Start counting down the days…
On October 6 long-standing UK D&B duo Ulterior Motive will unleash their debut album The Fourth Wall on Metalheadz. We’ve heard it… It’s a bit special.
Actually, it’s very special.
You never get a second chance to make a debut album. And it’s clear that Greg Hepworth and James Davidson have taken this sentiment very seriously. Paying respect to the scene in which they’ve been entrenched professionally for over five years (and personally for much longer), they’ve made sure they’ve not resorted to any of the old album or genre pitfalls or clichés throughout. From investing in old synths they used years ago (a Novation Nova in case you’re interested) to sourcing singers who have never fronted a drum & bass track via conjuring arrangements that bow heavily with nods to the roots while remaining fresh and exciting, everything about The Fourth Wall smacks of creativity and distinction.
Here are four reasons why…
It’s a personal affair
As all albums should be, The Fourth Wall is the product of Greg and James’s own environment. Sleepy seaside town Bournemouth is a far cry from the urban fray in which D&B was born…
Greg: “We’re not based in London, we’re pretty much on our own in our own world. We’ve got a lot of friends in London who are producers who live with each other and when they’re working on stuff they’re all listening to everything that’s going on during the process. They can’t help but influence each other. We don’t get that, though. We hear their final thing. They hear our final thing. Sometimes it feels very remote and secluded, but it’s definitely helped us carve our own sound. We’re not being influenced except by the things we want to influence us…”
James: “Plus we’re closed off from everyone while we’re in the studio. The music is our interaction with people. As producers you don’t venture out anywhere, you’re just behind the computer and stuck behind a mixing desk. Hence the title: the album is our fourth wall.”
It’s resolutely drum & bass
Expecting some genre-melting surprises and sudden tempo switches? Switch your expectations – The Fourth Wall goes deeper than that…
James: “We’d been curating ideas for a long time. It was important to have a consistency and a streamlined project that didn’t seem like just 14 tracks we really liked. It was also really important for us not to write one of those albums with one dubstep tune, one house tune, one techno tune and so on. That’s not what we’re about. That’s not what Metalheadz are about either. It’s a proper drum & bass album that’s true to us and true to the label.”
It’s the sound of two men pushing themselves into fresh territories…
Sticking to one genre has allowed the boys to go to town and explore every inch of the ever expanding world of drum & bass… And every inch of their own creative abilities.
Greg: “One of the main reasons we’ve paid respect to the genre is because within drum & bass there are so many styles anyway! We’ve explored all the different avenues we love within D&B. We’ve been through so many different phases – as a movement and personally – and this album documents that and celebrates it.”
James: “Dance music gets a bit rigid and formulaic so we wanted to put some surprises down the middle and switch things up. Even when we’re referencing sounds that are established within drum & bass we’ve tried to do it in a way that surprises. You can stick to formula within 12s all day long but with an album you’ve really got to push yourselves and show as much of yourself personally.”
… And sourcing brand new vocalists
Sick of hearing the same vocalists appearing on every drum & bass record? Here’s some good news…
Greg: “In order for the album to be ours and really have its own sound we wanted to find new vocalists. You find a lot of the same vocalists working within the scene. And there’s a good reason for that – some of them are amazing and it’s a winning formula. But for us to really put a stamp on our album and make sure it doesn’t cover any old ground, we wanted to find new artists like the super-talented James Sutherland.”
James: “That’s the whole thing about the album: everything about The Fourth Wall is about breaking that pattern and doing something fresh. We resorted to influence but not to form – we thought about what really inspires us and explored thought about how we can develop them or represent them in our own way. We hope people like it…”
Ulterior Motive release The Fourth Wall on October 6 via Metalheadz.
UK fans: join them for the launch on October 8 at The Nest, London
Need some Ulterior Motive in your life NOW? You can buy the album sampler here: http://bit.ly/SamplerUKF
(Photo Credit: Rod Lewis)