[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or many producers, the road to success can be a long and arduous one with years spent climbing the label ladder just waiting for that big break. For others however, the transition from aspiring producers to certified genii can happen almost over night with major labels recognising the fresh and untapped talent coming through, much as it did for Brighton based production trio, Klax.
After a number of successful dubstep releases on labels such as Sub Pressure and Uprise Audio, Klax made their drum and bass debut in March of this year when their track ‘Vendetta’ was featured on Renegade Hardware’s ‘Compound One’ EP. After receiving rave reviews Klax firmly secured their title as the ‘ones to watch out for’ and their latest release on Critical Music’s new digital imprint ‘Binary’ proved that the teams at Hardware and Critical had stumbled upon something very exciting indeed.
Just weeks after their latest release (Binary002) smashed it’s way into just about every drum and bass set and mixtape across the spectrum we couldn’t resist catching up with Klax to learn a little bit more about the brains behind the Blackball . . .
For those that don’t know, can you tell us a bit about how you came together as a production trio?
We all had moderate successes separately in various genres before deciding to collaborate. Ben had been working on a few productions with Joel and Benny separately, we realised we’d all known each other for quite a while and all had a passion for dnb so it seemed pretty logical to combine our knowledge and talents. It was a bit of a Power Rangers moment.
Personally, the first time I remember coming across your music was when your track ‘Vendetta’ was picked up by Renegade Hardware and featured on the ‘Compound One’ EP earlier this year. That must have been an exciting time for you! Can you tell us how that came about?
A mate of ours heard the track and passed it on to Hardware A&R, they loved it and came back to us that night and asked to release it.
Up until your release on Renegade Hardware you’d been predominantly known as dubstep producers. Do you dabble in any other genres from time to time?
Yeah, we occasionally switch the tempos about, usually when we’re working on remixes. We generally stick to 140-170 though as they’re the two tempos that move us the most. We all listen to a very broad range of music so we are heavily influenced by other genres regardless of tempo.
So would you say you all have particular roles or strengths when it comes to writing a tune?
We all share the load quite fairly and none of us specialises in any particular role. We all try to bring something to the table once we get into our main studio, a break, a sample, a chord progression etc, something to work from.
Over the years you seem to have developed a very distinct sound within your production, who would you say have been your biggest influences?
As previously mentioned, we all listen to a broad range of music so a lot of the influence comes from those. We like to find percussive or musical samples from a lot of jazz, soul, music outside of ‘dance’ music culture to bring an organic sound to our production. We are also heavily influenced by technology and its misuse.
Are there any producers out there at the moment who are smashing it for you guys?
Plenty… shout to Alex Banks, Kodiak, Ulterior Motive, Mr Carmack, all smashing it hard in their respective niches.
There seems to be a wealth of talent coming from Brighton at the moment, with some seriously strong music from yourselves, Foreign Concept, Shiver and Fearful to name but a few! Surely it can’t just be coincidence, is there something in that salty sea air that inspires you all to make great drum and bass?
Brighton’s always been a ‘dnb city’ with a healthy scene and I guess its that sense of community that breeds some great talent. There’re a lot of producers working within a lot of different genres in such a small city, you hear a lot of great music.
Speaking of Foreign Concept, I noticed you guys collaborated on a track for his latest EP on Critical Music. How did that come about?
Benny Klax had been friends with Matty FC for a while and they had collabed a few times (Cemetery on Shogun Audio) and as we were all living in the same city it seemed obvious that we should all get together and make some music. We were messing around recording some found sound parts, bits of percussion etc, then, Matt happened across an acapella that laid over the beat nicely. We all have similar tastes and ideas so ‘ask yourself’ came together fairly easily.
Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty, Binary002! And I have to hand it to you guys, it’s probably one of my favourite releases of 2014 so far, Blackball is a killer! It must have been a dream come true for you to have your first three drum and bass releases on such prestigious labels?
Very much so. We’d all been huge fans of critical music for many years so we’re stoked to have music of our own stamped with the critical music seal of approval.
Is there a particular track from the EP that you vibe with the most?
I think Blackball is our personal favourite, it came together the quickest and never really got boring to us. We’d wanted to write a simple, clean roller, something that was tough and driven but still very mixable. It’s now one of our favourite bits!
What can we expect to see from you in the future? Any more releases in the pipeline?
We’re just working hard in the studio on the next batch of bangers, watch this space!
And lastly, any shoutouts?
Big shouts to Matt Foreign Concept, Kasra, Badger, Gyomi, Spoils, Shiver, Fearful, Prototypes, The Volks crew!
If you haven’t grabbed your copy of Klax – Binary Vol. 2 already, it’s not too late! Simply head over to the Critical Music Online Store now!