Destination USA. As Vegas gears up for another supersized EDC extravaganza, there’s one particular emerging bass talent story that needs to be told: Consouls – an LA duo who were accelerated under the spotlight as winners of EDC’s talent-scouting Discovery Project in 2015.
Unlike other DJ competitions where you never hear of the winner ever again, they’ve continually backed up the hype. They’ve done so with a plethora of online mixes, the development of a growing artist collective (The Database) and a steadily building body of productions on labels such as The Prototypes’ ever-fizzy Get Hype (with Des McMahon) and Drumsound & Bassline Smith’s longstanding benchmark-setting Technique where they’re releasing one of their most anthemic, imagination-grabbing tracks to date on the label’s annual sunny season album: Technique Summer 2017
With Flares still rattling around our speakers and rumours of forthcoming productions on Viper and a return booking at EDC we called Consouls (AKA Shane & Troy) to find out more…
Everything dates back to EDC, right?
Troy: It does! The Discovery Project really opened up the flood gates. The festival and Insomniac have supported us and we’ve really relished the opportunity.
Shane: We’ll be actually playing there again this year on one of their awesome Funktion One art cars with Des McMahon who we did The Game with on Get Hype. They’re so dope; they’re mobile and just cruise through the centre of the festival with people running after it and trying to jump on. It’s great.
I read you pretty much met each other at the festival…
Troy: Yeah it was funny how it happened. I didn’t have any friends going to EDC that year and I met Shane like weeks before and he said I could go with him and his mates. I thought ‘I don’t know you guy but sure why not?’ We saw so many great artists that weekend and connected so well through drum & bass.
Any particular artists?
Shane: Calyx & Teebee and Andy C really stand out from that night. As much as we get artists of that level coming out here, every single time they bring the fire. It’s amazing to see the production and watch the way they mix. Most the time they play in a club environment so to see them play these big festivals is so inspiring.
You can feel that in the Consouls sound. Those big peak-time dynamics…
Shane: That’s been the mission since the beginning – finding the middle ground between something that really hits energetically but has an emotive energy to it. That could be with elements of neuro or techy or liquid. It has to have that balance and be something that doesn’t fit in one box. A good example is The Prototypes or Drumsound & Bassline Smith. They have a wide spectrum but don’t can’t be categorised in one style.
Would it be cool to describe your sound as an American translation of that style of dancefloor drum & bass or am I being lazy?
Troy: That’s a tricky one… How do you define American drum & bass, right?
Shane: It’s hard to put an American feel on something when there aren’t a huge amount of American drum & bass reference points in recent times. Of course there’s a lot of talent but it’s very diverse. There’s in a definitive American sound. Bottom line we try and reach the UK standard technically but doing it in our own way.
I wondered if the European – chiefly the Dutch and Austrian – standard would be more appropriate. The UK isn’t the only benchmark like it was for the first 10-15 years…
Troy: To us Europe is all one big territory if you compare the landmass of America. So you guys see it as little spots here and there, for us we look at the whole picture and think Europe is killing it in general.
Shane: But we do recognise the niches and love how there are certain sounds and collectives based on geography all around the world. Like the Brazilian sound in Sao Paulo or the Liquicity sound in Amsterdam. But for us, inspirationally, it’s the UK sound that’s really helped us understand what we love about the music and how we want to contribute to it.
Let’s talk about your own collective: The Database
Troy: It came about through me studying at Icon Collective production school in 2012. I met a friend Richie who’s best known as Wraith. A few years down the line we’re all working on productions and we start considering an artist collective which started with us, Wraith and a few other Icon Collective artists. It’s now grown to 12 artists. Right now we’re mainly southern California based but we have Blacklab from Las Vegas and Zeal from Canada. So we’re growing.
Shane: We work together on productions and do a free download every month and podcasts. There’s a lot of variation in terms of different sounds and what we can all do. We all want to push each other and help each other out and together.
Strength in numbers!
Troy: That’s literally the idea. We’re one big network – it’s not about how many numbers we have as individuals – we are all working together now. It’s fun, we’re seeing where it grows.
You’ve just put out a tune on there yourselves – The Thrill – what’s next?
Troy: It’s all about Flare on Technique’s Summer 2017 album
Shane: Yeah that started with this little melody that I really wasn’t sure had legs or not but took it to Troy during our sessions where we share ideas and work out what to work on next and he liked it so we jumped in together. It’s an interesting track – it’s not like anything we’ve written before. That’s what makes it special.
Troy: I get that feeling with every new song we do now. We’re constantly learning with each production and finding out more about what we want to do. It’s taken a few years for us to really develop that and find that. Consouls is constantly evolving as we bring different ideas to each other and challenge ourselves
Shane: This is only the beginning….