Drum & Bass legend and heavyweight Audio has been around for a while, marking his footprint on heavy labels such as Virus, RAM, Blackout and many more. – But now, it’s his turn to kick off a label which many have dreamt of doing.
Snake Pit Records launches on the 18th March, alongside the debut release of the label with his very own Frog March. It’s been quite some time since we’ve even heard a solo release from Audio, 18 Months to be exact.
So, lets find out what he’s been up to, and why is now the time to return!…
First of all, congratulations on your new label, Snake Pit!
Thank you! It’s about time I think, well at least that’s what everyone keeps saying to me.
I didn’t see it coming at all.
I like to keep things under wraps until I’m ready to release it, if you know what I mean – it’s as if I’m still convincing myself!
For sure, it’s been a little while since we’ve had some solo music from you. How did you know it was time to begin this new chapter and have you been saving Frog March for the label launch? Or did they just happen to coincide?
I kind of worked out that it was time to do something new because I’d finished my RAM contract, I did three albums with Virus and I’d sort of touched every label that I really wanted to throughout my career – the Renegade Hardware, Subtitles, Blackout – I’d sort of done all of them and it felt like I’d just be repeating myself, so it seemed the next logical step. That’s why I had that period with Virus and then I moved to RAM. I got a lot of stick for it and a lot of people were like “you’re jumping ship” but it’s not about that, it’s about giving yourself another challenge, fresh perspective and a clean page.
I think sometimes it can be tough mentally for artists, where if you stay in the same place for too long it can make you begin to question your progress and hence and affect your mindset towards your work. But continuing to move forward is driven by self-motivation and helps to keep things exciting.
Yeah, I mean it’s like that in anything creative– writing, painting, drawing – anything that taps into that, you have to keep it fresh and exciting for you. There’re loads of people out there that would love it if I wrote Warehouse, Collision or Headroom for the rest of my life, but you just can’t do it. I respect people for buying my music, but I don’t write it for them, I write it for me!
I’ve been writing material with this sort of in mind over the last 18 months since my last release. I’ve had a batch of tunes ready for Snake Pit, but when Frog March came along it worked in the clubs and felt like the right one to start with. I’d spoken with a few people – I’m good friends with Ed Rush and he said, “It’s got to be that one”. It’s got a lot of personality and it shows what I’m about, where I’m going, where I’ve been, a bit of everything.
Amazing! You released a whopping five solo albums between 2008 and 2016, followed by the Killbox debut “Pleasure Palace”. Are there any plans on the horizon for another solo or Killbox album on Snake Pit?
We’re actually in the middle of another Killbox album for RAM at the moment. We meet up once a week – he (Ed Rush) comes around to my studio, we each bring what we’ve been working on and mash it together, and it comes out with Killbox! I’ve also got six or seven singles lined up for Snake Pit throughout this year. For me it’s about building a brand, being consistent and keeping the quality as high as I can. In terms of an album for Audio, it’ll come when it comes since I have this Killbox one on the go.
As you said earlier – when the time’s right.
Yeah, I don’t want to push things too hard, I always want to have a concept and good idea about it, which I don’t have just yet.
Can we expect a launch party for Snake Pit?
I’ve thought about it and it’s something I would like to do, to have a night called “The Snake Pit” where you come to the Snake Pit. It works on so many levels and I can see it in my head, but I don’t want to run before I can walk, you know. I’ve been around releasing music for a long time, but I never actually did the back end of it. I’ve always fallen back on what my heart tells me to do in Drum and Bass – I don’t want to do stuff because I feel like I have to, I do it because it feels right. So, for the moment no, but definitely someday once the label’s grown and when I feel like I’ve got a family of other artists in the label.
That definitely sounds like it would be an unforgettable and appropriate way to fire things up. So how was your night at Andy’s XOYO residency with Ed Rush?
It was a big, big night! Andy got me to play a solo set at the last one he did two years ago, and the club is so much better now. The first thing that hit me was the amazing layout – where before the DJ booth felt a bit tucked away, now you feel like you’re in the pit and I love that vibe! I grew up with clubs like The End where you were literally hanging over. It’s always a bit nerve racking to be honest because it’s Andy’s thing, he’s going to absolutely slay it and you’ve got to bring your A game. I tried to bring a selection of tunes, I played a few older bits, and it’s always vibes, man. That club for me would be perhaps somewhere I’d do a Snake Pit night.
That’ll certainly be one of my most memorable nights I’ve been to. What would you say your most memorable events have been, both as a raver or as an artist? I’d imagine there’s a lot!
