Having quickly moved from strength to strength after their debut on Ram Records’ sister imprint ProgRAM last year, the mysterious duo known as Shanks continue to wreck shop with each and every release.
Their latest ‘Skull & Bones’ EP that dropped last week adds fuel to the fire as the crew continue to deliver epic drum and bass smashers aimed directly at the dancefloor.
While the crew has let the music do the talking up to now, we were stoked to be able to land a glimpse behind the scenes with an in-depth Q&A and a guest mix that fires on all cylinders. With roots that run deep in both the dnb and bass music scenes, the rave-ready heaters that the pair produce feature alongside some smoking cuts from everyone from Culture Shock to Imanu and Camo & Krooked.
Whether you’re pre-gaming or just banging this one out at the gym, the hour-long mix is a whopping 55 tracks deep and promises to take you on a proper journey in to the mind of Shanks. Check the mix and listen while you dive into our in-depth Q&A with the duo below.
Shanks is coming through with yet another massive EP. Talk about the inspiration behind this four-tracker and how we should be describing your style/vibe/vision to the uninitiated.
We wanted to improve on our first release and show a bit more of our versatility on this one. It was a lot of fun working with AFK on “Lose Me” — we bounced works in progress back and forth every week and he was really feeling a lot of the new ideas we were working on, so we decided to see what we could come up with together and I think the result is a good blend of both of our sounds.
It’s also always great to work with Armanni especially with the new project. That tune [“Born Ready”] is so dark and the vocal on it is unreal, he’s always been the best in the game to us and it’s great to be able to showcase him in his natural habitat.
On the tune “Skull and Bones” we tried to get this nice swing and it turned out just working out. This tune was really a happy accident.
“95 Dub” is paying respect to the old school tunes both of us grew up listening to back in the day. We wanted to give it a strong old school vibe in the elements of the song while modernizing the feel of it sonically. This is one of the first tunes we wrote for the project so it holds a special place for us. We’ve got a lot more on the way, been experimenting with many other styles and vibes inside DnB and we’ll continue to put out HOPEFULLY interesting and versatile EP’s and slbums.
For those lucky enough to have been given a glimpse into the kind of goodies you’re cooking up in the lab, it’s obvious that you guys have hit that sweet spot of inspiration and finding your own sound. What’s been the feeling to get back into the game in such a major way with massive support? Have you been able to hear any of your tunes go down live and witness the crowd reaction?
It feels good! We’re really blessed that Jim, Andy and the team at RAM have put their faith in us and given us this platform to release music that we believe in. We had both been pretty burnt out for a bit so it feels amazing to be back in love with writing music instead of waking up and dreading it. We got to see Nightstalker and Craze play out a few new ones and it felt great to see them working on the dancefloor!
What keeps you motivated and fueled for the future?
The motivation for moving forward is really just the music, being in love and comfortable with our sound and vision. Nothing feels repetitive or like a “job.” It really is a passion project. It’s a dream we’ve been chasing for awhile and took some time to get back to, to wake up and work on something you are really excited about every day. The desire to one up the last song is always there. Pushing the limits and keeping everything fresh not just for the audience but for us.
Last but not least, drum and bass seems to be having a bit of a resurgence right now but let the people know you’ve been here from day one (even if you remain mysterious figures) and what you think of the current renaissance in bass music in general and any other thoughts or shout-outs you want to give to your fans.
The fun part about starting in this music in the early 2000’s is having a fresh start. When our respective past projects first came up I don’t think either of us had time to sit back and enjoy it. There’s so much focus, drive, desire to just get ahead that you tend to not enjoy it and it goes by so fast. It’s been really nice being able to enjoy the rise of something new and taking our time and being able to take it all in. Also to avoid the pitfalls we had in our earlier careers (laughs).
The future for DnB and bass music in general is in good hands. The young talent is killing it right now, there’s so much great music coming out. Big shout to anyone who has supported us along the way in any capacity and Jim over at RAM for convincing us to do this at all. Loads more tunes on the way!