As the year unravels its final folds and we begin to reflect on yet another bountiful year of drum and bass music, it’s quite apparent that listeners are beginning to grow more and more fond of the darker side of the dance floor.
It seems as though so many artists recently have begun experimenting with alternative soundscapes, differing drum patterns and collectively switching up the overall style of production they’re accustomed to. You can hear this change of mindset in tunes such as Dimension – UK, Whiney – On The Rocks, T & Sugah – Stones as well as Smog’s Lumberjvck collaborating with American drum and bass legends Evol Intent. The change in pace is a welcomed demonstration of all that an artist is capable of.
Just in time for our annual analyses, Dutch upstarts NCT have added yet another tally to the list of artists stepping out of their usual production niches with nuanced- sounds and newborn characteristics. Earlier in the year, they’d delivered a monitor-shattering tune entitled Looking Forward with a quick follow-up of their original style entitled Serotonin. The Netherlands-based duo comprising Jeroen Nai Chung Tong (producer/DJ) and Alexander Witschge (DJ) have teamed up with Viper Recordings for their debut single – The RAIGN-featured Give In and Away From Here.
Here’s how they got there…
From Liquicity to Viper. Quite the leap! Tell us a bit about the creative spectrum in which these productions sprout from.
Well, it kind of started with the collaboration with Franky Nuts (Looking Forward), i always wanted to get into the hard stuff but always had a passion for liquid as well. I was always more into that, at some point I got equally as much into the heavier stuff. That’s when I started working with Franky, we both took each other’s elements from music. He taught me the basics how to craft more intricate bass sounds and from there on we started learning together, while I showed him how to input more musical elements into his songs.
Was that what inspired Give In? Is there any personal experience that this relates to or is it a general blend of style for fans everywhere?
The idea was started about a week before I left for Singapore. When I arrived, there were some nights that I would stay up working on it. Melodies would flow, and it all was really naturally fluid-partly because of the change in perspective and culture. Emotionally, the first chord progression(which to me, feels like it parallels with the musical progression) characterizes someone reaching out for something they want, but can’t seem to grasp. As the breakdown progression changes, it becomes euphoric.
Does that resonate with you at all?
Well, yeah in a sense. At the time had been out of my relationship for a while, and as that period of my life came to it’s end, my music began to grow in its place. Quite funny in a way, that’s often how it goes.
That’s usually how it works, isn’t it? Let’s chat about NCT as a whole for a bit. Any highlight moments of the year that have been truly special?
Absolutely! Rampage was monumental for us. Liquicity Festival and Family Day were both also amazing. We spent some time playing Hospital Events where we supported some of our favorite acts, as well as the massive Viper 100 Event of course. It’s always great to see these labels having our back. Personally, the highlights were the releases. All of them came out on time, and properly. To add to that, I think our release with Franky Nuts on Never Say Die was also a huge highlight since it shows people we’re not aiming to solely produce Drum & Bass, but anything we can put our heart into.
Speaking of releases, care to give us any insight on big tunes coming out or plans for the new year?
We’ve got a couple cool tunes in the works, but we like to keep any details to ourselves.
Let’s move on to influences for a moment. Have you any influences in the studio that give you inspiration?
Ahhhhh. What a difficult question, I have so many inspirations. To start with, Michael Jackson would be my number one inspiration. The music he pioneered truly showed the me, and I think the world, what music can do for people. My most played artist of the year would be Anderson Paak. And the biggest inspiration within Drum & Bass itself would be Camo & Krooked. They’ve all done loads for music as a whole that have directly inspired me and everything I write.
It’s becoming quite clear the diversity of your productions and inspirations. Do you just go into the studio one day to with an idea or mood in mind for execution or do you let the creative juices flow naturally?
Honestly, it’s just dependent upon my day-to-day emotions. Every day I sit down and try to write something new depending on how I feel. For example, I’ve been writing neurofunk the last few days.
Ooooof! Let’s chat a bit about Viper. Is this a one-time release or are there some more opportunities on the horizon?
Obviously we’re always willing to release more with them. That being said, keeping our options open is always ideal. We’ll see what the future holds.
What advice would you give to new producers trying to create music from the heart?
Don’t just use your heart. Use your brain as well. If you’re really excited enough and want to make music as a profession, make sure you know where that excitement stems from. Stay true to yourself.
Lastly, any final words?
Global warming is real, don’t spread hate – spread love, don’t forget to smile and forever hold on to the things that make you a better you. Also, I’m always up for Pokémon battles, so fuckin’ bring it, pussies.