I’ve decided to follow one of my idols “Guy Noir” and put my private eye hat on, as you can see in my photo. I’ve decided go after the movers and shakers of a criminal ring of drum’n bass dealers. I’ve taken on my first investigative interview to see just how deep this cartel runs. Proximity Recordings is a weighty pusher of some of the darker and more experimental ends of dnb. Part of my investigation requires I seek out and use this drum’n bass frequently. Below is a transcript of my investigation.
NAPDNB: First of all, thank you for taking a moment to answer a few questions. I’m excited to share your answers with our NAP DNB fam. I’d also like to thank you for giving me a chance to pick your brain a bit.
If you don’t mind, tell us a bit about yourself. Do you have a “big boy job”?
Kit: Hey guys, no problem, thanks for the invite to do this interview. Yes, I do some freelance media management work in the television & film industries.
NAPDNB: What’s your favorite meal?
Kit: Wow, that’s a tough one as there are so many dishes which I like! Hard to choose just one but I would have to say that Paella is high up on the list. The Spanish have got it spot on!
NAPDNB: What about beer?
Kit: In the UK it is rare to come by my favorite beer, which is Chimay. When I do I always drink it with appreciation.
NAPDNB: Do you have any passions/hobbies outside of dnb/djing?
Kit: Sure do, I love swimming and jogging in my spare time. They’re really good for the mind and body. I enjoy long walks in my local park and reading interesting factual based books. I am rather partial to watching a good film or documentary as well. I also have a small photography and video editing hobby.
NAPDNB: How did you come into dnb?
Kit: A mixture of things really. I mainly got into D&B through visiting record stores, locking onto pirate radio stations and from what my older brother was listening to.
NAPDNB: What attracted you to it?
Kit: I grew up on a diet of Rock & Roll and Blues music courtesy of my parents. However, from 1992 -1995 the sounds of Rave, Hip Hop, Hardcore and Jungle took over the household via my brother. Albums such as ‘Experience’ by The Prodigy, ‘Rave 92’ and ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ by Wu Tang Clan played a huge part in this. As for Jungle music this was accessed via pirate radio and we could pick up clear frequencies from one station in particular, Don FM. My brother would record the tapes and I would later dub up copies for myself. Tracks such as ‘Valley of The Shadows’ by Origin Unknown and ‘Terminator’ by Goldie were stand out tunes on those tapes.
In 1995 and completely addicted to the above I heard ‘Pulp Fiction’ by Alex Reece for the first time on a Fabio & Grooverider CD and I was blown away for many different reasons. The drums had a different step to what I had previously heard, the bass moved and complimented the drum programming and I had heard the trumpet sample before as well in a Coolio tune called Can-O-Corn. I was a huge Hip Hop fanatic and I already had a stack of Coolio’s stuff amongst my collection of music. I was more into the instrumentals though, the beats, samples and turntablism used in Hip Hop really caught my ear. I liked the rapping but I felt I couldn’t relate to what was being said. With ‘Pulp Fiction’ and many other D&B tracks I could. Drum & Bass was a fresh new sound back then, It incorporated samples and ideas from other much loved music genres, such as, Hip Hop, Techno, House, Jungle, Funk and Reggae etc. It merged these genres and many others into original compositions making it a really cutting edge music genre to me. It was a very futuristic sound due to methods of its creation and above all it was a British sound. That’s what really attracted me to D&B, it was a UK born music genre and it was something which I felt I could fully relate to.
I then spent over a decade and a half collecting records, buying equipment, going out to club nights and warehouse parties in London, networking, building contacts, making new like minded friends and learning how to DJ & produce music. Post millennium I started to send out recorded demos of my mixes to promoters and soon I started to receive DJ bookings in London at The Egg, Turnmills, Hidden, Plan B and many more. I also had the privilege of gaining some work experience at the legendary and much missed D&B weekly club night, Movement, Bar Rumba.
2010 was the start of bigger things to come though. I had just done a remix project with Stealth for a House label called Grin Recordings and I was interested in how it all worked from a record labels perspective. So, I looked into a few distribution deals, just as research, nothing serious. On a cold night in February myself Xtrah, Frankee and a few others went out to celebrate Bashers birthday. It was on this night which we discussed formulating Proximity Recordings with Basher being the front man. It made sense as he already had a strong presents in the scene with tunes on Frequency and many others. We got a great p&d deal from Nu Urban Music and the very next day it was all up and running with the first release coming from Xtrah a couple of weeks later. I started off on the label as an artist and featured on our third release, Frankee’s Dancefloor EP. However, I also started organising press releases, social media management and photo shoots for the label and artists.
In 2012 Nu Urban Music debunked so we moved the catalogue over to Cygnus Music and since working with them I feel like I have learn’t a lot about how to organise a busy independent record label, taking on new responsibilities, such as, A+R, promotional campaigns, label events, press and some accounting. I am also heading up new and exciting projects at Proximity. I can’t reveal much at this stage but there are some great things to come! I still make music to this day, having last released a solo track, Algorithm, on our sixth LP, Proximity Effect Vol 4.
