D-Bridge on his new album, Bad Company and why the world has stopped taking D&B seriously...
We launch Recommends 4 this week, a drum & bass special which has been curated by the guys at ABunchofCuts.com. To find out more and to download it absolutely free, just click here. One of the collective is D-Bridge, one of the scene’s most versatile and talented producers. With his superb debut album ‘The Gemini Principle’ just released we thought it would be an ideal opportunity to interview the Exit Records boss and former Bad Company man...
Endclub.com: We’re launching the A Bunch of Cuts downloadable album on our website this week, can you tell us a bit about A Bunch of Cuts and what prompted you guys to launch your own store?
D-Bridge: The store is basically us pulling our finger out and getting involved in the digital world. I think a few of us were a little apprehensive about it, but we knew we had to get involved eventually. Marcus came to us and was like “why don’t we do something together”, and it made sense because of the strength in numbers thing; throw our brands together and hopefully through that draw more attention to what all of us are doing. I’d actually been involved in something similar to this before which never got off the ground just because there were too many egos involved. It was called DruMP3 and it was back in the day, Bad Company, Ram, Prototype, Virus, this was when MP3s were first kicking off, so I’d always liked the idea in principle, it was just getting the right group of people together. When Marcus suggested it and told me the other people involved it just seemed a natural thing to do.
Endclub.com: There’s a natural affinity musically amongst the labels involved too…
D-Bridge: Definitely, we’re all on the same wavelength and are fighting for the same cause within the scene, just trying to get what we do heard and recognised. We do have reservations with the whole mp3 thing, but we recognise that we have to enter that market and get our heads round it.
Endclub.com: Are the reservations down to a loyalty to vinyl?
D-Bridge: Yeah, it’s the loyalty to vinyl, and…though I can only speak from my point of view…I still feel as though you’re just selling someone air, you know? I like having a tangible product, and ten years down the line are they even going to know where that mp3 is on one of their many hard drives?! I’m not in a position to deny the future, it’s going to happen regardless so we’re going to have to get over our grumpy old men mentality somewhat, and just get on with it.
Endclub.com: Your track ‘Scrabble’ is on Recommends and it’s a wicked roller. Can you tell us a bit about it?
D-Bridge: That track was done a few years ago, it’s one I’ve always really liked, and one I got a really good response from when I gave it out to DJs. People like Nu:Tone, Commix and the Hospital guys were really into it, it was definitely one of the best tracks that I have confined to the vaults…
Endclub.com: Your new LP, The Gemini Principle is your debut solo album, how come we have had to wait so long?!
D-Bridge: Laziness…apathy…weed. Haha. I always wanted to do one, it was just a question of pulling my finger out and committing to it. The equipment I had had previously was letting me down somewhat, so I was never able to get to a stage where I was totally happy. Plus I gave up weed in September last year, and until then I had always been confused into thinking that I needed weed to write music, so I’d do a track and be like “yeah that’s wicked”, then I’d wake up in the morning with a fresh head and be like “actually no that’s pretty shit!” Then the first time I wrote a track that I was happy with without weed, I suddenly realised I don’t need this, I’m actually in control of this, so that made a difference. I also wanted to get my label into a position where it could release an album, I wanted to work on its profile and get it to a stage where people were aware of the label and trusted it.
Endclub.com: What influenced and inspired you when you were writing the tracks for the album?
D-Bridge: I just worked around where my head was at emotionally at the time, the influence and inspiration for the music is pretty much me and my Mrs, the ups and downs of our relationship, and I think the music and the titles and the singing – or warbling – I do on there reflects that.
Endclub.com: So what was the creative process when writing it?
D-Bridge: I’d always had the opening track, ‘Seven Year Glitch’, which I’d written on my first laptop in 2000, and I’d known from then it was going to be the opening track on my album. I can’t say there was a plan, and I think when you’re writing an album you just have to do what feels right. I wanted to be able to write an album and not worry too much about the dancefloor. I have always had this trouble – and it’s why I’ve consigned a lot of things to the vaults – of worrying that people aren’t going to play my tunes out, and I realised this was my opportunity to make those tunes that even if people don’t play them it doesn’t matter. I wanted the Holy Grail, an album that you could play out but also listen to at home. I didn’t want to be afraid of doing different beat patterns, simple things like that, drum & bass tends to get caught up in doing two styles of beat pattern – and back when I was listening to D&B at the time I feel it was at its most interesting, people were doing some crazy programming! But it was nice just for once to be like “sod what the dancefloor thinks”, I just wanted to be entirely happy in myself with it; that was my main goal. That has always been a driving force for me, I don’t ever want to look back at my catalogue and think “oh what was I thinking with that one”! With this album I can see where I could’ve made improvements and it’s good that I can see beyond it and realise where I can push onwards from here. I’m happy with what I was able to put together with the equipment I had, and where my head was, at that time, but I feel there’s more to come.
