A Conversation With Transforma

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A Conversation With Transforma

MR: Well Neil welcome to the Monarch Family.

T: Thanks a lot for having me on board guys! Its a pleasure to release something with you.

MR: Anytime mate, So you've been real busy lately on the back of a set at Cross Club in Prague to be topped with a set at Let it Roll. How was that for your first europe shows/ Festival?

T: The first 2 shows were absolutely mental, Like nothing I have ever experienced before really....Cross club was packed and a great experience to finally play there...I think the set is also going to be uploaded on DnB Portal shortly. But Let it roll warm up in Kufstein Austria was completely sold out by midnight and it was just insane...For myself, Counterstrike & Volume, plus you couldn't move in there.

Let it roll was absolutely amazing, What a weekend spent with familiar faces, lots of new faces and my management in Cybergroove Agency...

©Audiocoretex/Qwest, Kufstein Austria

©Audiocoretex/Qwest, Kufstein Austria

Absolutely cannot wait to do that again...I recommend to anybody that hasn't experienced it to go...The stages, the people, the vibes & that opening show is something else.

MR: Yeah from what I've seen online the production is insane, and there is a good amount of variety across multiple stages.

T: Oh most definitely man....Madhouse was definitely my fav stage just for the sound and the intensity there.

MR:What about favorite set of the festival?

T: That's a tough one, but I would have to say my top 5 were definitely...Killbox, Mefjus, Akov, Zombie Cats, Bad company

MR: Definitely a strong list of artists. So with this release you decided to change things up a little and gave us a nice Half time Thumper with the track Thumper (Hehe). What was your influence for this tune?

T: I have been a little on that halftime tip lately (As you know with Realms beginning) so I wanted to experiment a little and do something I haven't done yet....As for influence I don't think I took any particular influence for this tune just basically had an idea and just let my creativity do the rest!

MR: Nice one, It's nice when things fall into place! As for Realms that's a side project you've started with your brother. Is there much in the pipeline for that?

T: Yeah most certainly man and I guess writing all this halftime/hip hop stuff really brings out more creativity with my neurofunk in the end.

At the moment we are writing a debut EP which I have had great feedback on from producers here in Europe...And then I guess finding a solid home for it and getting it heard!

Also I think our debut show together as Realms is going to be at a nice northern NSW festival in Nov.

MR: Awesome! Will have to keep my eyes peeled for that one. With the B side to this release on Monarch, the tune is Supernova with Sick Cycle from NZ. How'd you guys get in touch for this tune? Were you able to get some studio time in or was it done via the net?

T: I was over in NZ at the time doing a few shows last year and I hit up Westy to lock in some studio time...And this is what come of it ??. A lot of the sounds in this track were also made using his Moog sub 37 which was so nice to finally get to use one...Now I want one so bad haha.

MR: The gear envy is real!

T: Yeah haha plan is to get one as soon as I can!

MR: I think a lot of our followers will be interested to know Sick Cycle slid a few tracks into our inbox too ;)

T: That's awesome! They are great producers who have been in the NZ scene for a while and are very underrated that's for sure.

MR: Yep, and they keep churning out quality tunes too.

T: Great guys also.

MR: Back on to your production, Who are some of your influences when it comes to producing?

T: I would definitely have to say guys who have been true pioneers to the scene like Optiv, cause4concern, noisia....All the way to the dons of today like Mefjus, Malux, Agressor bunx etc.

MR: Nice, How long have you been producing for? You used to be in a band back in the day. has this helped you with what you're doing these days?

T: For music production altogether about 5 years but DnB specifically going on almost 3 years.

Yeah that certainly helped in a big way already knowing melody and structure of a song really made it faster to learn.

MR: Only 3 years on DnB! it's going to be awesome to see where you're at in another 3!

T: Haha yeah man...I came over to DnB towards the end of 2014...And now cannot get enough of it!!

MR: Now you're stuck with it forever ha.

T: I wouldn't have it any other way.

MR: Do you have a  favorite Monarch Records Release?

T:  I would have to say Xsetra EP was (Fire Emoji)

MR: Well Neil thanks for the chat. So last but not least any last words or shout outs?

T: Not a problem at all Todd! My pleasure....Yeah I would like to shout out to everybody that has made this current European tour possible and all the new friends I've met along the way...

You guys (Monarch), Cybergroove team, Lexa, Mike Kryptomedic, Denis, Scott, Drumandbassterds.cz, Kinetik, Red Light, Sinuous, Audiocoretex, Let it roll crew, Akov, Zombie Cats, Highscore Vienna, Underground culture Budapest, Lifesize MC, Multiplex, Bassbuss Munich, james marvel, counterstrike, Malux, All the Aussie friends I caught up with at LIR & last but not least all the fans/listeners for making this real.

See you all back in Aus in October!

MR: Nice juan, Thanks brosef.

T: No worries at all man thank you!!

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A Conversation with Strafe

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A Conversation with Strafe

Bigups Liam, & welcome to the Monarch family. How's it going?

S: Good, been recovering from a cold so it's been a lazy week.

MR: So Liam can you tell us about the realworld person behind Strafe. (Where you live, what you do for work/study, & what you do for fun)

S: Sure! I live in Wollongong and study a Bachelor of Digital Media at the university here. In my spare time I'm usually gaming, working on music
or up in Sydney for DnB nights.

MR:Console or Master Race?

S: Both but mainly PC.

MR:What games do you mainly indulge in?

S: Recently been playing the Quake Champions beta and Half Life 2 Deathmatch, though I'm looking forward to Diabotical, Forza 7 and the next Need for
 Speed.

MR: How and When did you get into\discover DnB? What other genres do you like listening to?

S: I discovered DnB through Triple J when they had "Hold Your Colour" as their feature album, but I didn't really get into it till the following
year. That was when I started listening to mixes and the stuff from Playaz. Other genres I've been really enjoying lately are techno, garage, trip
hop, vaporwave and ambient.

