Mortem; a man who should need no introduction. A name on everyone’s tongues, and in everyone’s record crate. Last year saw Mortem’s catapult to success with releases on IM:Ltd, Critical’s modulations & Metalheadz to name a few. We caught up with him to find what he’s been brewing!
Your last release of 2012; Iceberg on Metalheadz saw an incredible end to the year for you. Looking back through the year, what have been the pivotal moments in your rise to success?
For sure the Metalheadz release was a big thing for me. But during the whole year there were few as good moments as this one for example my release on IM:LTD with The Touch and my single on Critical Modulations.
With releases on so many coveted labels this year you’ve obviously been putting in the hours in the studio, how has that affected your personal life?
To be honest, I didn’t put as many hours in the studio as id like to. That’s very frustrating for me to find the right moment to sit down, relax and make some music. A lot changed for me lately, that’s why its even harder to find some time in the studio. That’s why I have to put as much effort as I can when I have some free time.
Touching on the old flames of IM:Ltd; you’ve worked with some top shelf producers putting out stellar remixes of your original works. How did you find working with Sabre and Stunna, and more importantly, did this change your perspective on the drum & bass scene?
It didn’t change my perspective on dnb scene that much. Of course I was very happy to have my tunes remixed by those guys and I hope to have more tunes remixed by more guys. Working with those guys was a big pleasure and I am very delighted about the final results.
Your sound seems to have matured this year, carving your own niche in a sea of bass. How did you evolve this signature sound? Did it come as a natural progression to your works or was it tough nailing that sound?
It’s both I must say. I want to progress that’s why I was spending some time on having the certain sound, but I think there is much more to do for me to progress my sound more and more. I’ve spent a lot of time on the sound as well as on the arrangement and I’m pretty happy about the results but they are not ideal on 100% for me and for sure they never will !
Following on with your production; could you give us an insight on your production setup? I’m also dying to ask; what is your choice weapon for making those incredible bass riffs!?
My production set up is pretty basic. I used to make music on white mac book from 2008, but now I have upgraded my workstation with new mac with a lot of ram because working on that laptop was a pain in the… Also I’m using fostex pm 0-5mk2 monitors and an emu 0202 sound card so its pretty simple. For 99% of my sounds I’m going for NI Massive and 100% of those bass riffs are made in that plug-in which for me is just fantastic I’m not using samples for bass sounds, I like to have everything made by myself.
Do you have any advice for any up and coming producers reading this?
Be patient, be open-minded, do what you want to do, do not force yourself.
Lastly, were all excited to see what 2013 has in store for yourself. What can you tell us about your upcoming releases or gigs this year?
A few releases in the big labels are in the making but I cant say anything for the moment, so you’ll have to wait for the surprise 🙂
Mortem’s top 10:
- Mortem – Malfunction
- Enei & Kasra – So Real – Mefjus RMX
- Mortem – Bring it Down
- Ower – The Missing Words
- Enei ft East Colors – 2012
- Dabs & Mortem – Hourglass
- Mortem – Taking My Freedom
- Hybris & Rido – The Thing
- Rido – Twisted VIP
- Dj Hazard – Never be the same
Finally, Mortem is giving away a free tune! All you need to do is head on over to his FB page: http://www.facebook.com/mortemdnb and get liking!
Exclusive interviews with Bailey, Bryan Gee, Jumping Jack Frost and others, check it!
Following his release on IM:Ltd “Purple Sky” EP weve got an exclusive interview with Es.tereo:
Tell us a little about yourself, whats your real name, age and where do you live?
– My name is Max Hock aka Es.tereo, I´m 28 and and live in Berlin. I´ve been dj-ing and producing for
around 10 years now and explore the depths of Bassmusic!
How did you start production? Were you an aspiring DJ turning his hand?
– I was about 16 when I first bought 2 decks with a mixer and learned how to mix. A bit later I felt that
I want to go deeper into the matter and started to put some samples together with an old sequencer
maker on my PC. Since then it has been a constant process of evolution and learning. I’m behind
decks for 10 years now and still love to play!
How long were you producing before you got a break and landed on a record label? and how did you
go about breaking down barriers to these labels?
-I´ve played 4-5 years before I had my first release on the label from the Bassline Generation; they were also
running a clubnight called Fightclub where I used to be resident Dj. Later other labels got interested and the story started.
What recent producers have influenced you? Are there any stand out tracks that helped to define
-I listen to everything I can. I have a lot of friends who make analogue music and they show me things
that might not rock my boat but it is still well worth a listen just to find new ways of doing things. But
there is not one track or one producer that I am aspiring after.
Its fair to say your music is very chilled, how do you translate your sound onto a dancefloor?
-I play in a club-setting differently compared to my podcasts. More “dance floor oriented”, but I’m still
trying to present people a rich and wide journey of 170 bpm Bass music.
Youve done a fair bit of collaboration with other artists. How does this work out and which was your favourite?
-Sometimes when I get stuck in a project I send it out to someone of whom I think he might like
the idea and ask him if he would be up for working on it. That’s how a few of my collaborations
happened! But basically I prefer to work with someone in “real live”, it’s much more fun and a lot
more intuitive. Since the beginning of this year I´m a lot in the studio with Marlyn. There are a few
bits on the way. My favorite is “This is where it all ends” which will be dropping as 12” in December
on Absys Records.
