Lynx’s discography is awash in some of the most respected and influential labels in drum & bass history…
A long-time member of the Soul:r family, a verified anthem maker on Fabio’s Creative Source and a cameo artist on the likes of 31, Ram,Bingo Beats and Digital Soundboy; the Portsmouth artist ticked off myriad bucket-list labels long before the 2010s had even started to kick in.
His 2010s were varied and healthy too with dispatches courtesy of labels ranging from Playaz to Samurai via a two year stint at Hospital in the mid 2010s when he released his I Am Lynx album and more anthem level cuts like Clap Track.
More recently as we start to nibble into the 2020s, things are looking similarly broad and versatile as Lynx productions have landed on the likes of Souped Up, Soul In Motion, DeVice and Influence in the last year or so… And of course his own label Detail, on which he’s dropped two big releases recently: Good Times last month and, as of last week, Operator.
A boisterous four track happy slap with vocals from his partner Danger Dee, Operator is yet another uncompromising delivery from the drum & bass veteran. Still armed with that bashy, bouncy, unpredictable signature, still at the forefront of the music that all the above listed labels stand for. Pushing for something exciting, different and fresh in drum & bass.
But these recent releases follow a substantial gap in his discography – a period where he was working on something incredibly different and removed from what he’s usually known for. So different, in fact, he’s not even sure if it’ll ever be released!
In the meantime, he seems more than happy being back in drum & bass and flexing that obscenely broad spectrum of sounds and ideas yet keeping somehow keeping them identifiably and excitingly Lynx. More will follow Operator before the year is out. Here’s where he’s at right now…
I want to say you’re back but you didn’t go away completely did you? There’s been releases on Soul In Motion, Influence, the Kusp stuff… Maybe a less is more type of thing?
Yeah that’s fair. It’s more a mindset in myself. The beginning of 2021 I started dipping my toe in D&B and did some releases as you mentioned. I was just dipping my toe in because, prior to that, I hadn’t done a lot for some time. We’d been through those lockdown times and diversified a bit, I tried a few different genres and styles but found myself coming back to D&B. I always seem to, but it’s always a fresh return because I’m bringing something I’ve taken from those other genres and incorporating it into drum & bass.
Keeping it fresh. What’s going on with those other genres, can you say what it is?
It’s a far cry from the Lynx dnb sound but it’s a body of work I’m really proud of, it may never see the light of day. I could put it out tomorrow but it would get lost, or I’d confuse people. And the same goes if I was to approach labels beyond our musical world. It’s so far away from Lynx, you’d never say that was me.
To put on a different suit, pure incognito. That’s quite a creative skill to do that
It’s another side of what I like. There’s something very therapeutic to switch things up completely and have a fresh perspective. It’s good for the mind, too; try some new things and eventually appreciate drum & bass more.
That’s important. There’s definitely a Lynx sound isn’t there. You’re a funky man at heart.
Haha I guess! Rhythms have always been a big thing for me. When I was a teenager me and my friends would listen to early jungle, we didn’t really know about breakbeats and the roots of where they came from. We called the Amen the ‘common beat’ because it was everywhere. As you get older you learn the heritage of breaks and want to know more about them and I think that’s inherent in any drum & bass producer – rhythm is key!
Definitely and I would say with Disco Dodo you actually added to the breakbeat reference library. That bashy kickdrum rhythm has been in so many other D&B tunes since then.
It was a bit of a fluke at the time! It did seem to open up the doors and set a bit of a different example of what drum and bass could be.
It was during a time when D&B was having a big commercial surge and a lot of things were being played on the radio and charting. It was a bit of a counter to that in a way…
It was an interesting time. I remember the D&B Awards at the time and Chase & Status were blowing up with their debut album and I was there, also nominated for that award, with The Raw Truth album. I think Disco Dodo was on dub at that time. So it was a bit of a mad one looking back. Quite a contrast.
But all necessary sides. That’s the beauty of drum & bass.
Big time. That’s what it’s all about. Look at how well D&B is received now – that’s down to this era we’re talking about, especially Chase Status. They blew the doors off didn’t they?
