Having spent most of this century rattling bones, cages and souls on some of the most influential labels in the game – Virus, Ram, Subtitles, Bad Taste, Blackout, Freak, Project 51 – D&B heavyweight Audio is now about to shake things up on his own imprint Snake Pit Records.
The label launches March 18 with the wily, tightly-coiled chop-slapper Frog March (his first solo release in over 18 months) and will proceed to deliver a new slew of cuts he’s been crafting during his and Ed Rush’s fastlane tenure as Killbox.
Unlike many other acts who have always dreamt of running a label, an imprint was never originally on the agenda for Audio. Never shy to step up to a challenge, however, and knowing it’s the right time to establish his own personal stamp and stable, he’s diving right in and counting down the days until it launches.
Look out for Frog March on UKF Drum & Bass very soon. In the meantime, here’s how the label came about, and what we can expect in the future…
This the first solo Audio stuff since Rat Race isn’t it?
Yeah I wanted to focus on the Killbox stuff. We had to give the album everything so I didn’t do anything solo. Well… I hadn’t released any solo stuff. I’d still been working on things but at a slower pace.
Was a label always part of the grand plan?
No, never! Even growing up and getting into the music, having a label was never one of my ambitions or aspirations. I just wanted to be an artist, release music and DJ. But last year I felt a bit lost; we’d done the Killbox album so I was back to my Audio stuff and my contract with Ram had come to an end. I wasn’t sure what to do; I felt I was in danger of going over old paths and repeating myself a bit which isn’t what I wanted to do. I’ve always prided myself on moving forward; working with Freak, then Virus, then Ram. I have chapters, it’s time for a new one and the most common sense thing to do was to start a label.
Yeah you need progress to keep yourself excited
That’s it. I’ve been in the scene in a long time, I’ve done a lot of things and bought the t-shirt but I want to keep things interesting and keep myself driven. Musically I still feel 19 and still love making music and will never stop but it’s how I get it out there and what I do with it. It’s pretty scary; I’ve never been involved in the back-end of labels, there’s a lot to learn, but it’s really exciting to build up something of my own.
Let’s start with this release Frog March. You’re not shy of a good track title you know…
Ha! Nice one. I think about them a lot and like them to make sense. Some titles I see I’m like what the fuck? Did you just wake up with that word in your head and call it that? I know Ed Rush is the same, I know he spends a lot of time considering his track titles.
Which one of you named Shoreditch Shuffle then? That always tickles me…
I think that was both of us. It felt like an old wartime skank to us, like a foxtrot vibe and that’s where it came from. Shuffles, Shoreditch, bang… it came together. Some titles do.
From shuffling to marching. Frog March does capture the quirky side to Audio…
It came out of nowhere. It had a different top layer which I was messing around with and it ended up becoming this mad thing that reminded me of Russian music. It’s got an eastern European vibe to the riff and it developed from there and followed where the tune wanted to be. Everything I do is organic like that. Nothing is ever forced or contrived.
How about the concept for Snake Pit? There’s no missing around with that name…
Haha. Yeah I’ve had the name in my head for a while now. Four years or so. I’ve never thought I’d have a label, but I knew if I ever did, that would be the name. Or the title of a track or an EP or an album. I kept it in my head for the right time.
I’m noticing an animal theme here…. Frog March, Snake Pit, Rat Race
Oh yeah. It’s not a conscious thing but now you mention it….
You’re not setting us for the big announcement about leaving drum & bass…
…. To open a zoo?
Haha. Well I never thought I’d have a label before recently, so who knows?
What type of frequency can we expect in terms of releases? And is this your permanent home now?
Yeah there might be the odd appearance on other labels and on collaborations but this is where almost all Audio releases can be found. Eventually I would like to sign people in the future but it’s for me to begin with. I’ve got about six / seven tunes lined up for the year and I just want to slowly build the brand up and see how it goes from there. If I can do someone justice and help them get their music out there, then I’ll sign it but one step at a time. But the main priority is me releasing what I want, when I want. Not subject to schedules. That’s pissed me off over the years. Not in any disrespect to any labels I’ve worked with, I do understand schedules, but as an artist when you write a tune you’re in that moment and it’s nice to have that immediacy and get things out when you’re feeling it. Rather than that feeling that you’ve missed the timing a bit. I’ve never had that control before, it’s quite mad.
Yeah a lot of acts who’ve set up their labels have said that. As you say, it’s not a diss on labels they work with, it’s the freedom…
That’s it. And I feel I’ve worked with the biggest and best labels in the genre, all the labels I’ve ever dreamt of releasing on; Hardware, Virus, Subtitles, Ram, loads more. I’ve contributed to them and enjoyed working with them, I’ve ticked all the boxes so Snake Pit is the next logical step. I’m excited to see how things develop.