2015 will go down as a fine vintage year for techier, neuro drum & bass. And one of the key labels leading the charge is Black Sun Empire’s Blackout. Kicking off the year with a mighty State Of Mind collaboration EP, this year they’ve proceeded to throw down massive EPs from Current Value, Misanthrop, Mefjus & Rido, Telekinesis, Neonlight, Mindscape, Pythius and more.
With their Blackout events taking over more and more territories, we thought we’d call up the trio and hear how 2015 has been from a Black Sun Empire perspective…
We’re really happy to see the techier side of drum & bass enjoying a lot of attention right now. It’s always been pretty healthy but it seems to be more popular compared to the more poppy sound of drum & bass.
2015 According To… Black Sun Empire
“It’s been a great year for us both as Black Sun Empire and for the Blackout label: we’ve put out more music than ever before this year with a release every three-to-four weeks and we’ve done a lot of great shows too in different countries.
“We’re really happy to see the techier side of drum & bass enjoying a lot of attention right now. It’s always been pretty healthy but it seems to be more popular compared to the more poppy sound of drum & bass. For instance when Pendulum were on top of their game, before they started Knife Party, a lot of the most popular drum & bass sounded like them. But the techier sounding drum & bass has definitely become more popular in recent years.
“This doesn’t change anything from our perspective, though; we just make the music we love to make and we’ll keep on doing that. But of course it’s nice to see that during your career your sound becomes more popular so you play larger shows. But we don’t think about it too much. To be honest I think it’s great that there are so many styles of drum & bass and people find their own way into it. You may start on one sound but end up exploring the genre and finding a lot more different stuff that you like. The variety is essential for the health of the whole genre.
“Who’s killed it this year? Good question! Misanthrop has come through with the hardest tracks of the year on both Ram and Blackout. He’s insane! He’s on fire! Break has had an exceptional year, too. He might not be an artist you’d expect us to play in our DJ sets but his drum engineering is simply awesome.
“And we know it’s a bit boring to say, because they’re always killing it, but Noisia have made some incredible tunes this year and set new benchmarks in terms of mixing. Another act we’ve been following closely are Annix. They’re a little on the jump-up side but they have made some really inspirational music from a production point of view. We’re also really inspired by artists like Stephan Bodzin and Jon Hopkins who are able to make tracks that are made of very few elements sound huge. In drum & bass Ivy Lab have been really exciting on that minimal approach; you listen to their music and there aren’t that many sounds but they all sound huge!
“Closer to home, we’ve been really happy with Pythius’s development. He actually started as an intern here. Now he works for us and uses our studio. We can’t get rid of him. He was nominated in a few Drum&BassArena Awards and our Blackout events were also nominated, which was amazing and we really appreciate people bothering to vote for us!
“In fact our events have been another satisfying development of 2015. We’ve done Blackout tours America, Australia, New Zealand and all over Europe including Austria, Spain, Belgium, Hungary and loads more. We’d never toured New Zealand before and only ever done one party in Australia so that tour was new. Spain was a new country for us, too. But One of the most stand out shows for us was in our hometown; we’ve been hosting parties in the Tivolivredenburg in our hometown of Utrecht for years but this year was the first time we hosted the biggest room in the club which holds 2000 people… And it sold out. That was really special; you can’t wish for more than that!
“Aside from Blackout parties we’ve had some really interesting shows; Pukkelpop and Rene played a metal festival in Rotterdam and Milan played a real hippy festival in Sweden. On both occasions we really didn’t know if our music would go down well or be appreciated… But we tore it up on both occasions!
“As for 2016, we’ll keep on doing the Blackout shows all over Europe and hopefully tour America too. Release-wise we’ll start the year with a State Of Mind and Black Sun Empire EP like we did this year and we’ve got a Neonlight album coming too. Stay tuned…”