MR: Yeah i find alot of younger Australain headz gateway into DnB was Pendulum, for me personally it was a mixture of Pendulum, Liquid DnB & Jump up.
So you've been listening to DnB now for almost a decade, What are some of the standout tunes/moments for you over this time?

S: Hazards "Busted" and Original Sins "Say" solidified my interest in DnB so definitely those two. Original Sins album "Grow Your Wings" was huge
for me as I was massively into his stuff and it presented a different style that he can produce and execute very well. Also, I was extremely happy
when Original Sin released "Suffer No Fools" as I had been waiting years since first hearing that monster. Chase & Status' "More Than
Alot" was huge too, not only did it have iconic tracks which are still being rinsed today but it had dubstep and was released at a time when it
was really gaining traction popularity wise. Evol Intents "Era of Diversion" I loved because it was brilliantly dark but it fused DnB elements
into other genres, really opening me up to other styles when I was listening to DnB pretty much exclusively. The Brookes Brothers self titled
album on release I loved a few tunes, but since then every tune has grown on me which I didn't expect since my taste in DnB tends to be heading
in a deeper sounding direction. For more recent releases, Resos, LSBs and Rawtekks albums I have been thoroughly enjoying.

MR: So following your massive debut release on Monarch can you tell us a bit about the tunes and where you take your influence from?

S: So I used to really like jump up and would kind of priorotise it during sets. About a year ago my taste in DnB shifted to deeper stuff but
there were aspects of jump up I still liked such as pacing and its wonky feeling. So basically to make tunes that feel a little trippy with
massive emphasis on sub bass was the idea behind my EP. Annix, Jam Thieves, Signal and Arkaik were massive influences on my solo tracks. 
"Solipsist" basically started off with Dan and I discussing how much we loved "Kravitz" by Bass Brothers and "Time Tripping" and we went from
there.

MR: Yeah that Subby/Minimal jump up is a vibe. I think the switch over the last few years has been refreshing for jump up, at the same time though its
 managed to get more obnoxious and crazy aswell.
Do you have a favorite jump up DJ/Set that you've caught in Sydney?

S: Hype at Chinese Laundry smashed it last year. He played a bunch of Hazard and Annix dubs I never thought I'd hear and it was especially
great that I was supporting one of my idols that night.

MR: So can we expect any jump up from you in the coming years?

S: Yeah probably, if its obnoxious you can bet it's gonna be wonky though.

MR: Excellent! So how long have you been producing for?

S: I picked up Ableton 8 years ago and have slowly been producing throughout that time.

MR: Whats your favorite Monarch release?

S: Tough call, but I think it'd be Struz's "Bounce Rhythm / Bubblin" release. "Bounce Rhythm" is a heavy, subby track I love playing and Monako's
remix of "Bubblin" is an absolutely mental half time tune, perfect to switch things up a bit. Special mention to Ncrypt's release as
well, both tunes are amazing.

MR: Last but not least, Any last words?

S: Shout outs to the Monarch crew, Klaus for being an absolute beast at what he does. All the Sydney and Wollongong DnB family that have helped me
progress to where I am now and anyone who's ever watched me play, playing to you guys is the most enjoyable thing for me. Big ups Bass Drop, 
Breakneck, and Tech and Bass crews. 
 

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A Conversation with Ncrypt

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A Conversation with Ncrypt

MR: So Marc can you please tell us little bit about your history in dnb & how you got into it?

N: Hi guys, thanks for having me! It dates back to around 2011-2012, that's when I first started listening to Drum & Bass,
mostly through the research of electronic music artists on various forums and on Youtube.
At the time I was DJ'ing Dubstep in the Blue Mountains and I mean the stuff that people would call "Brostep" now,
so I think it was always going to be a natural progression when discovering new music. 

My friends and I used to DJ at outdoor parties that we set up in the middle of the bush when we were 16-17 years old
and it was actually a good friend of mine Luka aka Akul now based in Sydney who was the guy mixing Deep & dark Drum & Bass at our parties,
so I would say that listening to his sets at these gigs was the first proper introduction to DNB.

The first few Drum & Bass artists I discovered were Pendulum, Spor, Noisia & Alix Perez, I became quite interested in this genre of music that I had never heard of before,
it was incredibly fast and so different to what I had been mixing at the time. It was really exciting!


MR: Nice one, I've discovered that Pendulum was a gateway for alot of people including myself. Do you have a particular artist which you draw inspiration from at the moment?

N: Choosing a single artist that i draw inspiration from is a difficult task but my answer would be Fre4knc from the Netherlands,
his releases are quality and he manages to combine every element that I love about Drum & Bass into his music.
The highly intricate drum patterns and rolling basslines are incredibly inspiring and I have a lot of respect for that dude... absolutely killing it at the moment, big ups. 


MR: What about general tunage, anything you've been vibing on lately?

N: Lately I've been feeling that dark half time vibe, anything released on Noisia's sub label Division or 20/20 has been making it's way into my sets and the reaction has been great.
There's quite a few artists that I'm really enjoying at the moment and consistently produce great music..... M-Zine & Scepticz, Dauntless, Homemade Weapons, Lockjaw, Signal, Tsuruda, Bredren.... the list goes on! 

MR: Good to see a few Aussie artists pop up in that list too! What has been your favorite gig you've been to in the past year?

N: This one will be hard to top..... I went to see Squarepusher's live show at the Opera House in 2016 as part of the Vivid Live festival in Sydney
and that was easily the most intense and amazing experience at an event so far. The audio & visual assault was very real and I highly recommend checking him out next time he is over!

MR: And last but not least, what has been you favourite Monarch Records release/Tune?

N: There's been some seriously great releases so far..... but my favourite is Xsetra's EP consisting of 3 tracks and some of the best production you will hear!
Ed is on another level with his music, keep up the great work mate.


MR: One more question, Any shout outs and thanks you have?

