Undoubtedly one of the scene’s most exciting talents breaking through right now, Disrupta is an artist who has been sending waves throughout the D&B scene of late.
Whether it’s his number one charting releases with Born On Road and Nuusic, or his Soundcloud mixes reaching ridiculous listens, it’s no surprise why many people assume Disrupta has been doing his thing for a long time. But really, it has only been a year…
With his first paid release landing last October, it’s fair to say Disrupta has shattered all expectations of an artist who only began producing D&B in 2019 – and one that is still studying at uni. That being said, Disrupta’s success didn’t just happen overnight…
It has taken several years of attempting to produce under alias’ in other genres, combined with a multitude of free downloads, to realise D&B is the right platform for him. One where Disrupta has been able to make a mark on the scene with his trademark heavy minimal D&B. But despite this, he’s now looking to challenge himself further by pushing his sound in new directions.
This is where Disrupta’s biggest achievement to date comes in – the release of his Deep Thoughts EP on V Recordings last month. It’s a release opening the blinds on a new window into Disrupta’s sound. A more soulful, liquid-driven ambition inspired by a change of mindset during lockdown.
It’s this sort of attitude and versatility that has helped Disrupta open doors he never thought were possible a year ago. Nearly one year on from that first release, UKF caught up with Disrupta to uncover why he is an artist we need to be talking about right now.
This month marks a year since your first release…
It’s mad! This year has had a lot of ups and down. In terms of my progression, I had an amazing lockdown building my network, but the lack of events has been holding me back. Despite the negatives, this year has been a positive spiral of good energy as so many opportunities have presented themselves. I only started producing drum and bass in January 2019…
That’s crazy. So when did things start to kick off for you?
When I started releasing D&B I was doing the whole free download thing. I’d always been interested in production, but never knew how to approach the marketing side. So I pushed on with the free downloads and started to build followers. Those releases allowed me to experiment with my sound. Opportunities then started to come my way with labels hitting me up. Nuusic was one of them.
A big moment for you!
For sure. They put out my first paid release. But as good as releasing music was, the thing helping me to progress most was event bookings. When they started rolling in that’s when I could see my name was getting out there. It became a bit of a snowball effect with bookings.
There was a point where your name was getting booked all over the place. The DnbAllstars E1 event was a big booking for you.
That was a wicked b2b2b with Banzai and Hexa. It was the last one I did before lockdown. We were put on the graveyard shift and it was still packed. I left the venue thinking – you know what? I’m feeling good about where my music is going. But then Covid happened… Overall, it has been a mad year. Getting my foot in with the Nuusic release has led to many opportunities.
The strange thing is it feels like you’ve been around for so much longer…
That’s the thing. I actually started producing five years ago, so I’ve been producing for a long time in comparison to how long I’ve been doing D&B. But it feels like I’ve been involved in the scene for ages.
I imagine having that experience behind you helped you to hit the ground running.
Definitely. I’ve gone through many alias’ where I’ve not released anything… That was the problem. I didn’t know how to get myself out there and I had too many alter egos. One week it was tech house and the other it was r’n’b! I didn’t have any stability… But D&B gave me that. It helped that I got involved in the Facebook groups and got my name out there that way. It was a mixture of an online presence and knowing there was an audience for my music that pushed me to commit to D&B.
Having a strong online presence is something the new wave of producers coming through, like yourself, have done really well.
Being active on social media has really helped my growth. Especially for the new age of producers breaking through, utilising networks and being active on social media has allowed us to reach a defined audience who care. People who message you to tell you your tune is good. Looking at other genres, it’s easy to get lost as an independent artist due to a lack direction, but the whole sense of community in D&B allows you to expand with the community. You’re never alone.
So when did you realise D&B was the genre you wanted to pursue?
It was when I knew I was getting positive feedback from the free downloads. I’m usually quite hard on myself with my music. I was giving up way too easily before because I didn’t have an audience giving me the positive verification I required. Looking back, my early tunes weren’t great, but at least there was a passionate audience enjoying them and tagging me in videos. That’s when things changed for me. Everything has grown from there.
