When it comes to announcing a new album, Never Say Die’s Black Label deserves some type of award for the way they revealed Badklaat’s Black Label XL 4 mix earlier this month. We’ll save you the backstory, any dubstep fan worth their salt will know the recent history here (and if you don’t then get up to speed now) Bottom line: label boss SKisM had a few things to say about the Disciple crew so gave them a Twitter knuckle sandwich…. Literally.
Beef aside, the main focus should be – and always will be for UKF – fixed on the music. And boy, the music is good over here. Coming at us two years after SKisM’s XXL dispatch, Badklaat’s XL 4 release (both the obscene mix and the V/A album itself) is a testament to Badklaat’s skills as a selector, producer and DJ and a snapshot of how strong, unruly and exhilarating dubstep (especially Black Label’s savage, visceral take on it) is right now.
Respected for his less-is-more approach to releases (we’re lucky if we see more than three or four Badklaat productions a year) and loved for his strong sense of groovemanship (how can basslines so ugly be so utterly funky?), Black Label XL 4 consolidates everything we’ve learnt about him since he emerged in the early 2010s and sets us up for an even strong future. With a killer remix of Excision also dropping this month, we felt it was high time we sat down with Mr Klaat for a sandwich or two…
Best. Black Label XL. Promo. Ever. Were you aware this was going to happen in the way it did?
Obviously I was first told about the XL 4 mix and I was stoked to be doing it. But I didn’t know it was going to announced in this type of way until around an hour before.
So you had the popcorn out too?
Literally! It was quite surreal and exciting. I guess the only problem was that a lot of people were asking me what my problem with Disciple was. I really don’t have one and love loads of their artists and releases. But yeah, all good, and it’s an honour to be doing this XL project. I’ve been excited about it since I was asked to start getting new tracks for it.
I like how Black Label asked you to curate new talent beyond their already big roster of names.
Yeah I had the task of bringing in new talent who haven’t been on Black Label or Never Say Die. Guys like MurDa. He was one of the guys I really wanted to get on the compilation, his tracks are always bangers.
And of course a new load from yourself. You’re a less is more guy aren’t you?
Yeah I am. I work very slowly! But I feel that’s in my favour – when you release too much people miss things and when you don’t release that often people are like ‘oh shit there you are! Forgot about you!’ and get excited about the release. It’s about having that balance.
Last time we spoke people weren’t sure how to categorise your music – whether it’s riddim or trap etc… We’ve all moved on from this now haven’t we?
Yeah there’s a lot less expectation to sound like a certain thing for all artists now. There are still formulas though – the riddim formula of the kick / clap and quarter note basses are very very popular. But this isn’t a bad thing; producers are being very creative with that style. To be honest I’m glad that the sound and style of riddim have made it to the spotlight and got the attention it deserves.
I’m still calling riddim dubstep tbh
Yeah I don’t blame you. That’s what it all is. It’s like drum & bass really… You get people calling it by different subgenres but at the end of the day, it’s all just drum & bass. Same with dubstep.
I reckon I could spot a Badklaat bassline a mile off, they. You make it roar. It doesn’t sound like Serum basses!
Ha! Funny you should say that… I have been making them in Reason for years and that’s where I got that sound from. But now I do use Serum but I’m using it in a way that I emulate how my stuff used to sound but on a crisper / cleaner level.
Another thing I notice about your stuff is the funk! Are you a funky gentleman?
Absolutely! It’s all about the vibe and the groove – that’s what keeps the track riding. Otherwise it’s just noises. It’s boring. And once you’ve got that groove locked down to the point you can listen to it over and over and over again that’s when you know it’s funky enough to get even crazier with the sound design.
Nice. So what’s coming up? I see there’s the Excision remix out this month, too…
Yeah it’s all landing at the same time isn’t it. I’ve got a lot of WIPs cooking away and a few things pencilled in but nothing I can confirm right now.
Watch this space?
Every time and biggup to everyone for listening and supporting so far!