TiD&B Interview: Blokhe4dPosted by Lady V on Monday, March 21st, 2011
Blokhe4d may still be considered quite a relatively new name in Drum and Bass, as the duo have only been DJing and producing music together for the last couple of years, but nonetheless, they have taken over in a very big way, making tracks with drops so hard that when they hit, it may be safer to be sitting down (refer to â€˜Cretinâ€™ and â€˜Beyond The Voidâ€™), as well as winning over heads worldwide with their high-energy DJ sets guaranteed to get you sweaty!Â Add to this that they also head up Bad Taste Recordings, a label which has become a mini empire within the scene, releasing heavyweight beats from artists such as The Upbeats, Aeph and Audio, it seems that Blokhe4d can do no wrong.Â With Bad Taste Volume 4, the latest in the labelâ€™s various artists LP series, released today, we caught up with Uman and Vegas (yes, individually you’ll recognise them as Uman from award winning project The Passive Resistance and Vegas from the mighty collective Bad Company) to find out more about their current takeover in D&B…
TiD&B: Itâ€™s hard not to start by mentioning the pre-Blokhe4d years as of course, individually, you are establishedÂ producers in your own right – can you fill us in on what happened between the Bad Company and The Passive Resistance days to now?
Uman: I used to live and work in Zurich, Switzerland, making music under the names Task Horizon and The Passive Resistance. About two years ago I moved to the UK with the incentive to study Audio Engineering and I started the course but didnâ€™t have a work space here in London. I had known Mick from playing gigs together and had been sending him tunes for a while, so I asked him if I could maybe use his studio in South London from time to time. He said yes and we ended up making a few tunes together. The first tune we finished was ‘Skyline’ which then got snatched up by Hospital Records. We got on well both in and out of the studio and soon the idea came up to make a name and start something new together…thatâ€™s how Blokhe4d was born.
TiD&B: Fast forward to today and youâ€™re now producing music as a duo whilst also running the successful label Bad Taste Recordings which has had a string of well received releases, highly entertaining podcasts and the Bad Taste compilation series.Â Â How do you find the time working on all these projects and which element do you enjoy working on the most?
Uman: Finding time is easy when you have nothing else in your life. I broke up with my girlfriend at the time when I moved to London and decided that a man going on 30 had to either make it happen or let it be. Switzerland was no place to work from, the Swiss mentality is it can only be good if it comes from another place. Itâ€™s a country based on consumption and not on production. Almost all successful Swiss people left their home country and started to work abroad. It was the hardest thing I ever did. But I felt a calling from deep within and I needed to follow it. I was aware that anything else would only result in me questioning what would have been if… So I packed my bags and left. Ever since then there has been no looking back and I never regret what I did. Itâ€™s easy to become relaxed with life and let it just pass you by. The true accomplishments come from kicking yourself in the ass and jumping in at the deep end. I was very lucky to have met Vegas and to be welcomed with such open arms! Thanks bro!
Vegas: The time comes through passion. Sometimes life comes between you and your work but when you feel the need to be creative itâ€™s also a therapeutic process which becomes important to your well being. I love what I do and if I didnâ€™t I would not be able to muster up the energy needed to make it happen. Of course there are things you donâ€™t like doing but every job has that! I hate doing interviews, haha!
TiD&B: With Bad Taste Volume 4 released today, what can we expect from the album?
Vegas: Bad Taste 4 is a collection of tunes that we were both into. We are lucky that we have very similar tastes in music. I hear a tune that Iâ€™m into and canâ€™t wait to show it to Uman. When he hears it, itâ€™s like ‘whoa I love this’ and it feeds the fire even more. The same goes the other way round. So I guess what you can expect from the album is a postcardÂ of what music we are into and what we play out in clubs. It’s club music and it’s made to work on a dancefloor. But music can not only be a bunch of noise, there is also soul to all the tunes. Some people might not hear it but itâ€™s there in our ears! In a nutshell, expect one bad ass collection of tunes!
TiD&B: Whatâ€™s your thought process behind selecting the tracks on a various artists LP?Â Is it an easy task?
Vegas: Hahaha itâ€™s not much of a thought process, itâ€™s more of an emotional process. Itâ€™s as simple as liking something. We are just lucky enough to have a platform to present it on. We are grateful that the people involved trusted us with their music. We hope we will do them proud!
TiD&B: Which artist/artists from the Bad Taste camp, are you particularly excited about at the moment?
Vegas: All of them! And thatâ€™s not just to keep everyone happy. Itâ€™s the truth, otherwise we would not sign their music!
TiD&B: Weâ€™ve also heard that you are currently working on your debut LP and that itâ€™ll include a variety of tempos â€“ what other sounds outside of D&B are inspiring your work?
Uman: That is a hard question to answer as I love all sorts of music. What gets meÂ the most is probably a feeling of duality, things that are not just black or white. I guess that is whatâ€™s closest to home. People are complex beings andÂ it’s a constant struggle between two poles. That balance between opposed elements creates a strong energy and I find music that possesses that is always the stuff that interests me most.
TiD&B: You recently asked fans on Twitter, which artist theyâ€™d choose for you to collaborate with, but who would you choose?Â Are there any forthcoming collaborations in the pipeline?
Vegas: We have been working with a bunch of different artists. It was funny because a lot of the names that people mentioned are things that are in the process of happening or have happened already. It was nice to see that our fans are on a similar tip to us.Â It also goes to show that we have found our corner in which we feel comfortable. Itâ€™s a good feeling to have a home! The rest is up to destiny…
TiD&B: Finally, to add to the current vinyl debate – youâ€™ve mentioned that you play out using Cds only and have been doing so for the past 5 years, as DJs but also as label bosses, what is your general opinion on vinyl…is it dead?
Vegas: If it was dead we would not press vinyl. But I would be lying if I would say it was the same as it used to be. Itâ€™s a difficult time in music because it is still between two places; vinyl is still around and does sell a few units but digital is not yet so established that it can be totally on its own. Many labels have not yet mastered how they are to approach the digital realm. I saw potential in creating a platform for them and together with a friend of mine called Gareth started www.databeats.com where we offer digital sales solutions, and are happy to have some of the biggest labels in drum and bass using our service.
Giving you a good taste (we had to drop this joke in somewhere) of Bad Taste Volume 4, check out a minimix of all tracks from the album which is released today: