LoKo is fast becoming a name to watch for for those in the know, undergroud wise. The South West-based bass musician has had his tracks remixed by KOAN Sound amongst others, headed up Screwloose Records and is now joining the ranks of Ram's new label, Program. We asked him how he's got to this point, how Bristol has been an influence and where he's headed next. He has a mix as well, link below.
Hey Loko, thank you for taking the time out for Kmag. Let us know some of your background, where you're from and what you've been doing.
I’m Nathan aka LoKo. I grew up in the town of Glastonbury but have been living in Bristol with my girlfriend for the last six years. We are now living near Plymouth while I finish my third year at Plymouth University. I have been around for a while, slowly plugging away at the production. I actually had my first release about four years ago which was a remix for Nebula2. After that I just really knuckled down and concentrated on college/university and trying to make as many tracks as possible. I actually set up my own label whilst at college (Screwloose Records) which I have had a couple of remixes released and a 12” last year. This year I have mainly been trying to work on a couple of other bits from RAM/PROGRAM and get my university work done (which isn’t going well).
Your new release is forthcoming on Program. Take us inside the tracks.
Bassline Secret: - I mean this track was just fun all round to make. It all happened really fast and I wish there was some awesome technical spiel I could tell you which made this interesting but there really isn’t any. I sat down in the studio and just wanted to make a dirty old banger. I really miss the old sound of tunes like Watermelon by Ed Rush & Optical , so when I got started I just tried to replicate that kind of sound. I’m really harsh on myself about my tracks and never like any of them so I didn’t expect “Bassline Secret” to actually be a tune I liked but it turned out ok.
The Shadows: - Again, I wanted to create something that was a bit oldskool sounding but was a bit more rolling than “Bline Secret” I just thought about the days when I used to go raving and was far to young to actually be in clubs but loved those tunes that just dropped with a big held note so I took that style and added a bit of my style to it, well I think that’s how it sounds anyway. I find your ears are always tainted when its your own production.
I've been to Bristol a few times, and it seems to have quite a vibe. Give us a flavour of the place from your point of view.
A flavour? That’s impossible unless to explain/describe unless you have been to Bristol. Seriously though, with Bristol expect anything and everything. Bristol in my opinion is streets ahead of anywhere else for its music scene in terms of a family and style. Everyone in Bristol knows each other and everyone is trying to help everyone grow we all seem to have a unique take on the genres we’re in as well but it still normally always has an element of the “Bristol sound". I mean there are some serious artists coming out of Bristol at the moment. Club scene is amazing! The vibe at Bristol parties is like no other, I know a lot of people say “London” but they normally haven’t experienced a Motion party. Its like the most professional illegal warehouse party you have ever been to but it’s totally legal. I would recommend going to a party in Bristol if you have the chance because I doubt you would forget it. I duno, summing up the vibe of Bristol is a hard question - this could have kept my writing for hours.
What made you want to start writing and producing music?
I was into dance/electronic music from a really early age. I used to listen to a lot of Daft Punk when I was about ten. I remember listening to “ NYE Live at the Millennium Dome” in 2000/2001 and Fabio & Grooverider were mixing, from that point on I knew I wanted to listen to drum & bass so I got a pair of belt drive turntables and started mixing. One of my mates had a copy of Logic and when I realised I could make my own tracks it really was a no brainer. I used to sit with him and learn how to use the software and then we started making tracks together. I got a copy of Logic and then just spent hours of my time making tracks on my mum’s computer. I never really took anything I made seriously and I still don’t but that’s how it all started. I guess I really need to thank Fabio and Grooverider, Dan Urch and my Mum ha.
Now you've become more established, is producing and releases what you expected, or different?
Well because I run my own label I have a pretty good idea of what it’s all about but obviously when your dealing with a label like RAM its very different, they are on it! The main thing I have really noticed is the pressure. When you’re sat making tracks for yourself it’s easy and you don’t have any worries if the tracks aren’t great you just make another one. Now I’m sending all my stuff to RAM and especially Andy C its really making me step up and work a lot harder and this is something I have wanted for ages so even though its stressful its also so much fun and I’m really enjoying it!
What are some of your musical influences and how do you consider that these are reflected in your work?
I think it’s pretty clear what the influences where on me for this release but I draw influences from everyone and everything, I love switching my styles around when I make tunes. Sometimes I will hear a new bit from say Fred V and Grafix and I’m like “right, make a nice melodic liquid tune” then other times like recently I hear Calyx and Teebee’s new stuff and its like “POW” and I make darker stuff. I always try and put my own stamp on my tunes but other producers' tunes always influence me in a big way. I know people always say don’t draw influence from your own genre but for me drum & bass is the most complex and well produced music out there so why not draw influences from it?
How do you attain your signature attention to detail in your tunes?
Drums, I used to be a pretty good drummer when I was a kid and when I started mixing and producing tunes I stopped playing the drums but essentially they are in my opinion the most important part of the track. You hear a lot of tracks today with sick bass and amazing musical elements but drums that sound like they have been made entirely out of white noise and I hate it. I try and spend a lot of time making sure the drums in my tracks are exactly how I want them. Other than the drums I tend not to try and get “perfection” in my tracks. I like things raw but polished and I know those words don’t sit together well but the overall feel of the tune is far more important to me than the individual tape delay effect that delays for a fraction of a second too long. I take a lot of care in my production but I also believe there is a point you get to when you need to stop otherwise you can end up destroying your track. I felt with Bassline Secret and Shadows the rawness and unpolishedness was a clear part of the tune.
