D&B supergroup status confirmed: Eksman, Evil B, Logan D and Majistrate have joined forces to form Problem Central. And they don’t appear to be messing around.
Established December 2017, just in time to support Sub Focus, the project galvanises the four successful acts’ solo profiles, shreds them in a switcher, compounds them in a double drop and amplifies them into something much more powerful than any one of them can achieve on their own.
So far all we’ve only experienced Problem Central via their live shows at key events such as SW4. But that’s all set to change as we move towards 2019, as they prepare to drop a mixtape on December 18… Then their debut album early next year.
Whether it’s on a mixtape, single or album everything Problem Central does is based around what they do live. Slicing up genres and building up the sets around Eks and Evil’s famous lyrical sparring such as the routine best known as the Samurai Switcher, but leaving plenty of room for mix improvisation, they’re already packing a reputation for the shows so turbo charged people have been known to throw prosthetic limbs onto the stage. And Eksman has even allowed a moshpits or two.
We called them up and interrupted their rehearsals for this weekend’s Playaz show at Brixton Academy to see what they’re saying…
This is kinda business as usual in a way. You’ve all collaborated in different formations over the years…
Eksman: Definitely. Me and Evil go back a long way to the pirates. I was working with Logan years ago and Evil was working with Majistrate.
Evil B: Maji was my first official DJ on pirate radio. We’ve all worked together in different years but in different combinations, it was always going to happen.
Eksman: We’ve been talking about it for years actually…
Logan: It was after a set we did at Westfest in 2016. We spoke about it but were all really busy but by eventually around end of 2017 we got it together for the Sub Focus show.
Evil B: It was about when we could all put effort into it. Just pure timing really. Like as a unit, even though we’re not known as well as we are as individuals, we’re stronger together. It’s really exciting to develop.
It’s a classic strength in numbers situation
Eksman: Yeah definitely. I think sometimes if you go in a group you can dilute your identity a bit. You need to stand tall on your own. But there are collaborations where we bring out the best in each other and this is us now. It’s down to the climate in the scene at the moment and the fact we’ve been doing this for years and smashing club nights week in / week out. Now we want to take that further, to bigger crowds. We know there’s a place for us there.
Evil B: We don’t want to be like any one else. It’s a proper show. It’s not just me and Eks chatting while the DJs are playing, we all know what we’re doing and have a credible, professional show for the festivals that represents our music.
Majistrate: There’s no pretend energy either. We’re not forcing this, we’ve all worked together for a long time, we all share a vibe and certain ideas. You can’t get that when you start a new project with people you’ve never worked with. It’s very natural.
Run me through the live show…
Majistrate: It’s about doing something different or developing what we’ve done already. Me and Logan have been playing back to back for years with that we’re basically putting together a flow of continuous music for an MC to chat over. With this it’s about a proper performance. We’re looking at all aspects of dance music and not just one style. We’re trying to incorporate the MCs, we’re working together as a team, not trying to outdo each other with tunes. We’re putting on a performance for us and for the ravers.
I noticed that when you’ve dropped tunes like Heartbeat Loud and also non D&B stuff.
Majistrate: Yeah that’s been fun for me and Logan too. We’ve never really ventured out of D&B, we’ve got the Evil B vs B Live section with some bassline and garage in there. We’re covering more bases and making it exciting and fun for us and the crowd.
How about the MC aspect of the performance?
Evil B: We’ve always been in competition with each other and pushing each other to come up with ideas. MCing is a competitive sport and we feel we’ve established as ourselves as individuals so now we’re uniting and it’s the best of both worlds. As far as I’m concerned Eks is the best jump up MC there has ever been. I’ve gone on and done my other bits and come back to drums and put my own style on it. Coming together we’ve got that power you can’t get anywhere else.
Is there room for improvisation?
Eksman: We can switch things up for sure. There are bits like the Samurai Switcher we can’t change but if I see Evil’s hand by his leg and he’s pushing down to the ground I know he’s saying ‘Eks shut up, I’ve got something to say’
Evil B: Yeah nothing is stuck in stone, there are parts that are parts of the show but what’s around those parts is different
Logan D: Every set is different in terms of what tunes we play. It’s not like we do the same set in every show.
Majistrate: As DJs and MCs we’re all experienced in reading the crowd and knowing the type of show to give them.
Even a crowd with moshpits, Eks?
Eksman: Ha! I know I’ve shared my thoughts on them and I stand by it; if it’s in a small club and it’s a sold out then it’s dangerous. People get pushed around who don’t want to be pushed around. Festivals are different, there’s more space, people who don’t want to be involved don’t get affected. It’s been a very different change in the crowd dynamic, a lot of younger people have come through, they don’t know what’s acceptable or not so as artists we need to encourage the right way to behave. It’s about respect for people around you. That goes back to the old jungle days. You can have a great time without shoving people or elbowing a girl in the tit.
Amen! I need a bit of closure please. In a previous interview you mention having such an effect on a particular crowd that someone’s mum threw a prosthetic leg on the stage. So you must have met these people or knew she was a mum. What happened?
Evil B: It was at Hastings and these women were at the front. We knew them from previous raves so knew they were mum and daughter. We were going in and the mother was trying to get Eksman’s attention but he was going in on the switcher so didn’t have time for a chat. All of a sudden this leg has ended up on the stage. We carry on finishing the switch up, not knowing where it’s come from and then we see the mum hopping up to get it.
Brilliant. Guestlist for life!
Eksman: Absolutely. Is that full plus one though?
Ha! You’ve got a mixtape coming in December, right?
Eksman: Yeah it’s out December 18 and everything we’re doing right now is working towards that. We wanted to give everyone a sneak peak of the album on that.
Logan: We’re producing at the moment, so it’s on its way
Eksman: Me and Evil and writing things and having listening sessions, seeing what’s working and we develop it from there
I was going to ask how it works collaboratively in terms of songwriting…
Majistrate: We put together a shell of a tune so it’s not finished but it’s got enough of a vibe. If we complete them too much there might not be the right space for them to add their lyrics so we keep the song as simple as possible and they pick the ones they feel and we finish them off afterwards.
Nice. I think we’re done here. Any problems I can help you with?
Evil B: Well my filling’s just fallen out so any help with that would be great.
Majistrate: And we need a forwarding address for a prosthetic leg if possible too please!