Shadre & Salvage are continuing to add that Northern spirit to the scene, with releases on labels as numerous as Grid, Zombie, In The Lab and their own imprint, Short Circuit Records. Their music is as inspiring as it is diverse and ranges from full on foghorns to off the chart riff laden dancefloor bangers. Making music as a duo since 2016, they have forged a solid reputation for making high quality music across the majority of D&B genres and are showing no signs of letting up any time soon.
With the release of their latest Creative Minds EP out now on Shadow Demon Records, we caught up with them to talk about their output so far and to get the low down on their latest release.
So Ben, starting with you initially, you own and manage Short Circuit Records and have done since 2013. How’s that been for you? What’s your music policy?
Yes, the label has been a massive learning curve over the years. Initially, when setting it all up I already had a good foot in the door with other producers and label owners from around the North West, so gaining help, support and advice was easily accessible. Understanding the workings behind the label has had its challenges over the years, but I wouldn’t change any of it. As for our music policy, we’ve always been very open to different styles of Drum & Bass. If it’s catchy and we love it then we can fully push it and support it.
You’re a drummer and cite Rock/Heavy Metal as one of your first influences. Tell us how playing live music has influenced your electronic music-making.
When growing up my chosen instrument was the drums. Not many people will know this, but I was in several Rock and Heavy Metal bands. The pace and energy of the music are really what drew me towards it. Performing in bands, understanding mic setups and mixdown techniques has helped us massively in terms of driving for a more natural sound, which can be rather difficult to achieve in the electronic music industry.
The Neuro/Thrash crossover is particularly fascinating and so full of energy. What’s your take on it?
To be honest, we love it all. There are a lot of sub-genres and artists who over the years have particularly embedded themselves as leaders in these sub-genres, but to us, it’s all Drum & Bass. From the early Jungle rhythms to the 2000’s Jump Up & Tech Step era and onwards into the more commercial aspects of the scene. We too as artists have to be incredibly open-minded. We love the heavy distorted sounds that come from Neuro and of course that can be heard in our own productions, as we like to take influences from all aspects of the scene.
Unlike many producers out there (who are often self-taught) you are trained in music technology. Has that helped you on your journey? Is it something you’d recommend to others?
Yes massively. We have both attended Higher Education and it has helped us understand the processes undertaken when making music. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being self-taught. There are so many reliable sources these days at our fingertips that learning never stops. I feel University gave us a deeper understanding of all aspects of the music industry, from production, theory, marketing and much more. It has helped us grow over the years for sure.
More importantly, how was your music received during your studies? Did you find your teachers sympathetic to the sounds of D&B?
During university, the tutors were incredibly supportive of the music we produced, taking a deep interest in the methods we used in order to create the music. From sound design to compositional and rhythmic aspects, it was well respected due to the intricate processes involved and we could convey that through written critical analysis.
And onto Shadre. Tell us a bit about your journey into D&B.
When growing up I was exposed to the early electronic music that was being pushed through at the time from artists such as Mr Oizo, Aphex Twin, Oxide & Neutrino, Mr Scruff and many more. This was further fuelled with video games such as Wipeout, Grand Theft Auto III and Midnight Club which we’re big at the time, as they all featured heavily electronic soundtracks. This aided my discovery of notable record labels such as Moving Shadow. From there I went down the D&B rabbit hole!
What’s the usual protocol when collaborating?
It’s a religious thing. Generally every Thursday we dedicate the day to meeting up and entering our creative thought bubble and that’s where the magic happens!
What did your journey into Drum & Bass look like?
I started making various genres of music when I was younger, starting with dubstep and moving onto various styles such as electro house and venturing into trap, but I realised that Drum and Bass appealed to me the most and I sort of went on from there. Firstly releasing on Short Circuit Records with the ‘Bounce With the Riddim EP,’ and from then on our partnership blossomed as artists.
You’ve both had a good selection of releases now as a duo. You must have reached a steady way of working now. Do you tend to have specific roles?
