High Contrast (Hospital Rec., London)
Seine Karriere begann er als Resident-DJ der D&B Nacht “Silent Running” in seiner Heimatstadt Cardiff, bei der er auf die Londoner Szene-Größen traf und schließlich von HOSPITAL Records entdeckt und gesignt wurde. Mit “Make it tonight” setzte er seine erste nachhaltige Duftmarke in die Drum&Bass-Welt, bevor er mit den Singles “Return of Forever” und “Global Love” quasi über Nacht in die erste Liga der D&B Produzenten vordrang und weltweites Aufsehen erregte.
An der Basslastic vom 16. Mai 2003 präsentierte er vor rappelvollem Haus ein brilliantes set purer dubplate-madness, das, -für manche wohl positiv überraschend, mit mächtigen jungle-basslines beste roller-Qualitäten zeigte und für beste Stimmung und dicken Applaus sorgte.
Valerian sprach am Folgetag im Konstanzer Cafe Zeitlos mit einem ruhigen, auf seine Arbeit fokussierten Lincoln Barret zwischen Käsebaquett und Orangensaft über die Hintergründe seiner Musik, das Stigmata des Liquid Funks und die Simpsons.
You travelled a lot in the last year. What did you notice about different drumandbass world scenes?
I guess everywhere it`s pretty different to Britain, which is the homeplace of drumandbass, but it`s quite refreshing going to different countries and playing to different kinds of crowds. Places where people might not know about rewinds or not even know who I am and just come for the party. I like playing to all different kinds of crowds and sometimes its good to get away from the british thing of people scream all the time for rewinds and being more hyped up and sometimes its nice to have a more relaxed crowd. Every country has a little different take on it…. people dance differently. Especially in America they do more kind of a freestyle, crazy dancing, while in Britain everyone is pretty much on the kind of stepping motion, -really following the snare and everybody is locked into that.
What was the freakiest place you ever played at?
The oddest place was in Phoenix, Arizona. I played twice at this venue, -it's a good night, it gets busy and I get good reactions but the place is actually a chinese restaurant on a Monday night in Phoenix, so some people are eating in the corner of the room…so that's somehow bizarre, but it's a good night.
Your music is so well produced and the songs are written in such a musical and dramatic manner. Where do your skills come from ? Whats your musical background?
I played keyboards, organ-based keyboards for about 8 years when I was younger. I never really had an interest in music, I always was interested in films. I never listened to any music until I was seventeen. I don't know really where it comes from.
I guess, kind of the only music I did listen to was film soundtracks. They were always quite dramatic, I guess I translate film soundtrack-like drama into my tracks.
So, whats your favourite film soundtrack?
One of the most influential was the Bladerunner-Soundtrack by Vangelis, a film I saw when I was really younger, -about 8 years old and although I didn't understand it totally at that time I loved the music and the atmosphere of the film and that kind of chords. It`s funny that it is one of the most sampled films in drumandbass. I found out that a lot of films I saw when I was younger are now the films a draw from. I also like Danny Marconi (?) who did soundtracks for a lot of spagetti westerns.
At the moment a lot of drumandbass producers expand their creativity to different musical styles (e.g. Klute album, Ed Rush housetrack). Are you interested in doing something else?
Yeah, I always was making other types of tracks, even if I don`t finish them. I`m always playing around with different ideas just to take a break from drumandbass, just to keep it fresh, just for a couple of hours I mess around, trying to do a house track. I got a few things, a few housetracks, hiphoptracks as well. I need just a little bit more work to finish it.
Maybe it's a stupid question. You are 23 and became famous in quite a short time. How does it affect your allday life?
Most of my friends I hang around with are not really drumandbass headz. You know my best friends like drumandbass but also other things. They are not in the scene. They don`t treat me like a star (laughes) or anything…we are just hanging around, messing around. So its good in that respect, that I have a life outside of drumandbass in some respects, but I spent most of my time in my homestudio anyway.
