It’s the start of a brand new year so what better way to start it than by focussing on some fresh talent. We recently caught up with the REDS collective to find out what makes them tick and they were also kind enough to record us a mix.
Hi there REDS would you like to introduce yourselves?
Ed: Yes yes! We’re Ed and Adam – two friends who love all sorts of music but are particularly fond of Drum & Bass. We’re from London and both live and work in the big smoke. We make music to keep ourselves sane. We’re both nearly 30 which is exciting. You can generally find us hanging out in swimming pools around the world surrounded by hot women being international, superstar DJs (see press shot).
Could you give us a brief overview of how you both got into the scene?
Adam: We both have the wonderful city of Leeds to thank really ‐ it’s where we met and both started taking music more seriously. We’d each been DJing since we were about 13 ‐ I started out playing UK Garage and then really got into D&B in the early 2000s, and Ed had a few D&B records but was all about hip‐hop. By the time we arrived in Leeds for university in 2003 it was as such an exciting time for Drum & Bass, and for the scene up there ‐ I was addicted, and since we lived together and all our mates were into it too, it didn’t take long for Ed to get the bug. After a lot of money spent in Tribe Records and a lot of time spent making demo CDs and pissing off our neighbours, we both started getting a few bookings around Leeds and it all went from there really.
We were lucky enough to play for guys like Metropolis, Subdub, and Central Beatz while we were there, all of which were big sources of inspiration for us musically, and who continue to put on some of the best parties in the country.
One of the biggest things for us and for the whole Leeds scene at the time was getting involved with Radio Frequency, the local pirate station that was being set up ‐ we hosted a show together which was amazing fun, got our names out there and allowed us to play out more, but most importantly it brought everyone in the scene together into one big family (clichéd but true…).
How long have you been producing together?
Ed: We started learning properly in about 2006, along with a couple of good DJ friends ‐ Bradley ‘Retro’ and Dan ‘Essence’. We all had a similar taste in D&B and seemed to agree about the type of stuff we all wanted to make, so we made a couple of tracks together and were really happy with them. We had a lot of fun and having four of us meant there were loads of ideas and the quality control was high ‐ our first proper finished track was called ‘Rollin’ Free’ and got a lot of love, so we decided to carry on together the four of us. We spent a lot of time in Bradley’s mouldy basement eating pizza and challenging each other to get better and learn more. When Adam & I finished uni and both moved down to London in 2007 we all carried on writing as a four for a while, but over time other priorities meant Dan and Bradley left us to it.
Who came up with the name REDS and what was the reasoning behind it?
Adam: It’s simply an acronym for our original line‐up: Bradley ‘Retro’, Dan ‘Essence’, Ed ‘DL’ and Adam ‘Subtrak’. We didn’t intend to keep it originally but could never agree on another name so it stuck!
How would you describe your sound?
Ed: We have always thought of our mission statement as always striving to write music for the dancefloor but with soul. We want to write real music. If it’s throwaway we’ll throw it away before we’ve finished it. There’s a lot of music out there that lacks that moment that gives you goosebumps. We try and write music that occasionally offers up those moments of pure excitement because you’ve nailed a particular harmony or a certain chord change makes you want to laugh and cry. Drum and Bass is more than capable of this and this is something people forget!
Your music takes on many elements where do you draw your influences from?
Adam: We both love all sorts of music so influences genuinely come from anywhere ‐ when we get together in the studio to write something new we often spend about an hour playing each other music that we’re feeling, and then take inspiration from whatever it might be into what we make. It might be a bit of old funk or jazz or some new house or techno, but regardless of genre it’s all about that visceral reaction, making your hairs stand on end.
Do you ever produce tracks individually?
Adam: Yes we do quite a lot on our own ‐ we both work full time jobs so sometimes it’s difficult to find time to get together. Some parts of the process are better done alone I think anyway ‐ technical things like getting your drums tight, nailing a synth patch, and mixdowns are things we normally try to do individually ‐ but the fun part is getting the idea down and building it out together. We also both try to find time to make our own music in other genres under a couple of different aliases.
You had a good year last year with releases on both Fokuz and Celsius. How did those signings come about?
