Their collaboration 'So Long' is a highlight of Technique's latest summer compilation
Technique Recordings should need no introduction. Drumsound and Bassline Smith have been at the forefront of drum & bass since the early jungle days, and their Technique label has been smashing out fantastic releases since its inception in 1999.
Their summer compilation for this year, Technique Summer 2017, is no exception to this well-established rule. You must have been living under a rock to have not heard Document One's funk-infused Uh-Huh, and the rest of the album covers a fantastic spread of gritty, soulful and jungle-influenced D&B.
This week, iDJ magazine spoke to two rising stars of drum & bass, Polaris and Schematic, whose collaborative track So Long is another highlight of the album. Having both released previously on Technique, we thought it was about time we caught up with them and found out what the deal was with their input on this compilation and what the future holds for them both...
So, for readers who may not know of you yet, where you do you guys come from and how long have you been making D&B?
Polaris: "I was born and raised in the capital of Romania, Bucharest, but moved here to Canada in 1999. I'd say I've been making drum and bass since 2010 or so."
Schematic: "Originally I’m from Ottawa, and I started making some really rough tunes while I was still living there in my teens, so going on 10 years ago. Now I’m living in Toronto, which is where I met Polaris."
So Long has some great old school dancefloor liquid vibes to it. Who are your main influences?
P: "Recently I've really been digging the Nu:Tone stuff, Hugh Hardie, GLXY, Calibre, Smooth... it's basically all over the map for me with liquid and the more dance-y style of drum & bass, but those guys have been playing on my phone for the past month or so. Also the fokuz recordings podcasts have some really great stuff in there, from Silence Groove to Malaky. Plus I always find myself going back to things like Bukem, Technimatic, Goldie, SPY and Dilinja."
S: "All of the artists Polaris mentioned are definitely at the top of my list, but I’ll add Random Movement and Break as two more major influences for me. I really like the spot where techy and soulful collide and just start rolling."
How did the track end up on the Technique compilation?
P: "Since the last release we had on Technique, we've just been sending tunes to Bassline Smith as we made or finished them pretty much, and this was the one that he really enjoyed. The rest is history!"
Do you have any plans to do any more collaborations?
P: "Yeah, we have a couple of things finished up and a few things currently in the works."
S: "Definitely. I’m not very good at collaborating with people, I find it very difficult to get a vibe or workflow going with other producers that doesn’t feel too forced, but for some reason with Polaris things flow really naturally when we work together. Many more from us to come!"
Polaris, you have previous releases with Technique; how did that come about?
P: "Initially i was just shopping around my tunes to any label that would take them. I remember coming across Technique Recordings through Google somehow and I got contacted by Bassline Smith the next day. We actually ended up having a Skype meeting a few days after, talked about the tunes I had sent him. He was really into them so he decided to throw some on the Technique Summer 2016 album".
S: "Actually, we both had a couple of collaborations on last year’s Summer compilation, and have kept it going with even more on this year’s. Hopefully there'll be more again next year!"
Also, I hear that there will be some material coming out on Hospital. Can you reveal anything more specific about that?
P: "I can't really give away too much, unfortunately, but something is coming really soon. So keep an eye on my Facebook page!"
Any gigs lined up in the near future where readers could come and see you guys perform?
P: "Currently I have a gig coming up in September with Mob Tactics, in November I will be playing with Andy C, and then New Year's Eve... these are the ones I know of so far. But gigs always pop up at random times, so the best thing to do is follow me on Facebook as I post all upcoming gigs on there.
"I also have a motley crew of long-time friends, and we throw these bush parties randomly throughout the summer. It's basically a word-of-mouth invitation: you can only receive an invitation from someone that knows about it and that's when you would get directions, time, date, etc. We've been doing these for a few years now."
S: "A few, but unfortunately I can’t really talk about them yet until all the details are ironed out. Keep an eye on my Facebook page for updates."
What producers/labels are you feeling at the moment?
P: "Goldie's new album is a MUST - absolutely phenomenal! Labels? Hospital has been on some serious shiz lately. Fokuz Recordings is my next go-to, and Technique Recordings are super-versatile with their releases so you can literally find any vibe you're feeling, and I love that about the label. My friend Gremlinz' label UVB puts out really dope stuff as well. There's just so much good drum & bass out there right now."
S: "Again I’ve got to agree with Polaris’ picks - we’re into a lot of the same stuff. Just got a promo in my inbox from The Dreamers Recordings where every single track was on point, so I’ll be watching them more closely from now on.
"That said, I don’t tend to play favourites. I’m one of those people that goes through every single new release each week and if I like what I hear it ends up in my cart. I love finding new artists and labels putting out quality music."
Any advice for aspiring producers out there?
P: "The No 1 reason I believe I've gotten as far as I have today in music is because of my perseverance. It is SO vital and so important to keep pushing yourself. Push yourself to write outside of your comfort zone, to collaborate, to listen to completely polar opposite styles of music, let yourself get inspired by that and educate yourself on music in general. I'd say just do not hold back. Finish up that track and start sending it to labels - don't think that it's not good enough or not ready, because truth be told, to the person making the content it'll never truly feel ready! You gotta not be shy, and let the music speak for itself."
S: "Do your thing. Don’t pay too much attention to what other people want to hear from you or think you should make, just do what feels right to you and make music that makes you excited. Everything else will follow. Don’t get caught up in the endless industry politics or drama, just put in the work doing what you do, crafting your unique sound, and pushing it out there for people to hear.
"Also, something that bugs me a lot - I’m a little biased here, because my main employment is as a mastering engineer - is the mindset within electronic music that everything from start to finish has to be done yourself. That mindset doesn’t exist in any other genre of music: in other genres writers write, producers produce and engineers engineer. There’s nothing wrong with doing things to the best of your capability, and then getting a professional involved to take it a step further. Not only that but you will 100 per cent learn from that process, too. It will help you improve your own skills so that down the road you can do things all yourself, at a higher level, if that’s what you really want to do."
Words: Altered Perception
Schematic & Polaris's So Long is available on Technique Summer 2017, which is out now on Technique Recordings