the first time in a decade I’m ready to feel the world around me and look up for once. Be kind to yourself people we’re only human, go slow, put your phone down and laugh out loud at every opportunity. Learning to REALLY truly love yourself is it, and I’ve only just realized that that is more than enough. I’ll learn to love you lot eventually 😂 Bunch of fucking savages, 30 will be a drum n bass record to spite you. Chin up eh ❤

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Armin van Buuren switches it up, taps Bonnie McKee for new collaboration ‘Lonely for You’ [Watch]

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Armin van Buuren switches it up, taps Bonnie McKee for new collaboration ‘Lonely for You’ [Watch]Armin Van Buuren Bbc1 Radio

Armin van Buuren has released a new track  that is nearly unrecognizable coming from the venerate trance and progressive producer. Titled “Lonely For You,” the song taps into an elaborate drum line with a faint drum n’ bass-inspired vibe that adds a unique compliment to poppy vocals, delivered by Bonnie McKee.

The producer speaks about his newest track in an official release, stating,

“’Lonely For You’ was written with the lovely Bonnie McKee. For me, it resembles the struggles we all face with and in relationships, ups and downs. I think it was appropriate to release it around Valentine’s Day!”

The track tells the story of getting over a relationship that has ended, and the moments of feeling alone even though the breakup was the right decision. “Lonely For You” has fittingly been released in conjunction with Valentine’s Day, and the accompanying music video features both Armin van Buuren and McKee dispersed throughout the visual narrative of a break up. “Lonely For You” is a worthy complement to the “Wild Wild Son” producer’s growing list of increasingly diverse releases, and if the Armada figurehead is actually on a mission to prove that he can produce a hit in every genre, he is certainly checking off new boxes with his work on “Lonely For You.”

Photo Credit: Bart Heemskerk

Bro Safari and UFO! are back with first track from forthcoming experimental album, ‘N.U.M.B.’

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Bro Safari and UFO! are back with first track from forthcoming experimental album, ‘N.U.M.B.’Bro Safari Ufo Numb Artwork 1

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.

Former Pendulum member Ben Verse curates DnB compilation focusing on mental health & wellbeing, ‘MIND STATE’ ft. The Prodigy, Sub Focus, & more

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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 musicmindmatter@helpmusicians.org.uk.

For anyone struggling with mental health issues, please visit Dancing Astronaut‘s list of resources for seeking help and assistance.

Premiere: Monty & Hyroglifics ft. Benabu – The Glow

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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.

 

Exclusive: Counsel pop shares brilliantly chaotic EP, ‘counsel pop presents’

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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.

Octavian – Hands (Ryan Hemsworth Bootleg)

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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.