Noisia, dBridge, Dom & Roland, Break, Audio, Black Sun Empire, Mefjus, Ed Rush & Optical, Kemal, DLR, Quadrant & Iris, Skynet, Zombie Cats and Kolectiv are just some of the heavyweight D&B artists to contribute to Stories – an XXXL sized trilogy compilation that pays respect the legacy and influence of Edd Optiv Holmes who sadly passed away on January 5 2020.
Three albums comprising 40 tracks from over 40 artists; Stories was curated and compiled by long-time friend Mark CZA Clements who, alongside Optiv, was one of the founding members of pioneering act Cause 4 Concern, a troupe who had a huge effect on drum & bass around the turn of the century.
“Edd was one of the most influential figures in our scene and this is our way of showing our respects to him,” says Mark who’s been working on this tribute album for over two years. “Without doubt the most personal project I’ve ever been involved in, a project I never thought would see the light of day, a project I’m now finally able to share with you all. It’s a celebration of Edd’s life with over 40 artists coming together to show their love & respect to one of the scenes true inspirations. A genuine testament to his craft. The sentiment behind the project has always been about Edd’s kids – Leo & Oscar. All proceeds made from the entire album will go directly to them as a bit of help for when they both get older.”
Stories comes in three volumes – Origins, Evolution, Legacy – and the full version is available as a limited edition USB package complete with an exclusive mix and a 108 page book full of tales and anecdotes from the contributing artists about Edd, his notoriously high production levels, his never-ending support for new talent and his famous sense of humour.
The album was first announced on Edd’s birthday, August 11 and Origins dropped last week, Friday September 2 with exclusives music from CZA, Ed Rush, Kemal, dBridge, Gridlok & Prolix, Dom & Roland, Skynet, Jazz T & Stew Crook, Bulletproof and Killjoy.
10 tracks deep, it’s an all-star salute to a man who was taken long before his time and will always be missed. To sample Edd’s spirit and positivity, and to understand a little more of his roots and how he’d given his whole adult life to drum & bass as an artist, DJ, label owner and – going right back to his roots – a record shop owner, check out our interview with himself and Mark CZA from 2016.
Origins will be followed by Evolution on September 16 and Legacy on September 29. UKF been given exclusive access to the book of stories from the album, below is just a small selection. Please support this album in any way you can; Optiv’s influence on drum & bass will never be forgotten. Rest In Peace.
“Edd was always a pleasure to be around. He was always positive, full of good energy and a perfect balance of polite and courteous yet cheeky and fun.
He would always help you if he could. He was very forthcoming with his vast knowledge of music production and his tunes were also a great balance of being extremely dancefloor friendly yet always made interesting listening in a non-dancefloor environment. His music had a real signature sound and he never disappointed with his heavyweight style.
He wrote some absolute bangers in his time, some of which we were fortunate enough to release on Virus Recordings. I spent some time getting to know him over the years when our paths would cross on the road doing shows here and there.
He had a brilliant sense of humour and was always up for a laugh. You will be sadly missed mate but never forgotten and you live on through all the amazing music you blessed us with during the course of your career.” – ED RUSH
“We’ve always been clear about the great influence C4C had on us when we were getting started. Peep Show, Synergy, Facelift, and later on Camouflage and Carrier really shaped the sound we were after for a long time. Along with all the other tunes of course, but those are the ones I’ll always come back to, because I played them so much in my teenage years and early twenties.
When I was just 18, Nik and I went to Tilburg to visit a Virus night. Martijn really wanted to come along, but was still under age and it was a 3-hour train journey, so he wasn’t gonna risk not being allowed in. I had a minidisc player with me, with a mic input that could record just by plugging the headphones into the mic input. I recorded a few tunes I did not know that night and uploaded them to DOA to get IDs. They were literally all C4C tunes. That’s how much I was in love with that sound back then, even when I didn’t know it was C4C the tracks stood out to me.
When we were finishing up Foundations, we were still processing the loss of Edd. It’s named after the foundation he and C4C laid out for the three of us and Mefjus to build our respective careers on.
C4C, thank you and so much respect for everything you’ve done to drive the sound of DnB forward. Edd, we miss running into you from time to time. It’s not the same <3” THYS (on behalf of Noisia and Mefjus)
“My memory Is terrible! The BC days were a Purple haze but what I will say is I had the upmost respect and admiration for Edd as an artist and person, every time we met, he was nothing but nice and his musical legacy is enviable and to be highly regarded. I have many of his records in my vinyl collection and I’m fussy lol.” – DBRIDGE
“Rarely seen without a smile, the creator, curator, originator, and leader of tech funk D&B world! Relentless energy injected into too much incredible seminal music to mention… the funk lives on forever, never a day will go by without the inspiration that Edd left us.” – DLR
“Optiv made a massive impact on my musical journey. I collected stacks of C4C and Optiv records growing up so when given the chance to meet him, the C4C crew and eventually release on the label it was a dream come true. From going deep in on the technicalities of D&B production myself, Edd is one of the few people I still listen to and go, ‘How the hell did he do that?’ I’ve learnt so much from obsessing over his music, he really was one of the few true pioneers of D&B. He’s touched so many people with his creations and will live on through his music for many years to come.” – BREAK
“I’ll always remember Edd as a kind and generous soul. A bit like myself his darker side only really came out through his music! The last time I saw him was a gig we played together on an old converted battleship in Germany on Christmas Day. I remember it because unusually we ate on site around a big table and the chef came out and announced that he had cooked “bunny” for dinner! Loads of the people there were vegetarian, Edd and I couldn’t stop laughing!
For this album, I tried to make a track that Edd would have liked. He was always into distortion, funk and the Skullsnaps break so I took it in that direction. Wherever you are Edd, I hope you like it!” – DOM & ROLAND
“I first got to know Edd through music… Peep Show by C4C was like a revelation to me because it took the arpeggio riff style from classic techno/acid into a new futuristic realm that I had never heard before. It was magical.
Then over the years as part of C4C and then later on doing two incredible LPs with BTK for Virus he continued to blow my mind as an artist and as a producer. I can totally admit to being jealous of his mix techniques many times over the countless years I have known him. His musical legacy will always be part of our lives forever.
But more than that… on a personal level… he was just such a good person. I know people say that, but he was always very kind, very humble and made me laugh a lot too. He would always be ready to give me tips on being a better engineer when I asked him for advice and never made me feel stupid for asking. I miss him. RIP Edd Optiv Holmes.” – OPTICAL