Putting the woof into subwoofer since he emerged in 2016, young UK artist Kanine is currently wrapping up his biggest year so far.
During 2019 he’s released over 10 original productions on labels ranging from Shogun to Playaz via our very own UKF10 series. He’s collaborated with the likes of Friction, Annix, Turno, Killa P and P Money, he’s explored the widest range of styles he’s ever been known for and has also set up his own Unleashed imprint in order to get even more music out there and articulate an even wider scope of sounds.
He’s not done yet, either. His Unleashed EP is two tracks deep (Sundown and Face Away) and has two more tracks to follow next month. He also has releases on two of the biggest labels in drum & bass set to drop imminently… And he’s hinted at even bigger projects in 2020.
Back to the present, we’ve called him up as part of a series of interviews for our UKF10 album. 37 tracks deep with cuts ranging from Camo & Krooked to Killsonik, the album wraps up UKF’s year-long anniversary celebrations and includes Kanine & Killa P’s heavyweight shredder Deal Wit Dem.
A bouncy, breakbeat driven slammer, it turned quite a few heads when it dropped this summer and punches with a broad full-flavour assault that highlights a lot of his musical explorations; heavy and riddled with subgenre fusion but laced with a strong hook and sense of musicality, it’s one of many exciting examples of why 2019 has been an exceptional year for Kanine.
As a new decade dawns we reckon both his bark and his bite are only going to get bigger….
You’ve put out so many tunes this year! Do you keep count?
Haha. I do have a schedule, but I don’t dwell on it too much. When I finish a tune, I want to get it out there and get it to people who’ve supported it. Then I’m on to the next one and thinking about how to do an even better tune.
Sounds like you’re having fun though, just trying out lots of styles and ideas…
I’m glad it sounds that way because that’s how it feels too. I’m in the best situation in my career so far, it gives me a lot of freedom to do what I want and enjoy it and just try things out. Like with the self-released tracks.
A lot of artists have said in recent interviews about it being a great time to DIY release. The resources are all there, you’re in direct contact with people who enjoy your music…
It’s still a big jump, especially for a new artist. It’s daunting. But if you do things right and you know the people who are listening to your music and supporting you then it will reach the people it needs to. Essentially the music will speak for itself if it’s good.
The biggest tunes over time are usually the ones that take a long time to build up…
You’re right. Some of my biggest tunes weren’t the ones that were the most hyped on release but got more interest over time. A good example is my old track The Shadows . No one knew what it was when it came out, but after about six months all the big DJs were playing it. It was one of those ones that went under the radar for a bit. Tunes have different ways of connecting with people. It’s interesting isn’t it?
Definitely. Especially when there’s so much interest in dubs. I like how it’s possible to play older tracks and for them to still sound fresh or new to people. Not everything has to be unreleased…
I’m quite opposed to hoarding dubs and stacking up as much unreleased music as possible. When I go to rave I want to hear music I love and enjoy. It’s cool to hear new music, but when I go to see my favourite artists I want to hear my favourite tunes that I enjoy and have memories attached to. I don’t hold on to stuff too much. I just want to release it and get it out there. Once a big track that’s been on dub goes to Beatport number one people stop playing it after a while. It’s nice to let things grow over time and have it out there for people to let it grow.
I hear that. So with all these releases and different styles you’re exploring, what’s been your proudest musical achievement this year?
That’s a hard one man. I try and approach each track differently. My new single Face Away was nice because I wrote that song in a different way to how I would normally. I set out for a musical element to it and while it ended up being quite a clubby track, it’s maintained the musicality. But I’ve put so much out it’s hard to pick one.
Do you have a musical background before you got into production?
I do. Before I started producing I played guitar and drums and knew the basics on keyboards. As I’m growing as an artist I can go back to what I was good at before all the technical elements came in. It’s nice to sit down and write something musical, because that’s what I was originally inspired by. As noisy and crazy as D&B can be, if the song has a musical element then I feel people can connect to it more. I’ve been exploring that a lot this year.
