Maintaining their run of variety, consistency, and a guaranteed vibe – Lenzman’s The North Quarter imprint continues pushing forward with a new and mysterious project, LIN000.
The concept is stripped back, techno-inspired DJ tools. Four rolling tracks that selectors can rely on for seamlessly moving through their set. But they’re by no means just filler – the two NQ veterans behind the production know exactly how to say more with less. Each track having plenty of room to breathe, while generating serious energy – they elicit the feeling that you’re in the club, which was the intention.
So, we’re all dying to know… who is LIN000?
Since the release was teased at the beginning of November, Instagram and Discord threads have been filling up with names like Randomer, Anile, dBridge, SpectraSoul, and the label boss man Lenzman himself, to name a few. The label, and artists involved, have remain tight-lipped, however. The idea to keep it nameless was to maintain a focus on the music. But we can reveal today that this is a product of the label’s very own FD and Satl.
Both known for producing some of the most soulful liquid ohrwurms, as well as more recently pushing more varied sounds, LIN000 is a natural progression for both artists. It’s an outlet for experimentation – where stems, loops, and half-finished tracks from their workshops can be shared back and forth with an end goal in mind. To discover more about the motivations and intentions behind LIN000, UKF sat down with the NQ duo to discuss their new project.
So after the cryptic press-releases and social media promos, it’s revealed that LIN000 is FD and Satl! Now that it’s out there, can you tell me what LIN000 means?
Satl: Well LIN is short for LINKS, and links is referring to the fact that each of the tracks are linked to one another. The idea behind it is that we didn’t follow the standard rules of making a ‘big tune’.
FD: Links also refers to the way the tracks can be used in your set, to join stuff together. We’re a bit short on DJ tools these days, everyone’s just trying to make anthems and that’s a bit boring. We created quite a lot of these tracks thinking about what to call it – what did the project represent to us? After several thrown away post-it notes and scrapbooks of ideas, this is what we came out on.
When did you two first ‘link’ up for the project?
Satl: The first ideas shared were pre-covid. But we didn’t really pick it up until last year really. Before that, we were both very busy working on our own stuff – even though we wanted to collaborate for a while, it just somehow didn’t happen. Then last year, with the lockdowns, we all had a bit more time for it.
FD: We basically did one tune, and it came out so well that Lenz was like “do an EP”. And then obviously fitting that in with everything else it takes a bit of time. But then once we could get a bit more focused on it came together pretty quickly. One of the less painful experiences!
Satl: I agree, it’s been pretty easy to get into the flow. Throughout the process we didn’t have any struggles or disagreements, and we never made any big compromises. We both had a similar vision.
FD: It was kind of clear without any discussion even. There’s a certain aesthetic that Adrian and I have an interest in. And when we’ve been hanging out, we’ve been sharing records and chatting about artists and music we like – so we knew that we had that shared interest.
Can you tell me a bit more about that aesthetic?
Satl: I’m sometimes really weird when it comes to music. I feel like Freddie is the same – when sometimes I’m feeling a certain way, I’ll make tunes that resemble each other. When we wrote these tracks, we wanted to make something that is slightly different to what’s going on in the scene right now. As Freddie said, we didn’t want these tracks to be anthems, we just wanted them to be club weapons that can work in a variety of ways.
FD: I want to put music out that you can use as tools in your set, because I feel that’s a really important part of a DJ’s arsenal – to have these bits that you can use to transition. I’m a DJ before a producer and I come from a long, dark time ago, where there were lots of DJ tools – and these are the tracks that really stayed timeless. There’s nothing in them that can age badly, just very strong and simple elements that make up the backbone of the piece of music. It’s an aesthetic that I really enjoy in drum & bass, and I’ve been consciously thinking that this is something I want to contribute to the scene, and the history of the music.
So the inspiration is a bit of a ‘less-is-more’ approach. How did the tracks come together?
FD: To push the project further, Adrian sent me a bunch of loops to listen to, and there was immediately this feeling… you know what it’s like, when you listen to some new music and something just grabs you – you can’t say whether it’s X, Y or Z. So I then selected certain bits to give to Adrian, and as we moved further it started to kind of round itself out. There started to be the more obvious ‘links’ (aha!) between it all.
So it was made during lockdown times… or did you get inspired being back in clubs?
FD: Yeah it was done before we got back into clubs – and yeah, perhaps it was inspired by missing that vibe.
Satl: I mean generally speaking, we make music that we want to hear in clubs, and Freddie’s doing the same. We came together on that vibe I think.
Could you talk a little about how stuff like this comes together in comparison to making something super soulful?
Satl: I think for me, when I came onto the scene people only knew me as the liquid guy. I kind of got sick of it, and I wanted to try different things. The way for me to keep moving forward is to always experiment – and I want to live by that, whether it’s D&B or anything else I’m doing. This experimental approach is a big part of my process. I’m generating a lot of ideas, but I sometimes still feel like I’m putting myself in a box. So I’m often looking for ways to get out of it, by doing stuff like the LIN000 EP, and the Lucid Dreams EP last year – just letting people know that while I’m the liquid guy, I can still make different things.
I’ve always really liked Freddie’s tunes that are on the dirtier side too – so it’s been a cool learning process to see how he’s doing things, and how I could apply some of his tricks to my style. The whole thing was a great experience, and very influential into what we both do solo, and together in the future.
FD: From my point of view regarding if there’s a difference in process – not really, no. When I started making tracks…
Satl: What was that, 20 years ago?
