Every now and then an artist emerges from the shadows to take the scene by storm and right now that man is Molecular. Quickly becoming a hot commodity amongst those who know, expect 2022 to be the year that Molecular breaks out in a major way.
Armed with a unique sound that’s all his own and an exquisite ability to inject funk into the drum and bass dancefloor, it should come as no surprise that the bad man DLR has snatched up five cuts for his Sofa Sound Bristol imprint that are due to drop next week.
Before we get to all that though, we’ve got a special treat for the Bassrush fam in the form of one of our favorite cuts off the EP, ‘Totally Different’ featuring Molecular going head-to-head with DLR himself.
As if that wasn’t enough, we were blessed to be able to sit down with the man of the hour for a full-on introduction and Q&A so you can say you knew him when.
Check the interview after the premiere below and be sure to pre-order the full ‘Funky Times’ EP here before it drops on December 8.
First off, introduce yourself to the Bassrush family. Give us a brief glimpse into your past, especially how it relates to music in general.
So ye I’m a 24 y/o guy from Porto – Portugal, used to be heavily into WoW and CoD (haha before music got more serious) and always loved music in general, the interest for electronic music started with my older brother tho who used to listen to a lot of 90s-00s house – that got me into trying and exploring different genres of music… coming back to the computer games – I discovered dubstep/drum & bass in a CoD sniping montage when I was like 13 (already trying to make some weird beats in FL Studio on laptop speakers, not knowing why the sub notes wouldn’t make any sound lol) and from then on I got hooked on drum & bass and just discovering new music in general.
At what point does drum and bass and the production bug hit you? Did they hit at the same time or did you gradually find your way to dnb? Who were some of your early influences (artists or tunes) that you point to as laying the foundation for who you’ve become?
First started trying to make beats at around the age of 11/12 (can’t remember precisely) but just only here and there and I didn’t understand anything about the DAW at around 13… I was just making 4 sec loops in FL Studio until I discovered the arrangement mode (I only knew of the 4 beat patterns haha) – whenever I discovered DNB at around 13 thats also when I started to investigate more about music production but still kinda dedicated to techno/house/dubstep stuff… eventually around when I was 15 I realised DNB was the one genre that resonated the most with me and I had a lot of fun trying to discover how to make it. I was very into (deeper-rolling) neurofunk at the time as well…
I have to say my biggest influences at the time were the old school Noisia sound, Break, Ed Rush & Optical, anything released on Quarantine, that sort of sound.. Eventually much more recently like 6 years ago I delved a bit more into the UK/Bristol sound and got a lot more interested in stuff like DLR, Alix Perez, Roni Size, Dillinja, Krust, Total Science, Breakage, DJ Zinc, Fracture, that’s a lot of names already haha… I just got so obsessed with the UK sound when I first discovered it, it was all a bit overwhelming how I didn’t know about any of this… being from Portugal most of the sound that arrived to us was Neurofunk I think.
Speaking of influences, how do you describe your sound or vibe or vision? It’s an intentionally difficult question but am always interested to see how artists articulate their own sound and what they are intending to create.
This is a very hard question indeed… haha… most importantly there needs to be FUNK and VIBE and people need to be able to GROOVE with it… to the simplest form really.. I’m heavily into old school Dub and also Funk/Disco, and those 2 genres can make you vibe a lot just with simple drums and a simple bassline… that’s what it’s all about in terms of groove and funk for me.
For vibe I always try to fit into the Rave/UK music culture, but I wouldn’t say it’s on purpose, most music I listen to (dub, disco, funk, soul, jazz, hip hop, 140 dubstep stuff) is either from Jamaica or the UK anyways…
I’m also heavily into sci-fi/space stuff and soundtracks as well, also love just raw synth music straight out of the analog synths.. so the way I look at my music is just a mixture of all this + a pinch of the ‘bad boy’ vibe from the UK music scene. Needs to have groove, vibe, funk, rhythm and needs to be fun. SUPER HARD QUESTION!!
This EP on Sofa Sound is a massive glimpse into why you’re a hot commodity in the dnb world at the moment. Talk a bit about linking up with DLR and how the EP came together as a whole. Was there a specific vision or theme going in?
After J DLR signed my first EP for Sofa Sound (Skank) he immediately asked me to keep sending more tunes for another EP.. The Funky Times EP was pretty much done before summer 2021 but as time went on I decided to scrap some of the older tunes and replace them with fresher ones (this was only 2 tunes). The vibe/vision/concept was about just the weird times we were living and just being closed in the studio grinding really…
Another reference in the EP to the immense studio grind during these times, is the track Data, the whole sample talks about not being able to grab the data/info from a ‘data vault’ and all the files being corrupted – this is because in August 2020 my computer got attacked by a virus and I lost literally 95% of everything… luckily I had my personal samples backed up but all projects/presets/racks/wips/tracks were all gone…
That’s also why there was so much grind in the studio, I had the time because of covid but also the fact of losing everything on my computer just made me push harder into finding my sound, almost like a fresh start. There’s also a bit of wordplay with the track Funky Times – the times we live in are indeed funky (uncertainty due to COVID) but the track is also the funkiest tune I’ve ever written (in my eyes).
