Uprise Audio recently won best new label at the Dubstep Forum Awards, the same week the label's founder Seven dropped a release that went straight in at number one in the Chemical Records & Juno Download, Dubstep & dance charts. We caught up with Seven to discuss the label's origins, roster and his plans for future releases.
Tell us a bit more about Uprise Audio, how did the label come about in the first place?
My partnership with Verity J has been a key factor to the development of Uprise Audio. We both have our strong points which seem to cover the bases of the whole operation really well and as an effect of that, we've become a very efficient workforce. The label idea was conceived a long time ago though. I was getting sent tracks by a handful of artists that showed great potential. So I started to A&R them and started giving them advice to help them develop and fine tune their productions.
I knew that they could make something big of them selves with a push in the right direction and my input was met with incredible enthusiasm and they took on board everything and all the advice that I was giving them and then tunes like Plus Ultra and Primitive land in my inbox and I was totally blown away by them.
My intention was to present them to Black Box or Wheel & Deal so they would have a good start and be looked after well. But due to very busy release schedules, neither Black Box or W&D had a place for them at the time. I felt really confident they were going to be picked up by either label and was heart broken for them when the time came to get them signed up but with no joy.
I didn't want to let the guys down, because they had worked so hard, so I decided to start my own label and sign the guys my self. And wow, how lucky am I to have them under my wing on my own label making the kind of tunes they are making. It was all about timing it right I guess from that point on.
We got Joe and Cimm on board and after some serious rapid progression we have signed some amazing editions to our team of artists too. We've built solid relationships with them all and them with each other too. We are a family now and the label belongs to all of us because we all work so hard to make it what it is.
Who is on your roster?
Dubtek is a US born producer now residing in Berlin, Germany. He kicked things off with UA001. His sound is weighty and technically brilliant. He sends me on average two tracks a week, he gives me a headache trying to choose which tunes to put out because he has reached such a high production standard.
Nanobyte are a Welsh born production duo. They have progressed so much over the past 18 months. It's been fantastic to see them establish them selves as a solid force within the scene and also awarded for the release of the year on Juno last year. There are still big things to come from these too. Their debut release on the label is a monster and will be available this year.
Asylum is a Vicious Circle member going solo and entering the scene armed and dangerous. He is going to become a huge player in the game over the next few months. His collaboration with Ben Verse appearing on Crunch is incredible and one of the biggest tunes in my DJ sets right now. Not forgetting to mention his release with us being played by an army of people including some of DNB's high profile stars too. He's definitely one to watch out for. His tracks are simply amazing.
Chewie is a UK born production genius who will feature on the label this year. He is a synth fanatic and sound designer extraordinaire. He schooled me on how to program my Virus TI. I've been playing his music for a while now and watching his tracks smash up dance floors. His collab with Dubtek will be appearing on the label this year and is currently being played exclusively by Youngsta.
Wayfarer has only been producing since January 2012 and appeared out of nowhere with a collection of seriously big sounding tunes which blew me away. After hearing his future works I thought it would be a good move to sign him to the Uprise Audio. Things seem very promising for him indeed. Expect big things to come.
Spec is from New Zealand and I found him when Dubtek sent a collab to me by him and Spec. I was instantly intrigued and wanted to hear some solo projects. Needless to say as soon as I heard them he was an insta-signing. He shows huge potential to grow into his sound and be a solid member of the Uprise Audio family. His future releases with us are going off in clubs right now.
Taiko is our latest addition to the roster. He's from Sheffield and has been sending us some of the freshest sounding music I have heard for a while. He is going to be featuring on the label later this year and I have high aspirations for him. He's good friends with Wayfarer too and have already been on the collaboration tip together hurting me with some serious fire. I call them Ryu and Ken. Similar styles, but both with very individual strong points. They are gonna be doing a back to back set at our Uprise x Artikal event in London on April 3rd. Deffo not to be missed.
Joe Raygun is our press manager at Uprise Audio. He does a lot of hard work for the label and is an integral part of the mechanics of operation. He is also our resident host at all of our UA events and will be adding vocal clips to future UA releases and will be hosting my live DJ sets. He is the host which features on my mix for you guys. Deffo one to watch for the future.
What projects are you currently working on?
I just released my debut 12" for Uprise Audio, which will is available right now on vinyl and digital formats. It's been getting an amazing reaction from radio and club play, I'm really excited about the release, it went straight to number 1 in all charts. People are calling it my best works to date. I just finish the Masai Mara VIP with Youngsta too, which I'm glad to say will be appearing on Uprise Audio later in the year and there is a Walter White remix on the way, but I am going keep it a secret as to who is remixing it.
I have a track called Go To War appearing on the UA004 double pack release. It's gonna be part of a five track EP and will be available at the end of April on vinyl and Digital format. The release will also include tracks by Wayfarer, Chewie and Dubtek, Quantum Soul and Klax. I also have a track called Dark Tribe featuring on the new Aquatic Lab album which will be dropping in a few weeks.
What music are you currently listening to? Any recommendations?
If I get time then I like to listen to old J Dilla and Madlib albums. I also like some electro house too and I still love DNB. I'm really feeling the stuff Wilkinson and Calyx & TeeBee are doing. Amit hurts me with every tune and Icicle too. So much good music about right now.