N: I would like to give a massive shout out to everyone who has attended a gig of mine in the time that I've been playing in Sydney the past 5 years,
playing to you guys is the reason I'm so incredibly happy to be doing what I love.

To Breakneck, Haunted Science, Monarch Records & the Bondi Beach Radio crews thank you so much for your ongoing support!

 

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Monarch Records & Simon Evans Photography Collaboration

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Monarch Records & Simon Evans Photography Collaboration

We here at Monarch Records not only like to push the Sydney dnb scene, but we love all of Sydney's artistry, which is why we are happy to collaborate with one of Sydney's amateur photographers Simon Evans. 

Monarch will be showcasing some of his images, and potentially new images, as a series of cover art on the next bunch of up coming releases.

A post shared by Simon Evans. (@sevens_photos) on

We sat down to have quick chat with Simon, here is how it went down.

 

MR
Hey dude, so happy to have you on board, I've been following you for a while now and I have always loved your photography.
So I just wanted to find out about how you got into photography and how long have you been taking photos for?

 

Simon
I got into photography to impress the girlfriend now the wife, she is an art teacher, a jeweller and an artist, I had nothing artistic to bring to the table so to speak, and I though photography was one of the easiest medias. I was so wrong, it was so hard and I struggled with a lot of techniques such as composition and other aspects, she hated my first pictures and now its three years later and she still doesn’t like my pictures, but now I am completely addicted.

 

A post shared by Simon Evans. (@sevens_photos) on

MR
What makes you keep on taking photos, like the driving force behind it?

 

Simon
I don’t know if there is a driving force, I just love it, seeing a new thing and conveying this to other people, seeing their faces change as they slowly see what I see. Haha so yeh I think that is a driving force.


MR
What type of equipment do you use?

 

Simon
I have a 5D Mark III with a range of lenses, that travels everywhere with me I feel naked without it now.

 

MR
Where are the most interesting places you've photographed?

 

There are too many, a crack den that someone was living rough in was a great find. Then there was a kitchen that I found in an abandoned factory, it had been set up for Christmas and just left. The roof had caved in but there was still tinsel everywhere. But location wise has got to be Iceland it looked like something out of lord of the rings.

 

Please follow Simon on Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/sevens_photos/

A post shared by Simon Evans. (@sevens_photos) on

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D-Vide's Monarch Records Showcase Mixtape

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D-Vide's Monarch Records Showcase Mixtape

Our good friend D-Vide has been kind enough to whip up a mix with all the current Monarch Records releases, plus some unreleased goodies.
D-Vide is an up and coming dnb producer, but is well stapled in the Sydney club/nightlife culture. If you missed our little chat you can catch it over here - A Conversation With D-Vide & Absence.

You'll be seeing much more of D-Vide, his next Monarch Records release will be next month, so keep an eye out on the socials for posts.

Tracklist:
1. Xsetra – Rank
2. Struz - Bubblin (Monako Remix)
3. D-Vide - Coplex
4. Mark Bionic - Soul Trader
5. Struz - Stranger Tings
6. D-Vide - Riot
7. Xsetra – Fujita
8. Severity Zero – Sirocco
9. Mark Bionic – Everyday
10. Xsetra – Ether
11. Mark Bionic & Struz - Midnight Killer
12. Mark Bionic & Struz - Legends Of The Dark Black
13. Struz - Bounce Rhythm
14. Strafe - Activated
15. D-Vide - Brothers In Conflict

 


Social Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dvideaus
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/d-vide-1
Beatport: https://www.beatport.com/artist/d-vide/211945

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A Conversation with Mark Bionic

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A Conversation with Mark Bionic

MR
How have you been man, welcome to Monarch and thanks heaps for releasing with us

 

Mark
Mate, no problem! Seeing what you guys have been doing since I first sent you some tracks... I'm really honoured to be part of it!

 

MR
Awesome man, so I know you’ve got a deep history with the clubbing scene, across the globe and such, so tell me a bit about your history with music, what were some of your first electronic music interests?

 

Mark
Oh god... we're going back a bit now haha. My first major influence would have been the Prodigy back when I was at school. I remember a mate giving me a badly recorded tape of their first album "experience" around 92 and I wore that thing out. From there I picked up on the Chemical Brothers with their album "Exit Planet Dust" and just kept searching... Couldn't get enough of that sound!

 

MR
Is this back in the UK?

 

Mark
Loved the big beat sound of the mid-late nights... Skint, Wall of Sound... all that stuff.
Yeah I moved out here about ten years ago, so this was way before I even knew what DJing was!

 

© Chinese Laundry

© Chinese Laundry

MR
Did you ever make it out to any gigs in the UK?

 

Mark
Yeah I hit the clubs pretty hard when I first went to uni... but for me it was all about trance back then!
Loved a bit of techno and house too, but the DnB came later.
I remember first hearing Cafe Del Mar on a big system and I was hooked!

 

MR
Oh nice, I was right into Trance when I first started clubbing and raving.
Where about in the UK were you from?

 

Mark
Yeah man... ATB's Til I Come, Binary Finery, Sandstorm before it became a meme lol
I went to high school west of London but I lived 8 years in Plymouth in the westcountry before I moved out here. That was where I cut my teeth in the music world so I always say that that's where I’m from.

 

MR
Haha classics
What were some of your first genres you produced? and when did you start?

 

Mark
First track was some 200bpm DnB lol. This was back before I had a clue what I was doing and didn't even really know what DnB was.
Actually, there wasn't really any bass in it thinking about it so it was more dn? but anyway...
That would have been around '99 I guess.

 

MR
Oh nice man 200bpm sounds interesting! haha

 

Mark
Lol you don’t want to hear it!
Actually, it had some good ideas... always wanted to fix it up properly one day.

 

MR
Haha it’s always fun to go back and re-invent old ideas
have you ever produced anything other than DnB?

