Misanthrop has returned for the first time since his 2015 Collapse EP, this time with his debut solo venture, self-titled LP Misanthrop. Featuring a level of musical diversity that is hard to achieve in Neurofunk, the LP’s 14-track selection embarks the listener on a journey through Misanthrop’s psyche. Unlike most artists, Misanthrop chooses to be open about his political persuasions, incorporating poignant samples into his work. A breath of fresh air to both an industry and a genre that has remained too quiet on certain matters for too long, last week In-Reach was lucky enough to have the chance to ask him some questions.
What was the initial inspiration behind the Misanthrop LP?
Normally I really look forward to having a concept but this time I just worked on beats and did what I can do best. The concept just grows with the work you do and at the end I had like 25 tunes that I had to choose from. I was heading towards an album that was more dancefloor orientated, I just wanted to have that and I wanted to bring tunes that were a bit more experimental to surprise the people a bit. I had that very blurry picture, and I thought that it probably expresses what I’m all about. I always wanted to stay a bit in the back and let the music and the creativity speak. That’s also why I’ve chosen for it to be a self-titled album, its 100% me. I came up with the concept of it, all the music, the design, the videos around it, I did everything.
When producing the album what rules if any do you hold yourself to in order to achieve a standard of quality consistent with your previous releases?
I can say I tried to have the best samples I can get and make the best drum loops I’ve ever done. But I also just wanted to risk something and that’s why I’m doing very odd things. I want to try things out and I want to do things differently. Like I said I had to choose from a lot of tunes, and there are some very weird ones. So I thought okay it should be a 70/30 mix. 70% very floor hitting tunes and 30% weird tunes.
How did you create the majority of sounds that we hear in this LP?
I made all the sounds myself and I always start from scratch. The majority of sounds are just created solely for that album. It’s a lot of work but at the end it pays off because the most important thing is creating a distinctive sound. I just try to work clean and try to work with a lot of edits. Then the loudness and everything just comes together.
Tracks like ‘Tankman’ for example are really different to anything I’ve heard, was this the aim or was that just the result of putting yourself into your music?
That’s obviously me and it’s the same for my partner Phace, we always try to push boundaries and try to never repeat ourselves. I mean ‘Tankman’, I don’t know if you’ve googled tank man yet but if you google it it’s pretty obvious because it’s that guy in china in front of a tank and that sums up how I feel about drum and bass. Sometimes you just do something totally weird and people don’t understand it. You just have to face it. I just sit down and make beats, I don’t know how I come up with those sounds you know. It’s just like, I do it.
So which track on the LP do you feel most portrays how you would like your music to sound? Are they any tracks that you feel ending up straying a little further from your vision than you would have originally liked?
Yes, one of the tunes that I’m really satisfied with, the mix down and the concept and everything, is ‘Antimachine’. I really like that one but I think a lot of people don’t really get what it’s about. There are a lot of people that support me and say ‘yeah I totally understand, you wanna fuck the industry or the music industry or the downloads and all that kind of stuff’ and I’m like no, that wasn’t exactly what I was thinking about. It was more like a political thing. I just made a video for it and I will release that in like a week or something; it describes it quite well. I just made a tune for being against gentrification which is quite strange but it just fit totally into the concept. I had that sample which is like a speech of a guy who is pro-capitalism. It was quite funny to see how it formed at the end. That’s what it’s all about.
The funk, a half time tune, is somehow different you know. I’ll probably never play it out, I don’t really think it fits in, but you never know. Maybe there is an occasion where I’ll just play it and people will like It, or throw bottles, you never know. I think the inspiration for that tune was from really loving Company Flow, a hip hop group from back in the day, they did an album (Little Johnny from the Hospitul)…
…which was so inspiring to me, I loved it so much. So I wanted to make an update of that kind of sound. It’s odd, but that’s why I’ve chosen to put it on the album.
Is this LP any more or less politically motivated than previous releases?
