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Annelies Rom

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Catching Up With Malux

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Catching Up With Malux

At the beginning of August, we got some new Malux material. Following his previous releases, ‘Ghost Train’ (with Hijak MC) and ‘Jericho’, Malux returned to Evolution Chamber with ‘Mammoth’, showcasing his signature sound and boundary-pushing production. With this single he showcases his attention to detail. “‘Mammoth’ is based around finding one really powerful synth sound that carries the whole energy and emotion of the tune and working really hard to get that element sounding as exciting as I could.”

Malux, also known as Skope, is a drum & bass artist renowned for his innovative productions and meticulous sound design. He released on labels like Blackout, Eatbrain, Vision and Bad Taste, and with this he has solidified his position as a force to be reckoned with in the electronic music scene. And now he’s back on Evolution Chamber. Established in 2019 by fellow artists Magnetude, Receptor and Task Horizon as a “safe space” for like-minded creatives with a mindset to push the boundaries, the label is becoming a base for forward-thinking music and artists-alike, which sees UK-based Malux as a fitting member of the label’s vision.

It’s been some time that we spoke! Back in 2016 your ‘Who the Hell is Skope’ article came out, how have you been since then?

Yeah I’ve been good! I’m now focussing a bit more on my drum & bass alias, Malux. I have always had the goal to make drum & bass, but I started with dubstep, Skope, first because it was the time that dubstep was on the rise. I felt only proficient enough in making those kinds of sounds back then. Drum & bass is such a technical genre, one of the pinnacles of musical production. I felt like I needed to get to a certain level with Skope first before I got into D&B. It’s something that I always kept coming back to, and Malux came at the point where I felt comfortable with the sound quality of my drum & bass. It can take a while to get strong at, so I waited until the right time. 

 

Does Skope still exist?

Yes, yes it does. I switch energies between what I’m working on, and what music I’m into as well. It depends on what I’m feeling like. I did some Skope stuff recently, but now there’s more Malux stuff happening. I like doing a bit of both.

What is the biggest difference between producing for Skope and Malux for you?

I mean they’re both hard in different ways. For drum & bass, I spend a lot of my time focussing on the drums, it’s such a key part of the groove. You can get away with lots of different things if you’ve got really good drums. They are what make people dance. With dubstep and halftime and that kind of stuff, it’s a little bit more in the bass, you get a little more rhythm there. 

Can you tell me a little bit more about your creative process?

 It’s changed over the years. When I make Skope music I do a lot of more resampling, and mangle sounds until I get the right thing out of it. Before I even get a good idea out, I’m just tinkering with the sounds, just having fun with it, really. Messing around with everything. I like to get involved in just making sounds. It’s similar for Malux, but there’s a little bit more precision needed there. In the end, I try to have fun with sounds as much as possible.

Is that how you worked on your latest tracks?

My newest tracks; ‘Mammoth’ and ‘Jericho’ are based around similar ideas of finding one really powerful synth sound that carries the whole energy and emotion of the tune and working really hard to get that element sounding as exciting as I could. Whereas ‘Ghost train’ was all about smaller edited sounds that create an interesting rhythm. Overall I would say they are a continuation of my move towards more precise and less crazy sounds and arrangements.

These tracks came out on Evolution Chamber. How did you come into contact with the label, and when did you decide to work together?

 I’ve been working with James ‘Magnetude’ before I worked with Evolution Chamber. He was helping me get some gigs and helping me get out after Covid. He was a really good motivator to bring me back into the game and back into releasing music. He pushed me to get back out there again, so great work, James. At first it was hard to get back into making music and feeling good about it as things didn’t just snap back to the way they were before. But James was working hard to get me shows again which helped with motivation. He’s always chasing me for new music which put some more urgency back behind me.

You release mainly neuro, why is that?

I think it stems from my enjoyment of making sounds and messing around with them. The craziest noises come from neurofunk, and I always challenge myself to make new and interesting ones. Like I was saying, my creative process is focused on just having fun and creating interesting sounds, and taking them to write a track. And that always tends to lead to aggressive and chaotic noises, because for me they are the most fun and extreme to make. I like high energy and excitement. 

In my sets, I like to switch it up, though. My sets used to be all neuro, but now I like to up and down it a little bit, do more rollers and stripped-back stuff. I feel like you then have a lot more impact when you do come out with the heavy stuff. It’s nice to have a balance. In production, I have been making some slightly deeper tracks, but my tracks always come out heavier than I intended them to make when I started out. It’s something I experiment with for sure, even more so with my Skope alias. There you’ve got more of a musical, melodic, and stripped-back sound. 

Where does your inspiration come from?

 Then I have to say the cliché Noisia, they are the people who inspired me the most. 

Yes! You did a remix for them, right?

 That was amazing. I had basically written an original track that followed the same motive. Martijn from Noisia then played that track at Let It Roll and he mixed it with ‘Could This Be’, and then everyone thought it was a remix, so we ended up turning it into a remix. It’s a roundabout way of doing a remix, but it was a great honour to work with them. They changed the game in terms of sound design and sound quality. I think they pushed a lot of us current neuro producers into what we do. 

Other than that I like to listen to hip-hop and more chilled-out music. Because I make really heavy music, it’s nice to listen to some more chill music, like lofi as well. Listening to this kind of music has in turn an influence on my heavier music. The breakbeat, chopping sound of hip-hop. Taking that ethos of the funky chops and live-sounding drums and then clipping samples over it… I do a lot of that with Skope, but I also use samples in Malux stuff. 

You played in Vienna on August 18th- a Collapse Recordings night, how was that?

 It’s been a while since I’ve been out there, so I was excited for that one. I’ve got a few friends there, and it’s one of the places I’ve been the most since I started doing drum & bass. It’s a beautiful city with a healthy drum & bass scene. And I love schnitzel, so what more could I wish for? For me, a place is generally about the people there and I’ve always had a really nice time meeting people there and enjoying the night that I’m playing. Having people who live there take me round the city on my stay, on a side note though, anywhere that serves a good schnitzel is great!

The guys at Collapse just got in touch with me to organise the show and have been really good as I couldn’t make the first date, but they got back in touch as soon as their next night was happening!

Another gig that’s coming up is the 25 years of Virus Recordings later this year.  Are you looking forward to that?

It’s a good one. I’ve done a few of those nights with Prolix’s label Trendkill. The Steel Yard a wicked club, I know it really well, and I enjoy the sets there, so I’m excited to do it with Evolution Chamber this time. It’s in one of those tunnel-y club spaces, as I have always played in the second room. I like those spaces because you get the crowd right in your face. You can interact with them a bit more like that, and I think there’s something special about that. 

One last question: what or who is the scene not talking about, but should be?

I think there’s a strong wave of new d&b artists that are breaking through but they are all being talked about and getting the props they deserve. One of my favourite artists who I feel needs more love is Copycatt, although he’s more on the halftime side of things. He’s one of my favourite producers right now!

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