SMOG Present: Digital Mystikz, Asylum, Deco, & Pavarotti

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Bassweight Sessions 4: District

DISTRICT
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Bless up everybody!  Today I have a special feature for all you readers consisting of Bassweight Sessions #4.  I’ve been lucky enough to grab a few words with District of the Chestplate Records crew.  With his debut release on Chestplate in 2011 it has been an eventful two years for the Coventry based producer.  With a production style that embodies heavily-charged sub-frequencies, twisted mid-range basses, and staggered drum patterns, the Chestplate  imprint seems nothing less than a perfect home for Dan’s sound.  He now holds a total of three releases on the label, including a collaborative EP with Sleeper and another solo-single released a few months back.  As Dan progressively asserts his sound as an integral component to the Chestplate aesthetic we can rest assured that 2013 will see the release of many District beats.  I was able to catch his set at SMOG Sundays last month and caught wind of some really great tracks that he has hidden in his arsenal.  Check below to see what Dan had to say…
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BWS:  Since your debut release last year, ‘3.5 Grams / Haymaker’, you carved out a very distinct sound for yourself, incorporating what seems to be a significant deal of industrial and nuerofunk influences.  Your sound fits in so perfectly with the ‘Chestplate’ aesthetic, I have to ask, did you have your eyes locked on Distance?  Or were you just sending tunes out to everywhere and happened to get swooped up by Distance first?
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To be honest, I originally set out with the intention of sending tracks to Distance to feature in his ‘New Talent’ section on his Rinse.FM show.  At the time there weren’t many people pushing the darker sounds so it was a natural thing to pass music to him rather than anyone else.  I was just lucky that he heard something in those early tracks and encouraged me to make more.
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BWS:   As far as I know this is your first time in the states?  What are your impressions thus far of the US?  So far you’ve stopped in Houston, Denver, and Detroit, what’s been your favorite stop so far?  Any crowds that have topped the crazy Belgians you spoke of in your AMA a few months back?
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It is!  I’ve been blown away by everything I’ve seen so far (and eaten), especially how polite people are over here.  We’ve had some great crowds already who know the classics as well as the new tracks which is really good.  It’s made the whole experience a lot more fun because I’m testing new tracks as well as playing my favourites.
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BWS:  Regarding the current state of file sharing and its obvious impacts on the artists records sales, what are your thoughts about people who argue that the artists make plenty of money touring and selling merchandise?  From your own experience, and from what you’ve seen with friends, does touring actually provide a realistic/sufficient income?
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It’s true that touring and playing gigs makes the artist the most money but I think as a whole, all areas of the industry are scratching their heads a little bit and trying to work out where the money is.  I’ve watched a lot of four-piece and five-piece bands have to give up playing and touring because it just costs so much, especially now that some venues are putting caps on selling merchandise.  For DJ’s its not so bad because you don’t need to take as many people or as much equipment but its still expensive for promoters.  None of us are millionaire rockstars.  We are just normal people, file sharing stops people like Distance from being able to put out new music and support new artists like myself, Sleeper or Razor Rekta.  Thats the real side of it.
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BWS:   If you collaborate on a tune with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
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I’ve been listening to a lot of drum and bass on the tour so far, I’d love to work Phace or Misanthrop.  I’m very fond of the level of detail that goes into their tracks.  Awesome producers.
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BWS:   What are your thoughts on being exclusively signed to a label, just as you are to Chestplate?  It seems to be something that is becoming more common of the late, what are some of the things that you find advantageous about artists sticking to one label?  Do you ever fear that it could potentially pigeonhole your sound or limit your exposure?  Or do you think that the ‘branding’ that comes along with that approach is more beneficial than hopping from label to label?
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I think it just looks better for all of us being part of a team together. we all have our sound and support each others tunes.  It will only pigeonhole us if we carry on churning out the same stuff which I don’t think there is any emphasis on.
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BWS:  What are you thoughts of the Los Angeles crew?
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Los Angeles was sick! Proper fun going back-to-back at the end with Distance and Tunnidge, thats the sort of thing that only people who were in the room at that time will be able to experience. vibes.
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BWS:  Can you let the readers know of anything as far as releases, tours, etc. to keep an eye out for?
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I’m currently looking at my next Chestplate release as well as a couple of remixes for when I get back home.  I have a collaborative track with Sleeper called ‘The Risk’ which will be out on Osiris just after Christmas I believe.
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BWS:   Who shot Biggie and Pac?
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Hologram 2Pac did it.
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Out to Dan for taking the time out of his schedule to answer these questions for us all!  Unfortunately he wasn’t able to record a mix for you guys due to a busy schedule but hopefully we can get one out of him in the near future 🙂  Be sure to stop by all District’s pages to show him some support if you’re feeling his sounds.  Be on the look for that Osiris release with Sleeper due out anytime now.  Below is a mix that was recorded a few months back as promo for his booking agency, so give it a listen if you haven’t already!  Still plenty of dubs inside!
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DISTRICT:
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CHESTPLATE:
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I’ll catch everybody next time around.  Got some new features coming to the website for 2013 so hold tight with the improvement massive.  Hope you guys have a dope New Year!
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One love.
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– Kinman

