Amoss & Fre4knc (DISDUB007) + Interview

Dispatch Dubplate. A label held in the highest regard by drum & bass fans across the globe. Part of the Dispatch family, Dispatch Dubplate releases normally include an exclusive vinyl only VIP or remix, making the label essential to all wax addicts. Staying true to dubplate culture, these vinyls are on a limited press and once they are gone – they really are gone. 

You know that feeling you got when you were a kid on Christmas Day morning waiting to open your presents? Well that’s how I feel when I hear when there’s a release coming out on Dispatch Dubplate. And the cherry on the cake you ask? The Amoss boys have joint forces with fellow tech head Fre4knc, to bring us DISDUB007. As some of you may know, this lethal combination of producers have previously delivered certified bangers when put together. The sinister stepper that is ‘Oxide’ still heralds in many a DJ set since its release nearly 2 years ago.

First up on the EP is (A1) ‘Vortice VIP’, a previous collaboration from Amoss & Fre4knc that has now been given the VIP treatment. Bass drum hits combined with growling mechanical atmospherics portray an image of a 200ft tall space age robot powering up. And once on, this beast hits hard. Sub low bass and technical stabs pound your ears and crisp stepping drums keep your head firmly nodding. Hold tight for the switch up to full time after 32 bars. Carnage. We all know these guys are all about the second drop. Well Vortice VIP provides one of the most savage of its kind. This track just keeps evolving as it progresses, showcasing seriously tight production skills throughout. Adding in a little extra wobble or cutting the drums keeps the listener guessing whats coming next. Fair play lads, this is mental.

On the flip side of the EP, (B1) ‘The Passage’. Eerie howls bounce around the listeners ears on the intro creating a tense horror movie-esque suspense. A drum beat gradually emerges from the darkness created, progressing into the whole meticulously arranged beat of bone crunching snares and bass drum hits. Again, Amoss & Fre4knc keep the high octane rhythm with clever breaks and switches, but still keep that drum beat at the forefront of the track. And damn right too, it’s stone cold! I heard this played out at about 4.30am at our Beat’s in the Brewery event back in January (watch out for round 2!!) and boy did it do some damage.

Rounding off the EP, vinyl heads listen up – this one you. (B2) ‘Redemption’ is the “Dubplate/Vinyl Exclusive” if you don’t own a pair turntables, I’m not gonna lie, you’re gonna be pretty disappointed. This is a no holds barred track from start to finish, you can definitely hear the trademark sound of Amoss in those drums and similarly with Fre4knc on the sound creation. Both utilising their precise strengths to combine into this gully roller.

DISDUB007 is essential to any tech drum and bass head. Three versatile tracks that stand up in any mix. Vortice VIP is the pick of the bunch for me and that was a hard decision seeing as all three tracks are all of the highest order. Given the calibre of this latest piece of work by Amoss & Fre4knc, we couldnt think of a better time to have a catch up with the men behind this project to discuss the EP, vinyl and beer.

Ez guys, thanks for taking some time out to speak to us today! This isn’t the first time you have all come together to make some music. As mentioned earlier, Oxide & Vortice are still big tracks for us here at In Reach and across the scene. Tell us how did the Amoss & Fre4knc collab originally come to fruition?

Bertran : I’ve always liked what Amoss were doing, and if I remember correctly they asked me to do a collab around 4 years ago. I was quite stoked because I only had a couple of solo releases out back then. Now, a couple of years on, they are the ones that should be stoked to work with me ! 😉 

James : Haha! Yeah the first contact between us lot came after a gig myself and Andy played in Saabruken, Germany. We would always hide a couple of tracks from each other as secret weapons and I was armed with Tubular by Bertran, I didn’t realise how big this track would go down and soon after that I got in contact and we chatted about working on some music together. Turns out Bertran was as into our style as we were his, so the idea of working on a track was mutual.

This latest release for Dispatch Dubplate has been getting some serious rotation, we are absolutely loving it!  How long has this particular EP been in the works?

James : I think The Passage is the oldest track, it came about after passing a few projects to each other and selecting which we wanted to start working on either side. I was on the train to Bloc festival a couple of years back listening to the previews and was getting so hyped to head back and start work. When work eventually began the day after I got back, I was in a serious world of pain. I could barely sit up straight in my chair wrapping my hands around a Lemsip concoction but still managed to start the groundworks down for track it is today.

Bertran : I really like how smooth the workflow is with the Amoss boys. Throughout the years we’ve made quite a bunch together. Now we’ve come to a period where a lot of them are getting released, we finally decided with Dispatch which tracks would fit together on EPs. This is the first bunch, and I’m quite proud of all 3 of them.

Quite proud? Stop being so modest! All 3 tracks blew me away for different reasons, however mechanical giant that is Vortice VIP is my personal favourite. What track off the EP are you guys most pleased with and why?

Bertran : I’m pleased with all of them, and I played all of them in all my sets since they were finished until now. What I’m mostly proud of is that they are all very different and they all have their own vibe and theme. I never send out a tune which I don’t like myself, even after hearing it however many hundreds of times while making it. It has to be good enough, so at the end I will be proud of all of them. I prefer quality over quantity, as far as I can judge of course.

James : It’s so hard for me to single out one tune as they all affect me so differently, so I’ll pick out my favourite part which is the second drop on Vortice VIP. We all knew how well the second drop worked in the original and as a VIP we had to turn it up to 11 and just go mental with it. I kept adding edits thinking this is too much it all spiralled out of control and it stuck!

