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 EBK Interview/Hardware Mix

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BeitragThema: EBK Interview/Hardware Mix   Di Mai 17 2011, 08:34

EBK Interview/Hardware Mix
- by MAX on MAY 8, 2011 ·

From co founding Composite Records, to holding down slots on numerous pirate radio stations (including Flex Fm), to releasing tunes on a number of high quality labels including Renegade Hardware and Dispatch, EBK is a true promoter, purveyor and creator of d&b. Over ten years of releases speaks for itself and his last two, Mud on Dispatch and Clouds on Renegade, have been burning down dance floors nationwide, so we thought it was time to get a sneak peak into the mind behind the bass.

Easy Martin, can you tell us a bit about yourself firstly? What’s your background and what interests you other then music?
Well I do have a day job working as a journalist unrelated to music and my background is in film and TV – if I wasn’t making music I’d be making short films, in fact if I had more time I’d be doing it as well as music. I’m interested in any creative output: film, photography, music, art – it’s what gets me up in the morning.

Tell us one thing about you people normally wouldn’t know.
I’m 100 per cent Polish but born in the UK and I may have some Romani gypsy heritage a couple of generations back on my mother’s side.

Desert Island Disks style, what three albums couldn’t you live without?
Haha good question and almost impossible to answer because the music I listen to is so specific to the mood I’m in and I’m sitting here on a warm day in Brixton writing this so that’s going to affect it! Saying that if I had to choose three they would be:

Lonnie Liston Smith – Expansions: on a sunny day open the window let the breeze blow in, go somewhere quiet and put this on, it doesn’t jump out at you and grab your attention it just washes over you… after an hour you will be in a totally different headspace. Amazing, life affirming music, beautiful musicianship and unbelievably creative.
Burial or Untrue by Burial: Love it or hate it it’s probably the most influential electronic album of the last decade, end of. You hear echoes of his sound in some way or other in pretty much everything made in electronic music since.
A drum and bass album: To be fair how can you boil a whole genre down to one album. You can’t so I’m going to take a few…. crates. They better have a big boat.

Actually the more I write this the harder it gets, there’s no way I can choose three, impossible really – there would have to be some hip-hop in there: Hard to Earn maybe? Something else by Gang Staar, obviously some dub: King Tubby, Augustus Pablo, Scientist – too many choices. Rock wise, some Radiohead, some good bluesy rock from the 60s and 70s: Hendrix, Santana, Iggy Pop doing Passenger live at the Manchester Apollo? But maybe if I just had to take one track it would be Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, the second movement. I find it completely overwhelming, it makes me cry. I don’t listen to much classical but there’s a reason this shit’s been around for 100s of years.

I’m not even going to start thinking about the amount of electronic music I’d be taking, I’d need hard drives and crates full with everything from old Detroit techno, hardcore, jungle, drum and bass, minimal, dubstep, noise music, house, garage, techno, breaks, electro etc etc etc… as I say – three albums ain’t happening!

EBK – Clouds – Renegade Hardware by EBK

What other genres are you into other then d&b, and where does your musical inspiration mainly come from?
I think the answer to the above question gives you some idea…

How and when did you get into d&b and what really sucked you into it?
I was buying early 90s old school hardcore records (pianos, breakbeats) before I was a teenager and I just moved with the scene: hardcore to jungle to drum and bass some small detours via garage and tech-step and breaks along the way and then back to DnB with some dubstep and hip hop detours along the way for good measure.

I read an interesting story about Composite Recordings, the label that hosted the first three of your releases, and how you and a friend (Ben Sumner) formed it. Can you explain a bit about that? How did you find it running a label and what did you learn from being inside the d&b industry as more then an artist?
We set up a P&D deal which means the distributor pays for all the distribution and production costs and you basically don’t see any money, so lesson number one is have a strong chin because you’re going to need to take a lot of hits on it – but it’s a great way to get a label that you can call your own up and running. Not sure how easy/hard it is to get a deal like that nowadays, I’d imagine it would be more digital orientated.

Nothing beats holding your own track on your own label in your hand but to be honest if you want to run your own label successfully it’s a full time job, maybe one day I’d dip my finger back into it but it’s so much more now – you need your internet shit locked down, label nights, tours, a strong roster of artists, a solid identity – there’s only a handful of good labels in DnB that are still going to be around in five years.

We started our label for the love of the music, looking back on it we did alright – we probably shifted about five times as many units with our first release as established labels shift on a standard release now, but that’s just the way things are – you don’t need me telling you this – I don’t think many of the lessons I learnt are really applicable to how you make a label successful nowadays. To put it in perspective we didn’t even have a website and I didn’t even have internet in my house at the time, it was a different era.

You’re now releasing on both Renegade and Dispatch, how did that come about?
I’ve always had links with Hardware, I used to go down their studio at night during the downtime and mess about on the equipment with a guy I knew who worked there so it just progressed from then. Hardware’s got heritage, name any big DnB artist and they’ve been on Hardware at some point, it’s a forward thinking label and it’s an honour being associated with them and releasing on the imprint.