Raw Truth though man. What an album. What’s your relationship with that album? Not many D&B albums like that around with a producer and MC cruising together all the way through – Blue Hour with LSB and DRS is the only other one I can think of. You took the music to some places…
We did. I’ve always loved working with vocalists. I hooked up with Kemo because my girlfriend at the time was a triphop producer and she put me onto his voice. We did four tracks without meeting. Most of it was done online through AIM. It was a very different album as I wasn’t listening to much drum & bass at the time – I’d just come out of being an engineer for six years and I felt very free. I could write for myself again and was trying to write the drum & bass I wanted to hear but couldn’t hear. It was thanks to Marcus that album came to fruition.
Of course. This was just prior to the Autonomic times too, where lots of people brought in new ideas…
I wish we could go back to that mindset more often. As producers we’re often guilty of wearing blinkers or staying in lane, but the best times have always been when we’re trying new things and taking risks.
That time is now too I would say, especially after lockdown…
Yeah there’s a lot of interesting things. I read about something on UKF actually… About the orchestra doing a cover of Noisia. That’s a great example of innovation and experimenting. I don’t think we’d have seen that even as recently as 10 years ago. There just wouldn’t have been that interest between those two worlds, or the musical abilities. Yeah I’d agree we are in an exciting time.
Good Times, too. Pun intended. You were in a good place when you wrote that
I was. I wanted to capture my favourite era which was mid – late 90s dnb. You had those big compilations like Metalheadz Platinum Breaks, The Prototype Years and Planet V. They were absolutely wicked. I was 16/17 and hearing all this new stuff and it blew me away. Especially the Platinum Breaks album which had Goldie describing each artist. He compares J Majik to Luke Skywalker and things like that. It was like a glimpse into the future of music that really inspired me. I loved that beauty vs darkness vibe that ran through it all, too. That’s what I wanted with the track Good Times. Actually Goldie called me up a few weeks ago about this track funnily enough. He went crazy about it. He said it was like a cross of Bladerunner with futuristic RnB.
Just out of the blue? Just a big up to brighten up your day?
Yeah. It’s such a moral boost. I feel like I’m starting again in a way and it’s a challenge with so many artists all making a lot of noise and promoting themselves at high volumes on social media. For someone like Goldie to take time out of his day and call me like that, it was cool. It’s not like we have many dealings together, either. It was a very pleasant surprise.
Nice. Respect! I think the last time I interviewed you on this site was when you signed to Hospital. What do you recall from that time?
Well I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I was joining the label as a 30-something year old artist and I think that type of set up and environment works best for younger artists. But I’m proud of the album. It’s not my favourite but it’s a good collection but I don’t think it represented me as personally. I don’t think it worked for either them or me particularly well. We spoke about a second album, we went back and forth and ultimately that was the end of it.
Sick album – had some real bangers. Lights Out with Sense MC is still a persy.
It was an interesting one. I’d never worked with such a big label operationally. For example my previous album The Raw Truth was a close knit thing. it was just me and Kemo writing and Marcus guiding us. He’d be great. If he didn’t like something I could send it to another label and release it with them. When you’re signed exclusively to a label like Hospital then you can’t do that. I have no regrets working with the label though, it was a different experience and I needed it at the time.
Totally, so back to the present. Operator is just out! Jungle Juicing is a real favourite there…
Thanks man. A lot of the EP was made around the lockdowns and most of it was made with my girlfriend. She’s into rock music, she’s no vocalist but every now and again we’d have a few drinks and she’d go on the mic and we’d have some fun. It was cool. Being South African she’s got this really different twang to her voice. Jungle Juicing was kind of a nod to LL Cool J’s track Greatest Of All Time. I wanted to do a jungle track that lyrically had something similar. ‘Jungle is the greatest of all time’ was born.
Big up Danger Dee!
I hear of more and more partners collaborating in this way…
What else you going to do on lockdown? It was cool to have that type of time to ourselves. I’m glad we’re not in those times now, of course, but we had some fun. We probably did about 10 tracks of different genres. It was cool.
Wicked. You might not have fully left but you’re fully back now aren’t you?
Yeah absolutely. I got a ‘normal’ job for a bit during Covid as obviously there was no work for djs. But now I’m back full time at it again. It’s kinda scary and exciting in equal measures. So Operator is out now and there’s another EP in early October, then November I have an awesome collaboration coming with Dread Mc, and December there’s a Kusp remix of Disco Dodo and my own VIP, plus a Global Enemies remix by me. So yeah, you could say I’m back…