When it comes to drum & bass labels there are none much bigger than the mighty RAM Records… and from a production perspective accolades certainly don’t come much higher than a personal invite to produce exclusively for the label from the head of Ram itself, Andy C.
Basher is one of the industry’s new breeds; a huge figure both in person and musically, rapidly building his status amongst some of the most technically advanced producers to hit the scene in recent years. It only takes a quick listen to the recent outings on Frequency, Biometrix and Vigilante and his remix of EZ Rollers’ Here I Am to hear why Basher has risen through the ranks.
But Basher’s success hasn’t just been handed on a plate or is down to chance or luck, we spoke to him to find out more…
You’ve been in the D&B game for a while now, but for those that don’t know you, give us a quick rundown of your history within the scene…
I’ve been mixing since I was 12-years-old after getting into it from pirate radio stations like Mission and Dream. I’ve been producing since I was 21 and I’m now 27. I got signed in 2006 with Leachcraft and I was invited into the Ram Camp by sending a demo off to Andy.
You held off putting out tunes for a while, was there any reason for that?
I just wanted to make sure that I was 100% good enough, when I get sent demos from people if they are not up to standard I never listen to their stuff again and I didn’t want label bosses to do the same with me.
And how did the whole RAM / Frequency thing come about?
It was Danny Wheeler and Rob from Pendulum that told me to send out my stuff to labels. After bugging them for a while, they gave me good feedback on a track I made (Leachcraft) so I sent it to the top labels and later that day I had Andy C on the phone!
How does it feel sitting alongside label mates like Sub Focus, Andy, Xample… does it put added pressure on your production?
It’s very cool to have then guys as label mates and it defo adds pressure as most of them have broken through and are big names and I’m still to do that. However it also keeps me wanting to push my boundaries in terms of production so it’s definitely a good thing.
What studio set up are you rockin’ right now?
I have two studios; one at home and one in a building I rent. I mainly write at home and use the studio HQ for mixing down. Both studios have Macs with Logic Pro 9, I use a Virus TI synth for bass and a bunch of software plug-ins. Right now I’m really feeling the T-Racks plug-ins, they are great and definitely worth checking out.
What’s the typical process for a Basher tune start to finish?
I always start with drums, I think if you’ve got your drums sounding great half the battle is won. Then I usually move onto bass but I will normally spend time just making sounds as opposed to complete tunes themselves, this allows me to build up my pallet and have plenty to work with before I even start. Once I have done this I’ll go to studio HQ and finish version one of a track, then take it out and test it in a club and keep going over it ’til I’m happy. Also the label is usually very involved in the tracks and I will send versions back and forth to them and get their views and feedback.
Any secrets you’re willing to share?
Andy C is a robot, I’ve seen him change his batteries!
What tunes yourself do you look to for inspiration and what artists are you feeling at the mo?
I know it’s a bit lame, but I don’t listen to much outside D&B so I draw most my inspiration from the scene. One of my fave producers is Inside Info he’s sick! I have played everything he’s sent over for the last three years and I’m also really feeling Ulterior Motive, all the Ram Crew (of course!), Calyx & TeeBee, Sigma, Noisia and everyone else who makes sick stuff!
What three D&B tunes work the most for you and why?
Ulterior Motive – Infrasonic because the bass rocks. Noisia – Deception because the bass rocks. Inside Info – Bit Rhythm because the bass rocks… and it’s great for teasing in old classics over!
You came under fire recently on an internet forum for people hating for CD DJing, is there anything you want to say here to squash the whole thing?
I don’t actually think it’s a big issue to most people. 98% of the D&B scene use a CDJ in their set at some point, it just seems to be a handful of bedroom DJs on forums that think unless you use anything but 1210s you’re somehow not doing it right or selling out.
In my opinion a DJ should be able to use whatever they want without being questioned if it works for them. Personally I loved 1210s and the last thing I wanted was to move to a new format after spending over 50K on records over the years. However when I got signed and started getting more bookings and regular gigs I had to make that change as cutting dubs was not an option for me, I did try other options like Serato but they let me down so I opted for CDJs.
I now love DJing from CDs and find it lets me push my sets more than a 1210 ever could. I can fit 160 minutes of music on 2 CDs and also edit and loop songs which enables me to do faster and more diverse mixing. I will always love Technics 1210s and might even do the odd set off them for old times sake. I just think D&B DJing requires that bit more from a DJ now and a single pair of Technics just can’t deliver enough any more with so much other stuff available to DJs, hence why most vinyl DJs now use three decks to get that extra pace in their sets.
The only thing I have a problem with are DJs who are pretending to mix while using premixed CDs, other than that a DJ should be able to do what they like to rock a crowd, as I always will do…
What can we expect from you in 2010?
I have another release on Frequency, a 12″ on TeeBee’s Subtitles label and also a track on Sudden Def called Roc Ay Sole… so watch out for them!
Inside Info – Bit Rhythm >>>> Lomax – Artisan
Basher – Airtime
Noisia – Deception
Calyx & TeeBee – Own The Night
Lomax – Jungle FX
Ulterior Motive – Feather Weight
Gridlok – Origin
NC-17 – Slug Path
Basher – Biometrix
Bladerunner – Mercenary Dub
Sub Focus – Deep Space
DC Breaks – 7th Heaven >>>> Moving Fusion – Turbulence
Sparfunk – Crash Test Dummy
Interface – Get Lo
Hamilton – Send Em To Hell
Dirtyphonics – Teleportation >>>> Ed Rush & Optical – Chubrub
Sub Focus – Could This Be Real D&B remix >>>> Dillinja – Friday