The old “Who the Hell Is” question is a good one when it comes to halftime up-and-comer Vorso, as he’s not even sure he can answer it himself. This quirky uni student seems to have been knocking out snarling, metallic halftime bangers like it’s a bodily function for the past year, often with fellow hotly-tipped beat-splicers such as Chee, Clockvice and DET.
Vorso’s biggest breakthrough came earlier this year with Needle. Coming courtesy of Flexout Audio’s Waves series, it’s where many drum and bass and halftime players started to take notice of the young talent. Since then, he’s collaborated with U.S. dubstep giant Run DMT and remixed Mark Instinct and Signal. Recently spotted collaborating with Vellum with a VIP of Needle due on Inspected imminently, UKF thought it prudent to get a hold of the rising halftime star before he starts uncontrollably spinning out tracks at 160 beats per minute.
How does it feel that so many artists are recognizing your tracks lately?
It’s quite surreal for me, I don’t think it’s really registered yet. I’m still in uni you know so my focus is studying a lot of the time. Computer science takes a lot of time and energy. What inspires me to keep going with music is that I’m still really blown away by the talent of a lot of other producers. Even my own contemporaries – I basically grew up with Clockvice, for example, but I’m also a huge fan of his, or the American producer Zaiaku who remixed my track with Run DMT. I was just blown away by that.
I’m also not really in the network with the heavy hitters either so when I do kind of get in touch with that it’s really strange. When I was putting together Gamma Ray with Run DMT he just said something about emailing or messaging a really big producer and I was like, “wot!” Or like I’m friends with Signal and he just recently got to go to America and he did this same interview series with UKF, we were all freaking out. I guess I’m a bit in the middle like that at the minute, and not really registering my place in it.
It’s funny because you are getting so much positive attention, and from big artists as well, but truly no one really knows where this huge sound is coming from.
(Laughs) I don’t even know where these artists are getting a hold of my tracks! I’ve been really blown away about how my stuff is being played out as well. Like I’ve heard G Jones play “Needle” in one of his sets and I was just gobsmacked by that because I didn’t even think it could work with his style. Or Bassnectar as well, putting it in with more dubsteppy stuff it’s been really cool to see what other artists do with my tracks. Recently I even had someone message me and say that Aphex Twin played Needle in one of his sets. That had me on the floor.
That would put anyone on the floor! So winding it back from all this gobsmacking since so little is known about your history, how did you start making tracks?
Yeah, that’s my fault actually…I don’t have a bio or any press shots or anything. I just make music, really, and I haven’t really got around to any of the promotions side of it.
Okay, so basically this is your bio now. How did you get started producing?
I started producing when I was a kid, really. I got some sort of strange, free online bit of music software, you know like a “free trial” sort of thing and it was for actually writing and composing. So at first I was writing just band arrangements or film music. I was really into film music at the time. I used to listen to a lot of like Linkin Park-style music and I realised what I really liked about those were the intros because they were quite electronic.
After a little while I started hearing stuff like Skrillex on the radio and things, and since I was a kid when the big drum and bass booms were going on and I couldn’t go to clubs, that was the first sort of real electronic music I’d heard. I was a bit behind the curve there I guess but then I got really into that shit like that dubstep and stuff around 2011. I’d never heard anything like that until then, and I really wanted to know how all it was made.
How did you get into drum and bass and halftime through Skrillex of all people?
(Laughs) I guess I sort of walked backwards into the whole drum and bass thing. Because I was trying to learn about how to make bass music in general, I started looking up like who Skrillex was influenced by and that led me to KOAN Sound – I was really into them for a while because to me I just thought they were so strange – then I followed who their influences were, and I sort of got into it from the bottom up. I was into more obscure dnb producers for a while like Roger Wilco and Frequent when they weren’t as well-known. Then I started following who their influences were and who those influences were, you know, it was a bit of a strange path but it led me to like Mefjus and Emperor and then finally Noisia. So this is why it sounds so backwards and that people find surprising. I just got into Noisia like two years ago; they were the last drum and bass producers I started following after all that.
Oh that is strange! Sounds like sort of a weird backwards drum and bass telephone game.
(Laughs) yeah it’s pretty funny. I remember listening to like Mefjus and Emperor who were always referencing them, and I would think like, “oh, I must give this Noisia a listen sometime,” and not really realizing that they were such an origin point for current drum and bass. But, you know, I was like seven or eight when “The Tide” and Noisia’s other early stuff came out, so I guess I’d have to do a little digging to figure this out.
So how did this all lead you to where you are now with halftime drum and bass?
(Laughs) I was producing a load of real trash for ages, like house and psy trance and it just never was right I guess. So then I sort of started meeting up with some other sort of unknown producers who I’d met on this online forum, and we started going to a bunch of gigs together. When I did that I found that for me the most fun tracks to dance to were halftime. I remember we went to an Ivy Lab set and it was quite beats-y and everyone was going wild. And then the KOAN Sound show I went to in Bristol a few years ago, it all just really inspired me. The other reason though is I just feel I really can’t make drum and bass. Whenever I try, there’s something about there being that many snares and it being so fast.
DnB is tricky business, but you could probably pull it off. So what else do you have coming out or working on in the future?
Well, I’m just trying to keep as open as possible. It’s not only going to be halftime for me. I feel like this is just what I’ve done so far. I’ve just released a collab with Vellum called Braggard, which came out earlier this month and we just went mental with it. It’s all across the board of different genres. It’s some of my weirdest music thus far. But that’s sort of my plan I guess. For a while I’ve been inspired by drum and bass, and now I want to apply it to different things and see where I can take it.
I’m also working on my own EP for Inspected, and as I said I’m trying to stay really open style-wise so we’ll see where that leads. Then I’ve got a VIP of Needle coming out on Inspected and another remix of Au5 and Mr. Bill on their next EP on Upscale. I’m not sure of the release dates of those yet.
Any shows coming up?
No not yet, I’ve actually never played live but I want to. That’s more part of getting myself together for, like, having a public persona. I feel like I’ve done everything backwards again, like not having a bio and press pictures; I’ve really just been focused on making music but now suddenly I’ve got to do all these things (laughs). I’ve never really had a plan, I’ve just been studying at Uni and made music and now people are starting to get into it which of course I really like. It’s amazing. But yeah getting a sort of “brand” together, I’ve no idea but I guess it’s happening around me so I’d better get to it.
It sounds like a whirlwind for sure, but you’ll find your footing. Maybe even a promo shot one of these days!
Maybe! I’m just so appreciative of all the support and feedback I’ve gotten so far, and I’ll get the details sorted but I can’t wait to just make more music and see where this all takes me.