Crossing Over: Distance

Greg Sanders aka dubstep producer Distance is part of an exclusive circle of artists who are responsible for the dizzy heights that the genre has reached, from it’s humble inception in South London, to the globe-trotting, chart-bothering success we have come to know.

From his initial involvement with Rinse FM back in 2003, to recently signing with major label Island, Distance has blazed a significant trail through UK bass music. The individual credited with pushing the boundaries of the bass-riff within dubstep; capturing sounds from industrial/heavy metal and mapping them out in the 140bpm format, the Distance approach to the d-word has influenced a plethora of djs and producers.

The Londoner has released music on a host of seminal bass labels including Planet Mu, Tectonic, Boka and Hotflush, as well as running his own imprint Chestplate records, putting out records by artists such as Tunnidge, Cyrus, Skream and Benga. Following the recent release of ‘Falling’, a track with huge crossover potential, we e-mailed the man himself to discuss major label involvement, the influence of FWD>> and radio legend John Peel.

Interview/ Josh Thomas

So the big news is that your upcoming release ‘Falling’ has been picked up by Island Records, is this the start of the next step-up for Distance and what do you hope to achieve with major label involvement?
Sounds cheesy but yeah it does kind of feel like the next step lol, its already brought alot of projects my way that I couldn’t have imagined happening otherwise. Im hoping it will mean I can work with some great vocalists and
maybe collaborate with some bands. Ultimately I want to be recognised a producer not just a dubstep producer.

What else have you got planned release wise this year, is there another album on the cards?
I’m still producing a lot of underground material and I have a number of remixes coming out shortly. This year I’ve remixed tracks for Wretch 32, Above and Beyond and most recently Josh Osho who is a new signing to Island. At the moment there is no solid plans for a 3rd album but there is a big possibility I could be starting one.

Is it satisfying to see dubstep acts being signed by major labels, considering you were part of the music before it even had a name?
It is yeah, I never imagined it getting this big all them years back. I did believe in it but if you had said to me 5 years ago that Skream Benga and Artwork were going to be signed to Columbia or that I would be be signing to Island I would have thought you were drunk or on something!

Do you think it is important for dubstep to strike a balance of mainstream and underground releases?
Without a doubt and I plan to do so. At the end of the day its the underground that inspires and dictates what
happens in the mainstream – I could never stop making underground music I love it too much.

John Peel pushed your music from very early on; it must have been an honour to have such an influential figure as a supporter? What kind of effect did this have on your career?
It was amazing! I didn’t actually believe it when I was told. I remember going onto the BBC website to check the playlists. I think him playing my music that early on in my career gave me a little more confidence, I had only been producing for maybe 9 months.

What was it about DMZ and FWD>> that influenced a generation of bass music producers?
It was just so fresh and different every time you went to FWD>> or DMZ your heard music you have never heard before and on a massive system with ridiculous bass!
I truly believe that the system at Plastic People and 3rd Base had a lot to do with how the sound we developed. It was the systems in these clubs that made us want to produce tracks that could and rattle your chestplate. We wanted to know what frequencies we needed to tweak in order to give our tracks that weight and warmth experienced on those rigs.
I’ll never forget the toilet in 3rd base because it was basically a bass trap and the whole room would rattle and vibrate all night.

Distance – Feat Alys Be – Falling (Photek Remix Full) by DISTANCEofficial

You’ve been pencilled in to mix the next Dubstep Allstars compilation. With the mix series being an integral part of dubstep history what have you got lined up for it?
I’m honoured to be doing it! I’ve got exclusives from Cyrus, Tunnidge, Deleted Scenes, Kryptik Minds, Vivek…

Chestplate has put out some big records over the last couple of years, what’s in store for the rest of 2011?
Well the vinyl format of ‘Falling’ will be released on Chestplate very soon, then I have a plate by Cyrus coming up. I’m also talking to some artists at the moment that im hoping to sign so keep your eyes peeled.

‘Falling’ is out now on Island Records.