Prolix is in that class of elite producers who have done so much great work already that it was a surprise that his new album Murder Mile, out last week on Blackout, is actually his first LP. With a slew of hits on Blackout and his own Trendkill imprint doing quite well in addition to a co-LP with Gridlock, however, it just seemed like a matter of time before he unleashed a full LP onto the drum and bass massive.
The timing was indeed right for Murder Mile, not just because festival season is coming up and every track on the LP will wreck the dancefloor. It seems Prolix has been holding onto a number of tracks that not only work together but they also work as a very strong statement of what this artist is about.
Fast, snappy and very Prolix, Murder Mile shows his production chops as he plays quite a bit with both melody and sound design while also infusing many tracks with old school amen-y club vibes. It’s not your typical hard D&B release and it seems that was the point.
Bassrush had a chat with Prolix recently about the album, his process and where he’s going next as well as how he feels about drum & bass and his place in it. One thing is for sure: this is one artist who knows who he is and he’s having a blast writing the music he loves.
This is your first multi-track release on Blackout and first LP full stop. What made you decide to go for it and do an LP now?
I’ve spent most of my career releasing mainly singles and EPs, so this was a new type of challenge for me. I previously co-wrote the Project Trendkill album with Gridlok but this is the first long play release that I’ve undertaken on my own. I had been thinking about doing a solo album for a while but I had always wanted to wait for the right time and the right label to do it on. It was important that I felt at home and Blackout is without doubt was the right home for this project.
What attracted you to Blackout?
I’ve known the Black Sun Empire guys for a while and I’m a long-time fan of their music and their label. I get on with them all very well on a personal level and for the kind of music I write they are a perfect match.
Did you have a theme in mind for Murder Mile, or was it just sort of right place right time to put together all these tracks into an album?
It was right place right time. I didn’t have a theme or a concept per se, I really just wanted to get together the kind of tracks that I would play in my sets. So they are generally all dancefloor-oriented, and nothing really experimental or instrumental in there. The title of the album, however, was inspired by the area where I currently live. Murder Mile was once its nickname, though thankfully it’s nothing like it used to be!
Did you feel like the album came together quickly or did it take a lot of tinkering and trying new things to get the sound you wanted?
I think it took over a year. There’s a track or two on there that have been around a while and the rest were all written or around the same time. I would work on one track for a bit and move on to another quite frequently, which helps me when I suffer from creative blocks.
There are a lot of collabs on this LP, and some that fans may not expect like The Qemists and Malux. What do you like about working with other artists on tunes and how did you come to work with some of these on the album?
I wanted to collab with some people that people wouldn’t expect but also people that I myself am a fan of. It’s a great way to come up with new ideas and compositions with the vision of two people as opposed to only one. Hopefully you even learn new techniques or skillsets off each other in the studio. The Qemists are long-time friends of mine from my hometown of Brighton. They’re also rock fans and we have been meaning to do something together for ages. Fortunately when I got in touch with them they were available to get into the studio together to work on “Feel Alive.” I wanted to get some rock-inspired D&B on the album and I’m really pleased with how it came out. As for Malux, he’s someone I highly rate and have wanted to work with for a while. I actually released a track of his called “Powercube” on my label Trendkill Records a couple of years back.
I had been thinking about doing a solo album for a while but I had always wanted to wait for the right time and the right label to do it on.
Speaking of collabs and surprises, you also had a lot of vocalist features on the album, and again many of them will be unknown to fans or surprising choices. What were you looking for in terms of vox on these tracks?
I really haven’t done that many vocal tunes in my career at all so that is something I wanted to do more of on this album. Again I also wanted to either find people in the D&B scene that were perhaps unexpected or even haven’t been heard at all in D&B. Dee Freer is well-known in the scene but Renny Carroll and She Koro were vocalists I found online after going through a lot of demos. Coppa on the other hand is someone I have worked well with a lot in the past.
The use of vocalists seems like you were playing around with different styles in many of the songs, like with “Who Knows” feat. She Koro and “Lift Me Up” feat. Dee Freer where the vocal portions were a nod to old rave style with lots of ameny snares and ambient club vibes. What interested you about splicing those styles into the more hard D&B elements in those tracks?
I guess I just love a lot of rave-inspired female vocal D&B, especially from early 2000s. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try my hand at and fortunately I was lucky enough to work with Dee and Scarlett (She Koro) and so the tracks came together really well. I love the idea of a beautiful vocal over a dark bassline.
Continuing on that style-splicing theme, it sounds like you were experimenting with melody quite a bit on some of these tracks. What interests you about working with melody in a genre which is so focused on rhythm and sound design?
A lot of my tracks at least from the drop have basslines that are predominately based on rhythm rather than their melodies, and so I felt it was important that I tried to experiment a little bit with writing a few more slightly musical intros instead of single note drones or washed out sound effects. I’ve done plenty of that and while it definitely has a place I felt this album was a good time to focus on areas that often get left to the end of the creative process.
Obviously Murder Mile has been a big undertaking but do you have any other new releases coming out soon that you can talk about? Any designs on remixing the album?
The album process drained me so I don’t have much left at the minute! I’ve had a few collab offers and there is a single set to release at some point and I’m working on remixes for other artists but to be honest I’m just taking it a little slower right now.
Regarding the album and its remixes, I guess we will get at least some of it remixed and I’ve already had an offer by some people I really admire in the scene so I’ll see how that goes. There also might be a little VIP or two floating around already but I’m thinking of writing another album. Weirdly even though I’m glad its all over and handed in I had this throught yesterday and I guess the right time to do another album is now.
Albums in their format are a difficult thing to justify creating in one sense, especially as people consume music so quickly these days. Large bodies of work that were huge undertakings can be forgotten in weeks. I do think that a solo album elevates your standing as an artist and as a musician, certainly amongst peers and people who know how much work and sacrifice it is.
Murder Mile is out now on Blackout. Purchase and stream on multiple platforms by clicking here.