NAPDNB: How do you go about selecting for a set? What’s the method of your madness?
Kit: Well, the art of mixing for me is to make two tunes sound like one tune. For this I would usually select a good ratio of instrumental and vocal based tracks.
Due to the fast turn around of releases these days my intro tack will be whatever I have been listening to on repeat prior to a gig or maybe one of my own tracks which I have been working on. From there I will select a few Proximity tracks either from our back catalogue or from our forthcoming catalogue. I will then look to my promo and demo folders to grab some fresh and exclusive material to include in the set. If I want a track which I don’t have then I will simply buy it from an online retailer. Lastly, I have a folder of oldskool stuff which I will also throw into the set. Although, it really does depend on what vibe the crowd are feeling on the night so I always carry a back up of random tunes.
NAPDNB: What do you look for in a dj set as a listener?
Kit: Originality, diversity and education. I like DJ’s who play across the board. A bit of liquid, a bit of deepness, a bit of darkness, a bit of old skool, a bit of new skool. If I hear the same sub genre of D&B getting played for an hour plus then the ear gets tired after a while.
NAPDNB: What about a tune? What draws you to a track?
Kit: I love hearing a tune which combines traditional instrumentation with today’s modern synthesis techniques. They compliment each other beautifully when produced right. Or it could have sample in their which I recognise instantly attracting the ear.
NAPDNB: Considering the last two questions, who has your ear at the moment Dj and producer wise?
Kit:Look out for a duo called Alibi. Their sick! They have my ear both DJ and producer wise right now. Kyrist is another very talented producer as well. She has had a few releases with us and it is great to see a female coming up in the scene. Also Young: G, Memro, L-Side, Tephra & Arkoze, Quaed, Gerra & Stone, Transparent, Interline and Bredren always bring the fire.I am also really into tracks from producers like Calibre, Break, FD, Ulterior Motive, Nosia, SPY, Emperor, DLR, Commix, Mikal and Marky to name a few. When it comes to the sub genres of D&B I am an all rounder 🙂
NAPDNB: Do you make/play music aside from dnb?
Kit: Yep! I make Hip Hop, House, Garage and some experimental stuff as well as D&B. Anything really, just depends what mood I am in. I usually upload them hear: http://tiny.cc/san1yx
NAPDNB: What should we be looking for coming up?
Kit: If you are in the UK then you can catch me playing at the Nurtured Beatz x Proximity Recordings Party 28th August at Timbuck2, Bristol. Details here: http://tiny.cc/9bc3yx
If you’re not in the UK then hop on a plane, train or boat and come join us! All are welcome 🙂
Now for a bit about….
NAPDNB: From a business standpoint, what is your mission statement?
Kit: To put out high quality dance music at an alarming rate whilst still managing to maintain originality and diversity within every release.
NAPDNB: I imagine you recieve countless submissions. Do you listen to all of them? If not what makes you take the leap to do so?
Kit: Yep, I get sent a lot of music and I do listen to every demo. I know what it feels like to be a hungry artist so I try to be as communicative as I can be with everyone who sends me music. Regardless if we choose to take on their demos for release or not.
NAPDNB: How has the process changed with the digital revolution?
Kit: I honestly can’t give a full answer with regards to that as we have always been a label which releases on a digital platform. I would say that the consumption of music has changed though, majorly. You only have to look at services like Spotify, Youtube and Apple Music to see the way it is all going. Exciting times ahead for sure!
NAPDNB: Who should we be keeping an eye out for?
Kit: Well, as said above Alibi have some great music floating about right now. They have just had their debut single released with us, Silhouette / Restless. Goodfield is another artist who everyone should be keeping an eye out for. He’s also just released his debut single with us, tilted ‘Paradox’ and has much more coming. Keep your eyes on Quaed as well. He has been making some fire as of late!
NAPDNB: Do you have any podcast/radio shows we should be listening to? Tours coming up? Releases we should be looking for?
Kit: We have recently created a new Beatport page to host our artists’ studio mixes. You guys can check them out at https://www.beatport.com/proximityrecordingsofficial
Basher plays on Kiss FM every 4th Tuesday night / Wednesday morning of the month. Always forthcoming Proximity material played on there.
We haven’t got any tours at the moment, however, we are in talks with a few international promoters so keep an eye out. As said before we have a party on 28th August at Timbuck2, Bristol. That is in conjunction with our friends at Nurtured Beatz.
Release wise we’ve got tons in store. We are currently waiting on another single from Young:G, we have some new recruits coming through such as M Soul & SP7 plus Proximity regular Release is set for a brand new and exciting single too! You can expect to hear much more from the rest of camp in 2015 as well.