The creative elements are all done in house as a pair, however, Shadre’s strongest abilities lie deeply within Sound Design and Synthesis,
whereas Salvage has more of an understanding with mixing down and mastering. This makes for an incredibly quick & creative turnover.
So you’re both representing The North. Is there a close core of artists and producers in that part of the UK that you associate with, or is that not really a thing?
The North has seen many talented producers over the years, people such as the late Marcus Intalex, Chimpo, Rowney & Propz, Trigga, North Base and non-D&B acts such as The Mouse Outfit. We as Northerners are incredibly polite and we don’t feel as if there are barriers in place when we have reached out to our peers for support and guidance over the years. I wouldn’t say we are associated with anyone in particular because we strive for our own sound.
You work with Manchester-based Diligent Fingers a lot, and he features on the latest EP. How did that collaboration first come about?
Diligent Fingers is a brilliant musician and vocalist, his talent is incredible. From producing hip-hop to DJ’ing to MC’ing and of course poetry. Working with him over the years has just been a natural process, we buzz off his talent and he respects our craft as much as we his. When he hears a tune and he catches a vibe it writes itself. We both respect each other’s passion for the music and that really shows within our collaborations.
I have always loved their sound and their passion for what they create, regardless of us being friends for a long time. That’s what’s important for me when approaching collaborations. Their sound design and grooves have always caught a vibe with me which makes it effortless when writing lyrics for their music.
“Dem call me di assassinator, devastator, place all your bets, I’ll be the safer wager.“
Charla Green also features on the EP. Her output ranges from D&B, Dubstep and UKG. She’s one to watch?
Charla Green’s definitely on the radar for big things in the future, no doubt about that. Another versatile vocalist and producer whose style has grown leaps and bounds.
Growing up I was influenced by artists like massive attack, Morcheeba, Burial and also a lot of Dub. I linked with Shadre & Salvage through a friend who knew they were looking for some vocals and put them in touch with me. They seemed like good heads and I vibed off the tune when they sent it, so I wrote some lyrics for them. – Charla Green
Tell us a bit more about this six-track EP you’ve just released and your association with Shadow Demon Records.
When writing the music we wanted to make sure that the tracks were popping in the raves prior to the pandemic. This was a long process, but once we were all happy with the music we sent it over to Trigga & Rowney for consideration and were really excited that they loved the project enough to release it.
What are your plans post-pandemic then? You must be looking forward to getting back out with a crowd?
Once the restrictions are lifted we are looking forward to just getting back onto the circuit and playing our gigs just like old times. Everybody has been missing getting onto the dancefloors and seeing the ravers get hyped, especially with the bag of new tricks we’ve got ready to play with!
Diligent Fingers will be looking forward to showcasing his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills because he is here to protect the women because ‘they just wanna dance.’ Hold tight Inja. 😂
Finally, when listening to your back catalogue, your music is pretty diverse. Away from the studio, what styles do you both like currently?
In terms of non-Drum and Bass, we’re heavily into Rock music, House & Garage, Breaks, Grime, Jazz & Classical, as we can formulate a lot of ideas from different styles of music and incorporate them into our chosen field of Drum and Bass. We feel this is advantageous as the versatility of the genre allows for many different styles to influence our creativity when producing.
From within the Drum and Bass community artists such as Bassbrothers, Noisia, Jaydan, Hazard, Emperor, Annix, Dom & Roland, Zinc, Hype and Break have been massive influences over the years as well.
As for the rest of 2021 what else can we expect in terms of releases from you guys?
Well at the moment we are putting together the final touches to a Remix EP for Grid Recordings. Respect to Jaydan, BassBrothers, Dunk, Coda & Sano. They have each delivered amazing work. Super excited to get them rolling out.
We also have a four-track EP scheduled to drop on Heist & Benny Colabs label ‘Calypso Muzak’ and are currently working on a Liquid EP project for them featuring Sahala & Diligent Fingers.
Amongst a few singles, we may just drop another EP on Grid Recordings before the year is up too.