If you were to have the opportunity to play any gig, which one would you choose & what would you choose to play on?
-Sun & Bass and Outlook Festival and playing with Traktor Scratch. It’s the best way to have the vinyl feel and the pluses of the digital world!
Underground music culture is constantly changing, what are your views on the health of the scene at
-I think the scene is currently in good health, regarding the amount of listeners; however the internet
changed the way music comes to the them also. There are pros and cons. The problem is that only
a few people pay for music anymore, the rest just downloads it. Which results in less money for the
producers, who have to pay their bills too! On the other hand the Internet made music so much more
accessible to a huge audience and it helps a lot to get your sound out in the world. I like the trend
of releasing more tunes on vinyl again, it makes the music exclusive and gives it the appreciation it
Finally, what can we expect from you in 2012?
-Purple Sky is out now on the same named Ep on IM:Ltd. Later this year the Aftermath Compilation
CD will be released on the same label, it feature’s two tracks from me; Winteria feat. Marlyn and a
Silent Dust Remix of my track Have A Dream. Junction 12 will be released on 12” on the Junction EP
on IM:Ltd too.
In November my remix of Gunston’s Medikahn will be released on Urban Poetry and I am currently
working on a few things which are schedule to be released on Urban Poetry as well. This Is Where
It All Ends will be released as a 12” on Absys around December/January and a Dubstep track, called
Unsafe Operations feat. Marlyn, will be covered on the Deep Dubstep LP on the same label. So there’s
a lot to come soon!
A cool interview for any of you aspiring producers looking for some inspiration
Initially pegged for release earlier this month The Other Side LP on Symmetry has since been pulled from all major outlets and properly set for release on the 22nd of October. So if you didnt manage to bag yourself a copy then, you wont have too long to wait till it see’s the light of day again.
Its safe to say though that this is a landmark release for Symmetry. Being the first LP on the label to feature a broad range of artists, showcasing the likes of Ulterior Motive, Octane & DLR, Eastcolors & Prolix to name but a few, you’ll be hard pressed to find a release of this calibre on any other dnb label this year.
With a tight focus on tech funk breaks and murderous basslines this release will leave you blown away on each and every track, Break has really out-done himself here. His own contribution to this LP is awesome and I can safely say pretty much every track will be on rotation in my playlists for quite some time.
To mark this release weve got an exclusive interview with Eastcolors!
How stoked we’re you to find out you’d be on the first ever LP on breaks awesome symmetry label?
I feel really excited about that! I’m a biiiiiiiig fan of Break’s music, so I really proud to be a part of it. Be a part of legend haha 😀
Your signature sound shows a heavy Russian influence. How has the music and culture of Russia helped define your style?
Actually I don’t think Russian culture affects on my music. And I think it’s not right to split music on russian, english, asian etc. I split it on music I like and music I don’t like, no matter which nation was original author of it. But I really proud of our guys like Enei, Subwave, Electrosoul System and others, they did a lot of work to show world that russian producer can make world class music.
Who do you look to for influence when you get the dreaded writers block?
First of all, I don’t listen lot of dnb most of time, because I think it’s wrong looking for inspiration in same genre. I’m listening random electronic podcasts, dubstep mixes (not brostep skrillex crap), old rock music, watching films, playing games, walking with girlfriend. You know, sounds is around us, and you will never know what affects on you to make new tune.
Your track; ‘watch out’ feels like a natural progression from your more liquid oriented sounds into the deeper realms. It’s a banger! Can we expect more of this style of sound from you in the future?
Definitely! I started concentrate on deeper growly basses a lot more, but I still don’t want to lose tunes souls. I could make 2-3 tunes from one project, but I never do, I start every tune from scratch, and every tune is a journey you know. I really love guitars, dub chords, reggae sounds and voices etc. So you definitely can expect more same feel things in future!
Your recent release on Phunkfiction records; The dreamer EP features some collaborations with some big names in the scene at the moment. How do you find working with these other artists?
Well, these tunes are really old. I made ‘Someone To Count On’ with Owen Clarity, I think a few years ago, when he hadn’t so much big release, and made a different kind of drum and bass music, more liquid. I always loved his works and I love this tune, one of my faves of all time. About Enei’s remix, I sent the original version of ‘Go To Nowhere’ to Alex and he said just ‘Wow, I should make a remix, cuz i love it’ 🙂 We made lots of tunes with him and I enjoy our work every time!
If there was one plugin/piece of hardware you couldn’t live without for your production, what would it be?
I use three things in every tune: EXS24 sampler, NI Massive for basses and Izotope Ozone for mixing. Just can’t live without this little monsters 🙂 Not sure about hardware, because I own only that I need – sound card, studio mixer, monitor speakers. But I want to try some hardware synth like Virus or Waldorf Blofeld, or Korg Monotribe. We’ll see.
Can you give us your top 10 tracks of the moment.
Electrosoul System – Outerheaven
EastColors – Murderer
Beta2 & Pete Joseph – love finds me
Detail & tiiu – Days go by
Enei & EastColors – 2012
Break – Who we are
Enei, EastColors & Noel – Cracker vip
EastColors – Dreamer
Does Not Compute – Going down
EastColors & Noel – Moonwalker
An interesting perspective on most things djing and dnb related, my favourite two topics!
He’s speaking some sense too.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/43475031″>Dieselboy @ Red Room</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/epicvancouver”>Epic Vancouver</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>