 

Mark
Yeah, back when I first started I was making all sorts of stuff... house, techno, breaks, trip-hop. Even made a full length 'album' of poorly produced tunes!
I'll have to send it to you sometime... maybe you can give it a belated release 😛

 

MR
Hahahahaha, I'm always keen to hear "new" music

 

Mark
Lol "music"

 

© Tee Eightch Photography

© Tee Eightch Photography

MR
So the tunes you've released with Monarch, I must admit, definitely grew on me.
I dug them when you sent them, but now I love them.

 

Mark
Yeah they're definitely growers... but that's something I try to work into all my music.

 

MR
So what was the inspiration behind the tunes?

 

Mark

Wow... that's a good question...
Soul Trader started with that really big string sample. I'd never really used strings in a track before but always wanted to.
I've always loved the old 90s trip hop music and I guess the rest of it just followed along on that sort of vibe, but at a DnB tempo.

 

MR
It’s such a euphoric tune
So big, so beautiful!
What about Everyday? How did that tune come about?

 

Mark
Everyday began with the xylophone part and then again just flowed from there. The vocal is pitched down into key and just gave it a really haunting feel and I just sort of rolled off that vibe.

I wrote both as I was going through a really long process of really understanding the technicalities of producing DnB and so I worked on both of them for ages... I reckon I spent at least a couple of years working on Soul Trader!

As a result, they've both got some really complex variations and patterns in there... I had to keep the tracks varied to maintain my interest if nothing else!

Hopefully as a result they've both got some longevity in them... there's so much throw away music released these days, I really didn't want to add to it.

 

© Tee Eightch Photography

© Tee Eightch Photography

MR
wow couple of years!

 

Mark
Yeah for sure!

 

MR
That’s amazing

 

Mark
But then I was a bit of a perfectionist with them.

 

MR
I love your commitment

 

Mark
Also, I was learning... I've got much quicker these days but that has its pluses and its minuses.

 

MR
They are really really good tunes man, I'm glad you kept working on them and held back until they were perfect

 

Mark
Cheers man! I've had some really good feedback from both and it's really nice to hear that people are appreciating them 🙂

 

MR
So what labels, artists, tunes are you vibing at the moment? any genre!

 

Mark

Oh man... that's such a hard question! I've found myself basing a couple of sets around the music of Seba and Future Engineers recently... I've always loved their vibe with the contrast between uplifting, funk and dirt that they both manage to get into their tunes.

As for newer artists... I've been following Mage for a couple of years and Ill Effects is doing some awesome jungley stuff

Also, I've recently discovered an artist called Axi who is still developing. He makes some really cool rolling DnB which almost has a kinda psytrance vibe to it.

 

MR
Oh man, I'll have to check some of these out!
what’s your thoughts on the Sydney DnB scene?
you're pretty ingrained in the scene and a staple at most of the gigs!

 

Mark
Sydney's scene has been like a roller coaster throughout the time I've been here! It was strong when I first arrived when Foreign Dub were doing the BBQs then it dropped off for a bit, then it got strong again with 4Q, No Frills, The Collective and Bassdrop going strong around 2009 then it dropped off again before Afterlife started up about three years ago and it's been up ever since!
Definitely really strong at the moment!

 

MR
Yeah I have to agree, it is really strong at the moment, so many good gigs so often, we're spoilt for choice!

 

Mark
Yeah, I've been lucky to have played and promoted with most of the crews throughout the last ten years.... I love it, just can't let it go haha.

And production wise... it's great to see local artists like Royalston, Severity Zero and Dauntless all making waves on the international scene.

© Tee Eightch Photography

© Tee Eightch Photography

 

MR
Amazing to see! the source of my inspiration for starting Monarch tbh

 

Mark
All we've been missing here has been a local label dedicated to DnB... until now!

 

MR
Haha such a vibrant scene, would be rude not to!

 

Mark
For sure!

 

MR
What have been some of your all time Sydney stand out gigs, and which are some of your favourite event nights?

 

Mark
Well, Afterlife has got to come top of that list! It's a shame that it's no longer monthly but one of my favourite gigs of all time was actually at the last Afterlife in August this year when I played a set accompanied by Emily Harkness on the mic. She's got an amazing voice and we played to a packed out crowd... that was one gig I'll remember for ever!

 

Mark
Bassdrop earlier this year at the Chinese Laundry was also a stand out when I played the support slot for the Upbeats in the Cave.
Subsonic last year with DTech on the mic was another.

 

MR
So devo I missed that Afterlife gig!

 

© Simon Gorges

© Simon Gorges

Mark
Lol that's just going back 12 months.
Ah man! Gutted, that was an amazing show!
If anyone knows how to put on a party, it's James and Carly from Afterlife!

 

MR
100% agree!

 

Mark
They literally brought a scene together when there was hardly anything happening in Sydney. They created the community feel that you can still get if you go out to a DnB gig in the city today.

 

MR

So I'll finish up with the same question I've asked everyone, have you been vibing any Monarch releases, and have any resonated greatly with you?

 

Mark

Yeah man, all of them!
(complete cop out) lol

 

MR
Haha any that you really really really like!?

 

Mark
No, really though, I've been really impressed with the standard of the releases so far. If you're going to refuse to remove that gun from my head until I answer, then I'd have to say that Severity Zero's Sirocco has just tips the scale 🙂 Amazing vibes and that piano riff reminds me of an old Omni Trio track!

 

MR
Hahahahaha awesome man! I just want to give shout outs where they're deserved! haha
Again, thanks for releasing with Monarch and thanks for your time tonight mate, I had fun!

 

Mark
Yeah for sure! Definitely deserved!
No worries man! Any time

 

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A Conversation With Xsetra

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A Conversation With Xsetra

Xsetra aka Ed joins me to have a chat about his release with Monarch, Bands and the Doof scene. Xsetra's release "Ether EP" is Monarch's third release, a deep, dark and massive EP, making waves in the local dnb scene!

