Ivy Lab is the gift that keeps on giving.
The insanely talented trio has breathed new life into drum & bass, releasing a slew of breathtaking singles and EPs that have all received critical acclaim.
Aside from conquering D&B, Stray, Sabre and Halogenix have also started up 20/20, a project that has only enhanced their production credentials. The trio recently revealed that 20/20, which started out as a club night, is now also going to become a label, with its first release being a debut album from Ivy Lab themselves.
But before we get into that, a bit of insight into the Noisia collaboration they teased on their Facebook page a few weeks ago…
“There aren’t a lot of details on it yet to be honest. We spend quite a lot of time with Noisia because we play together frequently,” explains Sabre. “Laurence (Halogenix) was in their neck of the woods last weekend and Thijs invited him to their studio to knock up a few beats together. That’s kind of where it’s at the moment.”
“When you get an opportunity to go to Noisia’s studio you have to take it, it’s absolutely sick!” adds Halogenix. “We got some pretty good stuff on the go, so let’s see where it goes…”
A collaboration between two production powerhouses is a very exciting prospect indeed.
A debut album from the finest trio in bass music is also a very exciting prospect, here’s why…
It was produced using a ‘clan-style’ approach…
Halogenix: This album is under the moniker of one artist but essentially what you’re getting is four for the price of one. It isn’t quite exactly split into four, but within the sixteen tracks there are ones we’ve produced separately as Sabre, Stray and myself, and also ones collectively as Ivy Lab. This style enabled us to write a lot quicker and it gives the album a more diverse sound, as we all have our own personal influences that we like to draw upon. We’re going to make this approach known but also keep it under wraps to a certain extent…
Stray: Yeah, we’re not going to reveal which one of us produced which track, but we think that after listening to our individual back catalogues, people will be able to tell. As we’ve been working with each other for around five years, there’s a lot of cross-pollution of ideas and cyclical information that means we sort of take inspiration from each other’s ideas, which might make it harder for people to guess who made what.
Sabre: If one of us gets a track to 50% finished, another one of us might take over and finish it off, and then we pool all of the material together at the end. It’s one of the main advantages of being a trio.
It’s an opportunity for people to channel their inner hip hop head…
Sabre: Since starting this project, we’ve discovered that there are lots of old school D&B producers who have a big hip hop background in their origins and they see this project as a license to explore that side of their sound a bit more. My hunch is that there are lots of current D&B producers who have made a lot of this type of stuff but never got it released, so if this album is a success it might encourage a few of those people to show up with absolutely sick half-time stuff.
Stray: It’s not just old-school producers, I think there are lots of young upcoming producers who want to make this kind of stuff, and if it’s clear that they can make it well, this label can be a good platform for them. We want to keep the label to a relatively small pool of people.
Halogenix: The whole ethos of this project is to bring several different genres into one place. D&B is made up of people who have come from other genres of music. If someone has come from a hip hop background, this is a good way for them to embrace both genres.
It’s untested and untried territory…
Sabre: We’re in a good place right now but this is quite a risky thing to do; it could annoy a lot of people and it could flop altogether. We don’t think it will as the response since we announced it has been out of this world, but there’s always that bit of uncertainty.
Stray: Over the past few years there’s been a few tracks in this style but this feels like the first major body of work solely dedicated to this sound. I think it’s got a lot of legs; there’s going to be lots of labels and producers peddling it soon, and we wanted to be the first to get a large body of work out there.
Sabre: The likes of likes Alix Perez, Eprom, Fracture and OM Unit have all been making this style of music before us but it’s been inter-mingled with other bits and pieces, but I think it’s important to put it all into one place, to give it a home. I wouldn’t say it’s the most clear example of half-time so far but it’s certainly the first major body of work.
It’s a one-stop shop for half-time music…
Sabre: I think things got a bit confusing for our fans when we were mixing everything together on one release, for example our Twenty Questions EP had drum & bass and half-time on, so now we’re going to keep our two projects separate to help people identify what they’re getting. The people who want to hear the half-time stuff and not the drum & bass stuff can check out 20/20, whereas the people who aren’t into the half-time stuff can ignore the 20/20 project altogether and focus on our original sound.
Halogenix: At the moment we encounter very slight amounts of resistance from people. As time goes by, I think that resistance will slowly fade away and people will come to terms with the fact that you can hear all this stuff within the same evening and it all belongs to each other.
Stray: What we’re hoping to achieve with 20/20 is to set up a place where people can come and find everything they need within this style of music.
It will inspire a new wave of producers…
Sabre: The 20/20 project doesn’t just exist to support our music; if there are people doing this music well, then we believe we can help them grow, and we’d love to believe we’re helping and inspiring more people to make this kind of music.
Stray: I remember hearing autonomic music for the first time and thinking it could pave a pathway for me, and I think it might have that same effect on a lot of other people, especially if they’re into hip hop but on the fringes of D&B too. There’s definitely an audience out there and we want to tap into it.
Ivy Lab presents 20/20 Volume One is out November 6 on 20/20 Ldn Recordings