Fourward Moving Forward With Eatbrain
Fourward Moving Forward With Eatbrain

The Austrian production group Fourward have been producing for over 10 years and have put out releases on major labels like Shogun, RAM and Drum&Bass Arena. While well known for quite some time in Europe and the UK, they really broke the larger US scene just last year. Their massive track “Over” and its S.P.Y. remix off the Expansion and Expansion Anniversary projects were ubiquitous at festivals last year and even gained some pop success. In 2017, “Over” was definitely synonymous with Fourward more than any other track they’d done.

It might be a surprise, then, that Lukas, Dominik, Ludwig and Niki’s very next EP after Expansion would be a hard-edged neurofunk venture released on Eatbrain. It’s not so surprising, however, when one listens to Fourward’s discography or even when really analyzing Wölfe itself. Even a cursory listen to this EP shows a myriad of styles and influences and a great mastery of how to compose a diverse yet cohesive track.

The assumption might be that this group of producers is as diverse as they are because they have four heads, styles and skillsets instead of just one. After speaking to Lukas about the EP and their style, however, it seems that all the members of Fourward have a common understanding of what they want in their tracks and a common goal to write what they feel and what they love. No matter what styles they delve into next, that passion will always shine through.

Check the Q&A below and be sure to grab your own copy of the hard-hitting Wölfe EP here, out now as a Beatport exclusive.

Tell us a little bit about how you came to start producing drum & bass.
When I (Lukas) was 14, I would visit my aunt and we would play this Playstation game called Music Maker or DJ Star or something like that. I had so much fun playing this game that my aunt decided to get me a copy of FruityLoops. I was taking guitar lessons as a kid and music always played a big role within my family but getting FruityLoops was definitely a turning point in my life. After a few years of playing around in FruityLoops I realized that Dominik, Ludwig and Niki were DJing in a local club in our town regularly. All four of us were in love with drum & bass so we got together and tried to make some tunes. The vibe was good and so we started calling ourselves Fourward.

How did you hook up with Eatbrain for the Wölfe EP?
We’ve known Jade (Eatbrain label head) for quite some time now. He did our first Fourward logo and he also gave us some essential production tips when we were struggling with our mixdowns. We also did a remix of Jade and Matt-u´s “Moblaw” back then. I think it was Eatbrain003. Right from the start of making these four tracks we felt like Eatbrain could be the ideal home for them, and after sending them to Jade it all happened really quickly. We’re happy this worked out so well.

Stylistically it seems like you were able to put together a myriad of hard bass styles on this EP, from earlier darkstep influences to more modern, steppy neurofunk. What was the production process like on these?
The track “Wölfe” is mainly based on sounds we made in the software synthesizers Serum and fm8. Drums, bass, midranges, et cetera are made within these two synths. Except for the howling of the wolves and the resampling of some of the synth sounds, not many audio samples have been used there. The other tracks are a combination of both, using softsynth patches and recycling old sound design bits we have made in the past.

Speaking to all the different styles, how do you work the collaboration of all four of your ideas and styles? Do you each have different roles or is it just one big brainstorm all the time?
It’s not like back in the day anymore where all four of us could come together and sit in the studio until the tune is done or there is no oxygen left. But still all the feedback and input from all four members plays a big role. Everyone must be satisfied before we are finished.

Do you think it helps that since there are four of you?
Being four guys has pros and cons. Sometimes it’s good to have such a wide range of ideas and sometimes there are simply too many ideas.

Do you think there is a core style for you that follows you no matter what label you’re working on and what style you choose?
I am pretty sure there is. Every producer has as certain workflow and ways how he/she writes music. This and also the tools, plugins, software, hardware and sounds you prefer to use inevitably form your sound. At the same time we are not here to break anything down. We are just here to make the sound we love and sometimes its cheese, sometimes it’s deep and sometimes it’s hard-hitting. Limiting one’s creativity to a certain tempo and structure that is DJ-friendly is already very restricting. As an artist you always want to explore new territory, so producing only a certain subgenre doesn’t work for us.

You have a lot of great contributors on the Wölfe EP. How did you come to work with each of them?
All of them are great artists. I think Ludwig was playing a few gigs alongside Signal and that’s where the idea of collabing was initiated. It’s always great to work with young, fresh talent. Same goes for Phentix. He lives not far from us, so a collab was just a matter of time. With the track “Bring Back the Rukus” we were able to get some tasty Virus Syndicate vocals after Jade introduced us to them. Big thanks to all the artists that have been involved!