Yeah, there’s quite a few! But as a raver, there’s one. Back in ’97 me and some friends put a party on and we booked Ed Rush. I booked him off a random mobile number that was written on the back of a Metalheadz promo flyer. I rang it, and it was Jo who used to work at Metalheadz. She basically gave me Ed Rush’s girlfriend at the time’s number, and that’s how I got the booking! The party was wicked, we got on well and he invited me to the launch party of the Wormhole which was a Wednesday night at The End. I was only a young kid of 20 or 21 and me and my mates got guestlist, I was in the booth with Ed Rush & Optical and I’d never had that before! My mates were standing there like “What the f**k’s going on!”, haha.
For playing… It’s got to be Rampage man! The scale of it, thousands of ravers in one arena and you’re controlling the music – it’s a bit of an unreal feeling. I’ve played in amazing places, like Tokyo, The Womb Club, just for the buzz of like wow, Mum I made it! So yeah, I’d say those two.
Do you prefer the massive events like Rampage?
No. I like it because it’s big and it’s fantastic that I get to play in front of all those people, but it’s too impersonal for me. As I said, growing up with places like the end, XOYO is the perfect place for me to play. Everyone’s looking over and I can see the whites of your eyes – that’s what I like, you feel a bit more of a connection.
For sure. So, when you booked Ed Rush for your first event, were he, and I suppose Optical amongst your first influences in Drum and Bass, which began to shape your style and steer towards Neurofunk?
Yeah, I was listening to Jungle Drum and Bass in ’94 or ’95, Breakbeat, Reggae and that sort of thing. Then, I went to a Full Cycle night in ‘96 for my mate’s birthday and this was when Brown Paper Bag had come in, I was across the board and I liked it all. You know, Drum and Bass is very mixed in a DJ set, I play mainly tech in my DJ sets usually but back then DJ’s would play the Full Cycle records, a Hardware record, it was all very eclectic like an Andy C or Friction set really. Anyway, Ed Rush came and played the last set and absolutely blew my brains out. Obviously, he was working on the Wormhole stuff at that time and I’d never heard that before. Me and my mate were standing on the steps to the side of the DJ booth just watching him utterly mind blown. I also have to say Bad Company. I’m in between the two – I love the energy in the rave of Bad Company, but I love the dirty funk and moody vibes of Ed Rush & Optical.
It’s great to draw your favourite aspects from different artists. Was there anyone else outside of the DnB scene that also inspired your music?
Anything with a bit of attitude really! Old Hip-Hop, Wu Tang, I’m a 90’s kid so I’m into anything with a bit of aggression and a bit of angst in it. I’ve got two kids now so I don’t listen to a lot of other stuff – mostly radio tunes. I try my best to keep with what’s going on at the moment but hip-hop’s just not what it used to be.
I’m still influenced by that mentality that you get on with it and be the artist! A lot of kids nowadays need to be told who to be by management, but that’s not how it is. You need to take the lead and be your own artist, wear what you want to wear etc. For example, myself with all the tattoos- it’s all part of me, my persona and image.
I was also wondering whether there could be any collaboration happening with Abis & Signal’s DIVIDID crew?
Yeah! I’ve actually done a piece with Signal, I think it’s going to be coming on a release he’s working on. I’m always a little bit funny about collabs because for me, being a bit older if we’re collaborating we really need to be in the same room. This whole sending stems backwards and forwards is wicked to do and work with people who are miles away, but it’s a little bit vibe less for me. Some things get lost in translation and some of the elements you really liked disappear when it comes back. It’s just a long process. When you’re sitting next to each other, you have a discussion and you’re able to compromise with one another to keep the vibes going.
So hopefully we’re going to collaborate with Synergy for the Killbox album, but the whole DIVIDID crew are sick.
I completely agree. I feel they’re developing a really fresh sound with very dynamic basses and unusual snares – such as Signal’s “2ME” – that sort of thing.
For me that’s probably my favourite tune for the whole of last year, I play it in every set.
It’s the part where it just halts, the low pass swipes out your legs and suddenly you get hurled at the speed of sound!
Absolutely, and it’s the simplicity of it. It’s like a 4×4 bass stab if you analyse it, with simple drums and the most ridiculously catchy little vocal. It’s the epitome of Drum and Bass, you can listen to it for hours and hours, it double drops with everything! And the intro pads… No words, I love it.
I love what they’re all doing, it’s super fresh and super interesting. The only thing I do hope is that it doesn’t get lost in production – there’s always that balance in there of getting your mix downs ridiculously good, but also having a vibe. Sometimes you can mix the vibe out of a tune, but Signal for me has the right balance. And he’s a super nice guy as well, when he talks to you he’s like one of those young kids who’s got an old head on his shoulders when it comes to music. His way of thinking and how he conducts himself – that young man will go very far.
Incredible talent there. Anything else you’d like to add?
Just that my new single’s being released on Snake Pit on the 18th so check it out!