ATTENTION: Only two weeks to go until the release of Drum&BassArena 2013!
Mark your calendars. Set a reminder on your email. Tie a knot in your trousers… Whatever you do to help you remember important dates, do it: Drum&BassArena 2013 is THE biggest D&B compilation release this season. It’s out on April 7 and it comes with 12 exclusives! One of those exclusives comes from the mighty Serum. It’s called Magnificent and it lives up to its name in every way.
First and foremost, we can now reveal the exclusive-heavy tracklist. Warning, your eyes may water a little with talent overload!
1) Friction & Skream – Kingpin (feat. Riko, Scrufizzer & P Money) (Calyx & Teebee Remix)
2) Rudimental – Not Giving In (feat. John Newman & Alex Clare) (Ed Rush Remix)
3) J Majik & Wickaman – Beyond Our Dreams
4) DJ Hazard – It’s A Secret
5) Audio – Headroom
6) Wickaman, Hoodlum & Maverick – Renegade Skank
7) Serum & Bladerunner – Heavy Duty
8) Harvest – Martyr
9) Serum – Magnificent
10) InsideInfo – Trickle
11) Dub Motion – Dun Watch It
12) Decimal Bass & Konichi – Com Mon
13) A.M.C – Puppet Dance
14) BTK – Thorn
15) Rene LaVice – Absolute Monster
16) DJ Oder – 9020
17) Heist – Head Clinic
18) Original Sin – Therapy VIP
1) Wilkinson (feat. Iman) – Need To Know
2) T-Phonic – Regenerate
3) Logistics – The Grid
4) Bladerunner – The Temple
5) Seven (feat. Alys Be) – Came To Play (Need For Mirrors Remix)
6) Calyx & Teebee – Elevate This Sound
7) Zen – Cosmic Love
8) Optiv & BTK – Ignition (feat. Ryme Tyme) (TR Tactics Remix)
9) Nitri (feat. MC Frequency) – Battleground
10) LSB – The Hurting
11) Hybrid Minds – Meant To Be
12) June Miller – Brave Man
13) Artificial Intelligence (feat. Steo) – Let It Be (DJ Marky & S.P.Y Remix)
14) Fred V & Grafix – Games People Play
15) Technimatic – Mirror Image
16) Xilent – Boss Wave (James Marvel Remix)
Oof! Big, right? You can pre-order it on Drum&BassArena, iTunes or a very special t-shirt and CD bundle!
Pre-orders done? Let’s have a word with Serum…
So, your exclusive track, Magnificent. Tell us everything!
It’s something I did in around 2007 but it never got released because the production wasn’t hard hitting enough. Obviously I’ve progressed a lot since then so I was able to come back to it and give it the extra push it needed. I’ve been working on a few old things lately that never saw the light of day – I’ve got a lot of new equipment and learned so much, it would be criminal not to revisit them. Actually with Magnificent, I reckon it’s the loudest mixdown I’ve ever done!
Cool! Do you revisit old stuff quite regularly?
Not all the time but there are certain projects where it’s good to do that, especially when you know you’ve got a good idea but just didn’t do it right the first time round. For me, having a good idea is the most important thing and not the production. Unfortunately a lot of drum & bass suffers from having very high production values but little in the way of ideas. You can always learn production, but it’s much harder to have good concepts for tunes. So if you have a good idea, keep coming back to it until it’s perfect. Even if it takes years!
Wise words there. It seems production has always been a ruthlessly high benchmark for D&B…
Yes. The standard is particularly high. Impossibly sometimes. You’ll find producers in other genres who originally started in D&B but never quite made it despite being good musicians. It’s very demanding; all genres insist on creativity but with D&B the production needs to be very good to compare with the other music out there.
Who’s got that balance spot on in your opinion?
There are a lot of producers killing it right now; both new and some of the older guard. I’ve always been a big fan of Bladerunner. We’ve worked together a lot and continue to do so. He’s very good technically and knows a great hook and has heaps of musicality when he wants to. Dillinja needs a shout here, too; he’s always been incredible on both the creative and technical side. Hazard is another one, he manages to keep changing but always get things bang on. Then of course there’s Ray Keith who never used to get involved in engineering but has taken to it very well. He has a recognisable sound but is able to incorporate bits of so many different styles of music.
Ray Keith was very supportive in your early days wasn’t he?
He was! My record box was full of his tunes when I started producing, so to have my first release on one of his labels was a very proud moment for me.
Back to the future, let’s big up your current releases – there are quite a few!
Yeah, an EP just came out on Audio Warfare called Firin Line and there’s the Horn Track/Strings Tune release on V. Both of these are in stores now. There’s also theControl EP on Co-Lab. Plus, in the near future, a remix of David Boomah due later in April and another release on V which is a collab between me, Bladerunner and MC Fats which I’m really happy with. I had a slower year for releases last year so I’ve tried to step it up this year.
Why the slowness of releases last year, then?
It’s hard to give one answer to that. I was working at the same full-pelt rate in the studio and playing out a lot but sometimes you don’t have control over the release dates. There were a few releases where I had an A side but no flip, or some that I just needed to sit on to make sure they were good enough.
I’ve always found that mad… By the time an artist releases a tune it’s already pretty old isn’t it?
It’s a funny one. A lot of listeners will know a tune from your sets and think ‘why isn’t it out? Why don’t you just release it?’ but it doesn’t really work like that. There can be loads of reasons why a tune doesn’t come out. In many peoples’ eyes you’re only as good as your last release. I know artists with impeccable discographies but they release one tune that their fans don’t like and they get slated on the internet! I’m at a stage now where I can find a label that will put out most of what I do but you have to have some sort of quality control. It’s very difficult to get that perfect balance of pleasing fans, grabbing the attention of new listeners and also keeping yourself happy as an artist. Some people want you to keep things fresh but others don’t like it when you change your sound.
True that. Looking back over your discography – which is almost 10 years old now – what tracks are you the most proud of?
Yeah, ten years next year! It’s flown by! I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved but there’s a few which really make me smile.
The first is my remix of Ray Keith’s Special Technique. It was released in 2005 and it was the first time I thought ‘yeah, I’ve got this how I want’. I wanted to represent that dirty type of mid 90s production while remaining a modern punch. It was by no means the most successful track I’ve done but I knew I was onto something when I did it. I always had people asking me what it was when I played it and it paved the way for a lot of my best work.
The next few would be Snake Fist and my remix of DJ Stretch’s Papa Lover. These were the tracks that really got me noticed and helped the jungle sound get a bit more recognition and I’m happy I was able to do that.
So you should be! So, let’s wrap up with a cheeky little Serum factoid. Tell us something about yourself that you’ve never told in an interview before…
Drum roll please……. I’ve got no big toenails.
Drum&BassArena 2013 is out April 7 (Download / 2xCD)
Pre-order today: Drum&BassArena, iTunes or a very special t-shirt and CD bundle!
Tickets are no longer available for this event