A conversation with Nuusic on Conrad Subs' new album
Jungle has always been the backbone, of the music we love, for a long time. After listening to the latest Conrad Subs album, forthcoming on a forward-thinking Manchester imprint, we had a chat with Conrad and Nuusic label bosses Joe & Dylan to find out what's in store for the future.
Your album is a piece of art that's set to stand the age of time. What drew you personally to release an album rather than singles from a variety of labels that seem to be ever more popular recently?
Ah, thanks I hope so! Well, the album started almost by accident, I sent Dylan ‘Mercury Rising’ early last year and we both felt it sort of sat somewhere between home listening and dancefloor, and definitely the sort of track you’d have on an album. And that became the start of the whole thing, and originally the plan was for the whole LP to be that sort of feel and vibe but as it progressed and I wrote more tracks, the idea morphed to try and encompass all styles of Drum & Bass Jungle. I’ve always wanted to do an album anyway as I’m old school and grew up listening to ‘Timeless’, ‘New Forms’ and ‘Wormhole’ on repeat. There’s just so much more room to express yourself with an album and put together a larger piece of work than with singles and EP’s. Obviously the way we consume music has changed and everything is instant now but I still feel that Drum & Bass albums are where you can really hear what an artist is about, and spend some time digesting the music instead of only hearing 32 bars in a DJ set.
You can hear the influences and variations of tracks included in this project whether its liquid, jungle, hardcore and some dark elements involved too. Can you give us an insight into yourself as a music lover?
Yeah well, I’m just a full-on D&B head really, nothing else grabs me as much or holds my attention long enough. I like some Hip Hop and a few other things but really it’s Drum & Bass Jungle that I primarily listen to and have done since I was a kid. And that’s really what I tried to capture with the album, all of the styles and sounds that I have grown up with. There are a few nods to some big tracks from the past, and I’ve tried to include a bit of everything: some Good Looking sounds, some Jungle, some tearout dancefloor, some liquid, some up to date more rolling stuff etc.
Drum & Bass and Jungle are always consistently pushing boundaries but what do you think personally people look for in tracks nowadays?
Well, I think the beauty of it is it’s so diverse and there is such a wide spectrum of styles and sounds that fit under the name Drum & Bass, that whatever people are looking for in tracks they can find it. There’s so much music out there too and labels pushing different sounds, and you can spend hours listening through Soundcloud, Spotify, Youtube, browsing Juno etc and discover new artists pretty much every day.
Any other big projects you've got lined up for us in 2020?
Yeah, I’ve got some more music coming out on Deep in the Jungle as well as Dread Recordings, Program and Liondub. Plus plenty of exclusives on my Patreon and my monthly show ‘The Dub Club’ on keakie.com. Just getting my head down and having fun with music really! Even though this year has been a right off event wise there has still been lots of good music about and I’ve had a great response to the stuff I’ve released so going to keep working hard and see what happens.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today here at Rendah Mag. Firstly for our audience that isn’t accustomed to the label, can you introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about your backgrounds?
Joe: No problem, thanks for having us! I’m Joe Mac, I co-own Nuusic with Dylan. We met while raving in Manchester around 2013. We run the label together, DJ together under ‘Nuusic’, as well as running occasional events under the same name.
Dylan: Hello! I’m Dylan or Rafiki Dubs if we’re using our made-up names. Native to North Wales but moved to Manchester in 2013 which is when I was properly introduced to Jungle & DnB as well as all the other aspects of bass & sound system culture.
I'm seriously loving the output you guys are putting out on Nuusic and your success shows that in heaps. What drew you to start up a label?
Dylan: Thank you! It’s been a great few years for us. Originally the page was just a music sharing platform which; when I moved to Manchester, evolved into a club night & eventually a label. We were lucky to be around loads of very talented producers and experienced DJs in the early days; who helped us out the blocks! Dawn Raid were our residents from pretty much day one and we learned a lot from them!
Joe: Thanks – glad you’re feeling it! I think it’s because we both know, or know of, so many talented people producing music. Like Dylan said; in part, we felt that they deserved more exposure and that we could create a platform that would lend them to that; to supplement us also pushing that kind of sound in our sets and at our events.
The passion clearly shows, what musical influences have you got outside of Drum & Bass & Jungle?
Joe: I also run a Reggae, Dancehall, Bashment and Jungle/DnB event in Liverpool celebrating Soundsystem Culture called ‘Rum Riddimz Run’ that we’re both resident DJs for. I know I have a lot of influence from elsewhere but I’d say they were my main ones, along with religiously listening to old 90s Jungle mixtapes.
Dylan: I mainly listen to Reggae & Dubstep at home you know! 140s was definitely where I was first introduced to bass-culture; I listened to a lot of 16Bit, Skream, Coki, Benga etc, when I was younger. Like Joe said; we play Reggae & Dancehall out regularly at Rum Riddimz Run and I think that has always filtered through to our style of Jungle.
Who do you personally think is the pushing the boundaries of productions and anyone you think we should keep an eye out for?
Joe: There are too many out there to name! I’m hoping the silver lining of lockdown is that we’ll come out the other side with some amazing music having been made; with people potentially able to spend longer producing that usual. Obviously I have to shout out Conrad Subs who has an unmatched work rate in DnB at the moment; along with Teej, Kumo, Sl8r and everyone else we’re lucky to know and work with.
Dylan: Have to agree with Joe here! We’re very lucky to have a roster of incredibly talented people working with us: Conrad Subs smashes out so much high-quality music across the whole Jungle & DnB spectrum. Teej and Kumo are hit-making machines. Sl8r is doing making some amazing music at the minute as well; he’s headed straight to the top. There are loads of really talented young lads coming through now as well; Guzi, Disrupta, J Select, Motiv are all killing it at the minute.
A 14 track jungle album that oozes class and quality. Whether you're keen to get on with your day and need a solid soundtrack or you want to sit back, get your feet up and zone out to some great vibes this is the album for you.
Whether your preference is to draw for the old school hardcore vibes of " Get Hardcore " & " Obese " or prefer some melodic liquid of " Go It Alone " there is plenty in between to satisfy the taste of ravers and everyday music listeners.
The dark jungle heavy amen break influenced " Mercury Rising " and " Rooftops " delivering a deep minimal track infused with breaks and bleeds