True To The Craft
In Depth With dBridge (Part 2)

Last week we published the first part of our in depth interview with dBridge, a key player in modern drum & bass whose Exit Records label has helped diversify and inspire the scene a lot of times over. Whilst the first half of our chat focused more on his label’s operations, we also took the time to discuss his personal projects: his housier (read non drum & bass) productions as Velvit and his ongoing collaboration with Jon Convex as HeartDrive amongst other things. Ahead of Exit’s return and their imminent takeover of Room Two next Friday, we’re equally as excited to present part two of our conversation...

If you missed it last week, you can read the first part here.

Other than the label, what are you up to at the moment? What can we look out for release-wise?

I’ve finally committed to working on my album now and I’m pleased to say it’s now slowly coming together. I think I’ve got about five or six tracks that I am happy with. Other than that, I’ve just finished something with Keith Tenniswood (aka Radioactive Man) which will be the follow up release on Craig Richards imprint, The Nothing Special. I am working on some Velvit stuff for Electric Minds and I have been asked to do some more Velvit music for another label but I don’t want to say any more just yet! I’m also working on the HeartDrive stuff with Convex. He’s back in the country now so we’ll be working on our live show. And I’ve got another album forthcoming that’s Convex, Consequence, Joe Seven and I called Binary Collective, which I am really excited about.

How is your Velvit alias going?

I’m still not rushing it. I had always been slightly hesitant about doing something like this because you know, you get these new scenes that come along and I just didn’t want to be that person or feel like I was being that person if you know what I mean, so I’ve tried to run it parallel with what I do already. I was even quite hesitant about going under another name at first but I didn’t want to cause confusion in some respects… Do you know what I enjoy most about it though? The fact that I completely shit myself when I’m doing gigs, you know when you’re really fucking nervous? I love that. Drum & bass is second nature to me but this house thing, it’s like fuck! I swear I’m doing this wrong! I’m just so, so nervous. It reminds me of when I used to play at The End. I used to have this weird thing where my mouth would fill up with saliva and I’d get butterflies in my stomach. It’s nice to have found that feeling again.
"Do you know what I enjoy most about it though? The fact that I completely shit myself when I’m doing gigs..."

It’s another reason why I have been slow with my album because a lot of the record will feature me singing, and this idea of going up on stage is just you know, kind of frustrating. I want to, but the thought of me singing in front of people, I’m just far too nervous for that. I did a vocal work for Dark Sky’s new album and they did this thing at XOYO not too long ago and they asked me to sing. I was like, ‘NO WAY.’ Saying that, eventually I think it will be good for me. I just need to build up my confidence a bit. I think the last time I sang in front of a crowd was when I was sixteen in front of a group of German exchange students…

What was the basis behind the transition? You’ve said before that it was almost like you had matured to that sound? Is that the case?

There is that element to it yeah, drum and bass can sometimes feel like it has this kind of age range and at a certain age you might feel like you need to move on from it. It brings quite a young crowd and I think as you get older you appreciate the fact that you can be part of an older crowd so to speak. There is adult drum & bass, definitely, but I think some of the younger generation think that it might be just old skool d&b, jungle you know the ‘90s era, but it’s out there. I think with house and techno, it’s just sometimes refreshing to play to people that are kind of closer to your age.
But I think what I’m trying to do is to get people used to the idea of perhaps the label being quite eclectic in its approach. So hopefully we can get different artists down to do different things. We started doing it with Autonomic in Room Three [at fabric] which was quite d&b driven but we had Jimmy Edgar, Shackleton and all these different people that were doing house and techno sets in the midst of what we’re doing. I want to do that again so hopefully within that framework I can kinda be dragged along as Velvit.

You said before that you’ve always just made music for yourself, do you think that the decision to produce 130bpm was just you doing exactly that?

I think first and foremost I enjoy making music and I like being able to give people who play that kinda music something to play – you know sending music to Martyn, Boddika and what not. I think in a way my approach to making this music is based on me just liking the idea of them having something of mine to play. I know there are general rules to most of it but I like to think this is my own interpretation. It’s the same approach I have with d&b. You know. I listen to house and techno, and I like so many different variations of it so my sets end up sounding slightly confused! I have had help from Damon (Convex) and Marcus (Intalex). I’ll send music to them like ‘what’s this? I mean, watching Marcus progress [as Trevino] is a really good thing to see cause you know, that was something he has always wanted to do and it seemed to take him a while to build up the confidence to do it properly but it’s really thriving now. It’s really encouraging for me to see because, like I said before, it can be tricky to cross over from another scene but in all honesty, as long as people can see that I am being me, then I’ll be ok.

Do you have any worries or doubts about this particular transition?

I think there’s this natural fear that people will listen to the Velvit album and expect to hear something to do with d&b. I listen to it and I think there’s no d&b here. It’s a fear that has kind of followed me with whatever I’ve done in the past. This fear where you just don’t know if people are going to like it or not. I think perhaps that’s why sometimes I feel I’ve had a hard time letting go and a hard time sending my music out for people to review, because I almost don’t want to know what you think! So again it kind of goes back to why I’ve been slow with the Velvit alias in a way. I just need to ease into it.

So finally - and to bring it back to the takeover of Room Two - what can we expect from Exit Records later this month?

I think as always I just want people to come down with an open mind. Producers like System, Skeptical, Machinedrum and myself all deliver music that’s great to listen to but music that will also hurt the dance floor. It’s not going to be a typical d&b night, it’s going to be a fleet of heavyweight producers bringing heavyweight music that some people might not release they even like.

Basically, I know that from the music that these guys have sent me recently, fabric will be in for a treat.

Part 1 of this interview is here.

Friday 15th August

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