What are some of the highlights of the mix you have for us?
Well, only having a couple of days to do this was actually really good for me. Normally I spend hours practicing mixes and building a set from start to finish but for this mix I didn’t have the time so I literally got all the tunes I am feeling at the moment and went for it. There are some of the new bits from the Calyx and Teebee album which is out now so go buy it as it’s amazing! Couple of new bits from Wilkinson, Fred V & Grafix, Loadstar, Frankee and myself and generally a lot of big new and old tunes. Oh and watch out for the “Bassline Secret VIP’ :)
LoKo Kmag promo mix tracklist:
1. Monsta – Holdin On (Skrillex & Nero Remix)
>> Body Soul & Forward – Tequila Worm
2 .Calyx & Teebee – Skank
3. Metrik – Drift
4.Noisia – Displaced
5.Wilkinson – Direction
6.Noisia & The Upbeats – Dust Up
7.Ed Rush & Optical – Chubrub
8.Culture Shock – Troglodyte
9.High Maintained – Drop It
10.Birdy Nam Nam – Going In (Skrillex Remix)
12.Loadstar – Passenger
13.Brookes Brothers - Love line
14.Sub Focus – Special Place
15Hive – Neo VIP
16.Kove – Iodine
17.Wilkison – Automatic
18.Loadstar – Vatican Roulette
19.Demo & Cease – Ladies Night VIP
20.LoKo – Shadows
21.Michael Woods – We’ve Only Just Begun (Calyx & Teebee Remix)
>> Hazard – Selecta
22.Fred V & Grafix – Major Happy
>> Netsky – Get Away From Here
23.Wilkinson – Need To Know
24.Loadstar – Link To The Past
25.Omni Trio – Renegade Snares (Bladerunner Remix)
26.Zanetic FT Texas – Symmetry (LoKo Remix)
27.Optiv & BKT – Zero Hour
28.LoKo –Bassline Secret
>>LoKo – Bassline Secret VIP
29.Rockwell FT Kito & Sam Frank – Childhood Memories (Neosignal Remix)
30.Calyx & Teebee – Heroes & Villains
31.Calyx – Are You Ready? (Hive & Gridlock Remix)
Download the mix here
Kmag Presents Soul Flex Digital
Our next Kmag Presents session at Cafe 1001 is on August 8 with Soul Flex Digital to launch their new 'Vintage' LP. We caught up with Dubsta to find out what's in store from the night and the album.
In The Studio: Break
Break is giving other producers the chance to add a bit of his magic to their music with his Symmetry Drum & Bass sample pack. Here Break reveals how he works in the studio.
KG Gives Away Massive Preset Bank
Drum & bass producer KG is giving away his Drum N Bass Preset Pack For Massive, find out how to get your hands on it...
Since we last spoke to Technicolour & Komatic they've become Technimatic, signed to Shogun Audio and have written the 'Desire Paths', which is about to drop. High time for another chat then...
Top 10 Free Tracks
It's Tuesday so time for ten more tracks you can download for free. This week's list includes Spirit, Evol Intent, Makoto, Digital Niyabingh, Indivision, Dawn Raid & Jungle Drummer and more.
Bop Previews Punk's Not Dead On Spotify
Kmag checks in with the genre-bending minimalist Bop as he unleashes a Spotify preview of his highly anticipated Punk's Not Dead LP on Med School.
Top 5 Free Mixes
Our list of favourite mixes from the past week includes sets from Randall, Reso, Elite Force, Hatcha and Mindscape.
Novation Announce Launch Control XL
Novation have announced a new mixer controller called Launch Control XL.
Calyx and TeeBee Interview
As they prepare to unleash their highly anticipated FABRICLIVE 76 mix on the masses, Kmag snags a peek behind the decks of the stalwart dons of d&b best known as Calyx & TeeBee.
Pioneer Launches The PLX-1000 Turntable
Pioneer marks 20 years in the DJ industry with the launch the PLX-1000 turntable.
Atlantic Connection Gives Away The Archives
Atlantic Connection is giving away nearly 80 tracks from 2001 – 2010 so we tracked him down to find out why and how his new album is coming along.
Top 10 Free Tracks
Normally each week we bring you our five favourite free tracks we've found but there are so many around just now we've upped it to ten this time.
DJ Monita Brings Back Skeleton Recs
DJ Monita is bringing back Skeleton Recordings with a remix package of The Razors Edge featuring reworks by Soul Intent, mSdoS and Blade. We spoke to Monita to find out what to expect.
Top 5 Free Mixes
Our selection of the best DJ mixes from the last seven days includes Jumping Jack Frost, Utah Jazz, King Yoof, Jurassik and PBK.
Ivy Lab Introduce 20/20 LDN
Sabre, Stray and Halogenix of Ivy Lab have just launched 20/20 LDN, a free midweek event in London, get all the details right here.