Samurai Music; home to some of the most obscure, dark and innovative sounds in the current Drum & Bass scene. Their latest EP release, After Dark, which came out earlier this week, sees a longtime legend of the sound from across the pond (Toronto – Canada), Gremlinz, partner up with a newcomer and fellow overseas producer who goes by the name of Homemade Weapons.
It’s a name fairly fresh on the scene but believe us when we say that this guy’s been lurking in the darkroom glory that is Drum & Bass for many a year.
Get to know…
Hi Andre, hope you’re all good? So you’re pretty fresh on the scene in terms of leaping into the recognition of your average DnB head, how does it feel to be an official name in the game?
Hello, thank you and likewise. With me being so far from the heart of it all, I’m not sure I’ve grasped the “official” part of it yet, so we’ll leave it as a surreal feeling for now…
It’s becoming more and more common these days but it’s still, for me, always exciting to speak to a Drum & Bass producer hailing from the US, as the musical scene over there is a very different one to what we have in the UK. How is it that you came about D&B?
I was blessed to come up in the Baltimore / DC jungle dnb scene. We had some incredible lineups in the early 90s much akin to what was the regular in London thanks to 2Tuff and Ultraworld. I eventually started djing jungle in 1995 and organizing events the following year.
And what was it about DnB/Jungle that appealed to you so much?
I’ve always been a fan of extremity. Back then jungle dnb was like the “punk rock” of electronic music, so it was magnetic. Aside from the technical aspects of it, there were so many different moods coming across in every tune… whether it was Motiv One’s “Loop Progression” or Trace’s “Sniper.” The idea that a DJ could tell a story with his / her selection was and is still just amazing to me.
And do you listen to a lot of D&B? Or do you make room for other genres in your listening time?
I really do not listen to much dnb at all… And if I do, I’m usually making the awful mistake of listening to my works in progress too much trying to ﬁgure out what I should do next! Otherwise, I’m usually listening to some sort of rock, metal, hip hop, or another’s concerns.
I think my ﬁrst encounter with yourself was the Ruff Age collab with Gremlinz, a tune that fast became a part of my collection. How did the Gremlinz collaboration come about? I know he’s slightly local to the US, as a Canadian producer, did that come into it at all?
I’ve known Gremz for a couple years now. We have a lot of the same interests and use the same softwares, so it was meant to happen. It helps a lot that he is only 3 hours ahead of me instead of 8 or 9 like many others.
And of course you two are now back together in full force for the collaborative After Dark EP, out on the legendary Samurai Music. How was it that the EP came about?
Funny enough, “After Dark” was one of the very ﬁrst things we had ever done together. It’s been in the making for quite some time, and we’re both very happy with what it’s become. Aside from the Kenzo remix, the rest of the EP is material that Gremlinz has done with myself or The Untouchables and Rumbleton.
And have you got any particular favourite tracks on the EP?
“Mu-Onna” and “Apache”
No, I did not honestly. I’m very grateful that people I respect have been enjoying and playing a lot of the stuff I’ve been doing lately.
Not to pigeonhole but you’re sound is deﬁnitely more within the Autonomic, Tech/Minimal/Industrial & Dark flavour than anything else. What is it that draws you towards this area of music on the whole?
It has more space and depth sonically and emotionally. It also doesn’t scream “HEY! LET’S PARTY!” in my face.
Do you ever think you’ll ever stray away from D&B production? It seems pretty common amongst many producers today that they want to make everything and anything. Is that something you embrace or want to decline?
When I work a lot of the time, I’ll shuffle through 5 or so projects at once so I don’t really get stuck on anything. Generally, one of them will be a slower bpm so my groove stays fresh. I have a few non dnb things on the go at the moment, but none of them take priority over the Homemade Weapons project.
Did you always know that you were going to do something to do with music? Be a producer?
My dream initially was to be a marine biologist or work with animals somehow. At age 15, I started my ﬁrst band and the rest has been one uphill battle after the other to here. I hope some day I will do something with animals… we’ll see.
What’s the process behind your production? (Software, inﬂuences, inspirations etc.)
This is a tough one as it’s different every time. Usually, I’ll come up with a 1-4 bar loop of drums & bass in Logic that will be the general basis of the tune. Everything else will usually fall into place after that. Sometimes, it could be something as small as a high hat or shuffle that will inspire the entire tune.
If you could produce a track with any band/producer/singer etc. who would it be and why? What kind of track would it be?
I’d love to do a hip hop project again one day. There’s a lot of great lyricists out there, but never enough time in a day to listen for the right one. I’d like to produce another metal recording too.
Dream performance location for a DJ Set?
From what I’ve heard, Sun & Bass is cooler than Disneyworld.
What do you think the future holds for yourself and your music?
That always remains to be seen I guess… I’ll keep on keeping on one way or another. I have A LOT of cool things in progress that I’m really excited about and look forward to sharing soon.
Any tips for aspiring producers/DJ’s out there?
Follow your heart, lead with your gut, and stay true to yourself.
oh yeah this is helpful too: www.resoundsound.com
Nice one Andre, been a pleasure talking to you and we wish you all the best in your musical career.
And the same, thank you.
A guy that’s been hitting the sound hard since 95, has dabbled in Hip-Hop and genre’s as far-a-field as Metal (Though myself and a friend were discussing the strong similarities between Drum & Bass & Metal the other day), a man now getting recognition from some of the most innovative and heroic names & labels in the business but really just wants to get down and help out the animals. All these things combined demand a huge hand of respect from myself and yourselves included.
I didn’t know much about Homemade Weapons until this interview, but now I’m even more glad that we had the opportunity to speak to him.
The After Dark EP was released on Monday (11.11.13) this week and you can grab yourself a copy here – www.surus.co.uk/Samurai-Music/After-Dark-EP
Also keep your eyes and ears locked on to Samurai as Homemade Weapons appears to have an EP on the way for the end of this month that is his and his alone. You can check out a slick flick through the beats below.
Big respects to Samurai Music
Big respects to Homemade Weapons