So whats a typical day in your life ? How do you spent, -lets say: a Wednesday?
I won`t propably have a gig on Wednesday on that night, so I still would get up around miday, 1 `o clock maybe, maybe later, who knows…hehe. Straight away before eating, before doing anything: straight to the studio, start the computer and see what I was working on the day before, -just going thru my records, check my emails; propably send out packages to people, put cds to people in the post…watch the Simpsons..hehe. So I spent most of the day in the studio and maybe go out really late.
My friends and I, we don`t drink alcohols, we don`t go to bars, so…
You said your were interest in films and film music ? Did you ever produce any kind of this?
I do intend to do music videos. I`d like to do filmsoundtracks. I think about if I´m ready for that. I would require a different way of working …see if I would work with an orchestra I had to learn how to write score music…so its quite a bit, before I can do that.
Can you read notes?
Oh yeah. I did music theory in school. I know a little bit about music theory but just writing string sections is quite complicated.
You don`t drink alcohol and don`t eat meat. Is there a special background?
Its just my own kind of choices. I´m just trying not be tied down to something, not to have any addictions outside of music and remain focussed.
It depends on the person; -some people say, smoking weed helps them in music, but personally I have never smoken weed, but a lot of my friends who got me into drumandbass in the first place, they don`t end end up doing anything, `cause they just wanna stay in weed all the time, so I guess it has a negative side on it, but I just never felt the need to drink or to smoke pot.
This year a lot of continental producers released on british labels. How do you see this new development?
I play two tracks from a guy from Helsinki…yes I think its good. There are more producers coming out, but the problem right know is, that them market is very crowded in drumandbass. There are so many people making records, but there are not a lot of people buying them. I think sales went down this year, so to deal with more people producing, you need a bigger market. I I have`nt released that many tracks over the last year since the album, but I think this is a good thing because I `d rather keep my releases as good as I can and not release things for the sake of it.
Drumandbass has pretty much evolved and mutated in the last years. Where do you see the future of drumandbass?
It got to keep on moving, it can`t stand still…that's just one basic thing about jungle, one of its definitions are, that it keeps on changing. When people say, tunes of today are not jungle anymore, -to me that is what jungle is about: progression. So where are we going in the future ? I don`t know…personally I`m always trying to find new sounds and I haven`t really done a disco-influenced track for six months or more, because everybody is doing disco now, so I don`t feel the need to do it, `cause I like to have the contrast. I`m just trying to keep my sign unique.
So your name "High Contrast" is a kind of mission statement?
Yeah definitly. I have always been attracted to extremities, like in films I like the real classy high art, arthouse films or really trashy exploitation films; the films in the middle, the maintream films I`m not so interested in. It's the same in music: I like punk, I also like jazz, I like classic…all kind of music. I have always been interested in extremes and bringing them together….I like the high contrast of sounds.
Didn`t the idea of bringing together higly contrasted sounds became pretty rare in drumandbass ? Do you see a gap in the drumandbass scene between those who like hard and rave-oriented dnb and those who prefer more jazzy, liquid sounds?
It has always been like that within the scene. Its just now that more people are into the liquid sound, but personally I don`t think my musical style is liquid funk. Liquid funk is more what Fabio plays on the radio and Swerve and all that kind of style.
About the gap: I think it`s room for everybody in the scene and people just need to be not so elitent in just liking one style. It has always been about many styles; drumandbass is not one thing, its many things. I don`t like going out and hearing the same thing. At the moment there are a lot of people making quite typical liquid funk, -its just the same way that went Bad Company in 98/99, -a lot of people were copying their sound. Now a lot of people are copying the liquid funk thing…its all so relative. I´m not Mr. Liquid Funk, the Disco-Kid, or whatever. Tracks like the Papua Newguinea rmx or the The Streets rmx, the basement track…they are no liquid funk, not disco. I just go for the quality tracks whatever style it is.
Das Interview führte Valerian für Datababes.