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META015 Creation talks
Mako, Villem and DLR talk us through how they worked together on their collaboration ‘Hungry For Atmosphere’ [META015] which can be ordered from the Headz store HERE
Ant TC1 was MIA for this (well, actually he was taking a well-deserved break) so the guys kindly answered on his behalf. It’s interesting to read the different answers they give. It shows you how a multi-person project can be streamlined into one complete track.
(DISCLAIMER: Some of what you read below maybe true and some of what you read may not be. It’s up to you to work it what is and what is not)
Talk us through how you guys linked together for the collab, Were you in one studio or did you bounce it back and forth?
Mako: I got involved with Ant & Dispatch when DLR and I worked on the 'Back and Forth' remix. It was a good vibe so we arranged for another session. Villem happened to be around when the next date was set so we did a 4 way and made 'Hungry for Atmosphere'
Villem: We all were in Mako’s studio in Bristol, it’s a melting pot of like- minded people and sounds great in there. It’s a big room with high ceilings and lots of acoustic treatment with outboard synths to play with.
DLR: I’m not a big believer of bouncing stuff back and forth, It can cause a lot of misunderstanding and confusion. Also I definitely am a big believer in enjoying studio sessions with other like minded people so we can experience some of those old school face to face, real life, non internet, vibe sessions. To break it down as it may be a little confusing in this day and age, we all actually got together in a room, which luckily was a studio, Mako’s studio to be precise, we then all hung around for days sleeping anywhere we could, living in the dark, with the usual Mako studio phone reception issue, which meant we were separated from the world, with 2 cats, some aromatherapy oils, a vapourizer, some supreme vibes and Ant TC1. I am keen to be enjoying real life relationships, vibing off of each other, creating something in a moment of inspiration, and then working hard to perfect it, to then go back to the real World to realise you’ve not spoken to your missus for 4 days whilst also leaving a roof window open and it’s absolutely shit it down
The track feels like a journey, what ideas did you employ to keep it interesting throughout the whole track?
Mako: Well it flowed naturally really rather than concrete ideas. We as producers do not want things to become stale in a track we write. At the same time it needs to be balanced with not making the track too busy and hectic. The actual arrangement - a gentle intro with chords moving way to a subby drop, moving way for a darker bass drop into a musical breakdown, is quite a classic way of doing a longer tune. It makes sense in the 'journey' of things.
Villem: Lots of reverb automation and bass womps fed through outboard synths to give it a unique edge on the distortion, all recorded back in and layered up into Logic. Journey wise we were checking out Photek and all agreed these triangle patterns were sick so we wanting something similar. Then came some warm chords, and we then wanted to bring it up to date with the switch into the bass flexing.
DLR: Can be kind of common that a big collaboration track like this can end up with a lot of idea’s, infact the tough part is making everybody believe that my idea’s are great and theirs are shit, therefore making the tune that I want to make, as that is what is most important. When I work with Mako, we enjoy the vibe a lot, and definitely with this project, we all were just enjoying writing a piece of music, we made conscious choices to try and use rhode’s chords to give the track a deep soul feel, but we also were keen on switching the track into a monster, but to be fair that came after we discovered a nice death horn, and also a few more despicable basses whilst playing around with the Supernova II, searching for ideas and progression in the track. There was a moment where we stalled a little, but that is common with writing basslines, especially for me, as I never want it to be uninventive and stagnant, always about pushing for new boundaries and idea’s that were never even considered in the first place. Generally the use of synthesis and resampling in the track was key, this was done with pads, basses and any sound we created, if we wanted to advance it to create something that caught the listeners attention. In the musical switch of the track, we played around with looping pads and creating this suspense to drop into the filth of the main drop halfway through the first half of the tune. Then by that point when we had smashed out some dirty supernova bass action all the way through to the breakdown, the scene was set up for someone like Theo Parish to drop into the studio on his day off to record a totally individual vocal sample summing up the complete intentions of the track we had nearly finished writing… lucky he was just in Bristol having Breakfast at Rosemarino’s in Clifton so it was all so easy!.... Thing is the recording quality was terrible, but incredibly we found an identical speech that he’d done as a student lecture, available on youtube, lucky eh?
V: Lots of reverb automation and bass womps fed through outboard synths to give it a unique edge on the distortion, all recorded back in and layered up into Logic. Journey wise we were checking out Photek and all agreed these triangle patterns were sick so we wanting something similar. Then came some warm chords, and we then wanted to bring it up to date with the switch into the bass flexing.
What did you want to convey with the track and how do you think you went about achieving this?
M: There was an idea when we were playing with a Theo Parish vocal about wanting to represent the idea of originality in music, or at least, a break from the norm. We come from an era of 8 minute long tunes with epic paddy intros and 4 different drops, a far cry from most music you'll hear on dance floors these days. The journey element has been replaced by DJ's who want to play 60 minutes of high energy flavours. We came together and did something that encapsulates our stance and hope people want to play it in the dance too.
DLR: Personally myself, I don’t really have many feeling’s on what I want to convey in a piece of music, I feel that this is kinda like a question I was asked in my A-level music tech exam, I found it hard to answer then, and harder to answer now… I try not to set myself up with too many expectations, and enjoy writing music by enjoying the moment, and the vibe at the time and seeing what come’s from that, then all of a sudden you start to hear different feelings and idea’s jump out at you, so then I try to consolidate those feelings and idea’s but never doing it a conscious way, just enjoying what I have done for so many years, but still loving learning about new things along the way, and looking forward to what is always inevitably a surprise outcome when doing a ‘supercollab’.. I’ve learnt over the years to lower expectations when collaborating, and enjoying the moment, then seeing what comes from the moment.
V: Warmth, bass, vibes, atmosphere, moody, old vibes but new standards, see above and below!
The track really stands out in terms of atmospheric/ soulful vibe how did you achieve this?
Villem: Well it has samples that are from organic sources like sampling off of records, but with a lot of processing to get it to sound next level and not just a look back to mid 90s. Its got that vibe but we’ve added a lot of texture along with spending time on getting the sound fat and warm with no harsh plastic frequencies.
Mako: It balances dark bass tones with chordal frequencies and vocals, all being driven by a snappy yet non aggressive break. There's no harsh pain in the top mids and its generally quite a 'round sound' rather than too spiky, all adding to a soul rather than rock edge. We all like sub bass too and generally that helps the soulful feel of a track.
DLR: Used a sample CD that TC1 gave us called ‘the complete atmospheric soulful vibe’ sample pack, compiled by a guy he know’s called amoss (not the dnb artist), and his mate ballbag’s who is usually hanging around gave him a hand on the technicals, due to Amoss having paws not hands, therefore incapable of using a computer. Anyways I digress, cutting a long story short, that one stop sample pack really was a drag and drop dream, thank god really! Meant we only had to spend 3hrs max in the studio altogether, rest of the days were spent dossing about, getting high and sleeping.