I think it’s a hidden political message. I just tried to focus on myself. It’s not as obvious of a political message as I had in the Collapse EP or the I Need More EP or The Greed Of Gain, but I still always try because that’s my inspiration and I need to channel all my feelings somewhere. That’s why its music, that’s why I put it all into the music.
Do you feel that if more electronic artists had more of a sense of a political agenda it would shift a lot of the focus from drugs to a more political association?
It probably would but I think it’s easy to underestimate people. Of course they just want to go out and have a good time but I think a lot of those people have an opinion. Of course you can spread a message, like with ‘Collapse’, I use that sample “this is a fight and no one is winning” and people are screaming that. I want them to think about it when they get out of the club and I hope that people do that because its important. These are young people and you have the opportunity to spread a political message. I don’t have the most followers on Facebook but I try to give them my opinion, try to make them discuss. If not, well, I tried. I’ve done something.
In general, do you find yourself being inspired by other artists? and if so who?
Yes of course! I mean I try to avoid listening to too much drum and bass because otherwise I would end up cloning and I just really want to avoid that. But I get sent a lot of dub plates and subconsciously I’m inspired by them. I’m inspired by old soul and funk tunes from the 60s and 70s, that’s where my inspiration comes from, but it can be really anything.
In terms of Neurofunk itself, do you think the genre is expanding into more mainstream settings?
Of course there are some tunes that make it to the mainstream and it’s not a bad thing when you can earn money with it. I’ve been in the scene for 12, 14 years or something like that, and the Neurofunk thing has always come in waves. Four years it’s cool, four years it’s not cool. I’ve got a theory that it’s because every four years the crowd totally changes. I think when you come into the scene, the same with music in general, you’re just consuming the easily accessible music. And that’s probably, most of the time, very simple music. But then you just want to know more and dig deeper and I think then the people will grasp Neurofunk or like different kinds of genres. I don’t want to say it’s the intelligent genre, but I think you have to understand the basis to understand it.
To what extent do you believe drug culture has affected the way drum and bass is listened to and talked about?
That’s really hard to say because I never use drugs. The only thing I do is drink alcohol and have a cigarette from time to time. I see it when I go out and play out, some people are fucked at a young age, but on the other hand there’s also a majority which is not that affected by drugs. That’s what you can’t really see. When you go out and when you think about electronic music, you think it’s all about drugs. Of course there are parties when you wonder what’s going on here, but to be honest I’ve never really met a producer or a DJ which is really fucked behind the decks. But as I said, it’s quite hard to say when you don’t use drugs. All I can say is, it’s sad sometimes. You know, that some young people feel they have to do that. It makes you wonder why are they doing it? Is it because their week is so shit that they have to do it on the weekend like 10 times harder? Surely you have to change something. That’s why I have those kinds of messages, that social criticism, because I just want people to think about it.
Any advice for a new producer trying to make it in the industry?
The thing is a lot of people think that they just have to be present on the internet, which is very important but the real life is out there you know, it’s at the club. Hand out your CDs and USB sticks, to the people in the club so they have a face in front of them and they’ll remember you. If you just write an email , you’re just a few letters on a screen. You should go out and do it the old way because that’s really effective. Also don’t buy cheap monitors when you have enough money, you really have to spend a lot of money and it definitely helps…and never give up.
So this LP is officially released on the 30th of Sept, where can we buy it and what can we expect to see from you next?
BUY FROM STORE – https://shop.neosignal.de/group/misanthrop- album,
If you buy from our store you’re supporting the artist and the label which is always good! We’ve got a bundle where you can pay £50 for the CD, Vinyl, Stickers, Shirt, a boxed USB memory stick and it’s quite cheap to be honest. I just got a house now and a really decent studio so I’m just really looking forward to that. I haven’t touched my pc for the last two months so I’m really excited to go into the lab again and just make music. There was talk with Phace to go into the studio again so yeah we’ll do that. Then probably another album!