Late last year a brand new act came through on TeeBee’s Subtitles: Was A Be.
No public information was available so full focus was on the music. It came via their breakthrough four-track skank-fest EP Jah, a release that enjoyed support across the board (including High Contrast’s awesome UKF podcast).
In fact, the EP felt almost too well supported for a debut release. With alter egos and mysterious aliases popping up all over the shop right now, alarm bells started ringing. Turns out those alarm bells were false. Was A Be really is a brand new act – a duo, in fact, from Como, Italy – but they’ve been working hard as DJs and promoters in Italy for years and clearly have a deep understanding of D&B and how to best execute it.
Now with a brand new EP on Shogun – which came about through a rather cheeky bootleg of Friction and K-Tee’s Set It Off – Was A Be’s bubbling cauldron looks set for even more cross-scene exposure and support.
Here’s what they sound like….
Here’s what they have to say…
Who are you? Where have you been hiding? We know very little about you!
Hello there! We’re Fabio and Ivan, two guys from Como, Italy. The birth of the project was linked to DJing rather than productions, in fact we had the chance to promote and play at many nights between our hometown and Milan. About a year later we got into music making driven from the will of creating our own sound. We never hid, it just took some time before people found out about us!
The first time I heard Jah I was convinced you were an alias of an established act…
It’s the first time we get this accusation! To be fair it’s definitely a pleasure getting confused for someone who might be one of our inspirations. we’re still very fresh!
Were you happy with the reception Jah had?
Absolutely yes! Being picked up by Teebee and his label was an amazing thing for us. Jah was just laying in one of our PC folders for almost a year without being played – not even by us. Since it was the first time we had somebody being actively interested in our music, the following positive reception of European drum and bass artists was a very appreciated bonus
The next release was the launch release on The Dreamers – tell me about The Dreamers. That’s a local label for you isn’t it?
The Dreamers are one of the longest-standing D&B movements (along with our own night This Is DNB), known and appreciated in Italy and beyond. It’s based in Turin and in the last 10 years they’ve been pushing forward-thinking music to their crowds. Since the introduction of some newcomers a new label was created next to the original brand, with a full focus on the new sounds coming from the Italian scene. Their new release is already being played in our sets produced by our buddy Kiril (aka Bench, whose surname gave title of one of the EP tunes), as well as some next EPs including names such as HLZ and Neve.
How did the Shogun EP come about?
As you might have read around, the spark igniting our relationship with the Shogun crew was our bootleg of Set It Off by Friction & K-Tee. Thanks to the wide support of the track by many of the scene acts, K-Tee had the chance to hear it during a Rockwell set, and shortly after he got in touch with us. We’re really happy since the whole thing was completely unexpected. Of course the process was not challenge free, mainly a big natural pressure coming from producing for a label like Shogun. This pressure was “eased” by the good willingness towards us from Friction and all the people working for the Brighton based label.
The EP is called Blind… So I have to ask, if you were blind and your sight came through for the very first time what would you go and look at first?
We would first look at the Stranger Things series; when a TV show has such an amazing soundtrack, watching is mandatory! Here’s a cool story about the choice of the EP title track name: a good friend of ours, who’s also an MC and blind from birth, was flying back to Italy after 6 months of a solitary trip through Asia, and the track we just made for his comeback party was still nameless – so Blind was chosen to celebrate him.
I can hear a lot of techno textures and elements in your music. Especially on tracks like Rubber and 4 To The Floor – Is techno an inspiration or interest to you? Italy has a great history of techno…
When we were teenagers we lived through the boom of the tech-House scene in Italy and abroad; those influences played a role in the mix of the many flavours we try to include in our tunes. Without any doubt the Italian techno scene was a landmark in the world with its sound and we wish this could happen in the following years for what concerns Bass music as well.
You got a rich melting pot full stop – halftime, dub, dancehall, jungle…
The first contact we had with drum & bass music happened around 2007, and at the time we identified within the flavour of those years. We then found out that it wasn’t really our favourite kind of style so we started to dig more and more into the underground of bass music in general, without any exception of genre. From this melting pot of genres and sounds we chose what we felt ours the most and all these inputs came together in the realization of our ideas, not anymore linked to something already existing but what we really felt inside.
Wrapping up now…. What would you dream collaborations be?
Good question! It’s hard to pick a name between the many we would like to collaborate with, since there’s a lot of acts we’re really into; what comes out would not be easy to predict too! If we had to pick a name it could be Ivy Lab.
You’re promoters so what would you dream line-up be?
In random order: Alix Perez, Machinedrum, dBridge, Mr. Carmack, Ivy Lab, Diemantle, Dub Phizix, Mala, Addison Groove, Skeptical, Calibre, Skream, Rockwell, Ulterior Motive. Full stop, we ran out of money.
Finally… What’s coming up in the future?
Music, music and more music: we would like in the future to release something on vinyl, recording our music and our ideas on a real physical medium.