MR
So firstly, thanks for releasing with Monarch, it has been an absolute please man!
Tell me about your musical history, did you teach yourself music production?

 

Ed
Hey dude! Very happy to be onboard with you lot. I am self taught been doing it for about 9 years, first starting out on the guitar in high school playing in bands then later moving into electronic productions in my later teens.

 

MR
That’s awesome man, I wish I picked up and stuck to music in school, one of my biggest regrets. I've had to re-learn all of the theory! What bands were you into in school?

 

Ed
I was big on Queens of the Stone Age, Steely Dan, Joe Bonamassa and much more.

 

MR
Nice nice, I was a fan of QOTSA too. What were the first electronic genres you were interested in? Did you produce any other genres in your earlier years?

 

Ed
Well the first dose of electronic music I liked probably was Aphex Twin when I was about 15 then moved into square pusher and the ball started rolling from there. It wasn't until I went out to a dubstep gig in Sydney in the early 2000's that really sparked my interested in producing, i started with a project called Boudi Bass it was a duo with a mate of mine, we played at Void, Petes Ridge Festival and a few other events.

 

14997015_1303764019665647_1159631234_n.jpg

MR
I just had a cheeky listen to Boudi Bass on Soundcloud 😉
Are there any stand out musical experiences, gigs/shows that turned the light on for producing?

 

Ed
Most of the early Void shows at the Phoenix bar in Sydney really got it going, one in particular was a Casper gig he played some crazy shit and really influenced my early productions.

 

MR
Sweet man, I went to a few Void gigs, a bit hazy on memories though lol
So your productions are super tight and really clean, you mentioned you've been producing for 9 years, have you ever thought about dabbling in any wildly different genres? Like techno, house?

 

Ed
Well I have been producing a couple of different genres including Techno for a long time, I've just never released any of it yet. Early next year in February I'll be launching my side project, it’s a strange mixture of down tempo and psychedelic dub so really looking forward to it.

 

MR
Ohhhhh that sounds really interesting.
So you're pretty well involved in the doof scene, tell me about that, what draws you to that scene?

 

Ed
The Doof scene has always had my attention, for me it's a really nice environment for the arts and music of all sorts. The atmosphere of these Doofs are unmatchable and performing my music at some of Australia's finest bush party's has been a delight. Most psytrance I'm not a massive fan of, although the slow Zenon prog sound is where it's at! For me anyway, it's funky, chunky, and psychedelic. Just the wide variety of music to experience at these events is a real attraction not to mention the decor!

 

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Ed
The great thing is DnB is slowly moving into the Doof scene and it's exciting.

 

MR
I must admit, I'm a doof virgin, but I meet so many of the people who are involved, and they are some of the nicest people I know. I've always been meaning to go to one!

 

Ed
Well I really recommend going! You won't be disappointed, it's true most folk a generally very nice.

 

MR
SO the tunes. Wow, what a huge release, it’s really struck a chord with the dnb locals, so much great feedback. Ether in particular really resonated with me, nice and dark and deep. The short sharp drum samples, the low warm bass line. I get a such a deep and intriguing vibe, like I'm looking into a dark room with sounds reaching out to me and retracting.

What was the inspiration for your tunes, Ether, Fujita and Rank?

 

Ed
Thanks bro! Rank was inspired from an unknown half time tune I heard early in the year, unfortunately I still haven't found the name of that tune! I just liked the deep vibe it has going on. Ether was just a random day where I woke up one morning and jumped in the studio for a solid 14hrs by the end of the session I was in no way good to judge my work so I slept on it. The next day when I woke to this tune I was very happy, my brain was fried from the long session and trying to fit my day job in I felt like I could be in the "ether" lol hence why I named the tune that. Fujita is a completely random name, it felt good when I rolled it off the tongue one day and I liked the look of the spelling so I went for it haha. To be honest most time when I produce I don't have much inspiration I just jump in and go for it.

 

MR
That’s really interesting! They all have consistency man, I think you've really sharpened your unique sound.

What musical influences would you say have played a part in recent years?

 

Ed
Thank you, a great deal of inspiration in the DnB production has been from a few including, DLR, Disprove, Lynx and I might as well as the old Mefjus! For other favoured producers I've been influenced by Quanta (Shanti Planti music) Grouch, Louis Flores and loads of others.

 

MR
A nice variety there
So I'll finish up here, last question 🙂 I've asked everyone this, as I'm really interested in seeing the different responses haha

Are you digging any other Monarch releases?

 

Ed
Yes I really love the D-Vide Riot tune, it's large! Almost got that DLR vibe going on a very nice tune.

 

MR
Awesome man!
Well thanks heaps for spending some time with me, really appreciate it man!

 

Ed
No problem mate, it was a pleasure to chat with you.

 

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A Conversation With Severity Zero

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A Conversation With Severity Zero

We sat down and had a conversation with Severity Zero, aka Leo, who is our second releasing artist on Monarch Records. Leo has been with the Sydney DnB scene for many years and is a prominent figure with in the community.

Leo’s two tracks “Something Inside” and “Sirocco” are straight off the sunset watching beach, with enormous uplifting vibes which hit you beautifully in the club.

We talked about the inspiration for the two tracks, where his beginnings started from, label signing tips and much more.

 

 

MR
So firstly, thanks for releasing with Monarch, it's been a long time coming, but we finally made it!

 

Leo
I'm proud to be a part of the team!

 

MR
We're extremely happy to have you on board.
So the two tune you've released with us are beautiful pieces of work, both really up lifting and amazing liquid tunes, has liquid always been a deep love for Severity Zero?

 

Leo
Absolutely. From day one I've strived to make the kind of tunes that I would like to hear when I walked into a club or a chillaxed late afternoon poolside DnB session.

 

MR
Liquid is great like that, can be very diverse and be played in almost every situation, tell me when did this love for liquid begin?

