Tech fans take note: MethLab, the management powerhouse behind the likes of Current Value, Billain, Broken Note, Silent Witness and many more of underground drum & bass’s forefront runners, is about to level up with three new label projects and an immersive interactive player that catapults you through unchartered sonic cosmoses as you find brand new sounds.
The releases kick off with an explosive new series that partners the agency with the established strong-arm stable Bad Taste in November. The debut EP features Silent Witness (with the Noisia-supported High Flyer), Signs, MachineCode and Allied.
If that’s not enough, hot on the MethLab/Bad Taste series debut will come two brand new labels: MethLab Recordings and BNKR, a splinter brand inspired by the agency’s own nocturnal audio/visual club events.
LOADS going on, then. And it’s all tied together with their own awesome VR-style player (which you can download below) that has potential to open up into a whole new universe of interactive musical experiences that could, in effect, open up to any labels of any style of music, each one with its own community gravitating to its own sonic orbit…
Not that we needed proof of how exciting and progressive the tech and neuro sides of drum & bass are right now, MethLab are taking their sounds, artists and ideas to even braver new worlds. A well-planned strategy or a case of neuro’s darkest stars aligning? We donned our hazmats and entered the MethLab HQ for full specs:
“It’s definitely an amazing time for tech-oriented future music, and particularly D&B right now which is just taking over everything in Europe it seems,” states Jef Oswald, MethLab bossman who works closely with some of the most exciting names in the scene including Current Value, MachineCode, Cause4Concern, Allied, Broken Note and, more recently, Billain, Signs, Disprove, Minor Rain, Kursa and Silent Witness.
“We have believed in their abilities as producers and DJs for years prior to the renewed growth in D&B. It’s just amazing that the scene is perfectly aligning itself to receive our vision just as we’re really starting to come together, and when MethLab has a more cohesive sound across the roster than ever before – I think at this stage, people are really starting to understand the angle we’re coming from and how it stands apart in itself.”
Celebrating five years in business, MethLab’s angle is getting sharper than Walter White’s frown-frazzled brow. Now get to know the details of each project:
“There are other labels out there doing an amazing job with D&B, and we have no desire to replicate what they’re doing,” says Jef. “But it’s important to us to offer something unique seems to happen naturally. While there are some overlaps in style between the major neurofunk labels, there are also gaps – some of the more unusual stuff that we’ve been pushing for years, and doesn’t have a natural home at the moment – the most daring tech music that defies expectations an still smashes raves – the stuff that confuses the hell out of people and sticks in their minds”.
Bad Taste / MethLab Series
“Bad Taste are a pleasure to work with both as people and in terms of sharing a vision. They care a lot about the overall movement that we’re both a part of and the way it’s growing, stimulating people and affecting social changes to an extent.
“Their approach to the project has been really amazing, and so as long as we both want to continue with this, we see it as the main channel to put our strongest, but diverse individual D&B tracks that fit in the shared aesthetic visions of the two entities. It’s a real honour, and the kind of manifested reality that makes this life a cool place to be.
“The first release from this project is coming on November 6th (to Beatport) – with four killer tracks as a 2 x 12” vinyl EP and 4 track digital release. It features Signs, MachineCode, Allied and Silent Witness – with Noisia already giving support to his track ‘High Flyer’. You can expect to hear a lot more about the EP in the coming weeks – our artists have delivered some really strong tracks that will certainly be effective in smashing raves to pieces.”
“BNKR started life as a special audio-visual concept event, combining the visuals of the incredible Lunchmeat crew based in Prague, with the MethLab roster, topped with the conceptual graphics of one of our long-running collaborators SHVLFCE. We ran the prototype event in the Czech Republic last year – it was totally sick, and looked amazing. After that we decided to put it on hold until the launch of the BNKR series of records, and tie the event concept into the release concept.
“It’s all focussed around the concept of a post-apocalyptic future, an aged bunker housing complex and mysterious technology… we want to create an environment that transports ravers to another place for a while – future music, future visual concept. The BNKR label is a branch of the MethLab Recordings imprint – with each release featuring the artworks of Russian Photographer Danila Tkachenko – which stylistically fits perfectly with the concept. Each EP (with vinyl 12” singles attached) focusses around a specific artist – from producers on and off the roster, and covering multiple genres. The first one is Allied – with his Obscurity EP, which will be out later this year.”
“Our interactive player is a way of showcasing the music within a strong visual context that’s been created by the genius XRA. The trailer for his main project Memory of a Broken Dimension totally blew me away a couple of years ago. I sent him an email saying how much I loved it, and it turned out he was coding the game listening to our podcasts on the other side of the world in Seattle, so we decided to do something together.
“I’d love to see other labels do similar things, but with different visual aesthetics – the more that music is brought to life in ways like this, then more interesting things will become. Interactivity is the future. I really see this project as the beginning: an ‘off-line’ baby step towards a future where the internet becomes more of a virtual space and people demand more than simple players.
“We were even thinking how, with the right resources – it could be developed into a full online community of music-explorers – with labels setting up their spaces freely within a wider virtual universe. The end result could be naturally forming clusters of communities focussed around specific genres, or occupying the space between genre clusters – if say the label sat between D&B and techno for example. With every space uniquely dressed in each labels aesthetic. Combine this with the emergence of VR, with things like Oculus Rift and even the ability to transform your phone into a VR device – things could get really exciting… perhaps even 360 degree live streams of label events within the spaces, and true virtual communal enjoyment. That is a future I’d love to see – I hope we might inspire other people to step towards it.”
“The first MethLab Recordings release is in the very final stages of completion and will appear at the beginning of 2016 – it’s a very special genre-connecting release featuring artists with incredible attention to detail and cinematic styles of production – Aethek (Billain’s alter-ego), Broken Note, Audeka and Rob Clouth // Vaetxh.
“Half of the tracks are 170 and the other half 140. You can expect some really exciting peripherals around that… including a video from the incredible visionary director – Zan Lyons (who counts Chris Cunningham amongst his previous collaborators). Through these three label projects that we’ve introduced, you can expect future releases from Billain, Disprove, Signal, MachineCode, Audeka, Broken Note, Allied, Signs, Silent Witness, Aethek, Rawtekk, Optiv & CZA (Cause4Concern), The Sect – music from across the MethLab roster and beyond at the highest standards of production.”
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