Five months have passed since Lenzman launched his own label The North Quarter with an immaculate widescreen 10 track EP.
Since then his remix of Children Of Zeus’s Still Standing became one of the stand out tracks of the second half of 2016. Not only did it scoop gold at the Drum&BassArena Awards but also a nomination for Best Video while The North Quarter was nominated for Best Newcomer Label. Impressive, considering the label had only been running since last August.
Cruising into ’17 with the same spirit and energy, the Dutch soul man is set to drop another supersized EP entitled Earth Tones. Featuring a selection of similarly spirited souls such as iconic vocalist Steo, Jubei, Submorphics and Manchester neo soul singer IAMDDB, here’s a teaser…
With eight tracks (six originals + one intro skit and a version) it’s another rich spread that teeters on the edge of album territory…
“That’s the way I want to go with it, even when I’m putting out music from other people,” he explains. “It allows you to be more creative. If you’re doing a single you have to think about the dancefloor – you can’t be free to explore further and take more chances.”
Earth Tones takes every chance it gets to arrest our attention spans thanks to a broader scope than the inaugural EP release. Ranging from the delicate, dreamy Tender Love with Steo to the darker space-aged stepper Park Hill with Jubei, it represents that light/dark axis that Lenzman has always morphed between so smoothly.
“This one’s a bit more diverse than the first but I’m trying to keep it organic,” he explains. “Not super clean or super technical – just about vibe and about the human side of music. To me, they are earth tones… It’s the vibe the label is all about.”
A vibe which is likely to see more artists to join The North Quarter fold in the future. He remains tight-lipped on who and when, but confirms the label is much more than a vehicle for his own productions.
“Putting projects together, nurturing new talent and selecting tunes of theirs to support excites me,” he explains. “That’s the DJ in me. I’ve always played and supported other people’s music but I’ve never done projects in this way before like this before – it’s very exciting.”
Most importantly, though, whether the music comes from Lenzman or his peers, the soulful vibe comes first.
“I feel the soulful side of D&B is under-represented for me,” he says. ”That’s part of why I wanted to do the label. I don’t think it’s about as much as it used to be. Sometimes people might not even know they like it. I’ve been into D&B for over 20 years but the average listener might only go to clubs for 10 years max. In that space of time there’s not been a huge amount of soulful stuff. They might not know about Ill Logic & Raf, Influx Datum and Carlito & Addiction. All these originators who have disappeared but were the sickest in that sound. These are the sounds I believe in and I’m hoping The North Quarter can help spread that sound.”