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Who’s Loving High Contrast? (Part 2)

High Contrast - Hospital Records

Three weeks ago we had the pleasure of fronting the latest stir-up from High Contrast: Who’s Loving You (Part 2).

A full-on rush cake, sprinkled with multi-coloured processed vocal soul, it’s something of a return to the High Contrast sound the scene fell in love with almost 15 years ago. And to say it’s been long-awaited is an understatement… His last proper single – Spectrum Analyser – landed over 18 months ago.

Mercifully we won’t have to wait anywhere near that long for more High Contrast newness. Actually he put out a free track via Annie Mac only yesterday. Looking further ahead, there are many more reasons to get excited about the Welsh bass wizard. He reckons he’s more inspired than he has been in ages. Here he explains why…

He’s working with Clare Maguire

“For years I’ve wanted to find someone who I could work with a lot and write tracks for and have work on tracks of mine. It’s a privilege to hear her sing things for the first time and be completely blown away. It’s great we’ve got to this point. She offers opinion and feedback and we work with each other.

A lot of the time in dance music you can tell that the producer made the track, sent it to the top-liner then sent it to the vocalist. It feels like none of them met up. Even though a lot of those tracks really work, I’ve always wanted to work with a singer and do something that’s not quite as cut and dry and potentially mechanical.

It would be great to get to her to perform at some shows. She’s got such a great voice to hear live. In the context of the club or rave people would go crazy. People love interaction between the stage and audience and with her abilities it has potential to blow peoples’ minds!

Whether that ever happens or not, there are 12 demos in various states of completion right now; All in a variety of genres…”

And it starts with Who’s Loving You Part 2 then Part 1…

“Who’s Loving You is a song that Clare had written. I came in to produce it, develop it and take it in my own direction. It’s still got a drum & bass feel to it but it’s 130BPM with ravey breakbeats.

We talked about me doing a D&B remix but I didn’t want to do an obvious remix of it. Because I’d made the original track it would be far too easy for me to up it to 173BPM so I went in! I wrote entirely new music and radically re-pitched Clare’s vocal.

It’s interesting to see how the creative process can go down so many different avenues and take you to places where you’d never expect to go at the start of the journey. It almost feels like an American preacher kind of vibe. Through the pitching down she sounds like an old gospel record Moby might sample

It’s not a remix any more. It lives on its own right. The two tracks are companion pieces to me.”

He’s still totally connected with his jungle roots…

“I have a very personal relationship with jungle and drum & bass and what it means to me. I don’t think about the broader scene at large or anything going on in the peripheries. I just focus on the music, what it means to me and how I contribute to it.

I have very certain memories like seeing Roni Size and Reprazents playing live at Reading in 1998. It changed my life! I try and tap into that memory whenever I’m working on something. The same goes for hearing Grooverider play Adam F Brand New Funk for the first time. There had never been a tune like that before with that musical breakdown. I still feed off those moments and experiences. There was also a Hype tape from 1994 with tracks like Renegade Snares on it. I think of those moments. How they made me feel. And I ignore everything else… The industry, sales, egos, everything. I blot it all out.”

He’s taken time out from DJing…

When you’re on the very enjoyable merry-go-round of the DJ circuit every weekend the thought of the club is never really out of your mind.

“It’s been great to take some time off from DJing… As I’d hoped, now I’m working on tracks I’m not thinking about how it’s going to be played in clubs. This has affected my approach and the resulting output.

When you’re on the very enjoyable merry-go-round of the DJ circuit every weekend the thought of the club is never really out of your mind. Having a break allows me to reset and make stuff that comes from my head. Maybe this new track is a result of that? I think also, as an artist going through the journey of your career, you have a strange relationship with your audience where you’re known for a particular sound and they expect that from you. It’s great but you want to make different things and try different approaches… I’ve got a rebellious sprit. When I know people expect a certain thing I will try and do the opposite! I have to get that out of my system before I return to the sound that people expect from me.”

And we can’t expect LOADS more High Contrast tracks very, very soon!

“You can expect to hear a lot more from me very soon. I’ve just given away a new jungle tune of mine on Annie Mac’s Free Music Monday. It’s called When The Drums Come In and features a rapper called Wonda, it takes one of his vocals from a freestyle mixtape which I was feeling. I asked him for the acapella and built the track around it. The concept around it is The Neptunes making a jungle tune.

Following that I have a lot of really big plans which I can’t quite talk about yet. It’s all falling into place and I’m feeling very enthused and re-engerised about everything that’s happening right now. One particular track I can give you a head’s up on is a remix I’ve done of Jacob Banks who you might recognise from collaborating with Chase & Status. He’s got an incredible soul voice and his first solo single is coming out soon. It’s called Move. I’ve done the drum & bass remix of it. It’s been getting an incredible response. It feels like the Gold Digger remix I did a few years ago. There’s a sneak peak on my vine account. It’s coming out soon so watch out for it!

In the meantime, head over to Annie Mac’s Facebook page for When The Drums Come In. Then head to High Contrast’s own Soundcloud page to download THIS tender little Otis Reading sampling puppy. 

Stay tuned for Who’s Loving High Contrast (Part One)… Coming soon!