FD: Haha, at least bro! I think it actually was 20 years ago. When I started off, I used to have a lot more ‘stuff’ in there, and I remember thinking that you have to fill up the soundscape with all sorts of elements so you get this big wall of sound. And sure, in a way that’s true, that’s a methodology that’s been going on since the sixties. But what I’ve really gotten into in the last couple of years – which comes with a lot of practise and confidence – is having less in the tracks, and having really strong elements. When you have less, then it allows for more focus on each of the key parts.
If you’re making a musical tune – that piano’s gotta be front-and-centre. That’s gotta be doing the work, it can’t have anywhere to hide. It’s gotta go “there’s your fucking piano mate, have that!”. If you’re burying it in the back, it’s because you don’t like it enough, it’s not good enough. You’re compromising basically, and that’s not a good place to be.
Freddie, in your last interview with us you mentioned being frustrated about the timing of covid, coinciding with what people were saying was your best work (referring to the Lanta Nights EP).
FD: Yes, still not over it!
That made me think, TNQ has had a really strong output throughout the pandemic. The tunes have really stuck with me because, for better or worse, it’s been the soundtrack to this weird, crazy time. Do you think tunes coming out while we’re still in this era will hold extra weight?
FD: I have no idea to be honest. It’s really nice to hear you say that though because as I said in the previous interview – it fucking stung. When we did Outlook the other day, that was my first chance to play two EPs worth of gear on a real rig. Do you know what I mean? All my own tunes that I’ve painstakingly crafted, and never had a chance to hear them on a system – it’s just grim basically. So it’s really nice to hear that it might stay with people, for better or worse, it means a lot, really.
As for whether these tunes will hold extra weight? I dunno man! It’s a good question but it depends on so many factors. But I have to say, I’m glad that people will be playing and hearing LIN000 in the club.
Everything’s got such a short shelf life, everything seems so disposable these days. When you’re writing music, you’re hoping that the tunes will mean something to somebody, and that they will last longer than 5 minutes. But there’s no formula for that. When I mentioned the anthems thing before – a lot of people think “I can write a tune that basically everyone will play, and will last for ages. I’ll just put a big vocal in it and arrange it like this and that” the fact is, so many people are doing it, that you’ve just got reams and reams of these tunes, and they don’t stick out.
The View’ is an incredible tune. Marka is an incredible tune. But if you were a betting man, would you put money on these, saying they’ll definitely be big tunes? I don’t think you would. I don’t think Luke (LSB) knew at all – and then look what happened! So yeah, it’s really hard to say. But the way I work, I put everything into every tune that I do. You just have to hope that’s going to be enough to make a tune that you’ll stand by, and look back on in 10 years and be happy with it.
Satl: Because so many people want to make a tune that will be big, I think sometimes not following that rule, and not really thinking that you want to make a big tune – you’ll probably succeed more by taking a risk and doing something different.
FD: I think 100% that. Because then we’re talking about a tune that takes on a character of individuality, and it’s a bit special. For me, what grabs me out of all the tunes I get sent each month – something that shocks me, it makes me sit up and go “hey, what are you doing?”.
So the advice to newcomers is to avoid anthem-chasing, and you’ll likely find more success?
Satl: Yeah, with new artists I often notice they follow a certain formula, because maybe it worked for someone else for a particular type of track. So then they think if they follow that rule, they’ll get to a similar level. A few years back, when I made Everything, Anything on Integral – I’m not gonna lie, this tune really pushed me forward. But people were expecting me to go down that path, and make more tracks in that style, just because it worked. But I think that would be boring. If I wanted to grow faster as an artist, I’d probably do it, that would be the recipe to blow up.
I got some advice from Marcus Intalex a few weeks before he passed, that it’s better to take your time – even if it takes 10 years to get on top, do it the way you want to do it, and you’ll stay on top for another 10 years. Instead of five minutes up and five minutes down.
What a moment for you, and great piece of advice from a true pioneer of the very sound we’re chatting about today. You and Freddie are both clearly in this for the right reasons.
FD: I think art is meant to be an expression of your inner-self, and that’s what making music is about. You’re being true to yourself by doing that. You’re being more of an artist. You’re pushing yourself and trying to navigate these uncharted depths. For me, that’s way more interesting. Music is not a commodity – yeah it’s there to be consumed, but it’s an expression.
Satl: It’s so weird. It’s got to the point where someone’s not going to collaborate with you because you don’t have certain numbers on Spotify. Maybe this is just the times we’re living in, but it’s just ridiculous to think about. You can really see who is in it for real, and who’s just in it for fame or money or whatever you wanna call it.
There’s always a little bit of frustration in there that I think works towards making your art stand out – because it comes from a true passion, you know? Like I’ll get frustrated about what’s going on in drum & bass, and then out of that, I don’t want to follow the same patterns or formulas, and I’ll be making my best tunes.
FD: Yeah, because then you’re really trying to say something and be impactful – that’s the honesty coming out.
What are the future plans for this project?
Satl: We definitely want to take it to the road, and play some sets that combine this type of music with some other genres as well. Some techno, some ambient soundscapes mixed together with some acapellas. We’ve been trying to work this out to really make it a special experience. This is a project that we’re really proud of, and it would be cool to show another side of our music this way.
FD: Like we said at the beginning, it isn’t always easy to get projects done or wrap them up. But we really seem to have found a common direction that we want to go. It was a lot of fun, it felt easy and natural, and we both felt really happy with the outcome.
The thing is, somehow, it kind of feels that – even though it’s just Adrian, and just Freddie, there’s this interesting melding that comes together, and it’s just different. I’ve really enjoyed it so far and I think there’s more chances to do that with DJing, producing, and building that natural symbiosis.
Satl: With this project it was important to leave the doors open – I think the natural progression is 005 and further. Whenever we’re bored with our own stuff, we’ll jump on this again. Or if we make something that fits the vibe. Or maybe it will morph into something completely different.