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We Need To Talk About Klinical

The name might conjure connotations of detached, impersonal precision. But one dive into Klinical’s devilishly deep, sub-loaded bass holes and you’ll appreciate the irony. The warmth and weight on his stripped-yet-supersized constructions is far from impersonal, it’s so palpable you feel you can grab it by the handful as it oozes from the speakers.

There’s a lot to grab, too. Since emerging in earnest in 2017 he’s honed his minimal signature on the likes of Lifestyle, Diamond Audio, Overview, Skankandbass and, as of this week, Context Audio with his two latest wounders: the purring, planet bonding M2U and the stark steppy slap-about Validity. Neatly plotting his breadth while pressing his glacial bootprint even deeper into the genre, it’s another on point document from a Wiltshire based artist who’s deep in the thick of the exciting new generation D&B movement right now. Here’s where he’s at…

Are you still in uni?

Nah I’m working at the moment, but I did go to uni and it was sick. Me and Kanine used to promote  drum & bass nights together in a club called Junk. A little Tuesday thing, it was amazing. There wasn’t much drum & bass in the city at all. It’s all very techno. I do like my techno but not all the time.

Did you and Kanine start producing around the same time, then?

Yeah about the same time. I remember when he was getting his first releases and was proper gassed. They were nowhere near the level he’s at now. It’s amazing to see how quickly he’s developed.

Did you come from jump up too?

I did. That’s what I started producing but I didn’t release much of it. Well, one tune and I wish I didn’t release that because it was terrible.

When did you start going more minimal then?

I was always into minimal stuff but 2014 was the year I started getting deep into it with acts like Arkaik, Amoss, Fre4knc. Just hearing it through a big club system inspired me to move towards it, I felt you could be more creative with it than jump up.

Things took off on Lifestyle for you really didn’t they? Rotate and Science…

Yeah they were the first minimal tunes I released. Noisia played them on Noisia Radio. I got back from work and I had a message saying they’d played Science and I was jumping round the room. Then the next week they played Rotate. That was amazing and it got some great support.

Noisia Radio has been a gamechanger!

It has mate. They give so many upcoming artists an opportunity and heavy support. They cover the spectrum, too, and show people what else is going on in the genre. That’s really important. I try and take inspiration from across the whole thing.

Definitely! Have you got a musical background?

I played the keyboard as a kid and picked up the guitar for a while but moved away from anything musical during secondary school. I can understand the musical basics, I guess, but it hasn’t been something I’ve applied to production. Until recently with the new single on Context.

I was gonna ask about this. The single feels like a new development. There’s lots of drama in the orchestration.

I always try and make music I love. I’m not sticking to one sound, I’m just reflecting my inspirations. With Validity, for example, I wanted to capture that vibe you get with that big dramatic build and that minimal drop. The feeling of drama then a stripped back subby drop which sounds fat on a big system, you can’t beat it. It took me ages to get it to where I wanted it to be though.

How about M2U? Did that have the same painstaking process?

Not to begin with, I find liquid tunes come together really nicely and you capture a vibe. But the mixdown was just as hard.

The necessary evil!

It is but I try not to mix it down so much you lose the character and vibe of the song. It can get very clean and soulless so there’s got to be a line somewhere.

Amen. So has playing and hearing your own tunes on big systems changed the way you produce?

Definitely. Maybe not just my tunes but other tunes. You hear the sub bass on a whole other level and it does bring a tune to life and give you lots of ideas. In terms of hearing my own music through the system it’s great to roadtest stuff, but I’m usually only hearing it through the monitors as I’m playing.

Oh of course. I guess a lot of testing goes off the reaction in the dance then?

Definitely mate. And that’s one of the best feelings in the world; when you write a tune and play it for the first time and people go off to it. That’s such a good feeling.

Sounds like you were a DJ first, producer second…

Yeah my mate had a Numark controller and I had a little go and got into it. Then in uni I started doing house parties and things like that and my first ever club gig was the night Fergus and I ran.

Who else was involved in the night? Did you book guests?

It was just local students, me Fergus, Xyphon and Wilf Hertz were the main DJs playing pretty much every week. That’s where I cut my teeth.

Uni nights get a loyal following. Fun school nights.

Yeah we did. It was sick actually. People coming week in, week out, going nuts on a Tuesday. For a lot of them that was their first exposure to drum & bass. It was a one of a kind night in the city at the time.

Is that how you linked with Context then? They’re on the south coast too…

We’ve only linked lately on social media, through Peter who runs Overview.

He’s been pretty influential in your career then? You were on that first Overview release, too, right?

He’s a very good friend. I actually suggested the V/A release. He’s got some good friends, very talented guys like Wingz and Lockjaw. It was a strong statement. I love the sound he’s developing on the label. That recent Wingz release is another level.

I’m loving how supportive the new generation of artists are in general right now.

Completely man. Me, Grey Code, Objectiv, Rizzle, Black Barrel… I know I can send a tune to them and get good honest feedback. It’s a really friendly and open scene from all of my experiences. It’s sick to see and I know it’s not the case with genres like house and techno.

Have you tried to make it in techno? You said you liked it earlier on…

Yeah I do love techno and I’ve made a few tunes but just for fun. Just to have a break from drum & bass.

Cleanse the palette!

Absolutely man. I try and listen to as much diverse stuff as possible.

Like what?

I had a strong taste for indie for a long time and still love bands like The Foals and Bombay Bicycle Club. I loved punk and hardcore for a long time. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot UK hip hop and grime. There’s an artist called Slowthai who I love right now. Also older stuff like Joy Division and The Smiths. I want to listen to everything and try and shy away from listening to drum & bass on the regular because I start falling into a writer’s block hole because I’m hearing so many ideas I want to try.

Amen. What’s coming up next?

I got a single coming on Overview, remixes coming on Lifestyle and Skankandbass and a release lined up on a label I’ve loved and respected for a long time. I’ve got collabs on the go with Unglued, Was A Be, Objectiv. I’m not sure when they’ll come out or what will happen to them but yeah there’s loads going on, it’s wicked.

Klinical – Validity / M2U is out now on Context Audio

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