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Annelies Rom

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Exploring Particle’s Debut Album Pyro

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Exploring Particle’s Debut Album Pyro

On March 15, Particle will release his debut album, Pyro, on Critical Music. From his first release on Skankandbass to his debut EP on Critical, the artist draws influence from techno, jungle, and breakbeat, and he gained support from Andy C and Randall along the way. Practising his production skills over the years, the Brighton DJ had his breakthrough in 2019 with his debut release for Critical’s Binary series. 

With Pyro, Particle’s story at Critical Music comes full circle. For this album, he collaborated with YAANO, Javeon, and Inja for the first time. “All of them fit my style very well, so it was only a matter of time before I had a track with them. This album seemed the right moment for it,” he says. Particle also included label buddy En:vy as a part of his album, making Pyro a real celebration of underground, deep, and minimal drum & bass. 

Pre-save the album here.

Hi, how are you doing? Congratulations on your debut album!

Thank you. It had some ups and downs, but honestly, it wasn’t as gruelling as I thought it would be. In my head, I had built up the idea of an album as this big scary thing I had to check off one day, but I found myself getting into the flow quite quickly when it came to actually doing it. I’m pretty fast in the initial stage of writing tracks, so I got the album’s skeleton down within two or three months. It was actually going in and finishing all of them, which dragged on a bit.

I’m unsure of the exact date, but it was definitely in summer, maybe the start of summer, when I decided to make an album. I’ve just been doing singles for so many years and had a phone call with Kasra. I think we both felt it was the right time to do it, so why not? I thought I’d have to take the plunge at some point, so why not do it now? 

What’s so different about writing singles and then now creating this album?

Everything moves so quickly when releasing singles, so it doesn’t really give you much time to think. Due to the length an album takes, you find yourself listening back to earlier tracks and thinking, “I’m not sure about that one now,” which was a bit of a challenge. The benefit of this was that I really pushed myself to put together a body of work I really believed in, rather than leaning into what was hot at that moment in time like you find yourself doing with singles.

The way I work is because I’m pretty quick at the start. Kasra and I sat down in the studio and went through my ideas, and pretty early on, we had an idea of what the ten tracks on the album would be. There have been some changes later on, but for the most part, we’ve stuck with what we went with initially. It was just a case of going in and finishing them off.

I’d be lying if I said the album was telling a story because it’s not. I’ve always had a very minimal and ‘less is more’ approach to my music; the album’s an exploration of all my styles, with this approach being the glue which sonically ties it together. I guess the story is just me. With ‘Pyro’ as the title track, it was more of an artistic choice rather than a musical one. I didn’t think there was necessarily a standout title track musically, but when I came to think about the artwork, the word ‘Pyro’ set a really clear visual theme. Kia, who designed the art, did a fantastic job of bringing that to life, so I’m really happy with how it all turned out.

There are a lot of deep and minimal tracks on there, which you said, but there’s also ‘REM’, which is more Jungle, and then the ‘No Mistakes VIP’ has jump-up vibes to it. Why did you decide to include those in your album?

My music always had underlying elements of the modern jungle sound, so I wanted one track on the album which really leaned into that, and that’s ‘REM’. And even though it’s a very in-your-face breaksy track, it’s still very stripped back and gappy. I never initially planned for ‘No Mistakes VIP’ to go on the album, but during the writing period, I was getting so many messages about it, so it almost felt like we had to add it as a bonus track at the end. The last thing I’d want to happen is to announce my debut album, and half the replies are people asking me when ‘No Mistakes VIP’ is getting released, haha.

There are also some collaborations on the album. Can you tell me more about those?

They all came about very naturally. I’d be working on the sketches and thought some of them needed somebody else’s artistic input to get them over the line. The sketch for ‘Glimmer’ was right up YAANO’s street, so I knew he would kill it, and when I was writing the beat for ‘Focus’, I could basically hear Javeon’s voice in my head. ‘The Message’ with Inja is a special one because one of my career highlights was playing the main stage of Boomtown with him. It only made sense to try and recreate that energy for the album. I sent him a rough idea of the track, and he sent the vocals back. It was perfect; I couldn’t have asked for more. 

The only exception is ‘Needles’ with En:vy. We wrote it as a B-side for a collaboration we released in 2022, but it never came out. I’d been playing that rough version out for years, and it always got a really good crowd reaction, so I thought, why not add it? I guess this is a perfect example of believing in older tracks, like I said earlier.

What does it mean to have them on your album?

I had never worked with Inja in terms of writing, but I have done quite a few sets with him that I really enjoyed. I had never worked with YAANO before, but we have quite a similar style, so we had talked about working together, and this was the right time to do so. I had never worked with Javeon before, either. He’s one of those people I would see out all the time, and every time, we would talk about making a track together. When I finished the rough idea for ‘Focus’, I immediately sent it to him because of this. With En:vy, I had already collaborated once before. I didn’t actually sit down at the start and have a list of names I wanted on the album. It was all about whether it felt right, then it happened, and I don’t regret doing it that way at all.

Can you tell us a bit more about the collaboration with Critical?

Kasra hit me up for some tunes to play out one time. Not long after that, he asked if I wanted to write an EP for them. I had only had a few minor releases before that, so it felt pretty mad that I was suddenly releasing on the same label as the artists I was looking up to at the time. The label’s been a huge part of my journey over the past five years, so releasing this album with anybody else would feel wrong.

How does it feel to have this album coming out?

Yeah, it definitely feels a bit scary because I’ve put so much time into it. You’ll always wonder, “Is it good enough to come out?” But I will always have that feeling, so I look forward to getting it out. It’s also a lot of hard work because with a single, you drop it, and then you move on to the next thing. With an album, it’s a bit more of a process. You have to keep posting about it; it has a life of its own. The story can continue after it drops. So, looking forward, there’ll be remixes. We need to sit down and think about them. 

The excitement definitely outweighs the fear. I’m looking forward to it finally being out in the world for everybody to hear. Creatively, it’s the most draining thing I’ve ever done, but I can say it was 100% worth it. Now, I can sit here and look at the finished body of work. Peers I’ve spoken to about writing an album say for them, it felt like the closing of a musical chapter, so I’m excited to see what comes next for me.

What else do you have planned for 2024? 

I’d been a bit of a recluse in the second half of 2023 while I was getting the album over the line, so It’s nice to be on the road again. I went to Canada at the start of February for two cool shows. The North American scene is really starting to take off. I’ve got some exciting shows in the diary leading into summer, which I’m also looking forward to. Music-wise, I took a bit of a break to recharge my creative batteries, but I’m back writing again. I’ve got a couple of exciting remixes at the top of my list! I’m looking forward to the rest of 2024. It should be good.

Follow Particle: Soundcloud/bandcamp/Instagram

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