Boomtown Fair and The Loop offer free and anonymous drug testing and counselling
Boomtown have announced a new stage set to rival that of its predecessor Banghai Palace. The aptly named Banghai Towers will be the biggest stage this year and the Sunday lineup sees Exit Records take over the towers, with dBridge inviting along Skeptical, Alix Perez, Fracture and SP:MC.
MoS: Is this your first time at Boomtown? What’s your history with the festival?
dBridge: Yeah it is my first time actually. I have a history of everyone telling me how good it is! When I hear about Boomtown it’s from people coming back and they are like ‘ooohhhf that was nuts’!
Video: Watch the Banghai-Towers teaser video
What can we expect from your Sunday takeover at the Banghai Towers? My experience of seeing a line-up like this is in smaller intimate clubs so I can’t wait to hear the Exit sound on the big stage.
Within the crew we’ve all got tunes that can work on that level and we’ve got the experience of playing at festivals. There’s a line that we probably won’t cross but I think all in all we are not going to play halftime or autonomic and chill everyone out. If you look at the label and the tunes that we have then expect that. From a personal point of view, I have years of experience coming on after people like Andy C and Hype so I think we’ll be alright!
The Exit Records sound is recognised around the world. Why do you think it appeals to such a wide range of people?
I generally curate what the label puts out but ultimately I have a really broad taste and if you look at our catalogue it does have that broad spectrum. The underlying tone for me is soul, honesty and no gimmicks which I think seems to translate. The music that generally gets produced is music that we want to put out. It’s not been made with the dancefloor in mind and that we’re making things quickly just to get a response. The whole scene has so many different sides, angles, and avenues, and we’ve managed to find our own thing within that.
I like the way all of the Exit artists have their own thing going own with their own direction and sound, there’s no clashing of ideas or tone in any way. When I get a Skeppy tune I know its Skeptical. It’s the same with Fracture, Fixate, Mark System and the crew. They all have their own distinct sound which helps define the sound of Exit.
What’s in the pipeline for the label?
I’m in the process of finding new artists, as a label manager I have to. Charlie has his own label and Perez has his own label. It’s important that they do and I’m able to give artists a springboard with Exit. I’ve had a couple of years with Charlie, Alix and Skeppy so I need to start looking for some new artists.
Is there a fear that they will prioritise their own label over Exit?
For me it’s not a fear, it’s something that I’ve actively encouraged. It would easy for me to say ‘I want everything as it helps my agenda’. I don’t think it helps them and I don’t think it helps the whole sound or progression as a whole. They need to be able to express themselves. I’ve said to them that I’m not in a position to put everything that they do out as it would be silly. At the same time I don’t necessarily like the idea of artists all releasing on the same set of labels, it get’s a little bit incestuous! I tell them you do your own thing and you can put out whatever you want and know that you’ll always have a place here as well. It works in that sense.
I’ve got some new artists coming up this year, possibly 4 new artists with releases coming out. There’s a guy called Dolenz, he’s got a 12 coming out. He’s working up a project too. I’ve got something coming out on Pleasure District from an act called Poison Arrow and she’s from Berlin. It’s more techno but it has a dnb sound and roots to it. I was really drawn to it! Next is Fixate who has a project coming out. I’m looking forward to that, there are some big tunes on there. Oh, and I’m still trying to kick Skeppy up the ass and get the album sorted!
How long has the Skeptical album been in production for?
We’ve been talking about it for a while. He has been working on it but sometimes he’s like Calibre, he's so prolific. I probably have about 5 or 6 albums worth of stuff from him. I like his attitude that not everything he does has to come out and not everything is right. He wants to produce the album that’s right for him. He’s still finding what he considers to be his sound and he’s picking up things every day. We’ll have tracks and he’ll be like that’s for the album, but he listens back and thinks he can do better. At some point, I need to say this is the cut-off!
Video: Listen to Skeptical & Alix Perez - "Solitude" from Skeptical's latest EP
I don’t necessarily like the idea of artists all releasing on the same set of labels, it get’s a little bit incestuous!dBridge
On that note I’ve seen you’ve been experimenting with some new bits. How’s that coming along?
It’s good. I’ve got my own idea of what I want to do. I’m in the lucky position of having the label that I don’t have to worry. When I started it was all about me but now I can sit back and try stuff out and know there will still be releases going. Maybe it’s an excuse for me to not do stuff! I’ve got my own ideas and projects that I’m working on and leading up to. There’s definitely some things coming out this year, whether it will be dnb I don’t know. It’s my interpretation of it.
Is there anything new you're trying out gear wise?
Yeah I’ve gone down the Elektron route and I’ve got all their stuff. Since I started working with Instra:mental he got me back into my outboard and now I’m collecting synths, FX pedals, trying stuff out. It’s fun, I’m enjoying it! I make music for my own reasons, it’s not necessarily to release. It’s so therapeutic. There’s so many synths generating so much heat though!
How’s the Bad Company reunion going?
It’s good, obviously it’s difficult as I’m not in England so we have to plan around the coming over and taking time off. When we go to actual music we all want to be in the studio together. That’s the only obstacle. It’s been good hanging out with the guys, trying to rekindle the whole 'why it was that we did things in a certain way'. A lot of that has to be with outboard and going back to our old equipment, trying things out and marrying it up with today’s technologies. I like being part of projects and I like creating projects. I like collaborations as I personally get something out of it. It’s good to me in that sense. It’s one of a few collabs I have going on at the moment.
I’m a big fan of hearing you sing on your tunes and I think a lot of people are. When do you decide to jump on the mic and start singing? Do you have it in mind before you start writing or does it get added at the end?
Ha, It’s weird as it’s going through stages. I did a few things with vocals on and I was enjoying it. Since I’ve moved to Antwerp I haven’t put my vocals on anything. The mic’s still in the box and it shouldn’t be. When I was singing I was in a really different place, personally. I was miserable as fuck. If you listen to the lyrics to some of the stuff I was saying it was like "oh shit are you alright dude?". I just haven’t really thought about it and I don’t have the same habits as I had then. Here I’m working in stages. Then things would come to me and I’d write things down. I don’t really have that anymore. I’ve been trying to learn new languages such as Elektron and my minds been distracted. Make me miserable and I will start singing again!
With the techno audience they have more patience, they can wait 2 minutes for a high hat to come in. With the dnb crowd, they want to have heard 5 different tunes within that time.dBridge
Do you think there’s any scope to move to a live set environment within drum & bass? Other genres have geared towards it for a while now.
There’s no reason why not. Drum & bass is so in the box now though, so when you listen to it sonically there’s so much going on. People like Icicle do it well. He’s taken the time to break it down and reproduce it where as the techno guys get it right as they are building the track in front of you. It comes together in that element and personally I come from that background. Working with Future Forces and Nico there were a lot of tunes that were recorded with live mixing which did have that background.
What’s put me off previously is a pre-programmed set. There’s a lot of fiddling going on beforehand when essentially you could just press play. There’s something I’m trying to put together at the minute that would lend itself to be live. I think in some ways the audience don't have the patience for it. They want things to happen so quickly and so often. With the techno audience they have more patience, they can wait 2 minutes for a high hat to come in. With the dnb crowd, they want to have heard 5 different tunes within that time. For me, it’s something that I’d love to do and I’d like to see more of it. It almost lends itself to a certain style of dnb and if there are more people doing it that would be sick. I think there are some people whose stuff would work well in that sense, it’s just whether they have the time to put it together really.
Follow Barney on Twitter: @BBlackhurst