Time to introduce a couple of artists who’s stars are definitely in ascendance. Cardiff-based, 20 year-old dubstep and drum and bass producer Lung, caught our attention with the brooding atmospherics of his dubstep track ‘Afterlife’, released on Kokeshi in 2010. His ability to mold heavily atmospheric and melodic principles into his tracks, whilst remaining dancefloor foccussed, have pricked the ears of many, with Med School, sister label of celebrated drum and bass imprint Hospital Records recently adding him to their flourishing roster of young talent.
Long time friend and lesser-known producer Maxx Roach shares the same canny melodic abilities, but draws more from the worlds of techno and house. Let’s just say together they make a pretty tight unit, and the evidence is here in the form of the debut release on the newly formed Deadplate Records.
Deadplate was founded by Alex Powis (perhaps better known as London dj Synamatix) as a platform to push the freshest in forward-thinking UK bass, house, dubstep and surrounding areas. With the likes of Hackman, James Fox and Randomer already affiliated with the label, this is undeniably an imprint to be keeping tabs on.
Ahead of the labels first release (‘Booty Call / Crisbuit’ by Lung & Maxx Roach), we caught up with the pair to talk over their early involvement with music, being part of Cardiff’s tight-knit community and ‘mecharnival.’
Right, for anyone unfamiliar with you could you introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about the music that you make?
L: My name is James, 20 years old, from Cardiff and I make drum & bass and dubstep under the name Lung.
M: My name is Andrew, 23 years old, from Cardiff and I make house and dubstep under the name Maxx:Roach.
What’s your background, how did you guys get into production and djing?
L: I used to play in a band and I would record demos using Garageband. Around the same time I started listening to dnb, people like Noisia, Calyx & Teebee, etc – they had the same kind of energy as the metal music I was listening to and making and it was just a natural progression for me to start playing around with producing electronic music in that style, completely different to what I make now mind! DJing was more of an afterthought for me, and just something that came along with producing and getting my music out there.
M: I used to be in a band too, but when we went our different ways because of uni, two of us still made music together, making a more electronic version of the stuff we were making in the band, aswell as listening to the early developments of dubstep; Mala, Shackleton, 2562, Skream, Martyn… When I moved away I carried on making tunes, and slowly things changed to where I am now with my production. Djing was something that I always loved and enjoy buying vinyl and playing it out.
So new label Deadplate has its debut release scheduled for 15th August and you guys have been drafted in to do the business, can you talk us through the release?
L: It’s quite funny actually. ‘Booty Call’ was the outcome of one summer’s afternoon, around this time last year, where myself and Andrew sat down and literally thought “Let’s write something really annoying”. Honestly! It was a 1 bar loop of that bass riff for a good couple hours before it became a full length tune. Perhaps annoying is the wrong word, but it’s repetitive in it’s nature and we were thinking of other tunes with a similar sound, stuff from Scratcha, really distinct hooks that go on and on which can be both equally “annoying” but also stick in your head for days. We’re actually really happy with the outcome and it’s one of my favourite tunes I’ve been a part of, despite it sounding nothing like anything else I make! Randomer absolutely killed it on the remix though. Nobody does percussion like that guy – got a really mechanical-carnival or “Mecharnival” (as I like to call it) kinda vibe!
M: ‘Crisbuit’ was also made around the same time, but was more the outcome of us being in a stupidly happy mood because the summer weather. Also a part of it came from too much sugar from all the coke we were drinking and the sweets from the corner shop. Happy days!
Lung & Maxx Roach – ‘DPL001 Clips’
How did you guys hook up with label boss Synamatix?
L: I really can’t even remember. It was ages ago, I think he might have asked me for a tune to include in one of his podcasts, I’m sure it was actually. From then on we got talking and would tune-swap etc. Al’s a top guy and a wicked DJ, he’d mentioned a while back about setting up the label and when we sent over ‘Crisbuit’ and ‘Booty Call’ and he was feeling them enough to push them as the first release which we were really chuffed about.
Cardiff is renowned for a having a healthy scene, could you tell us what producers/djs/labels etc we should be keeping an eye out for at the moment?
