It’s a big week for Drumsound & Bassline Smith as they finally catapult their epic 15 Years Of Technique album into the public realm. With 18 exclusive tracks from a wide range of Technique artists – both old friends and fresh faces – it’s a fitting way to celebrate a decade and a half in the game. Well, actually, a tiny a bit longer than a decade and a half…
“Officially our 15th anniversary was actually last year,” admits Simon Bassline Smith. “August 1999 is when it all started. It’s just taken us longer to get this album ready… It started off as an EP but ended up as an album of brand new tunes. We wanted it to be perfect so we’re half a year late but who’s counting?”
The only thing we’re counting is the amount of bangers Technique have delivered to the dance since 1999. We asked the guys to pick one stand out release from every year of business so far. Not only have they picked some absolute belters but they’ve plotted the development of the label and heavyweight D&B in the process.
Time of a history lesson, Technique style!
1999: Drumsound & Bassline Smith – Future Tech
Drumsound: “The very first release. It was a pivotal moment. We actually met a year before this and decided to make some music because we thought it might be fun… It went better than we thought so we carried on working together.”
Bassline: “My history goes back into the 80s and is heavily influenced by the early jungle explosion, having an Akai S-1000 and speeding up hip-hop breaks. Hooking up with each other was an exercise in exploring a sound that was more than what we could do as individuals. Future Tech was like nothing we’d ever done before.
Drumsound: “We actually called ourselves Future Tech because we thought Drumsound & Bassline Smith was too long!”
2000: Drumsound & Bassline Smith – I Need Your Love
Bassline: “One of our favourite tunes! We love it. It was very well received at the time – Grooverider to Andy C. An old school amen break classic sound with big pads.
Drumsound: “We’d done the techy stuff and were trying a different sound here. We’ve constantly tried to progress and reflect the genre’s ever-changing sounds and styles. We were finding our feet at this point and really found something special here.”
2001: Drumsound & Bassline Smith – Badman
Bassline: “We started making a few tunes in a similar way to I Need Your Love during this point. At the time jungle’s influence was very strong on the new releases with people like Digital really killing it. We were very happy in this area. This was also a nod to the Bukem style – wickedly heavy, rolling b-line, minimal drums.
Drumsound: “It was a great fusion of what was happening at the time and the legacy of the old stuff. Listening back it’s stood the test of time. We recently found an exceptional Stress Level and Ant TC1 remix which actually never got released.”
2002: Drumsound & Bassline Smith – Stigmata
Bassline: “Our biggest tune that year. Using the amen and getting that fusion of past and future. The way the break stops all of a sudden and those pads hit. The whole dance stops and you can feel people buzzing off the actual breakdown. I’ve got so many memories of seeing the dancefloor rush off that!.”
2003: Drumsound & Bassline Smith – Junglist
Drumsound: “The year of Junglist! This hit the spot! A very simple tune but it really slammed – very heavy. I think it hit the main charts.
Bassline: “Yeah, that blew us away! It reached about 60 or so in the national charts which was amazing. At this stage we started finding our own sound and people were noticing Technique.”
2004: Drumsound & Bassline Smith – Crossfire (Danger)
Bassline: “From our Nature Of The Beast album. This was a HUGE year for us because we also put out Odyssey. It came on Grooverider’s Prototype and was actually the last release on his label. He shut down Radio 1 with it every week! It was a great year for D&B – Bad Company were still smashing it, Pendulum were coming through. We were very inspired and Nature Of The Beast was a result of our inspiration.”
Drumsound: “Friction did a killer remix of this too. This was the pinnacle of what we’d achieved at this moment. Wicked pads, nice vocal, the perfect ingredients.”
2005: Drumsound & Bassline Smith – Breakdown
Drumsound: “Annie Mac had just started on Radio 1 and everything changed for drum & bass. We had no idea any radio DJs outside of specialists like Fabio and Grooverider would support our music.