Already reaching one million streams on Soundcloud demonstrates that…
It’s pretty crazy. I started my Soundcloud in 2019 when my first free download came out, but it took a while to gain traction. The whole free download side has been a massive part of my progression. I remember waking up after releasing my first track and seeing there were a hundred plays. At the time I was like – damn! That’s huge. It was a great feeling. It’s good looking back on it now as it’s easy to lose sight of where you’ve come from.
Speaking of, Onyx Recordings seem to have been quite an integral platform helping you build your name.
It’s interesting you say that! I remember Onyx released a free download EP with Jappa, Lupo and Ben Snow, and this was when I realised there were different sounds within drum and bass I could explore. I loved the heavier minimal side of D&B like LSB’s Potshot, but I didn’t know if there was a market for me. But then I came across Onyx and realised there was a market for this minimal style I wanted to push.
Onyx have been an integral part of my progression. The only reason I knew about this minimal style of D&B was because of them. I then managed to release my own free download with Onyx that did really well. Now we’re doing a paid EP together next year, so it’s pretty crazy.
The free download was Bliss, wasn’t it?
Yeah it was! It had a really good reaction. I made that tune about a year ago and it captures the style of music I wanted to produce from the start. It has that minimal bass stab sound people know me for. The heavier side of my music influence definitely stems from that release.
Your stream for Stay at Home Festival is a good example of the traction that Disrupta sound has gained. You had a huge audience!
That was a major moment for me. I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew people were excited to see me, but the response was ridiculous. I’ve never played to a crowd that big… I was in my bedroom with over 1000 people watching and was wondering what on earth is going on. That festival opened doors for me and gave me the exposure I had been wanting. It started a chain reaction of positivity.
What doors did it open?
From doing that set I got picked up by management. As soon as that happened, my network started to expand. That’s how the V Recordings release came about. It all came from that set. Since releasing Bliss with Onyx, I’d like to think my sound has evolved. But at the time, I felt like I’d found the Disrupta sound.
It’s interesting you say that, because your most recent releases demonstrate your sound is evolving. Particularly your EPs on Born on Road and V.
Definitely. Recently I’ve been moving towards more of a liquid style. I know lots of experienced producers have their sound nailed down, but I’m still early doors in my career and am keen to experiment. Jumping between genres inspires me. With my Born on Road The Night EP, which I finished in January, I was happy with my sound. I had my bass stabs nailed. But then when lockdown came I had less motivation to make heavier music and it changed my mindset.
Considering there haven’t been events for people to react at, it’s no surprise you’ve lost some motivation to make the heavier tunes.
A lot of people have been the same. Not being able to play out in clubs during lockdown has encouraged me to delve deeper into the liquid side of D&B. I remember after Stay at Home Festival I had the piano out and was enjoying trying out liquid chords. At the time I said to management that I wanted to write a liquid EP because I’ve always liked the genre. This was a big shift for the Disrupta sound people knew, and V came along at the perfect moment.
It shows versatility as a producer to be able to switch styles so seamlessly.
I appreciate that! The thing holding me back from producing the softer side of D&B was thinking I didn’t have an audience for it – as I’ve always been known for the heavier side. But when I have the same people who enjoy the heavy stuff telling me the V release is beautiful, it makes me realise people do want to hear this.
That must make you feel proud.
Definitely. Working with Born on Road was a great achievement because the EP reached number one on Juno in a day. But the V release represents the happiest moment I’ve had with my music. It wasn’t about how high it ranked in the charts, it was about how proud I felt of it. It’s definitely my highlight of the past year.
Is the more soulful side of D&B the sound you’re going to continue pushing?
I’m now working on a lot more soulful stuff and feel motivated to continue experimenting. By branching out I now have people following me for the soulful side of Disrupta, so I can push on knowing I have an audience for it. That being said, I still love the heavy tracks and will always make them, but I want to continue exploring the soulful side of D&B. It’s important for producers to inspire themselves by trying new things. I’ve only been in the scene for a year, so I’m still at the beginning, but I’m excited to see where I can take the Disrupta sound…