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Dave Jenkins

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The Rise Of Euphonique

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The Rise Of Euphonique

With a DIY path as authentically jungle as the chop-slapping breaks she rolls out on the regular, Euphonique has been dedicated to the craft since 2009 as a DJ, producer, label owner, event promoter, teacher and studio owner.

Whether it’s through her own Subwoofah operations from her Manchester base, or her growing discography on labels such as Deep In The Jungle, Audio Addict, Dutty Bass Audio, Murky Digital and, as of this month, Born On Road, Euphonique’s presence in the scene has been amplifying gradually over the last 10 years and it’s getting louder.

This summer will be her busiest yet, with many festival debuts all stacking up such as Glastonbury and Boomtown, and more label debuts set to follow, including Run Tingz, and more labels she’s unable to reveal quite yet. Euphonique’s label Subwoofah is also set for a level up; what began as a party in 2009, and has developed into a full HQ comprising a studio where she tutors producers and DJs and hosts live streams or recording sessions, Subwoofah Records has been responsible for chop-slapping damagers from a vast range of operators including Warhead, Motiv and criminally-slept-on breakbeat arsonists like Epicentre and unfailing bangersmiths like Sl8r… And it’s about to undergo a full upgrade with a rebrand and new concept releases next month.

But first 23 Style: Delivered by Born On Road and stacked with five slabs of utter gully, Euphonique’s latest EP features some of her darkest, stripped back and heaviest rollers to date – alongside a cheeky jungle number in the form of the title track featuring Madrush MC – and it goes a bit like this…

Here’s what else we can expect…

We’ve caught you in the middle of a nice busy year!

Yeah definitely. Every year seems to gets busier with more mad things happen – I can’t complain though, living the dream (laughs). It’s been a lot about production and radio the last year which has lead to a lot of cool gigs – I was doing a lot more local gigs in the past, before everyone in Manchester became a DJ (laughs) – but I’m loving playing more out of town now too and further afield which I guess happens when your music is getting out there and signed on labels from other places. But still lots of love for my hometown crews.

Give us some highlights

Highlights this year so far have got to be playing Hospitality BBQ in London – that was amazing and they’re such a nice bunch of people. Getting signed to three of my favourite labels has been the biggest highlight, and getting booked for Glasto. I was chatting to someone about this the other day; I’m buzzing, but I’m always kind of looking for the next big thing and I don’t look back enough, but if you’d have told me I was going to be doing these things in three or four years I’d have been like ‘never!’  So yeah there’s been a few highlights. I just love getting to travel too – like last year I played in Germany which was wicked so I’m looking forward to more shows further afield.

Which labels have you signed stuff to? Born On Road, obviously. Who else?

Yes I’ve got a few EPs coming on Born on Road as well as this one, another on Run Tingz, who I’ve loved for years. The other one I can’t reveal quite yet. I’ve also got a remix EP coming out on Audio Addict alongside with some big names, that’s going to be a good one, and a few bits on Deep In The Jungle and Murky Digital coming too. And there’s more in the works.

Nice. And it starts with the 23 Style EP. Your first release this year…

Yeah really buzzing with this EP – the lads at Born on Road are great – really inspiring – but they also give me the tough love when I need it. I’m super happy to be part of the family. Yeah I’ve been sat on a few of these tunes for a while, some are brand new, I’m really excited to get them out.

I think that gap between writing and releasing a track is really interesting. For the artist, it’s old but for us fans it’s new…

Yeah the time gap between making a track, signing it and releasing it is mad. It’s why you hear producers saying they’re bored of their tunes sometimes. But it’s been like hearing them a fresh again recently I guess when they’ve been played out.

It’s a vibes EP. There are some different flavours going on in the mix!

Yeah! I was strictly ragga jungle once upon a time but I seem to have gone a lot harder the past couple of years. I’ve been really getting into my rollers and it got to the point where some the jungle stuff wasn’t hard enough – maybe I had a lot of anger inside me from other things going in life I don’t know, but I think I managed to channel some of it into these tunes! It’s a good emotional release making tunes (laughs). I think you can hear that in the EP. There’s still ragga jungle influences in there, of course – especially working with Mad Rush on 23 style. And love my old school hip-hop elements. There always will be these  – they’re the elements I’ve always buzzed off.

You can tell. Especially on Smokeable….

That’s a cheeky one!

Especially with that sample!

There’s a fine line isn’t there? Sampling is part of the culture, the history of the music and part of the sound. I do make pretty much everything from scratch and I’m really not into using sample packs, I’m kinda against them – it’s more fun making things yourself anyway. When I’m teaching I often suggest that if someone likes a drum loop they should sample it and build their own drums around it as an inspiration or to understand how it’s built, but building your own drums is so much fun once you get past that. But sampling’s different; there are some things that have such character and soul you could never recreate it. Most the time I stay away from big samples – unless it’s a dubplate for your set – but this one’s a cheeky one.

Amen on the fact some samples just can’t be recreated… It’s a vibe thing.

Definitely. With this one though I originally had that sample of someone smoking and when I heard it, in my head I heard those vocals instantly so I added it in later. That’s kind of a reverse way of doing things.

Usually things are built around the sample – to the point the sample often goes in the end

Yeah I’ve done that a few times and then got rid of the sample! You have an idea then it changes or develops in a different way. Or you find a singer who can do something similar… or completely different on it! I love working with vocalists too.