Truth – Evil In The Woods [Smog Records]

Following suit from the appreciation Shice noted in receiving amazing music from a local imprint, it was an amazing day when I received the promo’s for the latest EP from the Smog imprint, based out of Los Angeles.  These guys have been building a dubstep following in the Southern California area for 6 years now – one of the longest running dubstep collectives in the nation!  They’ve seen an evolution from vacant corporate offices and basements of art galleries, to several thousand capacity venues.  I have the utmost respect for what the label has built in my hometown.  Their 20th release couldn’t have been more well represented, than by Truth.  Truth has been on a massive scale global infiltration mission, pushing their sound into every region of the world.  Their fully immersed touring habits, unbelievably high output of music, and the sincere way in which they carry themselves and their values, have all culminated into a following that holds in the highest of places among underground music.  Seeing what they’ve done within 2012 alone makes me extremely excited for what 2013 will bring – especially since they are now officially California residents!

“Making their debut to the Smog label, TRUTH brings you something deep, dark and dangerous from this New Zealand duo. “Evil In The Woods” conjures up images of witch craft and black magic. This four track EP includes a unique collaboration with DATSIK that crosses his mechanical bass with that classic Truth sound.”

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Evil In The Woods ||

This is a track that was perfectly suited for its UKF hosting.  In my opinion, it’s the most aggressive track on the EP (yes, even more so than the Datsik collab).  The tune gets straight to the point with sweeping atmospheres and chords that stab their way through the background.  The square wave bass notes immediately tear through your speaker box as the beat drops into full effect, leaving your mind filled with thoughts of apocalyptic madness (or at least my mind).  This is definitely a track that’s meant to destroy dance floors worldwide.

All Over ||

This beat sees Truth hark back on a nostalgic journey through half-step grooves couple with the seemingly signature ability to process samples in a fashion that just cannot be matched.  From the elongated fade of a single note to the perfect choice in words to splice, Truth make use of their vocal samples in the most efficient way.  The variety of atmospherics, and alternating basslines drenched with delay show their face in every nook and cranny of the track – making it impossible to predict what you’re about to hear next.  Get ready for your soul to be swallowed by rupturing low-end frequencies.

No Chance ft. Datsik ||

This one caused some whispers prior to its preview being released!  It seems that as soon as some saw the name ‘Datsik’ included in the track name, they began to doubt the Truth.  I’m sure there are still some that claim to dislike this beat but, for the most part, I think people have to admit that this tune is an absolute riddim’.  I’ve heard a few Truth & Datsik collabs while having the pleasure of seeing Truth play out, and I’ve never once been dissatisfied.  In all honesty I think the robotic bass techniques, that Datsik is clearly endowed with, compliment Truths undeniable ability to blow your shirt back with bassweight.

Talking To Myself ||

Grabbing hold of your brain with LFO modulation and swinging high hats you’ll be instantly hooked.  With its neck-snapping snare hits and gritty bass horn, that would likely be used to signal roll call for modern day druids, this is an absolute anthem!  Sweeping pads build the energy between each segment of the song magnificently.  The delayed percussion that hits at the beginning of each bar, the filter mod’ing on what seems to be an arpeggiator, and feedback laced bass strikes all equate to a stomping rhythm that will bring charred witches up from their graves.

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BEATPORT || ITUNES

Follow Smog:  FACEBOOK || WEBSITE || SOUNDCLOUD

Follow Truth:  FACEBOOK || SOUNDCLOUD || TWITTER

That’s what I got for your bass bins today, folks.  Get out there and snag this EP up.  It’s a digital only release, so all the vinyl heads like myself, I recommend finding a reasonably priced cutter to get these to you on acetate.  It’s worth it, in my opinion.  Until next time.

To the gods.

