Known individually as Hunter Watson and Lee Griffin, the stateside duo known as Legion continue to make huge waves both at home and abroad as their anthemic dancefloor grooves continue to surface on imprints as varied as Ram, Program, Hospital, New Playaz, and Zerothree.
Alongside fellow heavyweight Logam, the crew seemed to really come into their own with the 2014 vocal anthem “House of Cards” on Program, a vibe that serves as the genetic foundation for their latest forays for the imprint: “To Be Alone” and “Switch Up.” Ethereal atmospheres, distorted guitar licks, shaking basslines, and crisp and crunchy percussion hold it down as the crew draw upon equally diverse influences that range from minimalist neurofunk on through to jump-up floor-burners. The tunes are out now so lock yours in here!
Below, Legion select five tracks that were instrumental in forging their current sound. Hold tight for Part Two this Friday, as Logam hits us with his own essential selection of killer bits.
It takes quite a lot of effort to not sound like everyone else in the charts. True originality holds its weight in volumes these days.
Sinthetix “Ultraviolet” (Cryptic Audio, 2002)
Hunter: Minimalist future-funk at its finest; a testament to simplicity and arrangement with a superb analog mixdown. Josh Impulse told me it took them all of two hours to write it and upon finding the actual zip disks for the studio sessions for this years later, I believe there were only five tracks and no effects running throughout the entire song. Sinthetix were some of the first stateside producers to cross over the pond and by far the most influential to my own production career and style. Impulse was a mentor to myself in many ways, always giving me the exclusive acetates of their work and even collaborating, swapping samples, and passing on methods of their highly guarded “space funk” filter techniques by way of EMU sampler and analog desk distortion. Highly influential.
Pendulum “Vault” (31 Records, 2003)
Hunter: This record was one of the hottest releases of my entire DJ career. After witnessing back to back rinse and rewind treatment by every headlining DJ booked for Winter Music Conference/Ultra Music Festival in Miami in 2002, it was cemented in my personal hall of fame as one of the hottest records of all time. Upon receiving my specially reserved advance copy from the now defunct Breakbeat Science record store in NYC, it was the one record that was so exclusive that by performing sets with it months prior to release actually pushed my domestic DJ career to new heights in the USA.
Bad Company UK “Hornet” (BC Recordings, 2002)
Hunter: Another nostalgic record from my formative years as a DJ, this record graduated top of class from the school of “larger than life dubplate hype.” It was the centerpiece for the elitist era of DOA blacklist, snubbing out DJs for playing unauthorized dubplates. It was on rotation for years before release, and as a spectator the only way to hear it other than a shoddy clip on Dnbarena was to go see Andy C or Fresh play a worn out acetate version that most likely would skip in use. In fact, by the time we had access to cutting it, it still had to be replaced several times before making its final release on their Shot Down on Safari album some odd three years later. Talk about massive hype!
Commix “Be True” (Metalheadz, 2007)
Lee: A serious classic with pure vibes, this has to be of the classiest drum & bass tunes of the past decade. Play it during any set and it immediately resets the crowd right back in. Commix were some of the first liquid or minimal sounding artists in decades to really turn our heads and inspire us to bring it down a notch for the sake of good vibes. We are still inspired by this tune in the studio.
Twisted Individual “Bandwagon Blues” (Formation, 2003)
Lee: This track is just fun, I remember the hype surrounding it and the pure mockery of another producer’s bandwagon success from biting off his sound. I think it does take quite a lot of effort to not just sound like everyone else in the charts. Whether a track is better or worse is just opinion, but true originality holds its weight in volumes these days, and most labels have said that’s what they initially liked about our music. In fact, A&R by Twisted Individual’s Allsorts label led to our first UK vinyl release and BBC debut on the Essential Mix with Netsky. He was very influential in getting us linked with DJ Hype and to where we are today. Shouts to the badman, Twisted, wherever you are!