If I'm honest though I don't get a lot of time to listen to other music too much, maybe in the car when driving. But most of the time I am listening to dubstep, or making tunes or A&Ring tunes or listening to demos and scouting for new Uprise Audio tunes. It is a constant process. But of course, I love it.
Whats your production set up?
My currently set up is a MacPro with a UAD card installed, an RME Fireface, Mackie hr824 mk1 monitors, a Virus TI and various synths and native dynamic and FX plugins hosted by Logic Pro Studio. I used to have a whole array of outboard equipment. But I feel software is the logical progression for me now that I have UAD2. It was a game changer for me. Not to mention cost effective too. It kills a lot of power having 22 items of studio kit plugged into your power strips.
UAD plugins are amazing, I don't miss my old studio set up at all. I could never afford outboard versions of the the kind of compressors and EQ's I use in UAD. So the equipment I left behind doesn't compare to it and my productions sound much better now too. Having said all that though, I still do prefer the sound of outboard synths.
How did you get into production in the first place?
I was introduced to production a long time ago by Shimon and Andy C. I was a keen deejay well before I got into producing and through fate I become friends with those guys. I saw them programming tracks while I chilled with them at Shimon's house and I was well and truly influenced by it all. I was a very lucky in that respect, because I had some great encouragement from them and was using their old bits of studio kit that they didn't use anymore to make my first tracks. It was all jungle/DNB productions that I made in the early stages of my career though. Dubstep didn't come into the equation until a few years later.
What inspired you to start making dubstep?
DJ Youngsta and I are good friends. He kept on asking me to make him a track to play out in his sets. So eventually I made him a dubstep track and he played it in every set for months there after. It was inspiring and I'd say that my journey into dubstep began there. I made a batch of tracks after that, which included Siren, Dark Passenger and The Darkness and he played them every set for months later. I was enjoying making dubstep so much by then that gradually I started making less DNB.
I focused most of my time into the dubstep productions I was working on and developed a sound with my own signature stamped on it which people started to follow. It wasn't long before I released Siren on Tempa, my first dubstep release.
It was met with critical acclaim and gave me the perfect platform in which to launch my career from. Release after release quickly followed and steadily I started to build a solid back catalog on some of dub steps biggest labels. So massive respect to Youngsta. Probably my biggest influence ever.
My partner Verity J, Joe Raygun, Youngsta, Dubtek, NanoByte, Chewie, Asylum, Toast MC, Alys Be, Truth & Yayne, Beau at Masterpiece, David at Disk Solutions, Paul at SRD, J:Kenzo, N Type, Stanza, V.I.V.E.K., LX One, Icicle, East Village, Pete@WeSC, Stevie Faze2, Blackbox and Get Darker - Lee, Ashley, Tunnidge, Distance and Cyrus.
Words: Aaron Jackson
Kmag Moves To Kmag.uk
After five years we've given the Kmag site a much needed redesign and moved to Kmag.uk
Cold Fusion Guest Mix
Get to know Cold Fusion, label manager and resident DJ for Renegade Hardware, and download his exclusive mix.
Skynet is back with new material, a sample pack and has just made the Underfire and Audio Blueprint back catalogue available digitally, so we caught up with him for a quick chat...
Top 10 Free Tracks
Our weekly guide to the best free downloads takes in tracks by the likes of DJ Madd, Evol Intent & Eye-D, Int Company, The Sect and Lakeway.
As he unleashes his Your Mind EP on Metalheadz, Kmag talks to DLR about his forthcoming album, getting jumped into the Headz crew, and how DJ gigs that go wrong only make you stronger.
Essential DNB Releases July 2014
Our round-up of the best drum & bass releases from July features singles from Rockwell, Need For Mirrors, Slangbanger, Skitty, L 33 and albums by Bop and Technimatic.
Top 5 Free Mixes
Our selection of the best mixes from the past week features Source Direct, Emma G & MC Tali, Heist, Truth and Kove.
With his new Polyphony LP, Logistics returns to the classic Hospital sound that originally put him on the map, we speak to him about his roots, writing process, and the secret to his success.
Int Company Guest Mix
With their first vinyl release imminent on Close 2 Death and an album in its final stages, we catch up with Ukrainian duo Int Company for a chat and an exclusive guest mix.
Connect With Music Gateway
Music Gateway is a new website that helps connect musicians and industry professionals, we spoke them to find out more and how Music Gateway can help you...
The Breakologists Launch UK Export Records
The Breakologists recently sold their Breakology event and launched UK Export Records, we spoke to crew member Spinout to find out why.
Top 10 Videos July 2014
Our run down of the best videos from July features the likes of Enei, Ayah Marar, Histibe, Rockwell and Benny Page.
SB81 Guest Mix
Having just unleashed his new EP for Metalheadz, Kmag touches down for a mix and chat with SB81 about everything from growing up near Goldie's hood to the meaning behind his new name.
Top 5 Free Tracks
Our weekly guide to the best free tracks to download features Judda, BTK, G.H.O.S.T, DJ Dubsta and Puzzle.
G.H.O.S.T are a new outfit consisting of four producers. Their releases have been picking up support from many of dnb's finest so we got in touch with Lewis, Matt and Will to find out more.