So let’s go back to the start for you. Your first releases were around 2011. Maybe longer than people realise…

Yeah it goes back now! It took me years to really get where I wanted to be as a producer. I kinda cringe listening back to the early releases. They’ve got great memories and everything but the production level wasn’t great, I was eager! I still don’t think I’m where I want to be production wise – you never stop learning – but if I’m not at a level where I enjoy my tunes, and they stand up against others when I mix them, it’s taken a while. I wasn’t ready to release back then but now I’m happy with the music I’m making.

Totally! I think a lot of artists would rather their earliest releases be stricken from the record but you learn from those early releases don’t you? 

Definitely. There’s a saying in radio and TV isn’t there? You’re only as good as what’s left on the cutting room floor. It’s from back in the day when use to still physically edit things and cut the tape. I think about that a lot when it comes to older tunes I’ve made which I really like but they never got the hype and some don’t get signed. It gets to the point where some tunes will get left behind, but if I still like them then that’s a good sign. I do wish I hadn’t rushed quite so much as I did to get tunes out, I think a lot of people rush nowadays too, but at the same time I totally get it; you’ve just got this mad passion and urge to get stuff out there and the world seems to be moving a lot slower than it is. Like with this release it feels like I’ve been waiting for ages to come out but for everyone else it’s new – they’re only hearing the promos now.

Amen. Greg from Ulterior Motive was saying this in an interview on here recently, but people have always flung stuff out. It’s that burning urge you mention…

Totally but those early records leave a long impression and when you get to the level where you are making tunes that could be played by your favourite DJs you’ve got to work harder to convince them you’re doing it properly. It’s the same with new DJs; as much as it’s important to push new talent if you’re shoved on a live stream before you can properly mix and you clang the place up then people will have that perspective of you for a long time. If I could go back in time a bit then I’d say slow down and wait to get to the right level if that makes sense – but at the same time don’t wait forever, I know a lot of producers that have been sat on sick music for too long too and never released because they’re worried it’s not perfect – it’s finding that balance.

Totally! What’s happening with Subwoofah? Has it taken a backseat as you’ve been signing music to other labels?

Yeah it has been hard to work out priorities because there is so much on. Subwoofah actually turns 10 this year. It started with events in 2009 then Subwoofah Records in 2011 then Subwoofah Studio in 2017. The studio was a way to build a place to work on make my own productions and have a base for freelance work teaching, recording and streaming – which is a massive thing nowadays – SubwoofahTV is growing slowly and we have plans! I got so caught up with my own productions and Euphonique stuff has taken the lead a bit, I guess it will always be a bit of balancing act. But I’ve just signed three EPs to the label, we’ve got a new logo and a sick rebrand for the woofah. It’s a bit angrier and it all relaunches in June.

Who’s on the releases?

Ahhhh I can’t say much yet. All I’ll say is the first release is majority artists we’ve previously released on the label but they’re doing something a bit different.

You mentioned angry vibes again. Usually when things get harder and heavier it’s cos the sets are bigger or more peaktime…

Yeah there’s a bit of that in there but it’s a lot of things; it’s a reflection of stuff I’ve been going through – like I said making music can be a big release – and I think it’s jungle and drum & bass evolving into a harder, heavier sound right now. It’s interesting and something I discuss with a lot of older junglists and guys on the label; you go to a jungle night right now and you hear those heavy rollers with jump up creeping in. Like the jungle intro and a jump up drop – which isn’t jungle. Recently that’s kinda pushed me the other way a bit and made me get the amens back out and focus on more summer vibes. But that might have something to do with the fact the sun’s out!

Ha. Truth on the jungle / jump-up situation!

I’m guilty of it too. I’ve got my ‘queen of the jungle’ intro then go into heavy rollers (laughs), but I always play some jungle in every set, I love it. But, yeah, I want to bring more amens back. That’s what happens though; it’s like full circle, we’ve gone through loads of different sounds but it always come back to jungle but with added elements from everything that’s passed.

Yeah man, the beauty of the cycles. It does seem like a very healthy time musically doesn’t it. There’s quite a visible new wave of names breaking through, a lot of collectives and crews and collaborations. It’s wicked.

I agree. It comes in waves. There are moments of unity then people go off and do their thing, crews change, there might be people pursuing other ideas but then something happens or things move around it brings everyone back together. But what’s happening this time is that more people are collaborating from different parts of the scene – jump up with jungle. Especially in Manchester. Once upon a time you had your junglists, your deep heads, your jump-up heads but people seem to work together and support each other’s music more.

Yeah biggup Manchester!

Oh always. But biggup the crews around the UK, there are sick collectives all around doing amazing work. Birmingham, London, Bristol. It’s been nice to see the Manchester family linking with crews like Run Tingz, Chopstick Duplate, Born On Road, Raise It Up. And all of us playing on stations like Origin and Rough Tempo as well as our local stations like Unity Radio and Bloc2Bloc. That’s got a massive thing to do with it too; live streams have brought people together more. Like you say, it’s a wicked time.

The only way it can grow is by people supporting each other

Definitely. But a little underlying competitiveness doesn’t hurt!

Totally. Friendly fire!

Yeah… every back to back turns into a mini clash (laughs). It’s wicked fun.

Yes! Anything else you can reveal about the future?

There are the releases I mentioned – keep an eye out for those… And festivals! It’s my busiest year for festivals. I’ve confirmed Glastonbury, Boomtown, Beatherder, Illusive Festival and Hospitality In The Park so far – it’s going to be a sick summer…

Euphonique – 23Style is out now on Born On Road

Follow Euphonique: Facebook / Soundcloud

 

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