Adam: I was introduced to Marco at Triple Vision by a mutual friend and so sent him a few tracks ‐ some of them we wrote some time ago actually ‐ he came back to me within a couple of hours with a proposal for the Roller Disco EP on Celsius and for the Green Lanes EP on Fokuz, and it was as simple as that. They are both great labels and have been an absolute pleasure to work with so we’re looking forward to working more with them!
Your track ‘Green Lanes’ featured on Zero‐T’s FabricLive album in 2010. Why do you think it took so long to get a full release?
Ed: It was no‐one’s fault but we had a few difficulties with the original label it was due to be released on. When we decided to send it out to other labels a few years down the line we had an incredible reaction from Marco and the other guys at Fokuz. It just seemed right because we are so proud of that track that we didn’t want it to be left by the way side. It being released on Fokuz was a real honour because they’ve put out some awesome music over the years.
What do you find hardest about producing?
Ed: At the moment, if I’m completely honest, not much! That might sound incredibly arrogant but Adam and I are just having so much fun in the studio. We both sit down and spend a good day together every week or two and recently we’ve been really happy with everything we’ve been making. We both have full time jobs so time is precious and weirdly that pressure to produce something interesting helps it seems! If I had to pick something it would be learning when to hold back and restrain yourself. Stopping yourself from pushing something too much or adding another element unnecessarily is an artform in itself. Less is often much more.
What does 2014 hold in store for REDS?
Ed: In the immediate future we’ve got another track that we wrote quite a while ago coming out in February. It’s a track called ‘Fever’ featuring Delhi Sultanate on vocals. It’s being released on Liondub International based in New York and we’re really hyped about it. The original will be released on vinyl with a Marcus Visionary remix on the flip. There will be a couple more remixes on the digital release too. Big ups to Erik Liondub for putting the package together! Go and grab that when it comes out. Beyond that we’ve got a lot more music ready to go so we’re hoping to be releasing more very soon.
Adam: We were both DJs before we started making music so we love playing out naturally. We haven’t had time for much DJing recently but would love to do more in 2014 ‐ we’ll certainly keep on working with the guys as BASSFoundation who put on a great night in London that we’ve been playing at, so look out for that one.
Talk us through the mix you have done, is this something we are likely to hear you play out in a club and which are the stand out tracks for you?
Adam: What we love about D&B as a genre, and something we’ve always tried to reflect in our DJ sets, is the diversity it offers ‐ this mix is no different, but as it’s recorded especially for InnerSoul we took the chance to go a bit deeper, and really enjoyed it. There’s some brilliant new deeper drum & bass around at the moment, and we’re really excited by some of the half time stuff that people like Fracture, Om Unit and Gremlinz are making, as well as by the resurgence of some amazing liquid rollers by people like Technimatic. It’s difficult to pick any specific tracks but Nympho’s ‘Suddenly VIP’ is a definite persie ‐ a beautiful, spacious, liquid roller; Survival’s ‘Dub Soldier’ kills it every time; Dom & Roland’s ‘Unofficial Jah’ is just next level and feels completely timeless as a piece of music; and our old mate DLR’s remix of ‘Sometimes we lie…’ is just never going to get old!
Check out the REDS mix below
Sam Binga – AYO feat. Redders [Modulations]
REDS – Crying Rain [Celsius]
Kid Drama – What Do You See [Exit]
Submorphics – Organ Grinder (Calibre Remix) [Rubik]
Chroma – If You Only Knew [Program]
Nymfo – Suddenly VIP [Commercial Suicide]
REDS – Simmer [Fokuz]
Hidden Orchestra – Vorka (DC Breaks Remix) [Tru Thoughts]
Technimatic – Frozen Leaves [SGN:LTD]
REDS – Nobody Does it Better [Celsius]
Survival – Dub Soldier [Dispatch]
Om Unit – Sleepwalkers [Metalheadz]
Machinedrum – Gunshotta (Fracture’s Astrophonica Remix) [Ninja Tune]
Brain Crisis – Area Winds [Subtitles]
Digital & Spirit – Phantom Force (Fracture Astrophonica Edit) [Phantom Audio]
Gremlinz & Homemade Weapons – After Dark feat. Collinjah (J:Kenzo Remix) [Samurai]
Dom & Roland – Unofficial Jah [Metalheadz]
Jubei & dBridge – These Things [Metalheadz]
Stealth – Scrummage [Program]
SpectraSoul – Sometimes We Lie… (DLR Remix) [Shogun Audio]