“Never rush…” Why we’ve had to wait two years for Ulterior Motive’s new EP

📷: Rod Lewis

From Wobbler to Ripper in less than two years: Ulterior Motive have been on serious manoeuvres since launching their label Guidance in July 2017.

During that time on the label they’ve delivered the first Future Cut D&B tracks in over 10 years, they’ve collaborated with the likes of Icicle, DRS and DLR and released two remarkable EPs from exciting Italian talents Kiril and The Dreamers bossman Neve. Behind the scenes they’ve also been on a major gang development, recruiting more Guidance affiliates for future damagement.

But before all that comes GDNCE006; their biggest EP since the 001 launch release, it packs some of their heaviest, grainiest, rudest tracks in years such as 7×7 and The Ripper. Featuring collaborations with old friends Juda and Jubei and track references to their roots and their early D&B passions, it’s the sound of two men taking their time, considering every detail and ensuring the EP is the most personal and honest reflection of where they’re at, where they came from, where they’re heading and how they’re currently more inspired than they’ve been in years.  

Here’s where they’re at and what we can expect from Guidance next…

How’s life at Guidance HQ?

We’re good man, things are going well. The label is taking good shape, which we’re really pleased about. We last spoke when we launched the label and things have gone even better than we thought they would. We’re working with people we’re really excited and inspired by, there’s great support for the music and the new EP has been going down really well.

I’m not surprised with tunes like Ripper! For me that’s the essence of drum & bass. That’s the sound I first fell in love with in the late 90s/early 2000s.

Nice one. I think there’s something on the EP for everyone. 7×7 is a big one for me personally. Walnuts, the one with  Jubei, has come out really well too. We’ve been sat on these for a while now…

Dubplate vibes!

Ah you know what we’re like, we sit tight on things. We make sure we do things properly and the best way we can.

No point in rushing things, right?

This is it man. It’s actually our first full release of this size in a while. It’s been a year since the Future Cut EP which we were really happy with, we also did a few collaborations with DLR and Kid Drama, which we loved doing, but this EP is all about us and what we’re all about. We wanted to package it well and make sure we’re representing what we do in the best way. That takes time, especially with the collaborations and with our own personal commitments. Like you said, it’s important not to rush stuff isn’t it? By not rushing you make sure everything is right. And if it’s right then it’s pure in its content and intention. And if that’s in place it has a much better chance of doing well and resonating with people. People are receptive to that.

Especially in the age where so many people fling things out. Fresh said ‘music lasts forever’ in an interview on here a while ago and it’s stuck with me. You want your discography to rep the best of you don’t you?

Of course, I totally agree with that. There’s a responsibility here; from artists and from labels. There’s a lot of decent music being released but how much of it will last forever is open to opinion.

DJ fodder! But, playing devil’s advocate, you did tweet the other day about being totally inspired by the music at the moment. When it’s good, it is still fucking great right?

Oh totally. Beyond ‘fucking great’ to be honest…. This new wave of artist run labels has been so inspiring. The stuff DLR is putting out is just another level. Same with 1985, same with North Quarter, same with Index. I could go on. All these new labels have rejuvenated the sound and scene for us. And I think it’s because they’re run by artists who really take care of their sound, their output and their craft you’re hearing something new. Look at the artists they’re signing too… Dogger is making music that’s out of this world. Tyrone too…

Yeah man, Jubei bigged him on here the other month

Quite right too. He’s absolutely sick mate. We’ve got an EP coming out with him soon and it’s just incredible. Another artist we are really feeling and have signed is a guy from Hong Kong called Lovely. He’s making tunes that are so rough. He’s just gonna come out of nowhere and knock people senseless. We’ve also got tunes coming from Was A Be, Neve, Kiril and many more. We’re building up a crew that’s solid.

I don’t think you planned to build up a crew of artists so quickly. To begin with, Guidance was about your own releases wasn’t it?

You’re right. But to keep the fires we love about drum & bass burning we need to support the artists who are inspiring us and are inspired by us. It’s like a new cycle of that kinda 98 funk, Wormhole, Virusy, Stakka & Skynet sound that made us fall in love with drum & bass. We need to encourage the guys who are coming through who’ve been inspired by us, by DLR, by Damon Drama and all these guys. Because if we don’t support those who support us then we’re doing the genre and the scene a great disservice. People nurtured us, we need to nurture the next generation and do it right and make sure the best possible music is being put out into the world.

It’s impossible not to make a cheesy pun about giving artists ‘guidance’ here…

Ha! But you know what I mean right?

Absolutely. It’s how the scene develops, every generation helping each other. Who nurtured you guys?

TeeBee was a huge source of inspiration and wisdom in the early days when we came through on Subtitles. Also dBridge helped us and gave us good advice; stay in your lane, be true to yourself. You know what Darren’s like; be true to the craft and that can never be overemphasised enough. And I guess in terms of the EP that’s what we’ve done. We’re just really inspired by everything that’s happening. They’re probably the heaviest tunes we’ve done in a long time. All analog, all modular, it’s like ‘let’s make some proper heavy tunes!’ I think you can feel that. I personally feel the bassline on 7×7 every time we play it.  

Me too. Sounds like you made it in robot’s stomach. Early Inside The Machine era vibes.

Ha! That’s the Konflict influence right there. It’s very techno, it’s relentless, it constantly moves forward with different percussive layers and elements. It’s just industrial distortion all the way. We are both really happy with it.

You guys go way back with Judda too, right?

Oh Harry? Yeah man, he’s a legend down this way as the man behind Drumfunk, the longest running night in Bournemouth. He’s a long time friend, at least 15 years. We did our earliest releases on Subtitles with him and then we did another tune together years later. He actually took a hiatus from drum & bass for a few years and wrote techno on Dirtybird and did some bits with Skream but we always see him in the pub or at after parties and we’d been talking about getting in the studio again so he sat down with James and wrote The Ripper. It’s a beast and so is Harry.

There’s another connection with your roots on OneTwoSeven isn’t there?

Yeah, everything ties in together. That’s 127 Sherbourne Road, our old hang out.

Sounds like a sesh house to me!

100 percent. We’re going back to the mid 2000s, an easy 13/14 years ago. Me, Harry, our mate Lecta lived there. It was the house that everyone piled back to after the club, things would often get a little messy and we just had loads of fun. We had a studio set-up there and everyone who came to play Drumfunk would come back there and have fun with us. It was a very silly but inspiring time and it felt right to salute that in the EP.

Nice! What’s next then?

So the next release is a five track EP from Lovely. He’s from London but he’s based in Hong Kong and it’s going to turn some heads.  From what I can tell from him he doesn’t seem to give a fuck, he just does his thing. So we’ll be introducing him then we’ve got the Tyrone EP then after that there’s an EP from, Was A Be and another from Kiril and we are putting together a VA LP.

All sounds pretty stacked up!

Yeah man, it’s  in the pipeline, Tyrone’s had this amazing video made for his single and that’s ready to go. We just want to support the music we believe in. We know we’re a small label, we can’t offer the artists life changing deals but we can offer them our honesty and passion. People believe in good music, they want to play it and support it. That’s what we want Guidance to be about. Not a label for artists to sign a release to for cred or status or anything like that. But because their music creates a response and makes people feel something. Because if your music isn’t making that connection then what are you even doing?  

Ulterior Motive – GDNCE006 is out now on Guidance

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