I know Ant TC1 from Dispatch after he signed Mud last year, I can’t remember how it came about but I think he phoned me wanting to sign the track and it stemmed from there. Him and Octane & DLR are from Leeds, we hung out at Outlook festival in Croatia when I played for them there last year and I’ve been going up North to catch up with them regularly ever since. Dispatch is a serious label, just look at its release schedule, ridiculous amount of quality beats.

You’ve had a pretty busy DJ schedule as well as releases, where’s been a highlight of the places you’ve played?
The last Hardware was pretty good, doing a four way back to back with Octane, Si from Vicious Circle and Aaron from Universal Project aka Siren was a good laugh. Playing to thousands of people at Drop Beats Not Bombs in Birmingham a couple of years back has got to be a highlight as well as Outlook festival last year. It was absolutely going off. People were handing me beers, passing me all kinds of other shit while I was playing – I think after two days of dubstep people were ready to let loose to some DnB, it was definitely a fun night.

EBK – Inside by EBK

Having been there I can say it definitely was! One of the best weeks of my life in fact. What medium do you mix on, both for playing out and at home?
I used to be vinyl but now I play out with CDs and have Torq, which is like a poor man’s Serato, at home. I’m not going to lie, in some ways I miss vinyl, in some ways I don’t.

What kit do you use for production and what’s your studio set up like?
Currently I have a PC running Cubase, Emu E6400 sampler, a few outboard pre amps to distort stuff with, a mic to record random stuff with, a Virus Powercore is my synth workhorse and I use Yamaha monitors and an M-Audio sub. I can use Logic as well though. Inside, which is up on my Soundcloud, was written entirely in Logic on a Macbook.

It all lives in a small unit in Brixton where I can play music as loud as I want, which is useful.

What do you think of the d&b scene at the minute, and how have you seen it change in the last eleven odd years of releasing tunes?
Wow, how long you got! You’re asking me for an 11-year history of DnB. I’ll keep it brief. You get from underground music what you put in. The music is good if you go and find the music you like and the nights are good if you find the good nights – nothing will come to you but it’s all there. In that sense nothing has changed. I hope that sort of makes sense!

Well put. You used to paint graff, which is something we’re interested over at Broken Culture too, how long did you paint for and hows that effected your outlook on things?
I was doing graff properly (ie actually hitting a few yards/trains) for about two years when I was 14 to 16. I think I was just always a bit shit at drawing though so there was only ever so far I could go with it. I liked being out at three in the morning walking down tracks alone or with a mate feeling like I was completely outside society and then the next day seeing my tags or dubs rolling around in the real world as trains went past full of normal people going to work or whatever. I guess that’s why I got into underground music because it represented something away from the mainstream.

I think the lines between what is underground and what is mainstream are far more blurred now though, I’d go as far as saying there isn’t really an underground anymore or if there is it gets found, packaged and re-marketed so quickly that it never really develops properly.

The last underground thing I witnessed was dubstep getting born at Fwd in Old Street and in the space of six months it going from a relatively obscure night with some unknown called Skream playing extremely sparse, minimal, bass heavy beats to a queue round the block coming to see him because they’d heard about this new music called dubstep “on Skins” (the Channel 4 TV show). But you know what – that’s the way it goes.

EBK, Octane & DLR feat. Gusto – Mainframe – forthcoming Renegade Hardware by EBK

You’ve got Mainframe with Octane & DLR and Gusto coming on Renegade so, how did that come about and what inspired doing a track with mc vocals?
Me and J DLR said we’d do a track in London when he came up one time and before we even started it he said let’s get Gusto in to lay some vocals down because it will give us some more elements to play with, so Gusto came down did his thing and we pretty much based the whole track around his vocal. It’s been cut up quite heavily though and we’ve changed the timing of it in parts but we’re really happy with how it’s worked out.

How do you find the process of making a tune differs when you’re working alongside other artists?
It can go one of two ways, you either both sit there and get nothing done and get drunk or you are about 20 times more productive because instead of wondering if something’s working you can just look over and say “is this running?” and all it needs is a simple yes or no answer. You don’t get caught in pointless loops and also you have almost a constant stream of creativity because when yours dries up the other guy or girl is hopefully itching to get on and put some ideas down. Saying that though working alone means the whole track is all yours and every decision is yours, which can be harder sometimes, but can also be very rewarding when you finish the tune.

Anything else forthcoming or planned for the near future we should know about?
Like you said Mainframe on the Inception EP on Hardware at the end of the month and then there’s Hybrid forthcoming on Revolution – also another colab with Octane & DLR that we did before Mainframe and will be coming on Dispatch. I’m also remixing an old Universal Project track and Seven by Octane & DLR as well as some more solo things for Hardware this year – keep an eye on my Soundcloud and Facebook for updates

Cheers for the time! Any last words or shouts?
Thanks for the questions! Too many people to shout out but it goes out to everyone who has supported me over the years, bought the music and been part of the DnB scene, as well as all the promoters around the world who have booked me and everyone out there making sick beats.

Check out EBK’s: Soundcloud here
Facebook here
And listen to his renegade hardware podcast below or download here

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