How Kove found his groove again

“Next year all I have in my diary is ‘make drum & bass’…”

This is what Kove told us back in November 2017 when he broke over a year’s release-silence with his In From The Cold EP.

He wasn’t lying. Following In From The Cold came a series of cuts on Drum&BassArena. Rawer than anything he’d done before, they solidified Kove’s return to the game and led to more heavy highlights this year. First came the barbed soul of Echoes, then came the absolute summer stinker that was the turbine-revving Motor. Now comes Le Retour, a joint release between UKF10 and Drum&BassArena.

Tapping back into big rushy funk energy he captured on his breakthrough UKF upload Searching, but with added 2019 production cahones, it’s pure party, it tips its cap to liquid’s most formative era and it’s yet another remarkable addition to the UKF10 series. Most importantly it’s more evidence that Kove’s comeback in 2017 came from the heart and his love of drum & bass. “That’s the thing with drum & bass, it sticks with you” he explained back at the time.

Again, he wasn’t lying. In fact, as he observes below, he’s done things in a slightly untypical way. While most artists breakthrough with an underground sound and gradually become more commercial, he came through and went commercial almost straight away… But he’s found his way back to Banger Town and bought some prime real estate.

We reckon ‘make drum & bass’ will be in Kove’s diary for a long time to come…

It feels like you’re happy making music – putting out what you want, how you want. From Motor to Le Retour

Yeah definitely. Since Give & Take, I guess. Almost two years ago. I’ve not had that opportunity to put out that level of dancefloor music before and it’s been really interesting to see what people are reacting to. It seems to be doing well and connecting with people. It’s a rarity to have a second bite of the apple, so to speak. I went down a very commercial route years ago it’s very hard to put yourself back on that more underground sound and still get that traction but everything I’ve put out has gone down really well and people seem to be vibing off it. I don’t feel tied to making anything or selling units or getting airplay or anything like that. It’s been very liberating and it’s why I’ve been able to have such a wide range of releases.

The music speaks for itself though. People can feel authenticity and when an artist is coming from a genuine place…

I think so. Even the way I’m making music has totally changed. Before I’d sit down at a piano and try and form a song but now I’m just having fun making sounds and processing things and manipulating sounds and having fun. It’s great to be able to do that.

Speaking of sounds, what’s the weird kinda start-up thing at the start of Le Retour?

It’s the sound of a tape machine – like a cassette deck but with a rise that goes into the tune. I like these little pre-intro things.

Haha. Vibes tune though man. It’s like a return to Searching but not…

Well it was down to being asked to make a tune for the UKF10 series, which was a bit of an honour to be honest. The obvious thing would be to do a big bassline banger but you guys suggested bringing a little bit of Searching into it. Like channelling the vibe, I guess. And I’d done brass elements in tracks before. When you get it right it’s very satisfying. Brass makes everything sounds epic.

Indeed! Searching was epic for your career wasn’t it?

That was the big one for sure. Iodine was big on Program but Searching really did kick off and was on dub for a while. We shot a video down in Brighton which was a fun day out. That was 2013, six years ago to the month. It’s a nice full circle moment. And it’s also good to go back to that a little and see how I could develop it. Remembering how I did things but also with that I know now. Plus it’s cool to have a bit of variety.

And have the experience. Perhaps articulate things you wanted to but couldn’t technically at the time?

Possibly but it’s more on the flip side of things that you find yourself slipping into old techniques. But if they work then why not go back to them for that track? In terms of the way the tune was made it was pretty simple and I had loads of fun with the funk samples and just catching the vibe. Compared to making Motor. That was a totally different ball game…

Yeah, Motor came about in an interesting way right?

That’s right. I was waiting to go out for my birthday and was messing around in Massive and came up with the sound. It’s always the way when you’re getting into a tune and really finding something that works and then you have to be somewhere or do something! I got back on it as soon as I could, and the hardest thing was trying to work out what key the tone was in. That was the biggest chunk of working out what Motor could be.

What’s up next?

There’s another release before the end of the year. I’ve got a lot of demos and the more I’m working, the more tunes I’m accruing. It’s been very organic and that’s great. Even now in my own sets I’ve got so much of my own music it’s like ‘what do I drop next?’

You’re in a good place right now!

Yeah it’s funny. I used to get terrible writer’s block. It would hit me for a month or so, but if I’m not coming up with three or four ideas a week I’m having a bad week. I’m waiting for the block but it hasn’t come yet. I’m just really enjoying the process and doing what I do, it’s inspiring.

Kove – Le Retour is out now on UKF10

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