How about an exclusive minimix from Dutch D&B dons Black Sun Empire?
A 100% D&B affair, complete with collabos with the likes of Noisia and Foreign Beggars, it’s out on October 1st… Read on for some great insight into the album writing process AND a taste of what to expect!
From The Shadows is your fifth album, do you find you’re in the swing of writing albums now, or is each one a fresh challenge?
“We have some experience with writing albums, but to be honest it doesn’t become easier. We still have to spend a lot of time getting to the point where all three are happy with it. We tend to start a lot of tracks and see if there is a general direction, a common idea behind it. We don’t do it the other way around because that would feel forced. So you can say writing an album remains a dirty challenge. But things that make you sweat feel better in the end.”
How does your new album differ from your previous ones?
“Up until this point, when we used ‘voices’ they would mostly be samples taken from various sources. This time around we wanted to do more in that area so we talked with people we like and respect to do some collaborations. It was great to see what other artists come up with when they hear your raw material. Some of those recordings were done in our studio, others done via file transfers. Both methods have some challenges, but in the end, we really liked what we all came up with.”
From The Shadows is a purely D&B album, was it a conscious decision to go back to just drum & bass after 2010’s more experimental ‘Lights & Wires’ or did it just turn out that way?
“It wasn’t conscious in the beginning, but when we had some idea what the album was going to be like, we did have lots of talks about it. The more experimental nature of ‘Lights and Wires’ also just happened. For us an album is a reflection of what we felt like doing in the studio over certain period of time besides drinking coffee, having lunch wars and staring at the ceiling while talking about nothing.”
There are a lot of great collaborations on the new album, how do you decide who to collaborate with and which of the collaborative album tracks was your favourite to work on?
“Most of the collaborations with other DJ/producers happen because we regularly have acts staying over for our ‘Blackout’ event and between the Belgium beer drinking and the pizza eating we tend to start some kind of tune. The result of these sessions are sometimes great while others end up hideous and are never spoken of again.
However all the tracks that feature vocals on them where actually pursuited, the artists where systematically chosen and hunted down out of love for the sound of their voices.
Our favourite was all of them.”
We’d imagine that after releasing a new album a lot of your time is then spent touring and experimenting with new ideas. Do you find you have a cycle now, after five albums? Is there a process which you guys go through each time?
“The process is a lot like that. After one album you do a lot of touring and in between gigs you have time to listen to what everyone else is doing and what new sound making toys people seem to like and get some new ideas from all that. Some of those little half-tracks you throw away, some you keep and expand on. The beginning of an album is certainly more fun than finishing one! Even after having done so many it is still a nightmare!”
You obviously have a lot of experience with writing albums now, so what advice would you give to an artist who is embarking on their first album project?
“Take a long time to do it and it will still take twice as much time. Also, don’t give away all your tracks to labels to make some money/get some gigs in the meantime, this is something we see a lot of people do. Understandable, but such a shame!”
From The Shadows is out October 1 on Black Sun Empire Recordings, here’s the minimix….