We had a chat with Arkaik this week to find out what we can expect from the launch party, how his EP came together, and what he keeps on his shelf. Make sure to grab his promo mix at the bottom of the page!
It’s your EP release party on 9 May and everyone’s invited, what can the crowd expect from the event and, in particular, your set?
The crowd can expect some random drum & bass, pushing on the edges of what we know as drum & bass today! From the four different music artists playing (plus extra in the b2b) we got Maouq, who I’m sure will be providing us with some stripped back rolling, liquid vibes. Dexta will be playing the best in all the new experimental half time funk.
Coma who hopefully will be going down the techier route, and myself, my set will be focusing on the future of drum and bass and where the minimal route could go, there will be a lot of half time vibes and experimental sounds. I’ve been collecting some gems for this set!
‘The Hustle EP’ is out very soon. What is the story behind each track on the release?
The EP came together over a period of about six months; with the track selection I wanted to push the sort of sound I really appreciate at the moment. The title track The Hustle is about the music industry really and trying to survive in life. I was in a pretty dark place when I was making this tune (think the lights in the studio had broke).
Babylon Dub was inspired by the hip-hop music I was writing at the time, and the big bass halftime tracks that have been released recently. I live next-door to a reggae DJ and he said if he didn’t like the bassline he would knock on the wall once and if he liked the bassline he would knock twice, that track got two knocks!
One Last Time was written at Dexta’s Lab, and this all came together round the lush stabs & the vocals; the rest of the track kind of wrote itself. Heat Seeker I started writing at mine, went over Coma’s studio and it came together really well.
Some of the strongest elements in your music are the drums. Do you spend a lot of time on the mixing and arrangement of percussion in your productions?
Thanks for saying my drums are my strongest element; I spend a lot of time thinking about drum patterns and how I can arrange them differently. A lot of the time when I make drums I’ll go in with the idea of putting in a lot more kicks, snares, hi-hats etc. Then strip them back, then perhaps add in some more percussion then strip back again, and continue this process till you hopefully end up with a nice groove.
You’ve proven you can make a hip-hop track in 24 hours with this recent production. When you’re not under a time limit, how long does it take for your ideas to materialise?
When making this hip hop track I was forced to make it within 24 hours, and making me do this has taught me to get your ideas out fast. Normally a track takes me around 6-8 hours to get the idea down and then I would go back in add more FX and polish up all the sounds/ideas. Finally I would sort the mix down, which can take quite a while to sort out.
I think getting your ideas down fast is important so that you’re in the same mind-set/mood when making the track, so you don’t end up going on a tangent and changing your original idea.
In the past you’ve mentioned how your approach to making music is ‘forward-thinking’. What do you do to ensure your music is always sounding fresh?
I try to make my music sound fresh by going out in London to a lot of underground club nights to try and keep on what is the forefront of the scene. I’m lucky enough to have good friends who are around and I constantly throw music and ideas back and forth to see if people like it or if it has ‘vibes’.
After you’ve expended all your energy at Cafe 1001, what are the other main events on your 2014 calendar?
Well, I’m gonna have to have a lie down for a good week just to recuperate after the 1001 gig. After that I will be playing at UltraClean in Guildford on 23 May, which I’m really looking forward to, wicked line up (Ant TC1, Fathom Audio, Synergy, Hyroglifics, Arkaik & Cursed).
After that, I’m down at the Diffrent Music ‘Summer Jam’ on 13 June at Plan B, Brixton. On 14 June I will be playing in Holland somewhere, don’t quite know all the details yet but sounds fun.
Also, if you haven’t seen me play out by then I will be playing at Outlook Festival in Croatia in September.
As well as events, what new music can we expect from you this year?
There’s a secret weapon with Coma & Mtwn coming later in the year on Mtwn’s forthcoming Diffrent Music EP. Also, there will be a few cheeky collabs popping up here and there!
As well as this I’m working on a cheeky remix for Pennygiles, which will be out on IM:LTD. I’ve also done a remix for Dekko that will be out on Flexout Audio.