-Kinman

Fresh Bits From Nanobyte, Dismantle, Indigo, and Core

Bless, familia!  We’re back with a handful of absolutely FIRE tunes for your ears today/tonight.  A little something for everybody’s palette.  Going to start things off nice and soulful and send you off with immense amounts of energy 🙂

First track that caught my eye today is one that is forthcoming on Innamind Recordings as part of the Nanobyte EP, due out this Friday, June 15th.  This bit, titled ‘Lost Time’, embraces a body-warming vocal sample that sets the stage perfectly for this ambient piece of art.  Beautifully placed high-hats groove into a kick that makes you think you’re heart is jumping out of your chest like you’ve just fallen madly in love.  Truly an amazing piece of music right here.  Have a listen.

Nanobyte – Lost Time (Forthcoming Innamind Recordings)

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Picking up the energy with next one!  Dismantle on the buttons with one of the sickest tunes I’ve heard this year.  Just screams get the f*ck up and dance!  Only have a clip, but I’m sure the tune progresses nicely throughout.  The snare on this tune along with the This one is forthcoming on Digital Soundboy alongside the rest of his EP, sometime in July.  I hope you’re ready to be filled with some of the most feel-good vibes circulating the airwaves!

Dismantle – Dots (Forthcoming Digital Soundboy)

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This next bit is one that’s forthcoming on Exit Records (EXIT042) from Indigo.  Some groove-ridden madness, the both of these tunes.  The A side, ‘Ayahuasca’, gets straight to the point with its intricate atmospherics and swinging basslines cutting out occasionally for the apocalyptic sounding vocals.  ‘The Root’ on the AA again displays masterful atmospheric placement but is a bit more on the tribal side, as far as percussion.  Indigo is definitely one to keep your eye!

Indigo – Ayahuasca / The Root

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To wrap things up for today I have a tune that somehow slipped under my radar late last month.  This one is from Core and titled ‘Vital Nerve’.  Core is definitely a man responsible for some of the heaviest and most powerful sounds I’ve heard.  The snare on this tune top-notch, the growling bass brings monsters out the closet, and the tunes overall dynamic is phenomenal.  Large respect out to Core for this one!

Core – Vital Nerve

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That’s what we got for your ears today fam, hope you’re feeling the vibes.  We got a big weekend ahead of us and hope all ya’ll will get amongst as well.  If you’re near Santa Barbara be sure to stop by Statemynt as Bassweight Society teams up with Santa Babylon to host Distal on Friday the 15th (event page here).  All the LA crew be sure to roll through Smog Sunday’s as the one and only Goth-Trad will be throwing down a set that I’m sure will be remembered for a long time to come (event page here.).  Smog is really on a role with the quality bassweight artists they are bringing through on the late.  Mad respect out to Drew, Kelly Dean, Emu, and the rest of the Smog family.  Until next time…

To the gods.

-Kinman

Bassweight Sessions 1: Kelly Dean

Kelly @ Smog Sunday’s w/ J:Kenzo (May 6, 2012)

Yo fam, what’s good?!  It’s already halfway through the week, which is a blessing in itself, so let’s start getting those vibes going that are going to bring us into the weekend.

Today we sit down with one of the many talented frontmen for the Los Angeles super-power, SMOG.  Kelly Dean has been involved with the inception of what is now one of the most well-rooted dubstep scenes in the US since, essentially, day one.  From underground art galleries to 5,000 person-sellout shows, Kelly has been amidst the evolution of Los Angeles dubstep.

While LA is largely associated with the aggressive, tear-out, and more commercially recognized styles of  bass, this man has managed to keep innovation going within the deeper side of the spectrum, adding his own creativity to the foundation sounds.  Alongside the SMOG family, Kelly has been bringing in some of the most highly respected figures in the deep scene, with the ‘Smog Sundays’ weekly.  I’ve made it out to as many as my life allows, and I have yet to be let down!  Much respect out to the crew for that!  Now, hopefully we can get some bassweight business going on a Friday or Saturday night, too 😉

Having racked up a sufficient amount of releases on labels like Sub Pressure, Gamma Audio, Shift Recordings, and Smog Records, to name a few, he is no stranger to the buttons.  Releasing drum and bass early on in his career but then switching his focus to dubstep in 08′, the man has definitely been on an upward path of production quality.  With his music receiving the remix treatment by Excision, Chewie, and the engineering mastermind, Von D, it should come as no surprise that his ascent has been steady.  Production aside, Kelly is also a man who has quality mixing skills, whether it be live or on two decks.  Caught his set before J:Kenzo last Sunday and he smashed it, flawlessly bringing in big tune after big tune, crossing between deep and soulful.

Anyways, let’s see what the LA badman has to say, shall we?

