Meet Swiss-based Brit James Peacock and Russian bass soldier Rustam Mansurov (aka Rusty K). Together they form Magnetude. They make sounds like this…
Car chase energy, raw funk, firing flutes and a drop that could power up a Delorean and take you straight back to 2004, it’s one of Andy C’s current go-to set openers and acts as a sweet snapshot of the duo’s capabilities in both the groove and production departments. It also builds on a body of work that includes EPs and tracks on respected imprints such as Lifted and Eatbrain and Renegade Hardware. Now locked in with the mighty Ram Records, their label debut – Snatch and the electroid pacer Signals – lands this Friday. Here’s what we know about them so far…
Have we interrupted anything important like a studio session?
James: No, we’ve taken a short break for a minute or two, to let things settle. Otherwise you over-think things way too much.
Rustam: If you try to force something it becomes heavy boring work. The best way to work is when you have some inspiration. The life force in music is the best way to work. Your ideas have expiry periods. There is a time to stop over-thinking a track and knowing when to get it out.
James: Snatch is a very good example of that actually. When we sent the initial idea to Ram and they came back and said it was awesome that was the push we needed. We’d been sending tunes to Ram for a while but we weren’t quite ready to put a release out. When they came back sand said they liked Snatch we were like ‘wow’ and it gave us the push we needed.
How did Snatch take life then?
James: We thought about our favourite eras of drum & bass and Ram Records. 2004-2007, the Pendulum / Sub Focus era. So that’s what we’re celebrating. We worked on it like we’d never worked on any other tune in our lives and it got the point we had to let it sit and take some distance for a few weeks because we’d listened to nothing else. We wanted to make sure it had a story – that’s the key thing about timeless music; it always has a story and a narrative.
Feels like a level up. Like you’ve landed.
James: We’re really proud of everything we’d done so far but I think because we weren’t tied to a release schedule with this single we had the luxury of more time to really consider what we wanted to do and how we wanted it to sound. We’ve explored musical things, we’ve explored heavier dancefloor sounds but with Ram we’ve had much more freedom to explore what we want to do.
Rustam: We’ve worked with a lot of labels before, both as individuals and together as Magnetude, but we’ve not had this type of freedom before. It’s very exciting and it does feel like we can take things to a new level.
I know you go back a few years Rusty. Did you both meet on the Prototype album James released on his old label Overtech?
James:No it was before that. We go back around seven years and we met through Close 2 Death. I worked for them doing small bits and handling vinyl releases. They played me some Rusty K bits and I was like ‘wow this is amazing but needs a little work in places’ so we’ve been working together since then with me as a third eye, consulting on the production. Then we started actually producing together a few years ago.
It goes deeper than we thought!
James: Yeah but the mad thing is we only met face to face last year! It was a big goal for us – the moment we finally met in real life. It took longer to happen than we thought because of Visas. But when we got a booking offer for a Blackout event and they said they would help with his Visa so we jumped on it. Although he did give me a heart attack when we actually met.
James: My middle name is Adrian and Rustam arrived at the train station he yelled it like Rocky and it scared the shit out of me.
What was the first tune you made when you finally linked up?
James: He was only over for two weeks so we didn’t get much studio time. We actually spent a lot of time talking about how to work together because up until recently we’ve been using different DAWs – Cubase and FL Studio. So we sat down and analysed how we can work together much more efficiently.
Rustam: Before then we were just bouncing everything down to wav files and playing volleyball with them.
James: Which does work okay but it’s a problem if there’s a problem with an effect or something we wanted to reduce. It took a long time to get anything done.
So who won? Which DAW are you using? And how did you decide? Maybe with an arm wrestling match?
James: No it was a bit more productive than that. We looked at both DAWs and showed each other what each one could do.
Rustam: I realised FL Studio is very simple and some of the things you can do on Cubase that take a long time, you can do in seconds on FL Studio. James will pick up FL Studio instantly but it will take me longer to learn Cubase.
James: Rustam’s been producing since he was nine and is definitely the strongest out of us both so it makes more sense for me to studio to his DAW then for him to switch to mine. We need to maintain consistency right now.
Rustam: We need to be on fire.
Are you still sharing a studio with Task Horizon?
James: Not any more but he’s next door to me. Our neighbours must be going insane right now.
What’s coming up?
James: We’ve got the next Ram single lined up and still sending over bits to them. We’ve got some cool collaborations but it’s too soon to mention them for now. We’re just focusing our attention on Ram, this is something we’ve dreamt of for years, so we need to do ourselves and the label justice.
Is Andy playing these tunes?
James: He’s been opening with Snatch and has been playing both tracks, which has been amazing after looking up to him for so long!
Opinions do seem very divided on Snatch. It’s a real love or hate tune.
James: Yeah we’ve noticed that and that’s fine by us. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt is that you can’t please everyone all the time. No artist can.
How about Break or Calibre?
James: Okay but even then, there will still be someone out there who disagrees. Plus we’re not at their level!
And you don’t want to please everyone all the time. Because where do you go from there?
James: Exactly. I think the problem a lot of artists have is getting too comfortable. Where they get to a certain level and take their foot off the gas and put out something just to keep people happy and keep the bookings coming in. We never want to get comfortable like that. We always want to try new sounds, new ideas, and new techniques and continue to push ourselves as much as possible.
Keeping it fresh. Keeping us on our toes!
James: That’s the plan. We want to make sure that every release sounds different and daring and with Ram we have the freedom to do just that as we’re always pushing forward….