Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Taken a while to get this up but some wise words worthy of a read from the EXIT, Autonomic and former Bad Company man as we chatted to him after he smashed it up in the CULT / Soul:ution Room at The Detonate Indoor Festival 2010....

You probably first came to most people’s attention as part of Bad Company, with quiet a hard industrial sound that they where famous for. More recently the Autonomic sound has been your thing - that minimal / stripped down affair. Was it a conscious decision to move away from that BC sound?

You have to look at this whole minimal tag first really, there are tunes I know that are a lot less minimal (if that’s possible!) than a lot of tunes we’re putting out. Tunes people are playing that are just literally “drum” and “bass” and that’s it. I think with the Autonomic stuff there’s always a lot going on, different layers and elements, different chords and key changes, so people seem to think its minimal and this is the tag its been given, but if anything its just not as loud and cluttered.

In terms of the change of direction as a producer, was it a conscious thing? I don’t know. I think it was a natural progression. As a producer, you’ll find in any genre of music, that you want to progress, you want to keep pushing yourself forward, you want to keep yourself interested. There have been plenty of times when I’ve been pretty disillusioned by the scene and almost given up on it. Every now and then people come along and remind you things aren’t as bad as you think they are.

For me personally, because I’ve been involved in it for so long, I’ve seen it go through so many different transitions and changes. At one stage I felt like it wasn’t my “scene” any more. All I can do is make my interpretation of a tempo if you like. DnB has got a hell of a lot to offer musically, we’ve proven that we can take it mainstream; it can be a commercial success. So okay, know lets see what else we can do.

People are considering it as a defining chapter in Drum and Bass. Did you expect Autonomic to be as big as it has become.

No, we didn’t expect it. I was playing Insta:Mental tunes in my sets and it started off as a small 10 minute section, then 15 minutes, then half an hour and it suddenly expanded and people where hearing what we where doing, and started sending us stuff.

So it was all well and good me playing these tunes in sections of my sets, but people needed to hear them in context. So we felt like we needed to get it out there in a way that people could digest so to speak. Plus, we’d always had this thing where we were really honest about what influenced us and what we where into. That’s something I really like about the podcasts, you can hear the influences in the tunes.

Sometimes with drum and bass there’s that whole bandwagon effect, someone gets on something and soon enough everyone else is jumping on it. We’re not saying we’re perfect and we’re totally original, but we are honest on where we're getting our influences from, we're not getting it from within our own little genre, which kind of bastardises the whole thing a bit.

Maybe it just came along at the right time where people were getting a little bit pissed off with drum and bass. Personally they where quite selfish reasons in some ways, I wanted to be putting out stuff that other musicians outside of the immediate scene could be getting into, the same way I was into their stuff. It seemed for a while that people outside the genre where laughing at DnB and didn’t take it seriously.So yeah it has been surprising, the reaction we’ve had, and I’m really pleased people have taken to it.

You’ve talked before in an interview about “the other side of Drum and Bass.” Are there two sides to DnB now; is the mainstream splitting further and further away?

Me and Instra:Mental sat down and were discussing mainstream DnB and whether it should even be called DnB any more. Because to me, that’s not the perception I’ve got of drum and bass. That’s not part of the progression of the sound from hardcore, darkcore, jungle to DnB.

So yeah, there are these 2 definite sides.If anything it’s just an indication of the scene’s age and size. If there was a parallel, you could compare it to hip hop. In the early days there where all these underground crews doing their thing, and now that has become a very well oiled commercial scene. It will happen. So as much as I may not personally like it, I can’t really hate on it. Because in some ways it helps me. It needs to be there, they’re bringing new listeners to the scene. Everyone’s got to start somewhere.

Moving towards you as a producer, you’ve been a vocal fan of outboard hardware, is that something you’ve always done?

Well, when I stated producing that’s the only option we had! It was outboard, dedicated samplers, DAT machines, compressors, you know? I had embraced the digital side, but it’s got to that stage where it’s quite easy to reverse engineer people’s tunes now-a-days. There are all these forums with people discussing “how did he get this sound” “oh it was this preset”, or "it was that synth”. Plus these entire sample packs you can buy now “The Essential Drum and Bass Sample Pack!”

Working with Instra:Mental, they’d never gone digital, they’d always stayed using hardware, so it was a good excuse to dig all my kit out from the cupboard! It gives you an individuality that digital can’t. Don’t get me wrong, people do get a good sound producing digitally, but it can enforce these quite lazy attitudes towards making music.

Back in the day, Virus had their sound, Full Cycle had their sound, BC had our sound. And as much as we were doing our own thing in terms of samples, a big influence on how our sound came about was the collection of equipment we had. I like the idea of knowing that I’ve got a synth or keyboard that is uniquely characteristic in its own way. Rather than a soft synth on some piece of software that everyone else has got access to, all using the same presets.

