James Crone, Paul Lawrence and John Walsh are Hybrid Theory. Based in Birmingham, they’ve been running the label Four40 for the last seven years, releasing UK garage, house, bassline, and other derivatives of bass music.
Four40 is home to the majority of the trio’s production work, and outside of their own output, they’ve also released records from stalwarts of the UK scene like El-B, Tom Shorterz and Chris Lorenzo.
Though their back catalogue’s a pretty strong reference point, it’s behind the decks their musical tastes shine strongest: go to see them play and you’ll hear a blend of styles falling under the bass umbrella, all tied together by their roots within the UK. While that could describe a broad scope of dance music these days, ultimately the trio’s tastes stem from classic house and garage. They showed us this foundation to their sound clearly on their mix for us, recorded in time for their debut label showcase at FABRICLIVE next weekend.
Asuca (Double Platinum Dub) – R.A.W
Blues For You (Hard Dub) – Logic
Get Get Down – Paul Johnson
Just Gets Better – TJR feat. Xavier
Let Me Show You (12” Vocal Mix) – Camisra
Closer (Swing To Mood Dub) – Mood II Swing feat. Carol Sylvan
As I Am (Todd Edwards Mix) – Sound of One
The Bomb – The Bucketheads
God Made Me Phunky – Mike Dunn feat. MD Express
Hold Me Tight (4x4 VIP Mix) – DJ Lewi
Spend The Night (New Horizons Mix) – Danny J Lewis
Anytime – Nu Birth
Let’s Groove – George Morel
To Be In Love (MJ Cole Vocal Mix) – Masters At Work
Flav – Big Bird
Dreams – Smokin’ Beats
Stand And Deliver (4 To The Floor Mix) – Wideboys
I’m Lonely – Hollis P Monroe
Good Life – Inner City
Is there a theme to the mix?
This mix is pretty much a selection of house and garage tracks that we grew up listening to and collecting in our teens. These tracks hold good memories for us, it felt good to spin them again and show the audience our roots.
What type of tracks have you included?
We’ve included a wide range of house and garage from the likes of Todd Edwards and Inner City, not necessarily what people would expect from us.
How do you and Trilla complement one another? Is there something about playing together that works well?
We’ve worked with Trilla for the past 5 or 6 years, and known each other for over 10. It just works – we bounce off each other.
Do you tend to play a lot of unreleased stuff when you play out?
We’ve got some wicked dubs at the moment from a lot of producers including Skepsis, Shapes and Mind Of A Dragon. We love dropping unreleased music in our sets. It’s always good to hold some of our own music back just for our sets to set us apart from other DJs playing a similar sound.
There are a number of key Four40 family members lined to join you on 23rd – can you talk through each artist you’ve selected and why?
We rate Tengu and Mofaux’s production highly, and they both appear on the label frequently. When they play together they not only shut down raves, they’ve also always heavily supported us by playing our new music in clubs and festivals.
Mistakay is renowned for his grime releases, and he’s become family. We released his debut single this year along with a VIP and remix package, which saw heavy support from a lot of big names. He’s currently writing new material for next year which will hopefully be out early in 2019. It was only right to ask him to play fabric – expect lots of grime and garage dubs.
Tuff Culture has regularly released on Four40 since we started, which has seen him gain a lot of recognition from big publications, being played on Radio1 & 1Xtra just to name a few. We can’t wait to see what kind of set he’s going to bring. He’s a fundamental part of the label.
Biggoss is family, he’s pioneered a lot of acts on his UK takeover show on Hot92 Radio from Birmingham and surrounding areas. A tastemaker within his own right. He also put together The Producer Exchange, an evening to bring together and showcase local beat makers. We fully rate this guy and his ethics, he’s always supported the label and our artists and he does a lot for the scene and music community.
We’ve always been big fans of PVC, we’ve had the pleasure of playing out with him on many occasions and he brings the vibes. His production fuses the boundaries between garage and bass music. Looking forward to seeing what he comes with for our fabric debut.
Finally where’s the label heading in 2019 – are there any exciting plans you can give us a heads up on?
We will be dropping our first Hybrid Theory artist album at the start of the year, as well as more releases from the likes of Tuff Culture, Kastle's debut compilation, Tengu and some newcomers. We’ll also be touring the UK – keep an eye out for more info soon...