Bassline: “Things really did go next level with Breakdown. It was a very important moment in our career. Annie’s done a lot for D&B – for us and all of our peers.
2006: Roni Size – Friends
Bassline: “Roni’s been a friend of ours for a long time. We’d been talking about releasing some of stuff for years and eventually he sent over some tracks. This one in particular went off! It was amazing for us to have someone as esteemed as Roni on the label. This was huge.”
2007: Drumsound & Bassline Smith – Cold Turkey
Drumsound: “This was bit darker for us. It was a bit of a new start, refreshing of our sound. It was a little bit different from what we’d done but that was the idea – we wanted to keep people on their toes.
Bassline: “I remember dropping it for the first time at One Nation and the whole place had their hands in the air. Such a massive moment!”
2008: ShockOne & Phetsta – The Sun / Tantrum Desire – Xenamorph
Bassline: “Can we pick two for this year? Well we are anyway sorry! 2008 was a really strong year for new talent on the label. Tantrum Desire’s first release was seminal for them and us. They’ve done so many great releases and the new album is a whole new level. Then there’s Phetsta – a kingpin producer! He doesn’t make many tunes but he always delivers and always pushes the boundaries of production. This ShockOne collaboration still kills it years later, especially at festivals.”
2009: Phetsta Feat Camo & Krooked – Stage Diver
Drumsound: “Dream collab! Very early on in Camo & Krooked’s career, it was ahead of the game… Stage diving wasn’t a thing in D&B back then! Ahead of its time production-wise too. We’re very proud of having a critical involvement in all of these guys’ careers.”
2010: Crissy Cris & Youngman – Give You The World
Bassline: “Both kids with parents in the music industry but they worked hard to make sure it was their own work on their own terms. A very varied LP that really showcased their abilities and skills. And obviously as a dad this was a very special moment. You see your kids grow up and develop a passion and you help fuel that fire and Youngman’s really refined his craft and worked so hard. It’s amazing to see how the guys have developed since then too.
2011: Tantrum Desire – Reach
Drumsound: “This was huge! It hit the mark on every level.”
Bassline: “Anthem! Everyone playing it. So many rewinds. So many requests… Even now. I just played it in Tokyo the other weekend. And if you think this is good – wait for the album. Oh wow! I’m expecting to put this out around May or June. It’s amazing.”
2012: L Plus – Amazing
Bassline: “One of his best tunes to date. Over two years old and you can still play it now.
Drumsound: “When we first signed him we noticed he had a very distinctive, aggressive, steady building sound. This sums up his skills and we’re really pleased to have helped him develop. We just wish he made more tunes!”
2013: Drumsound & Bassline Smith – Nicaragua
Drumsound: “We’d just done our album on New State and this was our first one on Technique for a while. We wanted to come back with bang and get some proper underground tunes bubbling. Friction picked up on this and played it weekly for a while on his show. It was great to get back to our roots.
Bassline: “We’d done some big crossover tracks and got a lot of great support from beyond the D&B scene. It was amazing but we wanted to go back to our underground roots and deliver them as the 100th Technique release. A reminder that we can still make proper dancefloor rollers. This was great to do; it all just fell into place.”
2014: Tantrum Desire – Adventures Through Space
Bassline: “From the first album sampler… Such a big tune! Both this and Nightmare created a stir. It’s interesting how solid the support has been for this. It’s maintained momentum from its initial release right through the festival season and still massive now”
Drumsound: “He’s really found his groove and mastering it. I think you can spot a Tantrum Desire tune miles away… he’s so talented!”
2015: Drumsound & Bassline Smith – Spring Heel Jack
Drumsound: “I remember a track by Groovrider called Where’s Jack The Ripper and was always inspired by that title. We put a lot of thought into our titles and Spring Heeled Jack is a mad character from London in late 1800s. He looked a bit like batman and there’s a mad story about him. His story evoked some serious dark night feelings and the track came together very quickly as result. Check out the story while you’re listening to the track. Legend!”