Having taken some time to experiment with down tempo bass, Vandera is back on the D&B scene with a vengeance. He brings us this exclusive guest mix; a classic liquid collection of old and new.
What prompted the shift back to creating in the 160+bpm style again? Do you feel newly inspired?
Definitely newly inspired! I was borderline obsessed with DnB for 10 years straight. You know- travelling for hours across my native country the Netherlands to see the UK legends play, buying new vinyl from the record shop weekly; good times.
When I moved from Amsterdam to London in 2007, the 140 bpm Bass music surge provided an ideal break from the fast pace of drum and bass. My mind needed something to zone out to I guess. The first deep dubstep track I wrote (India Joya) got signed by Echodub, and the good response to the track motivated me to explore producing other styles of bass music.
Experimenting with 4x4, half-step and breaks brought my production standard to the level where I felt comfortable to finish my DnB projects that were lying around.
I will continue to produce different styles of music and play them out at gigs in eclectic sets. It's great to see that people are more open minded nowadays about hearing different genres from the same artist.
You've certainly been busy- two forthcoming tracks on Bukem's Good Looking Records and a release out on Fokuz' Influenza too. How did the Bukem signing come about?
Ring the Alarm (which gets its first public play in this Kmag mix), evolved over a long time through collaboration with my mates Lickz, Greg (on guitar), and NYC's Inky Jack (vocals) who I was introduced to through Dutch reggae label Dubbhism. I never expected Bukem to pick it up, but now that I come to think of it the jazz & bass actually fits Good Looking well.
I spoke to Danny about producing some tracks exclusively for GLR and that's how Anandamide came about. I really went back to the GLR roots with that one, as that whole atmospheric vibe got me addicted to DnB in the 90s. It's great (and still slightly unreal!) to be able to go to Bukem in Session at Fabric monthly and see him drop my tracks.
Your guest mix features a whole host of iconic liquid tracks. What would you say are your stand out tracks from the last decade?
Anything from Good Looking, Hospital, Klute, Blu Mar Ten, the Soul:R camp - those were my main inspirations to produce. Besides liquid I was also into the harder sound from DSCI4, Hardware, and Tech Itch, which I played out a lot back then.
That's all a long time ago though and the past is the past; but before showcasing new Vandera tracks and mixes, I wanted to review my record collection and summarise how I got to the present time in one huge mix.
Opus 3 is unique in that it's in one key; your previous mixes in the same style have had great critical acclaim. Does creating them require an element of scientific accuracy?
With the Opus mix series, the idea is that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. It's a concept where production and mixing fade into each other seamlessly. For example, I've added layers of highly compressed kicks and snares to increase the definition of the drums in certain parts of the mix where 3 or four tracks are playing at the same time.
Getting all 50 tracks to fit entirely in B♭-minor required some accuracy and a lot of experimentation, but I guess any music producer uses reasoning, experimentation and geeky software to translate their ideas into sound. If I didn't have a day job as a scientist scanning brains I'd definitely do a sound engineering degree!
There will be more Opus mixes with specific themes in the near future (140bpm, new liquid DnB, a 100% GLR one, and a 90bpm mix), so anyone who wants to send me their tracks is welcome to fire them over AIM (vanderamusic) or Soundcloud. I don't mind how old or new the track is or how well known the producer is, if music is good it should be played right?
How do you think sounds are changing as we enter 2013? Is new audio technology affecting the way tracks are crafted?
Well, you know it still amazes me how good some music still sounds that was produced with crappy PCs and simple hardware in the 90s. It will always be a combination of creativity and technology, but as the software gets better and production techniques are shared I guess everyone benefits from the technology. At least my PC crashes a lot less than ten years ago, which helps!
I'd certainly be curious to hear how technology will have changed sound in 2023. I'm sure DnB will always be at the forefront of EDM in terms of production standards, it keeps pushing the boundaries! To me personally, time stretching algorithms to get things in key are the most useful improvement of the last decade, so well done to the mathematicians figuring that out.
Words: Jenny Allbrook
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