Definitions of the Deep is the forthcoming album from Birmingham based label Rotation Deep. Formed in 2010, this is the label's fourth release and showcases an intricate variety of the more minimal, deep and darker sounds of drum & bass. We caught up with the Rotation Deep crew to find out more about it and what else they're up to.
You're releasing Definitions of the Deep on September 12th, how would you like to introduce it to the DnB world?
Well, you definitely need to get your diving gear out for this one as we are going in DEEP. Loaded with harmonious tones and silky atmospherics the album crosses all boundaries and showcases all aspects of deep music from both established artists and artists of the future. It contains music from all over the globe, and while the majority of the tracks are based around 170 bpm there are a few downtempo tracks at 140 bpm. From the outset we knew this project was never going to stick to a template but we knew the direction we wanted to follow, this LP takes a journey down many avenues of the deep drum & bass sound.
The Definitions Of The Deep series will consist of digital downloads at all the usual outlets as well as a double CD (one unmixed and the other mixed). We had no hesitation in asking Stunna to represent Rotation Deep on our first LP. The mix underlines his ability as one of the DJs at the top of the food chain representing the more musical and progressive side of drum & bass.
How did you go about selecting the artists and tracks?
We wanted to show what Rotation was all about, so we selected the tracks to reflect our definition of deep music. We knew being an LP we needed a few tracks that would work well in the club environment / dance floor, so amongst the ambient / chill there are a couple of bangers. On an LP of this size we felt this was essential for it to work within the current scene. The LP could easily have been 40 - 50 tracks, as we work with so many great producers and there's so much great music around at the moment. We must admit narrowing it down to 23 was difficult but we are more than happy with the way things turned out in terms of variation and content.
We also wanted to showcase a few up-and-coming artists and felt the LP was the perfect opportunity for this. Bringing new artists forward with serious potential is what Rotation is all about. A couple of tracks on the LP were set to be released as singles but we felt would work better on the LP. We chose a few tracks that will stand out because we want the LP to be perceived as different from the norm.
With 23 tracks on the album you must have worked with a lot of artists, what was it like collaborating with so many different producers?
Well, to start off I must say it can get very confusing remembering what stage of the process we are at with each artist. Most of the artists are from outside the UK as well so there was a bit of a language barrier, but once we had overcome these issues that's when you start enjoying it. Being a fan of most styles of music it was great to hear people's different definition of deep music gaining a greater knowledge for future releases on Rotation Deep and Rotation Recordings
Have you featured any emerging talent from the Midlands on the album?
Yes, Slaine is from Birmingham, Keynote is based in Leicester and Scenic & Advisory are from Redditch. While this style is still undiscovered territory in the Midlands there are some great artists here. Producers from the Midlands find their music signed to labels over the water, this is because the scene for this style of DnB is bigger and more popular there. Rotation is always looking for local talent, the more the better, but at the moment 90% of the artists that represent us are from outside the UK.
What made you want to showcase these tracks in the format of an album rather than a set of EPs?
Rotation Deep is new to the drum & bass scene and we feel it's harder to break through without making an impression. So by releasing the amount of different styles on the LP this goes out to a bigger audience and makes a bigger bang when it drops. Releasing the tracks on EPs would have taken longer to come out and Rotation Deep is all about what's happening next and bringing it to the DJs and listeners.
We also felt an LP was required to create that journey feel, with the variety of tracks we had in mind you just wouldn't get that from individual set of EPs. Another concern was that certain tracks would be overlooked on EPs which we didn't want. On a large LP each track is special in its own right. The LP seemed to be a good platform to showcase some 140 bpm tracks you wouldn't get away with on an EP, it just wouldn't work.
Words: James Paterson
How does the Rotation Deep label compare to Rotation Recordings?
When Rotations Recordings was set up the theme was a techy rolling based sound which hasn't changed and labels such as Ram, Virus and Metalheadz were an inspiration to us but then we started getting tunes sent to us of a more chilled deeper, futuristic nature. These tracks were too good to pass up on so Rotation Deep was formed. The sub label was so popular we were getting tunes sent every day and all our attention seemed to be focused on that. The musical policy is something we are finding out as we go along. It's beginning to get its own shape and sound although each release is different. The category we feel is not something you can easily put your finger on but that's how we wanted the sister label to be perceived, different and original, and it is a lot more experimental than Rotation's output.
Have you got any plans to host any Rotation Deep nights, or an album launch?
We are planning a night at PST in Birmingham on April 7th 2012 and we're also thinking of a few smaller nights later in the year but as far as album launch goes not this time. We are focusing on getting the label more established at present as we feel this is more important.
What's the drum & bass scene like in Birmingham at the moment?
It's thriving with various nights covering all aspects of the drum & bass spectrum as well as old skool with nights such as Circles and Liquid Sessions starting to take place catering for those who like their drum & bass rolling, funky and soulful. Black Drop also covers the deep / techy side of things alongside promoters who have been in the game for quite a few years. Every year we host the Drum & Bass awards, one of the biggest events in the UK. We have a great record store that's still going in the centre as well as a couple of great internet / FM Stations. So all round the scene in the Midlands is is looking very healthy and being the second biggest city I think we're setting standards.
Which artists would you most like to work with?
We would like to collaborate with some of the guys that influenced us back in the 90s to see what their view is on the scene and our style today. Other than that we are more than happy with the artists that currently represent us, they all do a great job.
What can we expect from Rotation Deep in the near future?
Well, to be honest, we're stacked out in terms of forthcoming releases and we also have a couple of Artist albums in the pipeline for next year. The website for Rotation Recs is currently under construction hopefully will be up and running shortly. There will also be an online store for exclusives and Rotation merchandise. We are also in talks for a Rotation radio show on a weekly basis featuring various artists from the Rotation Camp. We're looking to do some remix competitions later in the year and we're also in talks to host a night in Birmingham. So you could say this year is set to be a busy one!
Anything else you'd like to add?
Make sure you check the free track celebrating one year of Rotation Deep below. We would just like to say a BIG thank you to everyone that contributed towards the LP. All the DJs that support us, everyone who follows us on SoundCloud and all the supporters around the world. Special thanks to Allan Cowie, Scott Allen, Denis Emery, Jay Cappo and all at Rotation Recs.
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