Photo: Marina Samba

Calculon Interview

With a massive buzz building ahead of his latest single ‘Get Murked’ produced in collaboration with Austin Speed, Kmag checks in with Shoot Recordings label boss Calculon as he continues to blur the lines between juke, jungle, techno, and hip-hop.

First off, for those who don’t know introduce yourself.

Hello! I’m Calculon from San Diego and I’ve been pushing up-tempo dance through my own productions as well as my labels Rubik and Shoot. Over the years I’ve been into lots of different types of music but recently it seems like they are all starting to blend together into a mix of dnb and juke and hip hop with old school hardcore rave sounds.

Talk a bit about your latest single “Get Murked” for Shoot Recordings. What sort of vision did you and Austin Speed have going in and how did that translate into the final result?

This tune was a lot of fun to make because of all of the changes. We had both been turned on by juke/footwork and the idea of making something around 160bpm but really the palette of sounds we were working with dictated the vibe of the tune. I had a folder of sounds ready to go and brought it to Austin’s studio and the tune came together quickly from there.

How do you describe this tune (genre-wise) to those who ask?

I’m not really sure how to describe the tune to be honest. It mixes well with juke or d&b if that helps?

There seem to be a number of influences working their way through on this, from techno on through to jungle – talk about the progression of the tune and your attitude towards blurring the lines between genres in general.

It really feels like there are no rules for music anymore. In the past jungle was jungle and so on but it feels great to take different influences and combine them. Using “Get Murked” as an example, it has a footwork feel for the intro, drops into a hip hop beat, speeds up back toward footwork, and then when the break comes in it feels like a drum & bass tune. There are many styles of great music and they might as well get mixed up!

You’ve got a pair of special remixes on here from Lewis James and Deft as well – describe their take on the tune and what they eventually transformed it into. Is there a fear when you turn a tune over that the remixes will be better or get more love than the original?

Both Lewis James and Deft are from London, and I highly respect both of them as a lot of what they make is seriously next level. Lewis James was the first one to do a remix and after a few takes on it we settled on the version that got released. I don’t know how to explain what he did but it came out heavy!!

Deft seemed to follow a similar progression of the original with a halftempo/hip hop vibe before the d&b breaks come in. I’m not gonna pretend I can make a tune as good as those two! I’m really a big fan of their work and it was a real pleasure to link up with Lewis in London at the end of April for the first time. If their remixes get more attention that’s ok with me, they both did great ones and I’m proud to release their music. I couldn’t be happier with the results, and I can’t wait to see the 12-inch! Final copies are done ahead of the September 1st release date and it’s clear yellow vinyl.

“Get Murked” is a catchy title – fill us in as to the meaning behind it and where it came from in the production process.

My friend Dave Owen suggested I watch a certain English film (I tend to watch way too much Peep Show and Phoneshop) and there was a part in the movie where a guy with a knife approaches a woman on the street and says that line. It was just too rude! Stuck with me in a way that it had to be used in a tune because it has this edgy vibe to it. I love putting film samples right before a beat starts and this one worked out nicely.

How does this fit in with the overall scope/philosophy of Shoot Recordings?

When the label launched we made a mission statement of sorts: “Shoot Recordings is a showcase for the new bass music sound being born out of juke, jungle & hardcore. Free from expectations and committed to innovation.”

There has only been four releases as the label has launched last year, but a lot of the inspiration around the Shoot Recordings sound came from a need to start a new label for the tunes I wanted to release. Rubik Records has a particular sound which is pretty different from the Shoot sound, and although the Heavy1 remix EP wasn’t the Rubik signature sound it didn’t feel right releasing the new stuff along with the label’s back catalogue. Over Shoot’s brief time as a label I’ve been proud to release tunes and remixes by people such as Om Unit, Chrissy Murderbot, and Moresounds in addition to my close friends Pawn and Austin.

What else do you or the label have in the pipeline we should be looking out for?

There’s nothing lined up for Shoot that we’re ready to announce but I am definitely planning to release more music from Lewis James as well as the rest of the Shoot family like Sinistarr and Pawn. If anyone missed it recently Pawn and I did a remix for Vespertown’s tune on Donky Pitch:

Besides ‘Get Murked’ which is coming out September 1st, there’s also a 12″ coming out on Rubik by the end of the year that features two remixes of Random Movement, one by Sinistarr and the other by Bcee and Saxxon.

As for myself, there is a new label launching called Voyage music ran by a good friend of mine who just moved back to San Diego, and for their first release I’m doing a single with Quadrant and Saxxon which is almost wrapped up. Also have a few collabs on the go but it’s too soon to know where the tunes will end up. Over the years I’ve learned not to count chickens before they hatch but I’m working with one legend in particular and everyone will be sure to hear about that as soon as I can announce it!!!