 

Leo
I'd say it was about late 2008, around the time my passion for DnB reaaaally took off - but there was a certain style that I liked more than others. I realised early on that DnB was a very deep ocean. Within a few months I learned that the sound I was after was known as "liquid".

In saying that, I do enjoy all styles of DnB. I dabble with Neuro, Tech occasionally and I love Jump Up too. Nothing gets a party going like Jump Up and a good MC!

 

MR

That’s so true, liquid feels like it has roots in progressive house/trance, what other genres did you enjoy before getting hooked with DnB?

 

Leo

I think liquid draws quite a bit from hip hop, house and RnB too, especially the more vocal end of the spectrum. In my teens I feasted on a diet of RnB and Hip Hop, later on I got into rock and then in my mind 20s and later, House and Trance.. so I think it's a combination of all the above that helped shape my sound.

 

MR
Did you ever DJ any of those genres?

 

Leo
Nope. I've only ever DJed Drum and Bass. Although I'm looking to expand into other genres at the moment, namely deep, tech and progressive house.

 

MR
oh nice one, same alias?

 

Leo
Probably. I don't feel the need to reinvent myself or anything like that. I make music I like and I play music I like. It's as simple as that.

 

MR
I'm the same, I used to DJ a bunch of genres under the same name, still do occasionally, I'm always curious to find out if people want to go into another alias.

 

MR
So I must admit, the tunes took me right back to an Ibizan sunset, what I’d imagine Sun & Bass to be like, where did the inspiration come from for these tunes?

 

Leo
Music is a powerful thing. Life can be tough, but liquid takes me to my happy place. For me to seek that place within myself and than share that with others in the form of music is a great privilege. I hope to help take others to their happy place too.

Sun and Bass was certainly an inspiration. I’ve been wanting to go for many years and finally took the plunge last year. I can’t describe how special that was.

 

MR
That’s amazing, I love overseas festivals. The Europeans just know how to organise and structure some the greatest festivals. Have you ventured to any others?

 

Leo
No. Sun and Bass is it :)

 

MR
Awesome man, I'm yet to attend, but have been to a few over in Europe a few times. Sun and Bass is definitely on the list!

 

MR
So going over your previous releases, you have quite an impressive collection, over a bunch of labels. How did you go about your first label release? Any tips for up and coming producers?

 

Leo
Absolutely. The main tip is to be patient. The lure of that first release is quite strong. I think it's quite natural that producers starting out crave a bit of recognition after all their hard work. Don't just give your music out to the first person or label that asks for it. Know where it is you're going, then chart the course that will take you there. The other thing is to team up with other producers that are starting out as well. Having a support group like that works wonders and it creates the right conditions for people to collaborate and share ideas. It also creates some friendly competition too, which is great. The other important thing is to contribute to your local scene. I'm so happy that Monarch records came about as you guys will finally provide the medium needed for all of that to happen!
... in Sydney :)

 

MR
That's exactly what one of our goals is, we want to be the stepping stone for our local producers to the international stage.
Who supported you or who did you support in the earlier years?

 

Leo
There are two guys that I think were instrumental. And I think back when our sound started to develop, around 2010-2011, we really were able to feed off each other's creativity. Those two guys would be Humanature and Capsika. Two incredibly talented producers. Humanature is now kicking major goals with Fokuz and to be honest, I think the sky's the limit for him Capsika is another one that makes me cry with envy when I hear his tunes (and I say that in the best possible way!). He hasn't been very active as of late, sadly, but I hope to see him make a comeback.
Silence Groove has been a good helper too lately

 

MR
Awesome man, I'll have to check these guys out. Theres so many artists I just haven't had a chance to listen to, as you said, DnB is a very deep and vast ocean haha

 

MR
So I must ask, what are your musical influences and which artists are you vibing at the moment, in any genre!

 

Leo
My earlier phase was all about the Hospital sound, plus the Brazilian pioneers (Marky/Xrs), so throw in High Contrast, Nu:Tone, London Elektricity. Spearhead also became a massive influence with Lenzman, Bcee and LSB. Lately I've been paying really close attention to what is happening with a group of rising artists over in UK: Pola and Bryson, Mitekiss, GLXY - Also Poland seems to be delivering in droves with Silence Groove, In-Deed and SATL delivering banger after banger after banger. In Brazil, Alibi, Simplification, Translate and L-side are making some serious noise. Stateside, we got heavyweights like Random Movement, Kasper and Jaybee doing their thing and finally in Aussie Royalston, Dave Xcessive from Perth is doing some really cool liquid. Pearse Hawkins has just chalked his name up in the Medschool/Hospital roster. It's all happening. There's so much going on it's hard to keep track!

 

Leo
I don't think vocalists get enough of a mention, either. Right now Collette Warren, Tali and Riya are doing amazing things, not to mention Adrienne Richards from the US. Also, keep an eye out for our very own Lauren Neko in the future :)

 

MR
Nice man, there is a treasure trove of artists for everyone to check out, thanks for great response too, I know it can always be hard to narrowing it down.

 

Leo
Lately I'm also quite keen on the Critical sound... Ivy Lab especially, as their deep and Melodic sound is unmatched. Then there's Break. That's a subject in its own right!

 

MR
Oh man, quality stuff coming from both at the moment.

 

Leo
oh man - I didn't even get to mention CALIBRE.

 

MR
You're a well seasoned DJ and producer, with heaps of experience and have been around a bit, what’s your thoughts on the local DnB scene?

 

Leo
My thoughts on the local scene? I am very excited. I've been going to DnB gigs in Sydney since 2008 and as far as I can tell, we've never had it so good. Monthly parties like Elements of Tech and Bass and Afterlife keep the faithful coming back plus a raft of fresh faces. There are so many talented and dedicated promoters contributing to this moment. I feel we are quite privileged to be living in this moment now.
Then there's a steady stream of Internationals coming here almost every weekend.
We are spoilt for choice!

 

MR
Couldn't agree more! You've mentioned some DnB events, are there any others which you frequent or want to give a shout to?

