Last September A.M.C and Turno dropped their monolithic four-track collabo EP on Titan: Collision.
No ceremony or fan fair or airhorn or klaxon whatsoever. Just bang: A savage serenade in which two protagonists from two ostensibly opposing corners of the genre go toe-to-toe over a heavyweight, peaktime canvas.
Turno’s flare for face-melting riffs, A.M.C’s reputation for chest-denting drums and every shared sonic skill in between, the EP reminded us all that away from the nonsense subgenres, sub-subgenres and sub-sub-subgenres it’s all just drum & bass mate.
It wasn’t a one-off, either. Since Collision the pair have joined forces on the regular, meticulously mining a collaborative body of work that you will only hear when they play together. Don’t call it a b2b, because it’s not… This is a show between two artists who have spent the last 10 years diligently honing their individual crafts and met through a mutual respect for each other’s productions and a shared love for true-to-the-craft drum & bass. It’s also a show they plan on booking only six or seven times a year in order to keep it special.
Release-wise, we should expect the same quality-over-quantity approach. 10 months after Collisions they’ve finally followed it up with Ice Cold. A brute of a banger on Drum&BassArena’s The Breaks EP, it absolutely slaps…
We caught up with them to find out more…
I heard you met through an incident with some earplugs?
A.M.C: Yeah that’s right. Some big bloke comes up to me after my set at Innovation and says ‘you know Turno don’t you?’ I said ‘no not really’ and he told me I should know him because I live by him. Anyway, turns out Turno had left his earplugs behind and I was the man to give them to him. I get home and the next thing I know I’m getting a call from Franko ‘I heard you got my earplugs mate, where do you live?’ I’m thinking do I really want to give this stranger my address?
Turno: And the relationship blossomed from there.
A.M.C: Slowly. First we started sending tunes to each other and I remember Franko was building his studio so we were sharing tips. It actually took me two years to visit his studio once he’d finished it. But when I did, that’s when we realised we could write together. We had really similar set-ups and realised we had a lot in common in the way we work.
So the magic began…
Turno: Yeah it was the right time. When we first met things in drum & bass were pretty segregated. I was doing my thing, he was doing his thing. I’ve always been interested in doing mad off-the-wall collaborations but for a few years that shit wasn’t even discussed between DJs from different camps. But when we eventually hooked up to actually write we wrote Fever in one day. We knew we were onto something.
Over those six years you’ve both been honing your craft. Now is the time you can work on a successful collaboration.
Turno: Definitely. We felt fairly established by the time we linked up. Enough to have more of an impact with our sound and our fanbases.
A.M.C: The time felt right with the way the scene is developing. That combination of the jump-up sound and the techier sound is really exciting. It’s not a subgenre, it’s just drum & bass full stop. So we’re able to introduce each other’s fanbases to other sounds and each other’s works.
So anyway, you wrote Fever in one day on your first session. Knowing how detailed and meticulous you both are in the studio, that’s quite a feat isn’t it? in a day when you first got together?
Turno: Almost unheard of! We are both very fussy in studio. But that paid off because we’d both done a lot of pre-preparation and came into the session armed with a lot of content and ideas. After such a long time of talking about it we were also buzzing to be finally writing.
Did the reaction to the whole Collision EP go better than expected?
A.M.C: We didn’t want to be too sure about it but we knew our combination would make people stop think ‘okay, what’s this all about?’ And thankfully people across the board supported it. We had everyone from the jump-up guys to the techy heads playing it. It proved this type of experimentation can work.
We’re in this exciting place in drum & bass right now with less barriers between subgenres than there has been in years. It’s developed even between last year’s release and now….
Turno: Yeah the general state of health in drum & bass is the best it’s been since I’ve been involved in drum & bass. Vibe-wise and unification-wise, there’s a lot more respect between artists in different subgenres these days. Obviously everyone has their specialist sound or subgenre they identify the most with, but you find a lot more people playing a much wider sound now.
A.M.C: Exactly. People seem to be making different styled tracks more now, too. So it’s not just in DJ sets; people are becoming a little more adventurous with their productions.
Are we past the point of people being so painfully self-aware and self-critical of every release they put out?
A.M.C: We’re far from past it, but we are on the way there if we carry on with this type of openness.
Turno: Yeah, totally. And I think a lot of proper die-hard fans respect you and know you and can hear you doing your thing in whatever genre you experiment with. If the production is still strong and the artist has a signature then I think you can be more daring than you think.
Let’s talk about Ice Cold. For me I can hear everything that’s great drum & bass all squeezed into that one tune.
A.M.C: In fairness that was the brief we were given – to give our take on everything we love about jungle. So this is our shared take. All our favourite and most inspiring sounds; we just threw everything in there.
Did you come into jungle at different entry points?
Turno: We’re roughly the same age. So, even though we came into the genre as professionals through different sounds, when we go back to original inspirations and older tunes we share very similar grounds and a love for all the foundation stuff. We both know the history of drums, which is pretty vital for a career in drum & bass.
A.M.C: I think that’s why I enjoy working with Frank. I came back from the dubplate days so having that education is crucial – that knowledge of what’s been done before, what works with what and how things work. And that comes through best during our sets.
I love the fact there are tunes you’ve made together that people will not hear anywhere else. That’s going back to the dubplate eta too, right?
Turno: Yeah it’s hard not playing them in my individual sets! I don’t even put them on my USB because I know I’ll be too tempted.
A.M.C: I’ve had that too! I’ve been playing a show and thinking ‘god I really want to play this!’ But that’s what differs us from the standard back to back. There is no back to back. It’s a show with special things you won’t hear even in our solo sets.
Turno: It’s more structured. It’s not a gimmick, it’s a real showcase that’s been planned and considered and built around tunes that we’ve made specifically for these shows. We cover a lot of styles, bits of older things, other subgenres.
And there’s only going to be a limited amount of shows, right?
A.M.C: Yeah, we’re not just flinging ourselves at any party. Our debut was Viper’s party at Fire then we’ve just done our second show in the main room at Ministry Of Sound for Drum&BassArena’s summer BBQ. That was insane.
Turno: Next stop, BEC afterparty, then Let It Roll with a bus party.
A.M.C: Tickets for that sold out in just under a week. We were the first party to sell out.
Viper, MOS, Let It Roll, BEC…. This is the level we’re dealing with here
Turno: Yeah, carefully selected. We don’t want to do more than 6-8 a year and just play special shows to people who know their drums and are there to see us.
A.M.C: Shows will be tied around releases too. We’ve got some up and coming talented jump up artists doing remixes of the Collision EP. I tested out a techy remix with Tobax remixing Fever and that went down really well so the traffic is going both ways…
Will the jump up EP be coming fairly soon?
A.M.C: Probably not! We want to use the remixes for our shows for a while before they come out. We want to make sure they’re special for our shows for a while and then release them at the best possible time. You have to release the right piece of music at the right time. Making sure everything is ready. But for now it’s all about Ice Cold which Beatport declared as track of the week last week. We’re also working on a track together for Frank’s album.
Turno: I have no doubt we’ll have a new things to play every time we do a show together!
A.M.C & Turno – Ice Cold is out now on Drum&BassArena – The Breaks EP