Meet the man behind 'Emulation', which won the Best Album gong at the recent Drum & Bass Arena Awards 2015
design from the bowels of Beelzebub himself, arrangements sprung with
so much energy and suspense they could power a small hamlet until
2105, an abundance of fresh creative perspectives... the darker,
techier, neuro frontier of drum & bass is enjoying one of its
most fertile, creative chapters in years.
are many factors to thank for this shift. Key labels such as
Critical, Neosignal, Invisible, Blackout and Eatbrain have been
supplying us with a consistent slew of uncompromising releases from
key players and characters who haven’t so much as moved on from
D&B’s moody cliche but deleted it from recent history. The
phenomenon that is Noisia, the politically charged Phace &
Misanthrop, the far-out sci-fi conceptualist Billain, the aggressive
Yorkshireman Emperor. And the dystopian, nail-biting drama of one
25-year-old Austrian named Mefjus.
man driven by creating and designing every single sound in his
production, at points he sounds like he’s forescored the inevitable
cyborg invasion, at others he distils the essence of paranoia in one
detuned sheet-metal bass riff.
all times, he’s unstoppable. And right now he’s the toast of the
drum & bass community.
example: the Drum & Bass Arena Awards 2012 scored him Best
Newcomer Producer. This year's ceremony saw him nominated for an unprecedented six
trophies: Best Producer, Best Video, Best Remix, Best DJ, Best Track
and Best Album. On the night he walked away with Best Album for his
debut Emulation which was actually released in 2014.
the heat from his latest Neosignal EP Blitz gradually cools
from lightning to lava, we called him up in his countryside studio in
Linz to chat albums, samples and the importance of progress...
was weird! I thought ‘Okay, it’s probably the remix’, that’s
been a big tune. But to win Best Album? Amazing! When you spent a
year of your life working on something, it’s nice to have that
recognition. Especially as the album summed up the years before that
time: quitting my job, going professional and working very hard to
get there. The record represented my life in drum & bass to that
point. It was very personal."
makes a perfect album for you?
the Noisia guys said on their radio show really struck me. Nik was
playing one of my album tracks and he said he enjoyed the record
because it’s a balance between listening and playing on the
dancefloor. That was important for me, to have the listening and
DJing experience. So that, for me, is essential for any album. But
it’s not always easy to execute. Especially in drum & bass.
It’s all subjective: some people love listening to the balls-out
hard stuff outside of the club, other people don’t."
think it’s the human elements in your music that translate to
non-club listening. Little cheeky end-of-track hip-hop samples and
one-word spoken shots. They’re signatures of yours.
"Yeah, some people are good at writing beats that you can
understand the title just from listening. I have to include literal
links to make my point. Little Gangstarr, Guru, ODB samples... that’s
what I grew up on. I’m paying homage to my heroes. I love the
little vocal elements, too: the most common frequency we hear every
day. Human speech is soothing to the ear so a vocal makes a track
nice to listen to. It’s a kind psycho-acoustic thing."
love the absurdity of Bang Bang… it sounds like you and Phace were just having fun in the studio.
"Yeah, totally. When we get together we say ‘let’s make something
weird’. We’ve both been making rollers on our own and don’t
need to prove anything on that front. So our tunes together are
usually a little weirder or far out. I’m glad you can hear us
taking the piss. Having a serious relationship with music is
important but we’re here to have fun!"
& bass is developing more of a sense of humour, and the old
cliché of moodiness is fading. Discuss.
Sonically, too… when I got into it, it was all very dark and
serious. Now we’re all aware that if we play on similar line-ups we
can’t all sound the same. Boring! So the weirder, stranger, funnier
tunes are a great way of breaking up the set."
up: has your recent win motivated you on the album front?
trying to find a new 'missing link'. I’m revisiting some production
techniques and seeing how I can develop them. Emulate was
Mefjus 1.0. The next album has to be Mefjus 2.0. I won’t even
consider it until I’ve found the missing link. I have to have a
proper idea in my head and for that I’m always learning... I need
to update myself!"
Blitz EP is out now on Neosignal