 

Leo
Big, BIG Shouts to Breakneck, Bass Drop, RIOT Club, Thierry D, Haunted Science, Just Greg, the Afterlife Crew and Flying Fortress!

 

MR
Shout out to all the peeps that put on the events and give us an opportunity to see our favourite artists and artists that we should know! haha

 

Leo
Indeed, Sir!

 

MR
So lastly, I'm always interested in seeing what our other artists think of the other Monarch releases, is there any stand outs for you?

 

Leo
D-Vide's Riot is definitely a standout track for me. I also really, really LOVE "Soul Trader" by Mark Bionic. I cannot wait to see what else Monarch has in store. I'm also looking forward to working on more releases with the Monarch team.

 

MR
Awesome releases! Monarch can't wait either! We're really happy with the quality of tunes that have been presented to us. Leo, your tunes are always so well done and super on point, we can't wait to have you back!
I'll let you go for now! thanks for chatting with us.

 

Leo
Thank you!

 

4 Comments

A Conversation With D-Vide & Absence

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A Conversation With D-Vide & Absence

We sat down and had a conversation with Monarch's first release artists, D-Vide & Absence aka Ben & Alex! The boys are a serious duo, combining forces with their release "Passion" also on the release is the absolute weapon "Riot" from D-Vide on that solo ting.


MR
So firstly, welcome to Monarch, and thanks for releasing with us!

Alex
Thanks for having us

Ben
Very happy to, thanks for having us.

 

MR
A powerful first release in my opinion, thanks for that.
So, you guys have been through a few genres, what was your first electronic musical experience?


Ben
My first experience was back in 94' my cousin brought home a mixed tape from the legendary DJ Pee Wee. At first I was a bit confused and wasn't sure if I liked it or not but the more I listened to it the more it grew on me. The style was breakbeat hardcore with a little bit of 4/4. It changed my life forever as I wanted to hear more and my journey began.

Alex
I got into the hardcore scene back into 2001 going to my first party (Mystic 5). Got hooked on Dutch Hardcore then got into UK hardcore. I was a late bloomer for Drum n Bass which I have only been listening to for the last 5 years. A jump in genres I know, but the BPM is essentially the same.

Alex
I have always been open to all avenues of electronic music though.

Ben
In 1994' the split was becoming more and more evident with hardcore and jungle and I liked both so was difficult to choose. In fact, it's why I make and produce both to this day even though it has changed so much.

 

MR
That is interesting. I find it fascinating where people start and end up. I too started in the rave seen, in 2004 Transmission and Utopia when I was 18, bought turntables a couple of months after that.
So Ben, you started producing hardcore and jungle/DnB at the same time, how did dubstep come into the mix? And Alex, what was the first genre(s) you were producing?

Ben
So true, a lot of people in the Sydney DnB scene have had beginnings in the rave scene.

Alex
Yeh I got a set of Numarks at around 18 also and learnt to mix, taping to cassette etc lol.
I started making (or attempting to make) hardcore back in 08 on Cubase SX that was my driving passion musically wise for a while but then started experimenting with new genres from chill out to dub to DnB to house, just to broaden my learning curve.
When I get bored I dabble with new rhythms, sounds etc. this can be positive but also negative I guess.

Ben
I start producing in 2001/2002. So was a very slow beginning for me as I focused predominantly on DJing when I started in 1996. Dub Step was something I was attracted to as a lot of the oldskool producers were making cross mixes of oldskool breakbeat tracks and dubstep. I also loved the production so it felt natural to me to have a go at making it. I had some success with a couple of releases in the UK but I started loosing interest producing it in 2011. At the time I was also heavily involved running my hardcore label Executive Records and didn't have the time. Absence and I made a dub track during this time as well that didn't get released.

Alex
We have done a few tracks together over the years haha!

Ben
That is true Alex ;) few beers ;)

Ben
For me though I started writing and focusing on oldskool and hardcore and only felt my drum and bass production was good enough around 2011. I struggled early on to be honest as it always sounded hardcore. I remember the UK guys saying they liked my tracks but they could always tell I had a hardcore background. However I feel like the last few years I have got it sounding right, it's such a huge learning curve.

© Anastazi - Absence in his element.

© Anastazi - Absence in his element.

Alex
Yep drum n bass is a massive jump in production quality- and you really have to put in the effort to get it right, but what I love about the genre is the creative freedom you get as the only real formula is your drum patterns - but in saying that people are breaking the mould more and more.

MR
That is interesting, I only just realised that it lacks a formula.

Alex
It does lend itself to hybrid sounds haha.
 

MR
I could hear the uplifting hardcore/UK vibe in Passion, it suits it really well, especially with liquid, because the genres both happy, fun and uplifting. Riot is an absolute banger, I must admit, I was very impressed with the contrast and diversity of what was on your Soundcloud at the time we heard Riot.
How do you find transitioning between genres, are the scenes completely different?

Alex
I just kind of write what I’m feeling at the time or challenge myself to making something I’m keen to experiment with. There is a bit more of a regiment or intended sound when working with Ben as we always have a goal in mind when starting out. With passion we were aiming for a liquid tune from the beginning and had a few tracks we referenced along the way.

Ben
Passion had a lot of influence from the Moving Shadow label. :) We sampled sounds from an old 95' pack that producers like Omni Trio and Photek also used. I had a lot of fun writing that with Alex. Riot was something I was working on for a while. All the drum sounds etc were sampled from a real drum kit. I wanted it to feel as live as possible. I find transitioning a lot easier these days. Both are completely different in terms of processing the sounds, tricks of the trade etc. At first it was difficult as I would do something I would do in Hardcore and it just wouldn't work with D&B. So I studied a lot of tutorials and applied my own knowledge to get that different sound for Drum & Bass.

Ben
Spot on Alex.

