We have a chat with New Zealand’s own Borderline as he gears up for the release of his debut album Flashes of the Future dropping May 12 on State Of Mind Music. The release, along with his first European tour following it, marks a huge turning point for the up-and-coming producer and, by the sound of things, audiences are in for a treat.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! First off, give us a little introduction: How did you first get into drum & bass? What/who were some of your musical influences when you were first starting out?
I’m Rich aka Borderline, currently based out of New Zealand. I just started out with a bunch friends all having fun listening and trying to DJ our favourite tunes. At the time and still to still day I was taken aback by Gridlok, TeeBee & the Project 51 / Subtitles style which has influenced me a lot.
How do you think your style has changed over the years? Where do you get your musical inspiration from now?
Yeah, I definitely think my style has changed over the years, but I think that’s due to wanting to try different skill sets and listening to different styles of music. My inspiration still generates from learning different combinations, I think that’s what makes music interesting.
Your first single “Colossus” off your new album dropped in March. The three tracks are futuristic and heavy-hitting, but at the same time grounded and balanced (with the female vocal on “Feelings”). Describe your creative process with the tracks a bit, including how you decided on those three to release first.
The track with SOM happened so quickly I was only in town for one day, and the three of us we were all on the same wave length, which made it easy. The idea is that it’s really just a taste of all our pallets combined.
‘Feelings’ was a great tune to work on, Bailey has true talent. I was introduced to her through a friend, and after sending a little clip of what I had, she wrote the lyrics. Then it was a matter of finishing the idea around the nice vocals, while giving them some room to do their thing.
Colossus was just something that happened exactly how you hear it. I wanted nasty and gritty, and somehow that happened naturally. The three tunes really showcase how the album is— it’s not all bangers or all soft, so choosing these first really highlighted that.
The response has been really good. The first single made the top five on Beatport’s drum & bass release charts. Equally I think they all got great responses.
Tell us a bit about the sound of the second single to drop off the LP “Synthetic Man VIP”. How do you think the two tracks tie together?
The sound of the second single is completely different in its own way. It’s still very much ‘Borderline,’ but we wanted to showcase the diversity the album has without giving too much away.
Tell us more about the process of putting together the “Flashes of the Future” album. In general, what has been the most difficult part for you so far?
I tried to make every tune completely different from the next, even breaking into some different tempos and working with some cool vocalists. The album as a whole has been pretty challenging, being my debut. I really underestimated the smaller things besides the music that are involved.
Have you been experimenting with any new styles or sounds as of late? What will make this album fresh and exciting for those who are familiar with your work?
I’ve been working away at a few half-time projects, ones on the album. Mostly I’m still very much excited about DnB like the first day I started. I do find it hard to stray from that genre, and I think people will notice a big difference with my latest projects. I didn’t release many singles last year, so I feel my sound has grown a lot since doing the album.
You’ve had quite a few releases on SOM over the years. Describe your relationship with the label and what you enjoy about working with them.
Yeah, I’ve had a few now. I had always bought SOM tunes so I thought I’d just keep sending them my stuff. Since then we’ve become friends and I take it they like my music. The guys are pretty straight up and honest— that’s why I like working with them. Not to mention the label stands its own ground in the DnB circle.
SOM Music is also based out of Auckland. Do you think that New Zealand is pushing a distinctive style of drum & bass? What do you think sets the scene apart from other places?
I definitely believe NZ has set its mark with its own type of sound. Concord Dawn, State of Mind, and The Upbeats all had a big part in shaping that. And I think a lot of producers here are inspired by them and look up to those guys and their tunes in some light. Everyone is willing to help each other out down here as well. Maybe that’s our secret.
What’s been an experience that’s stood out to you so far in your career?
Where do I start? There have been so many good moments they all blend into one. I’ve played some amazing festivals over the years and got to hang out with some pretty cool people, I’m just blessed to be apart of the culture and enjoying writing music. Releasing it for everyone else to hear is an added bonus.
Other than the release of Flashes of the Future, what else do you have planned for 2014?
Lots more music I hope. Definitely more drum and bass, but also some experimental stuff. I have a few singles ready to go on Redlight, Project 51 & Trendkill after the album drops, which I can’t wait to share.