[Q&A] Futurebound Looks to the Future with ‘Bassrush 2.0’
- Layla Marino
It’s been a week since Bassrush and Viper released Bassrush 2.0, a massive collection of new and exclusive songs that cross-germinated from both labels and across the pond (lock yours in here). The way the compilation was done this time around was like nothing that’s been done before in either international scene, with 36 brand new tracks, some from brand new artists in both the UK and the US. There are also exclusive tracks from drum & bass legends like J Majik, Matrix & Futurebound and Drumsound & Bassline Smith and even a Moby track, “A Simple Love,” remixed by BMotion.
The way the project came together seems to have been a bit of whirlwind, with Viper asking artists for tracks and mixes quickly. There are two DJ mixes on the album, one by Consouls and Des McMahon, and the other by The Voss and NC-17 (plus a smoking megamix from Kallan HK that we’ve popped below). About this process, The Voss (Dominic Sagona) was excited about the challenge. “We had a great time putting together one of the studio mixes. It was really fun and different composing an entire mix of strictly Viper tunes, but when we were done it was like, ‘Wow, 45 tunes, 49 minutes in 48 hours. Glad that’s over!’” The Voss also has a single on the album with NC-17 called “Psycho.”
Other artists were excited to put their own spin on the Viper style, including another US collab in the form of Consouls and Zeal. Zeal, in particular, was clearly psyched to be part of the project. “It’s hard for me to pick a favorite track because both my friends and some of my idols are on this compilation. It is an absolute honor and Bassrush and Viper Recordings definitely went all out on this one!” New Viper darlings Consouls agreed with Zeal. “It’s quite an honor to be amongst so many of our biggest inspirations on this amazing compilation! So many bangers from so many international artists. This album has truly bridged the sounds of artists from Europe and the US.”
Theatrix, another duo from Los Angeles, had some very specific ideas about the direction they wanted to take for their first Viper release. “When writing the music for ‘Trojan,’ we tried to combine conventional composition with a neuro-y sound design. We got lucky on the vocals because Fred V hooked us up with Siege MC from Bristol. We’re honored that Viper and Bassrush recognized this track and wanted to release it on this massive compilation.”
The Viper comp wasn’t just the U.S. and UK, mind you. French producer Dilemn also tried to strike a balance to represent both his own style and Viper’s with his track, “Night and Day.” “I’m very happy to be part of the Bassrush comp. I worked hard on this one trying to have a good balance between nice melodies and a heavy metal touch.” Aussie up-and-comers Ekko & Sidetrack echoed this sentiment while being particularly excited by the US talent they saw on the compilation. “We’re really excited to be on the release amongst so many established and upcoming artists. Bass music is sounding great and the U.S. clearly have a load of talent to keep an eye on!”
Of course, we had to give the last word on this massive compilation to Viper label boss, Futurebound. Despite his busy schedule with an upcoming tour and jam-packed release schedule, he was able to answer a few burning questions about this project, and illuminate how such a massive endeavor came to be.
Tell us the story of how Viper and Bassrush came to collaborate on this project. What was the original vision/theme and has it changed at all from last year’s 1.0 to this year’s 2.0 version?
Over the last five or six years of touring around North America I noticed there had been a decline in new D&B artists coming through, ones who would make a splash in Europe and beyond. North America has always produced serious D&B acts especially in the 2000s, but since the turn of this decade the numbers have slipped. I’ve been watching it for a while and thought maybe Viper could help to find the next batch of talent and ignite new artists.
I was on a call with Derek from Bassrush about two years ago and put the idea of us doing a joint volume to him. He thought it was a great idea, as did his team, and the Bassrush comp series was born. Myself and most of the Viper artists have had the pleasure of playing on the infamous Bassrush shows over in North America over the last five years as well as playing for them at flagship festival shows such as EDC Vegas and Beyond Wonderland, so I’ve got to know the vibe they and their punters go for.
Tony, Derek and the team have done a really great job building the brand and have remained loyal to drum and bass. Bassrush is one of the biggest bass music brands on the continent so it made complete sense work alongside them on a project like this.
How were artists selected to work on the project? Was there a formal call for tunes put out? Were these relationships you’d already been developing for the label?
This year we really wanted to up the ante on the number of exclusives for the release and reached out to find as many new North American acts as possible. Whilst the focus is on the North American scene we also feature exclusives from other acts around the world and it was also great to also include other international artists such as Spain’s Dub Elements, Australia’s Ekko and Sidetrack and UK D&B legend J-Majik.
Last year on 1.0 we covered some dubstep but the aim with 2.0 was to really focus on D&B and to put together an exciting and varied track list that captured the energy and excitement of a Bassrush or Viper D&B show.
How did you decide on who would take on the official mixes for the project? Were there any guidelines you sent over?
The mixes needed to be by acts who I knew were great DJs and who could rep what we’re trying to do with this project. I was fully aware of the guys we picked. They’re all great DJs/producers and ambassadors for the scene over there. These guys are the future for D&B in North America so it was an easy decision.
From day one we’ve always repped great drum & bass, whatever the flavor.
The range of artists and styles covers a massive spread of diverse styles. Was it a conscious decision to make the compilation so diverse?
A lot of people have commented on that, but to be honest that’s our approach to music in general. We love it all and so all styles are equally important to us and from day one we’ve always repped great drum & bass, whatever the flavor.
In North America they seem to like it a bit more tearing and we’ve most definitely covered that style here, but it’s important we don’t forget the other styles and when we looked at the batch of exclusives for Bassrush 2.0 it was definitely on our mind to keep the right balance in sounds.
I’m really pleased with how it all turned out. I think it’s a great representation for D&B in North America and the feedback from everyone has been really great. The good thing for new artists who release on a label like Viper is that their music will always get in to the hands of the main players.
We love that so many North America artists are representing on this release. How do you see this as a reflection of the future direction of the label and of the genre as a whole?
Viper has always had a strong international presence, our first ever signing was ShockOne from Australia. But it was important to have good amount of acts from North America and for next year’s edition we’ll be looking to add more. We’ll definitely be on the tails of all the new guys we’ve found for this year’s Bassrush 2.0 and be chasing them for singles now. There’s some serious potential in the guys who featured this year.
Also, be looking out for the Viper Bassrush stream show we’re launching end of September live from L.A. with some big names passing through alongside some of the new guys who delivered exclusives on the album comp!