L: There’s a lot of great producers and DJ’s in Cardiff and I think as a whole the place should gain far more recognition. It is slowly, but there’s so much good music here people are missing out on. Some of my personal favourite productions come from Sovex, Helix, Dan Marshall & Magenta. Their tunes are massive and I’m certain they’ll be names people will be hearing a lot more from in the near future.
M: Catapult, the local record shop has just started its own label, the first release was big, CRST on one side and Darkhouse Family on the other. The next release will be from Organ Grinder that is going to be huge. Other names that are doing big things at the moment are Rat Catcher, who you guys know already. Also got to mention the Dj’s Clare James and Dave Little, who are the residents at Backrooms, both have amazing tune selection.
Do you prefer to be part of a tight-knit music community in Cardiff compared to something the size of London; advantages/disadvantages?
L: I owe a lot to the scene & promoters here in Cardiff, Dave Shaw (Aperture) and Gareth Tru (Neuropol) got me my first sets in the city and pushed me continuously. Their support really helped put me in the right places and meet the right people with regards to furthering my music. I think it’s nice that we have a tight-knit community here, and it’s the strongest it’s been I think. It has it’s ups and downs but fundamentally the majority of promoters/nights in Cardiff share the same ideals and are happy to push Cardiff on as a whole. There’s a few nights I wouldn’t play for, but that’s probably more down to the fact that I wouldn’t play a set fit for their sort of night y’know? Generally the personal politics tend to be kept out of things which is quite nice.
M: I need to answer a question first, James is stealing what im going to say… Yeah what he said.
L: Sorry ‘ard.
M: Its okay the next question’s just for you….
James, Med School have recently signed you to their growing roster, what kind of impact has this had for you? Also how important has the support from Mary Anne-Hobbs, Annie Mac and High Contrast been?
L: It’s been great. Really can’t emphasise enough how amazing it’s been to get some recognition from people such as Mary Anne-Hobbs, Annie Mac, High Contrast etc. Signing to Med School has been both surreal and daunting at the same time! They’re a great bunch of people who really work together with their artists. I love the ethos of the label and the sounds of the other exclusive artists too, Bop, Joe Syntax & Unquote have all been favourite producers of mine before I even signed up with Med School and it’s just really nice to be a part of it. It’s certainly given me the drive to get my head down and work now on my debut LP. Looking forward to a long and productive relationship with them and I’m enjoying myself already.
Can you name-drop a few artists you guys are feeling at the moment?
L: Interface, Joe Syntax, Enei, S.P.Y, Eleven8, Myrkur, Rockwell – sick producers and all churning out big tune after big tune! Also really feeling Foster The People’s album too.
M: Daniel Bortz, Vondelpark, Clams Casino, Levon Vincent, Space Dimension Controller.
London Elektricity – ‘Yikes! (Lung Remix)’
What else have you guys got scheduled release wise over the coming months?
L: Well ‘Booty Call’ of course! That drops on Monday, been getting some support from some great people so really excited about that. My remix of London Elektricity’s “Yikes!” just came out, and then there’s a remix of Karl G & Jamesie coming out in September.
M: Im working on an EP with Ratcatcher. Also a couple of new tracks of my own that are coming along well, its just the process of finishing the whole EP before sending them anywhere.
Finally, where can we catch you guys playing over the coming weeks/months?
L: First up we’ve got the launch for DPL001 in Cardiff on the 12th August with Me, Andrew, Synamatix, Artifact and Randomer – which will be wicked fun! I’ve got a gig in Copenhagen on 9th September which I can’t wait for, Hospitality Bristol October 7th and Hospitality Cardiff on November 5th
M: Im actually trying to lay off the gigs for a while to make more tunes. Not stopping at all, I love playing records too much, but I just want to concentrate more on making tunes. Working plus Djing leaves little time to make tunes. So will just swap the Djing for Production for the time being.
‘Booty Call / Crisbuit’ by Lung & Maxx Roach is out on Monday August 15 via Deadplate Records. You can pre-order it here.
Interview: Josh Thomas