When word went out that Los Angeles’ own Dr. Apollo was releasing a project on RAM Records’ sister imprint ProgRAM, the love started pouring in. With most thinking that the ever-prolific local producer was dropping a single or maybe even an EP on the legendary imprint, when the news broke that it was a full-on ALBUM, jaws dropped all across North America. Similar to Bensley, who seemed to emerge out of nowhere with an instantly recognizable vision and sound all his own, Dr. Apollo’s The Simulation LP is a jaw-dropping foray into the often hypnotic and hallucinatory dancefloor vision that he’s been carefully crafting and curating for years.
Having surfaced on a number of RAM compilations and representing the Stateside family on RAMLive streams during the pandemic, Dr. Apollo cements his place in the RAM pantheon as the only American to have an album released on the ProgRAM imprint. It’s a massive debut and one that ambitiously carves a nine-track journey through the often eclectic but ever-inspiring headspace of one of the States’ most exciting dab producers to emerge in recent memory.
Bridging the old-school with the new, the futuristic leaning of the album is hard to escape. Tunes like “Holy Grail,” “Gold,” “Operation Prosecco,” “M090s” and “Waves” reveal a penchant for the kind of experimental freeform ethos one would expect from a club-hardened jazz musician rather than a youngblood drum and bass producer. Still, even with dreamy cuts like “Gold” easing us into the late-night shadows, there’s enough bite in tunes like “Glowing in the Dark,” “Pray for Love,” and “In Colour” to have the dancefloor bubbling all night long.
To celebrate the release, Bassrush sat down with the good doctor himself for a sneak peek behind the scenes of the LP, as well as an introduction to his mysterious collaborator, BZRKR, who shows up as a constant presence on the album. Paired with the premiere of one of our favorite cuts off the LP, “Brooklyn,” below, it’s a glorious day to be a Stateside drum and bass fan as one of our own makes the leap across the pond to the UK motherland and drops his own contribution to the ever-evolving genre we all known and love.
Dr. Apollo’s The Simulation LP drops this Friday, August 27, on digital outlets worldwide so lock yours in and be sure to check Dr. Apollo representing the Bassrush fam at Nocturnal Wonderland next month (tickets and more details here).
First off congrats on this huge accomplishment! Stateside dnb always feels like the bastard child of UK dnb so to get a release with the RAM family is the ultimate accolade! How does it feel to be repping not only yourself but the Stateside scene as well?
I’m truly honored to be able to my express myself as an artist amongst the very people who created the genre. I hope I can inspire anyone in America who wants to make drum n bass. Now is the time to create a one-of-a-kind expression that can stand along side all the RAM greats that have come before.
To up the ante even further, this isn’t just a single or an EP we’re talking about but a full-on album! How did you approach such a challenge?
RAM and ProgRAM only want the most forward thinking and innovative sounds of the next generation. I had to push myself to create something brand new while still staying true to the roots of the genre. I’m fortunate I’ve had the best mentors and guidance along the way to make sure I was prepared for that challenge.
To any who know you, you’ve been on the grind for quite some time now. It’s almost unimaginable how prolific you are. Give us a sense of how you write tunes and your approach to process in general. Where many talented would-be producers get lost in perfectionism, you seem to allow a kind of organic almost intuitive approach to letting tunes come alive in the DAW before worrying about polishing or perfecting the ideas later.
Studying music is a life long process. It’s all about the commitment to the craft. I’ve studied with the same drum teacher for 16 years just trying to find grooves and rhythms that really stick with people. Being authentically organic is a kind of perfection and it can take your whole life to master. I have a lot more work to do. Any sound can be polished, that doesn’t mean it will be remembered forever.
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention a prominent collaborator who represents on the LP with you. Introduce us to this mysterious friend and how you two came to work together.
BZRKR is a musical force of nature. He honestly just appeared one day at my house and explained to me how he wants to change mankind. I believed him. FiNNi is also a big inspiration for both of us.
The vibe on the album is pretty unique and rides the fine line between bangers, liquid and Bensley eclecticism. How would you describe the album to someone who hasn’t had the pleasure of listening to it yet?
The album is a concept piece that explains the creation story of BZRKR.
That puts a nice twist on things! We’re going to have to go back and listen to the album from top to bottom with that in mind. Before we do that though, we’re stoked to be able to premiere one of our favorite cuts off the album, “Brooklyn.” Give us a sense of how this one came together.
“Brooklyn” was heavily inspired by OG East coast hip hop producers like J Dilla, Dj Premier, RZA, and 9th Wonder. I spend most of my free time speeding up their beats double time to hear what they sound like as drum and bass. There’s a lot you can learn from that.
Last but not least – hit us with some final thoughts and drop some shout outs on us as well!
I couldn’t be here without my team and everyone at RAM. I’m also very blessed to be a product of the Los Angeles drum and bass family which stands as the HQ for DnB in America. I would be nothing without every DJ and producer who has helped teach me the real OG knowledge. Without roots, dance music has no soul.