On the individuality front, you’ve been singing on your tunes recently. What made you think on that first tune “right I’m gonna sing on this?”

It’s something I’ve always dabbled in, but it’s always been a confidence thing for me and I still have real bad confidence issues with it. What sort of gave me the push, to be honest, was seeing Calibre do it. We’d talk every now and then, and he’d send me a few bits, and be singing all over them, and he’s got an amazing voice! The man is so talented, it annoys me actually how talented he is!

Singing runs in my family anyway, I was in a band as a lead singer when I was a kid. So I thought: sod it, why not. It took getting that first tune out there and for people to say “you know what, that’s all right”.

Personally I’m really unsure about my voice, but people keep telling me I can sing. Plus, again, it’s an Individuality thing; my voice is an instrument that no one else has got! The vocal side of things is important in music, it gives the tune character, and it gives it something that is identifiable as well.

You mentioned the family musical connection - are you planning on doing any other work with your brother, Steve Spacek?

The Black Pocket album is due out this month on Exit, which is good news. The album was supposed to come out three years ago! But for one reason or another it’s been put back. So now we’re happy just to finally have it ready. There will be a CD release as well as Vinyl.

I haven’t really seen my brother for quite a while, because he lives in Australia, but I’ve always loved working with him, he’s got a thing he’s doing with Mark Pritchard called “Africa Hi-Tek” so I think he’ll be touring with that soon. I think we’re gonna try and get him down to our night at Fabric with that.

It’s been a very busy 2010 for Exit already, is that going to continue? What is there to look forward to?

My 12” has just come out (EXIT022 D Bridge - Love Hotel / The Dim Light), and I’ve signed a Digital 12” (EXIT023 Digital - Weatherman / Shanty) which will be out any day now. Also I’m in the process of finishing a Various Artists album which I’m really looking forward to.

One of the things I’ve really loved about the Autonomic thing is drawing people back from others scenes making their interpretation of the sound. There’s always been that exodus of drum and bass producers when a new scene comes along. So it’s nice, since Autonomics started, that a few people are coming back the other way. There’s a track from Distance on there, Skreams done one, Indigo & Synkro, Scuba’s working on something. That should be out around September / October.

I like to keep the releases on Exit as a bit of a surprise - it’s nice for people to listen to something unexpected when they buy a release, so I try not to give out too much stuff so that it’s kept quite fresh by the time it’s released.

How about Exit Vs. Any plans for that?

You know what, the only people I really work with now is Instra:mental. I have just done a track with Spectrasoul where I’m singing on it, and I’ve got a few other things with me singing coming out, so that seems to be what my Vs has become, is me singing on other people’s tracks, I’ve just become a vocalist!

So I’m not sure with that series, same thing with the Aptitude series. I’m just waiting for the right thing to come along. I want Dillinja to do me a 12, so I’m not gonna start it again until he does me one! He may not know it yet! Dillinja and Krust are on my hit list! Ill get them back on it and then I’ll start the series again.

Just some quick fire questions to finish:

Serato, CD or Vinyl?

At the moment Serato

Favourite non DnB tune ever?

Ever? Quite clich├ęd but Stone Roses – Fools Gold

DnB tune that you find most inspiring.

Krust – Futures Unknown

Favourite own release?

I haven’t done it yet!

Last non DnB album you listened to from start to finish?

Autechre – Oversteps

Dream collaboration

They’re all dead! So I’ve got to do colabs using samples!

If you could have one producer’s laptop with everything on it?


Words: Nidal

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


This month we go back to basics, with a 2 hour set from a duo that CULT have been itching to get down for a while now.


With the drum and Bass market in a state of complete over-saturation, it takes originality, class, and an understanding of quality control to get ahead. Having emerged from relative obscurity in 2006, SpectraSoul, have emerged as one of the new-school pioneers on the drum and bass circuit.

Dave Kennet and Jack Stevens, are a duo that need no introduction to any discerning D&B head. With releases on the some of the most respected labels within the scene, combined with residencies at some of the most prestigious clubs,
Spectrasoul have now firmly stamped their mark on the drum & bass map.

With an ever impressive and rapidly increasing back catalogue, Spectrasoul continue to produce some of the most melodic and widely received drum & bass around and with some of the most stand-out tunes of the last few years, combined with the backing of virtually all of the scenes heavyweights the future can only bring even better things for the Brighton based duo.

Friday 2nd July 2010
SPECTRASOUL (Metalheadz / Shogun / Critical)

Also sets from

CULT Residents Mouse, Vtekk, Houghmeister, MC Anger , MC Yons

Visuals by “minimus”

10pm – 4am



For more information visit http://www.wearethecult.co.uk/ or mail wearethecult@hotmail.com