To say Serum carved out a name for himself in 2017 would be an understatement. Recently awarded Best Producer at the We Love Jungle Awards, the London-based Mark Gaunt continues to raise the bar with his rock solid production skills and the birth of his own Souped Up imprint.
With a strong debut of his own material, Souped Up has already received a nomination for best new label that Mark says has long been a dream of his: “I’ve wanted to set up a label for years and got speaking to Benny V who was looking to get involved in a new venture. We work well because I have a really strong idea of what I want and connections with the right artists and he’s got the experience to help me get things moving and promote it in the right way.”
The imprint is a godsend for those who have been captivated by Serum’s ever-impressive sound: “I see the label as the home for the more bouncy, upbeat music I make and the artwork matches that vibe. For the branding, I chose designers that didn’t work in D&B so it would stand out and look completely different to everything else out there. I get asked to do merchandise every week so we must have done well it!”
That’s not all Serum has cooking this year. We’ve also witnessed the rise of his collaborative King of the Rollers project, a three-man show pairing him with fellow rough edged D&B producers Bladerunner and Voltage.
Inspired by a chance meeting at popular net radio station Rough Tempo, Serum describes the legendary link up: “We officially gave it a name in October last year, but the start was when we were all booked for Rough Tempo a few months before that. Instead of doing three separate sets we all chose to go back to back. I was getting booked B2B with Bladerunner and Voltage separately so I knew it would work. A few months later I put a post out on socials asking if promoters were interested in booking the three of us and it went mad so I knew we had to make a regular thing of it. The first name that popped into my head was Kings of the Rollers and Voltage called me after the post to suggest the exact same so we knew it would stick! The bookings began early this year and the response has been phenomenal!”
Without a doubt his recent synergies in the studio with Voltage have been ear catching to say the least. With their album coming soon on Low Down Deep, the pair seem unstoppable. Breathing new life into a scene that tends to take itself too seriously at times, Serum has also expanded his artistic output with the new label to include cover design: “I’ve drawn a few of the designs for the [Souped Up] 2018 releases myself as well as the cover for ‘Serum & Voltage Strike Back.’ As far as I know it’s the only album cover with a roast chicken flying through space on it!
So, as we prepare to bid adieu to 2017, Bassrush leaps at the chance to find out Serum’s take on the juiciest, sweetest rollers this past year had to offer. Be sure to get your subs pumping and beyond the flowing D&B vibes below with Serum’s picks below.
Serum “The Finger” (Philly Blunt)
“Probably my biggest release of the year. Despite being simple I wanted to make a track where quite a bit happens as the tune moves on and it has a proper second drop unlike a lot of music today which is only designed to be played for two minutes or so. Make sure you listen all the way through!
Benny L “Low Blow” (Metalheadz)
“Simple and devastating, just how I like it. One of the standout tunes of the year from one of my favorite new producers.”
Bou “Poison” (Bio Beats)
“Another guy I’ve been supporting heavily over the last year or so and this was his biggest of the year. It’s a hit with the jump up and jungle crowd but also with the likes of Noisia.”
Voltage “Barbera” (Low Down Deep)
“Voltage’s finest solo track of the year. Goes from ‘80s horror film synths to a real swinging bassline. I remember the first time I saw him drop this with Bassman and Trigga on it. Perfect combination!”
Limited “Baby” (Bio Beats)
“The thing I love about this is the loose groove when the bass drops. Hardly anyone gets that right these day but Limited absolutely nailed it with this track.”
Serum & Voltage “Mission Control” (Souped Up)
“Of all the releases on the label this was the one people asked for the most. It was actually one of the very first tracks I made with Voltage and still one of the best.”
Kanine “The Shadows” (Subway Soundz)
“If you know jump up you’ll know Kanine, but he really crossed over to the deeper side with this track and I love it when artists do this. You’re as likely to hear it at Sun & Bass as you are at Innovation.”
Serum “Black Metal” (Horizons Music)
“It’s pretty rare this doesn’t get reloaded and one you should know if you’ve heard me play. Sounds like a pissed off elephant, according to one fan.”
Dawn Wall “Problems” (Integral)
“The mysterious Dawn Wall showing that they can make heavy rollers just as well as the more slick soulful music they’re known for.”
Serum & Voltage ft. Bassman “Cricket Bat” (Low Down Deep)
“This will be on our album and has been one of the most requested tracks of the year. When you mix Bassman, the cowbells from the cricket theme tune, and a stinker of a bassline you know it’ll be a winner. Whack whack!”