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!

 

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