Three Things You Didn’t Know About: Black Sun Empire

black sun empire

Since forming nearly two decades ago, Dutch trio Black Sun Empire have carved a name for themselves as some of the best in the business when it comes to churning out dark neurofunk drum & bass.

Constantly looking to develop their unique sound, the boys have a collaborative EP forthcoming with State of Mind, which is set to drop at the end of January. We copped the EP title track last week…

“Ever since we signed State of Mind to our label they’ve stayed at our house every time they do European tours, so we hang out quite a lot, giving us a lot of time to make music” explains Micha, one third of the trio.

“Eventually we had so many tunes saved up that we had to start releasing some of them – and that’s how this EP was born. We get along really well and compliment each other in the studio so hopefully people can hear that in the music.”

“The tracks on the EP are what most people would expect from us – techy drum & bass – as that’s what we like producing and listening to,” he adds. “We try to start from scratch on each EP we produce so we don’t sound too similar to our last release, but of course certain elements are always going to sound the same because it’s the sound we love.”

We know that the EP lands this Sunday. So how about some things we didn’t know? Here are three to kick off with… 

Two tracks on their latest album were originally techno…

“It’s always good to listen to and produce other genres because we find that it makes us love drum & bass even more. It also changes our perspective and opens us up to new ideas. In fact, two tracks (Adaptation and Battalion) from our latest album, named From the Shadows, were originally techno tunes before we decided to turn them into drum & bass tunes instead.

“We were just experimenting in the studio and thought it would be interesting to take a melody from a typical techno tune and incorporate it into drum & bass tunes – luckily they ended up sounding quite good!”

They once made a trance record which was released on Armin van Buuren’s label under a different alias… 

“The track was called Turtle Beach – if people want to give it a listen they should be able to find it if they search that! Ever since we started making music in the 90s we’ve liked all kinds of genres from trip-hop to hardcore to techno and so on… This means that we like to experiment quite a lot and that’s exactly what this track was – an experiment.

“It found its way to Armin and then got released, somewhat to our surprise. It’s always fun challenging yourself and it was great seeing it get released on such a renowned label but we haven’t made much trance since!”

 One of their members used to be the best Quake player in Holland… 

“When I was younger I had dodgy knees which meant I had to stop playing as much sport and spent a lot of time in the house. I started gaming as that didn’t require any physical exertion and quickly found that I was pretty good at Quake. I became proper nerdy and got involved with clans and all that stuff.

“Then, after a few months, I discovered that I was ranked as the top player in the country! A lot of parents worry about their kids spending too much time playing games but as long as it doesn’t fuck you up socially it’s fine…”