Starting out predominately as a producer in his teens, Bristol based Elemental encountered great success with early releases on labels such as Hotflush, Pitch Black and Halo Beats. As time wore on he fell into DJing, championing the use of Ableton and MIDI controllers for unique live sets. Now running his own label Runtime, we spoke to him about upcoming releases, plans for the future and how the empire began.
As a producer where do you feel your roots really lie? What sorts of sounds were you going for when you first branched out into production?
My early roots stem from hearing my Dad's jazz, avant-garde and classical music, later I got into early nineties hip-hop and hardcore rave music. I got really excited about music when I first discovered the sounds of jungle and early drum & bass on London's pirate radio stations.
I've always been a producer first and foremost, DJing came later. The sound I have always aspired to create is colourful and emotional, featuring both unheard and archetypal sounds, original beats with funk.
Considering that you make all sorts of beats, across varying tempos, what do you really enjoy making most?
At the moment I'm enjoying making spacious beats. I'm not particularly attached to any tempo but I tend to make stuff either at 130-140bpm or around 85/170bpm.
Over the last year or so I've been really enjoying doing stuff at 170bpm, as it's been a long time since I worked at this tempo. I recently had a lot of fun going back to my junglist roots, doing a remix of Affrobilly Jones' Clear the Clutter.
2009 saw the release of your first album Messages From The Void. What's in the pipeline for yourself as a producer? Another album on its way or any other individual releases?
I've been journeying beyond the void, bringing back mystical sounds from other dimensions so yeah, definitely another album in the pipeline. I'm also working with a couple of labels with a view to releasing some of my 170bpm material.
In terms of releases, prior to setting up your own label Runtime, you had tunes signed to Hotflush, Pitch Black and Halo Beats, did you feel creating your own imprint gave you the freedom to release exactly what you wanted?
Having my own label allows me the freedom to release the music I make when I want, and more recently to put out music I'm feeling from other producers as well as collaborations.
Can you tell us anything about these other producers and what releases they have coming up in the near future?
Kolbi Toez, London based producer, released the Phobic EP in September 2011 (which got very little hype but the tunes are heavy) is someone we're working with and looking forward to putting out another release with this year.
ENA is a producer from Tokyo, Japan, already gaining a lot of attention within the bass music scene both at 140 and 170bpm. He's got a really original sound, a different approach to making music and he's definitely one to watch. His Use Your Imagination EP has recently been released including collaboration with myself called Tides. Watch out for more collaborations from us on their way.
You've been kind enough to put together a mix for us. Can we expect to hear some Runtime exclusives on that or is it more a selection of what your into at the moment?
A bit of both, some unsigned Elemental tracks as well as forthcoming stuff from myself and other producers I'm feeling at the moment, with a range of tempos between 130 to 170bpm.
When it comes to playing out live, your one big on the use of Ableton and live Midi controllers, what extra elements do you feel this gives your live performance?
Using Ableton and Midi controllers enables me to immediately react and adapt the music to the situation and create something unique each time, blending different elements of different tracks, which allows some level of improvisation.
However, I became a bit bored after three years of doing live sets in this way and I am now focusing back on straight DJing, while researching different ways of performing live sets.
Finally, where can we catch you this summer?
I am in the process of designing and building a mobile solar-powered studio, which will hopefully be ready for the summer festival season, allowing on-site, studio performances and collaborations so watch this space!
Words: Sam Oliveira
Aussie drum & bass producer Safire drops by for a chat and reveals where to download his Innerspace Audio track for free!
Check The Foundation With David Heartbreak
Brooklynite David Heartbreak is launching the Foundation EP on OWSLA, and reception has been hot so far. Blending hip hop with dance vibes, we wanted to investigate from the man himself.
Philth Pours Out His Heart Songs
More well known for his, well, filth, Philth has gone all romantic on us for his new EP. We chat basslines, waistlines and inspirations right here.
Goodlooking Meets Spotify
One of the most groundbreaking labels in the history of UK dance music has teamed up with one of the leading streaming services online. We bring you the info right here.
Digital Soundboy Set Sail For Boat Party
Digital Soundboy are at it again. Ship ahoy for a summer boat party, we've got the details here.
Emissions Festival 2013 Review
We check out 'West Coast Bass Culture' festival Emissions...
Love Saves The Day 2013 Preview Mix
In anticipation of what promises to be an awesome event, Hodge & Shandy have put together a preview mix for Love Saves The Day.
Clima Guest Mix And Free Track
Spanish production duo Clima have some big releases coming up, and to celebrate, they have a guest mix and a track to give away.
One World Many Cultures With David Boomah
He has gone and done it. The new album from David Boomah is out now, and of course, Kmag wanted to get the lowdown from the man himself.
Empress Guest Mix
Best known for her marathon genre-bending sessions behind the decks, Empress checks in with a heavy-duty guest mix and broad-ranging interview that spans the course of her career.
Swindle Lives For The Jazz
Swindle's new album is coming out on DEEPMEDi on June 16th. We caught up with the bass music jet-setter to discuss his work and the sense of achievement of the album's completion.
Bassclash Meets Dubstar
Leading dubstep label Dubstar is teaming up with Bassclash for a huge compilation album, out now. Find out more here.
With interest peaking in their upcoming London night, we find out more about the Innersoul crew, and what they are up to.
CM Sounds Competition
CM Sounds have some amazing music technology courses on offer. They are now teaming up with Kmag for a competition. We give you all you need to know right here.
Aural Imbalance Comes Out Of Plato's Cave
Aural Imbalance is one half of Out Of Plato's Cave, who have recently dropped an album on the Greta Cottage Workshop label. We speak to him about it here.