Sound As A Pound

5 September 2012 | 12:20 pm | Jason Kenny

“If we hear good things about a producer, be it from Facebook or whatever, then we don’t mind helping them out by releasing their tunes on our label. Phetsta and Tantrum Desire are both fantastic producers and we are very proud of the success that they have achieved.”

The drum'n'bass fairytale meeting of Andrew Wright and Benjamin Wiggett (Drumsound) and Simon “Bassline” Smith in a late-'90s club night north of London is part of the genre's folklore. Through the release of singles, EPs, countless remixes and their 2004 LP Nature Of The Beast, drum'n'bass has become synonymous with the trio. More recently, they've released a series of singles ahead of their long-awaited second album. The fourth single, Through The Night, takes off in a different direction to the previous three and shows definite diversity to the forthcoming record.

“As artists we love lots of different styles of music,” explains Wiggett, “and over the last ten years we have had releases on many different labels besides Technique, ranging from LTJ Bukem's Good Looking Records, DJ Fresh & Adam F's label Breakbeat Kaos to Mickey Finn and Aphrodite's label Urban Takeover. So after Freak, Close and the collaboration with Utah Saints, What Can You Do For Me, we really wanted a track that was different for us which highlighted the diversity of the forthcoming album. The Wall Of Sound album is a celebration of our love of bass music as a whole, ranging from jungle to drumstep to dubstep to indie rock and everything in between. Through The Night is a great example of this, as is our next single Daylight, featuring Hadouken.”  

Further than this, all Wiggett says about the upcoming record, the follow up to 2004's Nature Of The Beast, is that it captures everything at the core of Drumsound & Bassline Smith while crossing boundaries. “Since the spread and global mass appeal of bass music and dance music in general,” he says, “it seemed like the perfect time to utilise all the techniques and ideas we have learnt over the last ten years to create an album that satisified our desire to cross new boundaries and explore the core musical concept of Drumsound & Bassline Smith.” 

As every good drum'n'bass record should, Wall Of Sound features a whole range of collaborations, not just with Utah Saints and Hadouken. “Generally collaborations seem to happen by finding people who share a common musical interest who want to work with us and whom we feel could work with our sound,” Wiggett says. “This can happen, say, whilst we are on the road touring, someone hitting us up on the Internet or through more official channels like management.”

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

The debate over the merits of old and new technology rages on. There are plenty of DJs and producers looking at simplifying their studio or working only with vinyl or vintage gear. Drumsound & Bassline Smith work on the other side of the coin, presenting a good case for working with all forms of new technology. “If you don't adapt with the times you certainly get left behind,” Wiggett argues. “Music, particularly d'n'b, is highly adaptable to technology. So the trick is to embrace technology and utilise old skills you have to new techniques and experiment to create new and exciting music.”

The Drumsound lads have said before that drum'n'bass will adapt in order to survive. Rest assured, d'n'b fans, the myriad of sub-genres and cross pollination doesn't pose any threat to watering the whole scene down. “I think the d'n'b scene as a sub-genre of bass music, dance music and EDM is as strong as ever, as shown by the UK having not one but two official chart number ones this year so far. Sub-genres are evolving and keeping it fresh sounding and new producers are climbing the ranks thick and fast. It's a very exciting time right now.”

One of the most obvious changes to the dance music landscape since that fateful meeting at a club night in Derby in the late '90s is the development of the Internet. Those worldwide interwebs bring everything closer and make trends global a whole lot quicker than in the past. “The Internet has definitely been one of the greatest inventions of all time,” confirms Wiggett, “certainly with relation [to] the huge spread of success [of] bass music globally. Before musical trends spread sporadically and slowly but now tunes, producers and styles are spread across continents much quicker and foreign countries can keep up to date easier with news of what's hot and what's not.”

While fans can track down new tracks much quicker, and producers can upload to a global audience immediately, the internet also allows Wiggett, Wright and Smith to find collaborators and acts for their Technique Recordings label. “Social media sites and sites such as Soundcloud etcetera really help an artist make an impact much quicker than in years gone by,” Wiggett says. “It means that instead of sending us CDs or whatever through the post, label owners such as ourselves can quickly listen to tracks and find out info on up-and-coming producers. The whole process can work much more effectively.”

The other side of the coin is that producers can work from anywhere, meaning you can stay in your hometown and not need to move to London like some ill-fated Dickens character with a turntable. Drumsound & Bassline Smith enjoy the distance it allows them. “As we all still live in Derby, approximately 150 miles from London,” Wiggett says, “we tend to keep ourselves to ourselves, keep our heads down and continue to work hard in the studio and on the label. This ensures that we always maintain a level head and don't get dragged into the hype you can get in London whilst still keeping Technique Recordings a leading d'n'b label.”  

Where some acts start their own label for the ease of releasing material, Drumsound & Bassline Smith have developed it even further. Technique Recordings has not only championed their own music but established itself as a formidable stable of talent. They've helped nurture the talents of many up-and-coming producers. “We work tirelessly to A&R new acts, developing new artists as well as maintaining a healthy release schedule from ourselves and 2DB [their pseudonym],” Wiggett says, letting their secret identity slip, “and [with] all of our fantastically talented artists such as Tantrum Desire, L-Plus, Max NRG and new signings Hashtag.”

One of their Technique signings is Perth's own Phetsta, who has released a series of EPs and singles through the label. Recent visitors Tantrum Desire also piqued the attention of the label after Smith found a copy of their early demos. Drumsound & Bassline Smith have a unique position in the industry to give a hand to those starting out. “We try hard to help push artists that share the same musical ethos as us,” Wiggett says. “If we hear good things about a producer, be it from Facebook or whatever, then we don't mind helping them out by releasing their tunes on our label. Phetsta and Tantrum Desire are both fantastic producers and we are very proud of the success that they have achieved.”

If their work ethos is anything like Drumsound & Bassline Smith's, then there are plenty more releases to be expected from the Technique Recordings stables. Next point of business, however, is Wall Of Sound.

Drumsound & Bassline Smith will play the following shows:

Friday 7 September - Chinese Laundry, Sydney NSW
Saturday 8 September - Villa, Perth WA