Since moving from Hastings to Bristol to embark on a three year Music Production course, rising producer and DJ Drone has immersed himself within the soundsystem culture that echoes through the walls of his home city. Hanging in the circles of bassweight units like Young Echo, Sector 7 and Coyote Records, his musical voice, like much of his contemporaries belongs toward the colder end of the spectrum, sitting somewhere between the darkest corners of grime and dubstep.
Whilst Drone’s beats have landed via London’s Hear Other Sounds, Boofy and Lemzly Dale’s Sector 7, and even on a stack of limited edition USB’s for the lucky few, the producer’s latest experiments mark a return to one of London’s most important low end outlets, SYSTEM. Returning to the label helmed by VIVEK a year after his Amphibious / Lucid Dreams 12″, five-tracker Flooded comes stamped with the promise to shatter any dance, with weighty cuts like ‘Fear’ and the title track sure to keep even the most seasoned of steppas glued to the ‘floor.
Celebrating the record, which is due for release on March 20th, we catch up with Drone to talk about the making of the EP, evolving as a producer, and all things SYSTEM. He also steps up to the Hyp mix with 45 minutes of raw, low end carnage. Check below…
You’ve been running with VIVEK and the System family for a while now, what have you learnt from the OG – music or otherwise?
I mean, it’s still early days I guess but so far it’s been wicked. Got to play some great shows and meet some amazing people. I think I’ve learnt to have faith in my own music a lot more. Viv has always believed in the music and been really supportive and open to different things. Something that I think goes a long way.
System is a label that’s always seemed to make a conscious effort to push new talent, do you think there’s enough of this happening from influential outlets and platforms?
I think there is always going to be new talent emerging so there is always more that can be done. I feel that certain platforms could definitely do more, a lot of people seem to stick with what they know or what they think people will be drawn to. You never know, trying something different and taking a risk could pay off. You’ll never know until you try it.
Your sound has always crossed the borders of dubstep and grime, how do you find the distance between two scenes today? Do you ever sit down at the desk and decide you’re making a grime beat, or vice versa?
Not really, I always just kinda go with what sounds good to me. I never sit down and think right I’m going to make a grime tune or I’m going to make a dubstep tune. If I’m having fun and it sounds good to me that’s all that matters really. You can never take things too seriously either, if you’re making music constantly then you want to have some fun with it and try different things.
On that note, have you noticed if and how your sounded has drifted, or evolved since your earlier productions?
To be honest I’m still learning new things all the time. I hate listening to my old tunes, I only feel like over the last couple years my music has got to a place where I’m happy with it. I think it’s definitely important to try new things and evolve as a producer.
How did ideas stem for ‘Flooded’, did you begin creating with a specific idea or angle? Were you directed at all from the label?
I made ‘Flooded’ and ‘Fear’ both around the same time and then sent them to Viv. We had both been playing the tunes out for a while and then when we began to plan the EP they were the first 2 tracks on there. ’20k’ came soon after and then ‘Entropy’ was a track I made especially for the EP. Everything just kinda came together naturally which was cool. Having SP:MC involved with it was a big thing for me also, he’s been one of my favourite producers for a while now.
Tell us about the artwork for the record?
The artwork was done by a good friend of mine Yasseen Faik. We began by running a few ideas past each other and then it kinda just went from there. I had a rough idea of how I wanted the record to look but also wanted to let Yas do his thing. I’m really happy with the finished product, Yas smashed it.
Your DJ calendar was pretty heavy last year, what’s the best system you’ve played on?
I played at a System night in Paris last October which was really sick. It was in this warehouse kinda venue attached to the back of this theatre. They had blackboard jungle sound in there which was next level, that was definitely one of the best systems I’ve ever played on.
To quote you recently your 2020 outlook is “less talk, more music”. Can we expect another big year?
Yeah I’ve got some really exciting projects lined up this year, you can definitely expect a lot of music.
Drone’s Flooded EP is out March 20th on SYSTEM.