Alex
Yep I have spent hours upon hours watching tutes on D&B production as it's so different in sound design than anything I had done before
It also helps to have a basic knowledge of synthesis etc.
Also a good sample library doesn't go a stray.

MR
I can't get enough of drum samples, I never seem to be satisfied! haha

Ben
Haha so true!

Alex
The possibilities are infinite
 

MR
You've collaborated before in the past, you mentioned that you had a vision in mind of Passion, but how did this collaboration come to be? Did you sit down to write a bunch of tunes and this one was the one that took off? Was the collaboration online or in the studio?

Ben
We have written around 3 or 4 tracks together before we made Passion. It was done in Alex's studio. But as Alex mentioned we had an idea in mind before we started. I was spending a lot of time listening to liquid and enjoying old Rhode tunes at the time and it just came together. We carefully picked out our sounds first and worked on it slowly bit by bit over 4 or 5 sessions.

Ben
Plus, Alex is a good mate of mine and I enjoy writing with him. So it was natural we do some songs together.

Alex
Yeh ditto.. we just write tunes for fun mainly regardless of genre or sub genre. Passion was to be a liquid tune from the get go and as I said before we referenced a few tracks and dug through our samples to get something going. It is always difficult writing a style that is new but I reckon it turned out pretty awesome, sort of our take on a liquid tune

Alex
We did it all at my place
 

MR
Passion certainly did turn out awesome! What kind of gear are you sporting ay your joint Alex?

Alex
Cubase 7.5
Komplete 9
KRK VXT 6 monitors
Focusrite 2i4 interface
Roland a500 keyboard
Access Virus TI
Plus a few other stand alone plugins

MR
nice! quite a collection
I might have to come around ;)

Alex
Thanks. Yeah a bit of $$ invested
Haha anytime man :)

MR
I've always wanted to get my hands on a virus, but always too busy or I'm too cheap to buy one haha

Ben
It's my old virus as well. I miss it! haha give it back Alex ;)

Alex
Yeah its a lot of fun to get hands on with sounds. Nah mate.
I paid for it fair and square

© Photos By Boaz - D-Vide cutting shapes at Riot.

© Photos By Boaz - D-Vide cutting shapes at Riot.

MR
haha!

Alex
haha
 

MR
So no doubt there will be future DnB collaborations between you guys?

Alex
Yeah we are planning on starting a new tune next week.

Ben
Yeah for sure. I am working on a few solo bits at the moment but we are going to work on something next week.

Alex
Don't know which direction we will go in, but the best part of writing a track is the blank canvas in front of you.
 

MR
Spicy, can't wait to hear them!
I have to ask, Riot, is there a story behind this one? Relation to Riot Club?

Ben
Indeed mate, so Riot was written for the Riot parties. I had an idea in my head for a while for doing a theme song for the party. Some of the samples in the song are actually taken from a live riot that was happening in America last year. I spoke to Tanner about the idea and he was pretty happy. It was played at one of the Riot parties this year that I played at and I also used it for the last producer comp that Fez organised. I wanted to bring awareness to the party and what he has been working on the last couple of years. His passion for drum and bass is huge and I felt a song was fitting.
The mixdown on it took forever, to get right. There are a lot of elements but I am happy with how it turned out.

 

MR
Tanner, top bloke. What are your thoughts on the Sydney DnB scene? Any favourite spots?

Ben
The Sydney D&B scene is always alive and kicking, it has dedicated followers and DJs. I find everyone has so much passion and the competition is huge but that makes everything quite healthy in my opinion.

Alex
I have seen it pick up massively in the last 2-3 years since I have been going to parties I think its going great. I’m usually at Riot, Elements of Tech and Bass put on by Thierry, also Afterlife when it was at its peak.

Ben
Gig wise I love The Elements of Tech & Bass. Thierry always puts on a good show.
Indeed Alex
 

MR
I'd have to agree, its definitely picked up in the past few years, through the rise and fall of other genres, DnB is still steadily growing.
Musical influences, what are you vibing at the moment, to listen to, to DJ, to source inspiration from?

Ben
At the moment I have been listening to heaps of old jungle. Been a bit nostalgic haha and going through discogs seeing if there are any rare dubs out there from Photek, Trace & Source Direct. Also, been listening to the new Noisia album. I love the diversity on the album and it has completely grown on me because at first only a handful of songs stood out. But now there isn't really any songs on there I don't like. The production is ridiculous as expected and inspirational.

Alex
I’m always digging stuff on Shogun, Dutty Audio, Dispatch to name a few, producer wise I really admire DLR - the way he fuses jazz/funk into his tunes amazes me plus his bass patterns are fuckin killer.
 

MR
I'm always curious to see what the other artists think of the other Monarch releases, any stand out releases for you guys, any favourites?

Ben
Great question, Severity Zero's release is fantastic and absolutely love the Xsetra release. In particular 'Ether'. The production is impressive. Although honestly I am really happy with all the forthcoming releases. I think it is a good time for Sydney to show the world what we have to offer.

Alex
I really like Ether by Xsetra. Right up my alley!!

Ben
Which reminds me you still have to send me some forthcoming releases Dan ;)

MR
haha fuck yeah, I gotta get my act to gather and get the mail list going

Ben
hehe all good mate. I do have to jet though. Thank you for your time and support of both mine and Alex's releases.

Alex
have you been writing at all Dan? since that one with Bionic?

MR
yeah the 6th release is due to be mine, got 2 tracks and a VIP, I've got a bunch of unfinished stuff that needs attention though! haha

Alex
Yeh man ditto.. It's an honour, your professionalism has been spectacular!

Ben
keen to hear those
Love your stuff Dan. Your set at the last riot was sick

Alex
Yeh flick a sample over
 

MR
Alright guys, I won't keep you any longer, thanks heaps for this, it has been fun and interesting!

Ben
Thanks champ. We both really appreciate your support.

Alex
All good man, it was a pleasure. 

Ben
Speak soon.

MR
cheers guys!

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