Get to know Cold Fusion, label manager and resident DJ for Renegade Hardware, and download his exclusive mix.
Where are you from and to what extent would you say this influences your music?
I’m born & raised in London. I would say at least on a subconscious level my location has had an influence over the years. The London/UK scene has always been very central to drum & bass and being in the thick of it, exposes you to unrivalled levels of music and artists.
Particularly within a club environment, which drum & bass is focused on. So in that respect it’s been pretty influential, as it has presented opportunities that I wouldn’t have had anywhere else in the world. You get to hear the very best the scene has to offer, week in, week out. Exposing you to the latest music 24/7. Sometimes you need to remind yourself that’s a pretty special place to be.
When did you first try your hand at DJing and producing?
I started DJing back around 2000. I suppose it’s just that natural progression that many people can relate to; starting out going to clubs and wanting to get behind the decks themselves.
In terms of production it’s something I’ve been involved in for several years now again as part of the next progression from DJing. Juggling the label and other commitments means I’ve never really dedicated the time to it that I would like unfortunately. But I’m planning on changing that going into next year.
How would you describe your approach to making music?
In a word, erratic! Depending on my schedule I may be working on music regularly for a couple of weeks, then not get the chance to work on anything for a month or more. So it’s less than ideal. It’s easy to lose flow and focus. You have to be in the right mind-set to create music and it can be difficult to focus on it with so much else going on.
That’s where I find collaborating can help move things forward. It pushes you to set studio time aside and focus at the task in hand. I also find it a more natural way of making music to be honest.
I used to be in a couple of bands during my school days and that interaction with other people musically has always made more sense to me. I can sit in front of a computer on my own for hours tweaking into infinity like most people but it can feel a bit sterile to me and it’s easy to get stuck in a loop pontificating minor details when while working with others you can push each other on and progress more.
What’s your studio setup like?
At the moment it’s bare bones. Just an iMac running Logic and the usual suspects of plug-ins.
The main thing I’ve changed lately is my method of monitoring, which is now predominantly via Audeze LCD2 Headphones and a Subpac. If you’re restricted by noise levels/neighbours this set up is such a game changer! It’s much less restrictive and you can get a real sense of clarity and a better understanding of what’s going on with the bass.
Room acoustics are a thing of that past, and so are noise complaints. I’ve had the associated problems that come with having monitors in a residential environment like many people and this completely solves that. It’s also great for A&Ring tunes in the middle of the night, which is when, for some reason most of my demo checking gets done.
Give us an insight into what being label manager for Renegade Hardware involves…
I’m pretty hands on with how I work and, as a result, I’m involved in pretty much every aspect of the label’s output. You have to be a bit of a jack-of-all-trades these days to run a label, especially at a relatively small one like Hardware.
Handling social network admin, A&Ring, commissioning/proofing artwork, arranging mastering, checking test presses, compiling the release schedule, scouting new artists, metadata management, developing & stocking the merchandise range, updating the website, liaising with artists and PR, licensing, accounts. It’s an endless list and pretty admin heavy in reality. But there’s always something to be done so it keeps things interesting, and very busy!
Your most recent release was a Void, collaboration with Optiv and BTK, how did that come about?
Myself, Edd & Vini had started a few projects together over the last year or so, when the guys have been around and we thought it was time one of them saw a release. Void was really the standout track of the bunch. I’m sure we’ll get together again on a track pretty soon.
You’ve also collaborated with Stealth who is now signed to Ram, what was it like working with him?
I would say Ali Stealth was one of the main people who really got me into production properly. We’ve worked together on and off for years now and he’s shown me a lot in that period. Every time I work with him he floors me with his dedication and eye for detail. I’ve lost count of the amount of the times we’ve worked on something all night into the next day to the point of falling asleep at the computer.
It’s a testament to his hard work and dedication that he’s now really established himself as one of the brightest new stars in d&b today. The guy really knows his craft.
Got any other releases / remixes in the pipeline we should look out for?
There’s a new bit with Stealth that should be coming out on his album on ProgRam later this year, you can hear a little preview of it in the mix.
What else have you been working on in the studio recently?
I’m currently working on some new material with Ink and, of course Stealth. Hopefully Maztek and I will get together in the near future too as we’ve talked about doing that for a little while now.
Are you making any other styles of music apart from drum & bass?
No, not at the moment, drum & bass is my main focus. I’ve dabbled with ideas but it’s not something I’ve dedicated any real time to in all honesty.
Tell us a bit more about the mix you are giving away with us and how you went about selecting the tracks for it…
For me a mix is all about the flow and structure. Not only how the tracks sound on their own but also how they interact with each other and shift the soundscape through different moods. I wanted to showcase some forthcoming Hardware tracks, some of my own material as well as other tunes that I’m into at the moment, both old and new.
I take a slightly different perspective to studio mixes when I compile the track list as you can cater to the club and the home listener. So the track selection reflects that. It features a lot of new artists, whom I feel deserve more exposure as well as a good slice of established artists who I admire. It’s not just 100% dancefloor, though it inevitably focuses predominantly around that sound, as it’s what I like to play. But it has its deeper moments too.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a studio mix so thought it’s about time. With the Hardware podcasts you’re hosting the mix with a voice over, and with live club recordings you’ve usually got an MC too so this is just straight up music.
What’s the best gig you played in the last six months?
Hardware at Electric really stood out for me. It’s such a different platform for the label and for us to be one of the first dnb nights to go in there and make it work during a period when the London club scene is arguably in a pretty bad way venue wise, is great.
Everything from the sound set-up to the management and staff is spot on. Can’t fault the place, and it has such a good vibe in there. It manages to provide a bigger platform to showcase what we do but yet still retains a level of intimacy, which is important to us.
Glastonbury this summer was also an experience, as it was my first time playing there. I’d been to the festival about ten years ago and kind of forgotten what a crazy place it is, so it was great to go back there and experience it all again. It’s just otherworldly. There’s just no festival like it.
Where can people see you play in the near future?
After a little break I’ll be playing in London on October 19 and Poland on October 31, then back at Hardware at Electric on November 7 for our last event of the year.
What tracks, producers and labels are you feeling at the moment?
Musically, basically everything that’s in this mix! Its representative of how I play and the artists I’m into. I’m really excited by the new artists coming through right now too. The new guys on the label like Trilo, Subtension, Minor Rain and Klax have some amazing music forthcoming, and I’ve got more guys waiting in the wings to break through. Which is the reason I started the Compound series, to bring through the new artists. That’s what excites me most about this music right now, the new generation.
Label wise in d&b I think Lifestyle is definitely one to watch. I’ve been enjoying their output of late. I’m also into what Metalheadz have been doing this year; some really great, diverse d&b. Since Ant TC1 has become involved in the label they have seriously stepped everything up.
Producer wise I can’t fail to mention Optiv & BTK who to me are the hardest working duo in d&b and also Stealth whose album I’ve heard already and is nothing short of immense!
New names to keep an eye out for in my mind are Black Owlz, Volatile Cycle and Lockjaw – who are all coming with some serious music at the moment too.
Anything else you want to tell us about?
Watch out for new singles coming on Hardware from Trilo in September, Subtension in October and Maztek’s debut LP that will drop in November.
Also, can’t forget to mention that next year, Hardware reaches its 20th anniversary and we’re hard at work putting things in place to make sure it will be a year you’ll never forget, believe me.