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What up Kelly!  First off thanks for the support with this interview.
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How have things with the SMOG family been on the late?  You guys have been bringing some killer performances the past couple months with your Smog Sunday’s; Seven, Noah D, Antiserum, J:Kenzo, and then you got Rustie and Goth-Trad all coming within the next couple months.  Respect!
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Yeah man the next few months are going to be great with all the deep artists coming through.  I’m really happy with the way things are going with SMOG here in LA.  There’s no place i’d rather be really!
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Any big things been going in the studio for you?  Your EP, ‘I Got You’, on Sublife Recordings hit the shelves on the 30th, anything else forthcoming that we should keep our eyes out for?
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Yeah the “I Got You” EP just dropped and I’m really happy to get that out.  That was one of the first tunes I made and really sat on that one for a long time.  Thankfully Lukeino with Sublife Recordings heard it and was interested in getting it out.  I really dig the remixes from Pawn and Lukeino!  As for other projects forthcoming, I have a “Easy Now” remix for Olie Bassweight and Werd 2 Jah that should be out very soon.  There’s a remix for did for Juakali’s “Standing Firm” that I haven’t got a confirmed date for just yet, but look out for that.   Also currently I’m wrapping up another EP, release info for that will be announced pretty soon.
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Seeing as you’ve been involved with the Los Angeles scene since it really formed into its own ‘scene’ (circa 07), what are your thoughts on the directions it’s gone, and where it is today?  Up until now we’ve only been able to get the perspective of producers that are only (for the most part) exposed to the US scene while on tour and such, so it will be nice to hear from someone who sees it at all times.
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The past 5 years have been crazy to say the least.  Back in 07 when I went to my first dubstep event it was a very small scene of people that were excited to hear a brand new form a music in a tiny club.  Flash forward to 2012 and there are sold out shows at legendary venues.  I don’t know any form of music that has gained that much popularity and acceptance that quickly.  There are so many directions the music has gone and that is mainly because there is so much potential in the eclectic directions you can take it. The amount of talent that comes through LA any given week is pretty incredible.  I don’t see myself leaving any time soon!
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What was the most memorable night that you have from LA’s dubstep history?  What makes it stand out that way?
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Well, its pretty hard to pinpoint one specific night.  There have been so many.  But there was a night at The Exchange in LA where Redbull hosted a culture clash with Smog, StonesThrow, Dim Mak and The Dub Club.  All 4 crews came together to battle each other in 15 minute rounds.  The vibe and excitement was thick!!  It came down to the wire between Smog and StonesThrow.  StonesThrow ended up winning the event in a very close call but it was amazing to have the acknowledgement for that status in LA.  For that we were pretty grateful and it made for a very special evening.  We also recently had a Smog vs Respect night at the House of Blues on Sunset.  We did it last year and both years have been very successful for a all local lineup.  LA is very supportive of its home players and that was also a very special event for us.
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Do you have any advice for producers that are looking to “come up” in the game?  Things to seek, things to avoid?
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I would say the biggest problem I see with producers trying to get noticed is trying to emulate popular artists.  This only makes it harder to get noticed because your style will sound common and wont have a unique brand to it.  Most label owners want to hear something new and exciting rather than something that will be stale in a month after release. Above all the most important thing is to have fun and try not to stress if you don’t hear back from labels.  Keep it moving, stay creative and have fun!  You can start up your own label and create your own brand now so there is always other options.
Considering the entire history of music, who is the one person that you would want to work with?  Dead or Alive (obviously).
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I’ve always been inspired by Danny Elfman’s work.  I think it would be challenging to try and score a film the way he does.  To lay down emotions behind scenes seems like such a fun project.  I also think Bonobo is a musical mastermind and would be honored to work with him.  So my dream collaboration would have to be working with those two on the same project.
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Who shot Biggie and Pac?
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Damn, thats a tough one.  I’d say it was all a cover up and both are sipping cocktails on a beach somewhere laughing at the whole Coachella hologram thing.  hahaha
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Wanna Big up anyone?
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Bigup to my Smog family, Lukeino at Sublife, Kial at Sub Pressure, Shift family in Seatle. Juakali and Olie Bassweight get massive shouts!  Bigup to eveyone who supports my music!  And finally Bigup to Bassweight Society for shedding light on deeper sounds across the globe!
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Again, a shout out to Kelly for his support with the interview!  I also want to shout out to SMOG for their dedication and deliverance to quality dubstep in California (and now spreading across the states!).
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Below you will find a mix that Kelly Dean uploaded for this feature from his live set on April 18, 2012, in support of Truth and Silkie.  This mix is jam-packed full of huge tunes!  A must listen.  Also, you will find links directing you to his Soundcloud, Facebook, and artist profile on the SMOG page.  Be sure to check them out and support the artist by purchasing his music!  Show the SMOG family some love too by stopping by their Facebook and dropping a line.
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That’s it for today!
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To the gods.
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-Kinman