I just kept sending tunes over to J and he liked pretty much everything I sent him, so we kept these ones for the EP as they all fit the same theme and were produced around the same time, and the others are saved for future releases hehe.
The collab with DLR in particular is an absolute stunner – give us a sense of how that went down, whether it was live in the studio or over dropbox during lockdown, etc. Either way, give us a sense of your workflow on the project and what you feel each of you brought to the table.
So that collab was done via Zoom, it was actually the second time we were having a go at writing tunes via video chat with screen sharing… was quite fun actually, there’s the obvious downsides and quirks of being online and not in the studio…
For this one I was the one with Ableton open and having a go with some bass ideas and drums, J DLR was just vibing on his synths playing random super dreamy and spacey stuff while I was recording all the audio that was coming in from his setup… it actually felt like a live synth show at some points lol it was really good, thats where most atmospheric sounds come from on that tune…
The tracks name is ‘Totally DIfferent’ as we ended up switching up the main response bass (just kept the original sub 808 thing) and switching most of the drums as well… we had this first drop layed out and then we ended up switching those very important elements and suddenly the track was so different from what it originally was, but we both much preferred it that way… in the end we’re both super nerdy about technical stuff and super fast at the writing/arrangement aspect so that track was written in 1 or 2 sessions I can’t remember, but pretty sure just one session… then just needed minor mixdown tweaks.
It seems like such a natural pairing, give us a sense if we can anticipate any further collabs between you two in the future and while we’re here – when should we start thinking about an album?
We’ve written a couple more tunes, one of them is Back to the Rave with Gusto for his EP on Sofa Sound that came out in September I think… go check it out if you haven’t yet as it is a slammer of an EP 🙂 eventually we will write a couple more but we’re both very into being in the moment writing.. stems over dropbox is fine but if I have the chance to at least do a Zoom call or something then I much prefer that way of working…
Obviously it can be hard to find a time that fits both ends but eventually there will be more.. I think we have 1 or 2 more tunes floating around, everytime we get together for a zoom session we write a tune pretty much in one sitting so it flows really quickly and nicely.
Album or not, we’re sure you’ve got a lot cooking in the lab – give us a sense of where you’re headed next project-wise and what else we should be looking out for in 2022.
I did think of an album for a while, but I think that idea is fading more and more over time… it would be amazing to write an album and I’m totally not scared of it as I think it would be a great challenge, but I think people just don’t really pay that much attention to the album format anymore, and that is normal because of the amount of music there is coming out everyday and also streaming platforms like Spotify just make it so easy for you to skip past through most tune and just listen to the ones with more plays on the album. Don’t get me wrong I think spotify is great for discovering new artists/music but the album format kinda died out in electronic music and the single format is becoming stronger and stronger…
We’ve decided to hold off the album idea for now and maybe just have a bigger release divided into 2 parts. I’m also becoming more and more interested over time to just release single tunes here and there every so often, it’s a lot easier to create a concept I think for a 2-track single than for a 4-track or 5-track EP. If I’m releasing more than 1 track on the same release I want them to glue and have a concept behind them, not just releasing music for the sake of having it out there.
I have A LOT of music saved up and a lot of releases planned for 2022, it’s almost like 2020 and 2021 were just building up to 2022 haha.. a couple of big projects are happening, you can expect a lot of new original Molecular music.. I also want to focus 2022 on having more time to write music, I’m just finishing building my studio from scratch so I really want to get into the mad scientist mode and just lock myself in the lab for days hahaha…
Last but not least, for all the youngblood producers out there on the come up, what kind of advice would you give them in terms of crafting their own unique sound? Bonus points if you give us a sense of any internal struggles or self-doubt you faced when developing your own sound as a producer.
I feel like I’m constantly trying to find my own sound but every tune I finish I come a bit closer… I still can’t know for 100% sure what it is, but I guess that part of the process, I know the bit I told you before about my influences but that’s it, there’s a lot to discover in the process.
I would say not listening so much to DNB definitely helped, if I spend the day listening to dnb and then arrive at the studio to write beats, I think it’s natural to write music like what I just heard, maybe unconscious even, but it definitely happens. I also started saving all the patches/racks/samples/presets I ever make even if they’re bad, this way it’s just easier for me to find my own sound and create small variations of sounds I’ve created before and recycle them to start to create this characteristic sound for myself.
As for struggles and self-doubt… I think we all go through it even the bigger and the top tier producers, I’ll even go further to saying that the more music I release and the more following I gain, the more I feel that, but then again I just focus on writing beats rather than thinking too much about it.. definitely playing your own music at gigs or having a friend play it for you helps, because you see the crowd reaction and get to see how it sounds like for the people on the other side, the fans.
With covid I think it was a lot harder to deal with this side but with events back (I’ve just had 1 gig since lockdown opened up in Portugal) I had the chance to play all this music I wrote in lockdown and maybe had all this self-doubt but now it’s all gone down a bit because I got to see how it sounded and how the crowd reacts to it. I think it helps smaller producers to know that feeling this is natural and it’s part of the process of being an artist, we just have to keep pushing our sound!
I feel like I’ve just written a book haha, hopefully this is not too much but the questions were hard to give short replies 🙂
Want to say thank you again for the support and opportunity to have this interview – it was a lot of fun replying to the questions!