Touching Bass: Loadstar
Loadstar are one of the few names in today’s drum and bass arena that can satisfy the dancefloor, iPod and whatever else with a similar glut of head-nodding tunes. Originally celebrated as Xample & Lomax, the Loadstar moniker has seen the duo bounce to the higher echelons of the genre. We caught up to chat travelling, golf and the art of the remix.
Also, be sure to check out the Touching Bass mix series, which continues alongside all features via Mixcloud.
What are your favourite and least favourite parts of being on the road and travelling?
Favourite parts are travelling, experiencing new places and meeting new people, ending up in very random situations – that never gets boring! Getting the opportunity to play at some of the world’s best festivals and club nights; we feel really privileged to be doing what we love. Least favourite? I think never being able to catch up fully on sleep. Generally just feeling constantly knackered! Also we find that when we are touring a lot we can’t get quality time in the studio and sometimes after a long weekend it is hard to concentrate and feel inspired, you can’t force these things. Also a lot of the time we just fly in and out of some cities that actually we’d love to see, but when you’re on tour you just have no time.
Now when it comes to remixes, they’ve always been an important part of electronic music. I think drum and bass especially though. Do you think remixing culture is still an important part?
Agreed, particularly with drum and bass, it’s important because for a remixer you’re exposing yourself to new audiences, new genres etc. I think because most of the time they are made purely for dancefloors, making them current, exciting with DJs playing them and it keeps listeners interested. Remixes can help keep the dubplate culture alive and give an original tune a longer shelf life in what these days is a very transient scene. Some of the biggest tunes by some artists are remixes they’ve done; definitely for us we had a few that really caught people’s attention.
Out of your own work, what’s been your favourite remix of the last couple of years?
We remixed Chase and Status’ ‘Blind Faith’ last year. The original was so good and being good friends with those guys they gave us quite clear direction for the remix. Always when you have a great vocal and some great parts to work with you know you can do something quite special. Everyone still plays our remix now, it’s turned out to be one of our biggest remixes and we still play it every show…a definite ‘hands in the air’ moment!
What’s the hardest element of the remix?
I think making sure you approach the remix in a sophisticated way, trying to be original and trying something interesting in a way that respects the original track and artist. When we choose which remixes to take on, we always pick tracks carefully, they have to be tunes that we really like and where we feel we can take the original elements and do something special. We always want to write something melodic with our intros particularly, maybe take the vocal but really change the direction of the instrumentation from where it was originally. Getting the right balance between the artist’s track and our own take on it is the challenge.
Which brings us on to Breakage’s rendition of ‘Black & White’. He was obviously going to make something special, but what made you guys gravitate towards him for a refix?
Well besides the fact that he owed us a remix, we actually think Breakage was the perfect choice for this record. We have always been fans since his dubby D&B days, and have loved the way he has progressed as an artist. We were blown away by this remix from the moment we first heard it. Wasn’t sure what to expect from Breakage but he’s gone in with a really deep, melodic and progressive vibe, techno feel. I agree, it’s really special. Also Felix [Joseph]’s vocal sits so nicely so it’s a perfectly crafted remix where everything is arranged perfectly to keep you gripped from start to finish.
Do you guys remember the moment when the idea for ‘Black & White’ first materialized?
This was a track we actually wrote over a year ago and we originally always wanted to get a vocal on it but just left it as an instrumental. It always felt like a strong track, it never seemed to get boring, always think that’s a good sign! We got a manager on board and were fortunate enough to get Benny Banks on the vocal of whom we’ve been a fan of for a few years so the whole release has come together really well.
How are things shaping up for the album?
Great. It’s been a long time coming, and has been delayed a few times. But right now we’re really excited as we feel it’s really strong and we’ve got some amazing features. We’ve kept to our drum and bass roots and also had an opportunity to experiment with other tempos and other styles. Ram, our label, have been really behind our music and that’s helped drive us to put everything we have into it.
Finally, aside from the album, is there anything else in the pipeline?
We have already launched our live show, which has got off to a great start. We are planning to go big with it next year after the album is out. Aside from that, we have another couple of remixes coming. But all we ever want to do is write music, so we’ll be straight in the studio producing (for ourselves as well as others) as well as the usual run of dates DJing. Already looking forward to festival season next year; is it too soon to be getting excited for that?!
Never too early. I imagine music takes up the biggest percentage of your time, but what do you do when you’re not churning out melodies?
There’s always work to be done but it’s important to switch off so we try and get a round of golf in during the week. We’re also both big football fans and watch as much as we can. We spend quite a bit of time in London, there’s always so much going on there. Other than that it’s making time for family and friends.
Download the ‘Touching Bass: Loadstar’ mix here.
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