Endclub.com: Do you think the hang-up with feeling like you always have to write tracks for the dancefloor stems from your time with Bad Company?
D-Bridge: Ummmm….yeah haha! Drum & bass in general has suffered from that over the years, I definitely noticed that as part of BC where you start to make music for the wrong reasons. You start to make music to get the reaction from the crowd and there became this thing where in a set if you didn’t get six rewinds in an hour you hadn’t done your job properly, and that really began to grate with me. I stepped back quite a bit from the production side of things and it was quite a difficult time. I was out there earning good money but I wasn’t really enjoying it so it was a weird moral dilemma. I’m glad I’ve now been able to resolve that, because by stepping out of BC and doing my own thing I’ve been able to start again.
Endclub.com: Do you think this problem of thinking of the dancefloor first is endemic in drum & bass?
D-Bridge: The scene does still suffer from it, people making music for the wrong reasons, but I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong and these people are really into the tunes that they’re making – but when I listen to tunes from the last two or three years and compare them to tunes from the era that I believe it was at its most interesting they don’t even compare – two completely different genres almost! This isn’t the music that people outside of our scene can look too, and that’s a big beef of mine – I collect music from outside of my genre and I’d like to think that some of these artists that I collect might have some of my records in their collection; and if they judge drum & bass on some of those sort of tunes then I can’t see that happening. There was a time when Matrix and Dillinja and people like that were remixing big names outside of our scene, people were really impressed with what we were doing, and you don’t really get that anymore. It’s almost like we stopped taking ourselves seriously, so everyone else did. People are always saying “oh but we’re just having fun”, and fun’s cool but at the same time there’s nothing wrong with being a bit serious about what you’re doing as well. The Bunch of Cuts lot, we’re from the serious camp, in fact someone the other day called us the The Illuminati haha…
There’s still a lot of work to be done in the scene. But these guys I’m working with at the moment Instra:mental, it’s just good that there are people out there like that right now forcing people to reassess their game. They’ve made me step up and I think other people are having to step up too – people who aren’t taking it seriously are getting found out in some ways.
Endclub.com: Going back to Bad Company, ‘Inside the Machine’ was one of the scene’s all time great albums, how different are the feelings you have now towards ‘The Gemini Principle’ to how you felt when ‘Inside The Machine’ was completed?
D-Bridge: At the time I don’t think we really realised what we’d done, we were just so caught up in the whirlwind that was surrounding us at the time, we didn’t even realise what we’d made. We put it together, we were happy with it, and it’s only now ten years on that people are saying it’s a seminal album, and it’s nice to have been a part of that. We came along at a time when some change was needed in the scene – it goes through peaks and troughs, then stagnates for a bit, then someone comes along and changes the game, and we definitely did that. We were a bit naïve in some respects, we got knocked for a stupid amount of money by Vinyl Distribution, that knocked us for six and potentially shaped a lot of things and been the reason behind certain things happening and certain records being released – I suppose if you talked to the others they’d probably tell you a different story – but I am very proud of that album and my involvement, and I’d like to think that my debut album in ten years time people will have the same feeling towards it. I’m definitely a lot more happy than when I was with BC, even though it was probably the most successful thing I will ever be part of, but now a lot more happy with the music I’m making, and with the legacy I’m leaving. That is one of the selfish reasons why I do this; I want to be able to leave my mark in some way…I just want to be remembered I suppose.
Endclub.com: You’ve released some brilliant collaborative tracks in the past – who is your all time dream artist collaboration?
D-Bridge: It would’ve been J Dilla and I would’ve loved to have worked with Stevie Wonder in his prime. But within this scene there’s still people I want to work with. I want to do a tune with Dillinja, with Krust, Photek, I’d like to a tune with Matrix, people like that. Outside of the scene I like what Flying Lotus is doing, but I’m really looking for new singers at the minute.
Endclub.com: What are your future plans for yourself as an artist and your label?
D-Bridge: I’ve started a new project with Instra:mental, which I’m really excited about, it’s all outboard gear as well, so we’re all messing about with synths and having a jam, it’s really cool. I’d like to do another solo album as well. I’ve got the next Aptitude release on Exit coming up which will be Instra:mental and Nico, I’ve got a 12” from Chris Inperspective and Calibre on the flip, Steve Survival is doing an album for my label, and the rest of the Black Pocket stuff. I’ve liked Steve’s stuff for quite a long time and I’m really pleased to be putting his album out. I also want Dillinja to do an Aptitude release for me, Krust to do an Aptitude release for me, so we’ll see how that goes…