Exclusive Interview: Friction - NASS 2014

August 19, 2014 -

Arrun Harker

Following on from our interview with Andy C, we've got the next of our NASS exclusive interviews: Friction, accompanied by Linguistics MC, with whom he performed on stage following our chat. A hilarious duo, both into their music and both very tongue in cheek! Friction also heads one of the world's leading drum & bass labels, Shogun Audio.

Friction: Where do you want us mate? Sometimes Linguistics likes to get naked for interviews so...

Daily Beat: That's fine. That'd be great actually, take a chair!

Friction: [Chuckling] Great so we wo';t offend anyone?

Daily Beat: Well we're not religious so carry on and go full sims!

Emily (Photographer): I will be taking pictures if that's alright?

Friction: Oh yeah we're fine with that, actually [Linguistics] loves the attention! Shit, don't knock the vodka over!

Daily Beat: Right then! First question: I want to ask you about the state of drum & bass today. You've been around for a while in the drum & bass scene now...

Friction: Yeah, I'm an old fogy now!

Daily Beat: Yeah, you're an old fogy...sort of. You've been doing your thing since the late 90s when drum & bass was darker, more sci fi orientated and minimal, only really just beginning to branch out. So what do you feel about it now and how it's changed so much?

Friction: Yeah, when I came into it, it was a lot more underground. Now it's definitely a thing where there is commercial drum & bass out there, but there is also a big underground scene. The scene is very helpful in this way because it widens the selection. If you want underground drum & bass you can go out and see underground drum & bass. If you like the drum & bass you hear at festivals, you know, certain kinds of festivals, it's also available to you. And that's how I've seen it change. Before I was doing my thing, it was very much more jungle, rave/hardcore orientated, but yeah it changes all the time and that's why drum & bass is such a strong scene: the music is constantly evolving. And we may go through periods where, for example, I'll talk to people who are like, 'Oh, drum & bass/jungle...is that still going?!' And I'll go: 'YES! It never went anywhere!' and I'll get all defensive! For some people in the mainstream it may have disappeared or not be as prominent, but I love it where it's at right now. And I love it all, the commercial drum & bass, the underground stuff, everything.

Daily Beat: Yeah, me too, I hate it when people try to compartmentalise into hundreds of little subgenres, it's all drum & bass!

Friction: Exactly, take it as it is and just like what you like man!

Daily Beat: Your radio one show: you've been going at it for a couple of years now at least if I'm not mistaken?

Friction: Yeah, two years now!

Daily Beat: How's that going, and what do you enjoy most about having such a brilliant platform (via the BBC) to broadcast music and showcase what you're currently into at the moment?

Friction: It's pretty amazing. When I first got given the show, it was a point in time when I was really starting to push forward with my production because I was known mostly as a DJ and wanted to drive forward more with my own music. So it was a bit of panic at first, actually, because I didn't physically have time to slot in a radio show, but it's the biggest drum & bass radio show in the world - you can't turn that down! It's been a learning curve, you know? I was trying to step in and fill Fabio and Grooverider's shoes which are both massive shoes to fill. But yeah, I feel like I'm learning. I think we've picked up four or five awards in the past couple of years for the show so it's doing alright, but I still feel like I'm developing as a broadcaster. I'm still scratching the surface with what I can do with the show I think.

Daily Beat: Your single with Skream last year - 'Kingpin'...I'm still jamming to that tune now!

Friction: Wicked man thanks!

Daily Beat: I have to know, what was the creative process between you and Skream like and how did you then piece it all together with Scruffizer, P Money and Riko Dan?

Friction: It was done in stages really. Skream came down to my Brighton studio and started messing about with some ideas, one of which was what became the Kingpin beat. We developed it in bits, then I called up Riko Dan and got him to do the main chorus line. Then we were wondering how to fill the rest of it up, and we realised it had become a sort of grime/dnb tune, and with that in mind we got the other guys [Scruffizzer and P Money] to spit some bars over it. It was a really gradual process, and at the end of it, it was kind of like, 'damn, this has worked!' It sounds alright and people like it, so we were pretty pleased with it. It was a nice thing to do, and actually was a really pivotal journey for me in taking forward my production. To write, basically, a grime/dubstep/dnb fusion tune was really cool, you know there's not really any overall genre to it.

Daily Beat: Yeah, thats part of the reason I like it!

Friction: Wicked man, thank you!

Daily Beat: When you're scouting talent for Shogun Audio, what are you generally looking for?

Friction: It depends really, there's different levels. Some people blow you away with their pure production skill and some can blow you away with just their raw musical ability, but might need work on their production. I think when you listen to a new artist, if they're good, you'll always feel something. You'll know there's something special going on. We're in quite a transitional phase at Shogun at the moment; we've got a load of artists coming in, like for example a new artist called Joe Ford. In fact it was Linguistics here who came up to me one day and said: 'Mate you've got to check this kid out!' I heard this guy and was just awed, you know? This kid's 19, and I instantly got that vibe, that buzz you get when you hear a new artist, a fresh artist. It's not really anything particular you're looking out for, you just know straight away.

Daily Beat: With that said then, who would you say are the up and comers at Shogun that we need to be looking out for?

Friction:  Definitely Fourward, Joe Ford, Technimatic aren't up and comers as such, they've been around for a little while, but we've sort of reworked their name and reworked their identities as artists and they've got their debut album out in a month's time. [Album is now out!]

Daily Beat: Friction it's been smashing, thanks so much for your time!

Friction: You're welcome mate, thanks for having us!

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