I think that’s the beauty of drum & bass. The contrast or dark and light. You can play a very musical record and have something stinky underneath. Or the ability to flip things with the element of surprise.
For sure. The pinnacle of that is Current Value That Smile. That sums up that aspect to the greatest extent!
Absolutely. Let’s chat about your UKF10 track Deal Wit Dem. Banger.
I was so happy when UKF took the tune. My earliest points into drum & bass was through the your channels so it’s prestigious to be involved in such a big project. The tune went down really well.
I’m sure I saw some DJs who I wouldn’t expect to be buzzing off it shout it on social media…
Yeah actually. Akov hit me up after the promo went out and said he was a fan. That was cool. I draw influences from all sides of the scene, I really rate his productions and I play the heavier stuff too so it’s nice to get that back. The whole release was really good. I actually debuted it at Rampage. I’ve got very fond memories.
Oh sick. You debuted it to that massive crowd?
Yeah man. It was nuts. It was with the guys as Distress Signal. We had the closing set of the whole weekend and we took no prisoners. That was the highlight of the year among all the other amazing shows I’ve been up to.
I’ve got to ask about the Killa P connection. He’s a G….
I’m a big fan of his. I like how he doesn’t just stick to grime, he’s done loads of things and always smashes it. We’re on the same agency so my manager got in touch, we linked up, he sent over some bars and it came together pretty well.
Standard. And of course you worked with P Money on Point ‘Em Up. You’re working with some big MCs at the moment!
It’s cool to bring people who have a different take on our genre. They can bring something fresh. I’m a massive fan of his too. We’re actually looking to do more things together in 2020, so look out of them!
Nice. You love a good collab don’t you? Killa P, P Money, Distress Signal, Turno, Friction….
I do. I love going into them and letting the idea you have between you take the lead. So you don’t have any set thing you want to achieve – you’re just creating something together. Plus the artists I’ve worked with are good friends so it’s nice to sit down, nerd out, trade ideas and tips. They’re mates just as much as they are peers.
I imagine it was a serious nerd-out with Annix! They’re studio beasts!
I learnt the most from those guys for sure! It still blows my mind a bit. A few years ago I wasn’t in contact with them at all, they didn’t know who I was. So to be in the studio with all these guys, Annix, Turno, Friction, is incredible. I was in the studio with A.M.C recently, too. It’s inspiring to work with these guys.
That Titan release was a level-up for you wasn’t it?
100 percent! That a massive turning point for me. That EP was very different to what I’d done before. Everything I’d done before was on a jump-up sound but Alex gave me a chance to do something different and was really supportive of it. He put me on the Titan stage at Let It Roll and that was my first experience at a big cross-genre event. Before then I’d only played jump-up events. So to go from that to a bigger event with all these artists from different styles it opened my eyes to what I could be. When you’re only playing one type of show, you only make music for that type of show. But if you see everything else that’s going on you realise D&B isn’t as small as you think. There’s so much more you can do. I have a lot to owe to Alex for that exposure, that opened my eyes.
That’s great. I think there are still so many more crossovers and links and fusions to make within drum & bass but there’s definitely more variety in recent years…
Totally. We all get excited when we see these crazy collabs between people or people releasing on labels you wouldn’t expect. I think streaming has played a role in that. It’s given people a lot more access to check things out and explore the music. The boundaries between subgenres are being broken down because of it, too. It was harder to find new music before because you had to buy it. Streaming just allows you to check stuff and you make up your own mind. You don’t just have to be just a jump-up fan or a neuro fan. The more you listen to, the more you can appreciate.
I think that’s only going to get better as we move into new decade. So what’s coming up?
I’ve got releases on some labels I’ve been inspired by for many years and then just keep on expecting more new music. I’m writing loads of stuff and have a lot of interesting projects. There’s loads on the horizon.
Good to hear. My last question for you… An artist called Kanine must have a favourite dog. But what is it?
Of course! Scottie dogs for life mate! By far the best dogs. My family’s dog is a Scottie dog actually. Lulu, she’s a legend. Big up Lulu!
Big up Kanine: