In this exclusive interview, Silent Code introduce themselves formally to the world of drum & bass. Made up of established DJs Missrepresent and Dapz - aka Aliina Mayes and Dean Pratt - we caught up with the production duo to find out more.
If you could describe the music of Silent Code, which three words would you use?
Dancefloor, energetic and varied.
Successful DJs in your own right, how did the collaboration come about?
Thank you. Well James O'd from Junction 11 linked us together initially. We met up, did some DJing on radio shows and thought we'd get in the lab together. By collaborating on production, within a few hours we were coming up with something we thought was great and thought we can't keep making tunes as Missrepresent and Dapz, so got the Silent Code name and bam!
What is it that makes you work in the studio so well together? How would you describe the musical chemistry?
90% of the time it's great. We lay ideas down very quickly and are both committed to getting projects done, so we have a good working relationship. We think that’s why it works. We bounce off each other with ideas and want the same end results. The 10% is a battle of thumb war! A track will go a certain direction and of course we have to compromise. If we don't compromise, it's a longer more painful process, so we've realised it's easier to get along and work together than work against each other. We push each other but sometimes we push the wrong buttons though.
What’s your studio set up like? Which equipment do you use?
Our DAW platform is Nuendo 4. Mackie HR828's monitors. Behringer B2031a monitors. SPL Harmoniser. Focusrite compressor / tube amp. Oxygen 25 Midi Keyboard. Motu828 Soundcard. Phonic Mu802 Mixing Desk. Samsung / SE Condensor Mic. A range of Shure mics. We have a whole other DJ set up as well.
You’ve put out free tracks such as Bang Bang Bang Booty and I Need Your Loving. Was this a way of introducing yourselves and raising awareness? People do seem to love free tunes!
Bang Bang Bang was the first track we did together because it was an easy tune to work on and find out about each other’s skills and input in the workspace. We both have different parts to play when making music. One without the other wouldn't work though, we are very conscious we need each other. We were offered a bootleg deal through Nu Urban but decided that we would get a bit more feedback with a free download, also bootlegs wouldn't have our name on it, so as a freebie we could promote it as Silent Code.
As we’re nearing the end of the year, how do you plan to develop your sound in 2012? What have you got planned as Silent Code?
We are really happy to have three more tracks forthcoming on Viper Recordings, Sanctum, Spellbound and Don't Give Up Featuring J Sonic. We are hoping to get round to finishing an EP for Easy Records, and we have several other projects on the go. We have just given out another free download, In Your Eyes Featuring Johnny Osbourne, an early Christmas gift from us. As to developing our sound, that's constantly being developed and every track we're doing, we are trying to polish the sound we want to achieve more and more by using different techniques and ideas. We appreciate all the feedback we get, good and bad and take a lot of it onboard.
You’ve both been involved in the drum & bass scene for a number of years, what’s your view on the current state of the genre in the UK?
There is a particular sound in the UK that a lot of people follow that is not always representative of a broader worldwide sound. The UK has been the world’s leading front for drum & bass for a long time but more recently the UK hasn't been on top of its game for a number of reasons. We do think we have some great artists and producers and think 2012 will see less challenges and more progression.
Many DnB producers have started to experiment recently moving into 140bpm territory. Is this something which appeals to yourselves?
One of the recent projects we have started will drop at 128 bpm for up to 32 bars and a tempo change up to 176. We experiment in all different bpms and genres of music and don't box ourselves into a specific bpm on a project, we just go with the flow. We won't think "Oh let’s do a track at 140Bpm" just because everyone is doing it. We like energetic dance music. We just make music we like, we don't fixate on the bpm.
Do you prefer mixing with vinyl or MP3s? What do you think about the demise of vinyl and record shops in the DJing industry?
As we both come from a vinyl background, of course vinyl all the way. Vinyl still has a certain amount of quality control. The problem now is the cost. Mp3s are so cheap and accessible it's difficult to get vinyl sales now. Both formats have their pros and cons like anything.
Digital media is where it's at right now, but everything is moving to pre sync'd and laptop performances which eliminates the whole DJ performance, which is not good, so bring back the vinyl junkie we say. It's not going to happen though. One thing is apparent. The new breed ravers at the front of a dance don't always seem to recognise or care how their music is mixed, served up and plated, which does make us wonder what kind of crowd we are accommodating for these days. We don't say go backwards, we just think moving forwards should be done with care to protect the roots and still give the scene some credibility.
What advice would you offer to an aspiring DJ/producer so they don’t make the same mistakes that you did when first starting out?
Mistakes are good, you can only learn from them. The biggest mistake is making the same mistake twice. Don't be scared to make mistakes though, taking risks and having some balls can be a good thing. Try to stay professional to all the people who help you on the way up and listen to them.
What’s the long term goal for Silent Code?
We want to keep producing good music and get to the stage where we can just hit up established artists and remix their tunes without begging. We have a number of goals we want to achieve before we're 40. We are having a lot of fun making music at the moment. It's great to have people enjoying what we are doing as well. We would like to get our music heard by more people because music has the facility to make people feel good and happy, it's made us emotional and hope it can have that effect on others.
And finally, anything else?
Check out our Facebook Silent Code page please! Thank you to Futurebound for his great support and help recently. Phantasy has always been a great mentor. Big thanks to everyone who’s been there and supported us individually as well as a duo.
Words: Jo Ranson
Tracklisting: Silent Code Christmas Mix December 2011 (30 Minutes)
00.00 1) Spellbound - Silent Code - Forthcoming Viper Recordings
03.02 2) Tomorrows Another Day VIP - Netsky - Playaz
06.34 3) Here On My Own - Jayline & Soulculture - Dub
07.58 4) Engaged - Silent Code - Viper Recordings
09.24 5) Shellshock (Feat. Foreign Beggars) Noisia - Vision
10.49 6) Sanctum - Silent Code - Forthcoming Viper Recordings
12.35 7) Bullet - Crystal Clear & Zen - Ganja Recordings
14.20 8) Dutty Gal (Feat.Ragga Twins) - Silent Code - Physmatics Music
15.45 9) Can't Stop Me - Potential Bad Boy - Playaz
18.35 10) Below Freezing - Subzero - Playaz
20.09 11) Dont Give Up (Feat J Sonic) Silent Code - Forthcoming Viper Recordings
22.17 12) Heavy VIP - Zen - Ganja Recordings
23.41 13) In Your Eyes (Feat Johnny Osbourne) Silent Code
26.10 14) Na Fool Me - Wikaman & Hoodlum - Playaz
27.55 15) East Star - Silent Code - Physmatics Music
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