Andy : I love The Passage, it’s super raw and the vibe is heavy but not overdone, everything about it clicked for me.

Pretty big stuff being selected for a Dispatch Dubplate release, a vinyl heads dream to release music on there I would imagine! What are your guys thoughts on the current resurgence of vinyl?

Andy : I’ll be honest and say that vinyl isn’t a huge one for me these days, I’m all about convenience and totally into streaming. Having worked at a label, the resurgence has had its positives. There are, however, downsides as the plants are so busy with major label releases the independents seem to be getting pushed further down the queue which leads to huge delays. I am skeptical about how long it will last, but at the same time I’m glad people are experiencing music in a physical medium again, that was important to me as a kid and I think it made me appreciate the integrity of an artist when they were putting tunes out on wax.

Bertran : I have around 1500 vinyls at home as when I started DJ’ing, there was no other way! I think I’ll never sell them though. Release-wise, it’s always special if you hear your music out of a needle. 5 years ago I insisted that my music was released on wax. Nowadays I care a bit less, because the market is changing, but it still is very special as it’s a physical product you will have in your hands.

James : It’s honestly great to see that vinyl is still being produced by so many labels and even smaller labels venturing into it too. I collect vinyls still but I would never put myself into the vinyl head category. With all the modern technology and the ease of walking to the club with just a pair of headphones and some USB’s in your pocket make it hard to see why I would ever switch back. I salute the guys still lugging records to retain that feeling of vinyl when playing out.

For all the budding producers out there, could you tell us what DAW you guys work on & what your favourite plugins to use are?

Bertran : I work in Cubase 8.5, and my favourite plugins are iZotope Trash 2, Schaack’s Transient Shaper, Serum (and Serum FX).

AndyWe’ve worked on Ableton since the beginning, over the time we’ve stripped back to a minimal bunch of tools, mainly from Fabfilter – Saturn and also Volcano 2 being personal favourites. Everything else we do is really based in audio and designing sounds that way rather than synthesis, it was never really a conscious decision to go that way, it’s just mite how we prefer to work and as a result our style has been shaped by that a lot. 

With so much exciting talent in the scene at the moment, what artist do you find yourselves playing the most in your sets?

Bertran : Apart from myself, I play a lot of Skeptical, Xtrah and I’ll keep an eye out on Ewol and Wingz. And some bits from Amoss (they told me to say this).

Andy : I looked at my Rekordbox history for this to actually give you a completely truthful answer. Arkaik, Survey and Fre4knc are the top 3. 

James : I’m mainly playing Bertran’s music haha. But other artists I’ll always be asking for music from are Survey, Mono and Arkaik among others.

Three tracks that have never left the bag?

Bertran :

Cause 4 Concern & Fierce – Carrier

Konflict – Roadblock

Future Signal – Safe House 

Andy :

Corrupt Souls – Seppuku

Ulterior Motive – Glued

Noisia – The Distance

James :

Hybris – Slima

Mono – Vertebrae

S.P.Y & Kasra – Surface

Those are solid picks guys! We know Bertran enjoys sampling obscure sounds to create the odd snare here and there, and that James and Andy have form for throwing in a nature or animal sample into a track. What is the weirdest thing you have sampled to put into a track?

James : In the past we have recorded farts, shaved foil with a razor and created sounds with our own voices, however my favourite was definitely when we rigged up a contact mic on our drying rack, run some modulation and delay FX’s through Ableton then bowed and plucked it. The sounds can be found in most of our tracks since then as they have become such versatile FX’s. I would strongly recommend anyone to try this, I think the contact mic’s are only £20.

Bertran : I sampled my bike frame for a snare in my remix of “The Legion” of Bredren, also a laser plotter which is in a Amoss & Fre4knc collab.  An old and ruined fan was sampled and used in the intro of Vortice. The project name of Vortice was “fanny” as well.

James & Andy, we know you’re both big beer drinkers from your reviews on the Cranium Sessions, even naming one of your more recent tracks Yuzu after a brew from Gipsy Hill. Could you each name us your top three beers?

James : All from the tap please:

Gypsy Hill Brewing Company – Southpaw

Brockley Brewery – Pale Ale

Blue Moon (served with a whole slice of orange)

Andy : I’ve laid off my beer drinking, doing the podcast for two years and having to ‘research’ different brews wasn’t doing me too good. My recent favourites though have been:

Beavertown Brewery –  Neck Oil

Verdant Brewery – Light Bulb

Gipsy Hill Brewing Company – Wayfarer

Bertran : I’m a beer drinker as well! Probably a better one as these two, as they couldn’t finish the “Engelszell Gregorius Trappistenbier” when we both played in Linz a couple of years ago. 

Did you ever receive THAT left nut Bertran?!

Bertran : No comment.

When you all got together in the studio to make this EP, we can only imagine there to have been a lot of joking around between all three of you. This begs the question, how you guys got anything done?! 

Bertran When I make music I switch to a very serious person. Maybe even too serious. It’s like keeping your private life and work separate. Also most of the time when we are both in the studio we had a gig the night before, and my sense of humor is quite lost at that time. Haha!

James : The first time we all got in the studio was a couple of years ago around Christmas time, it was full force from the start and the work piled on, all thanks to Bertran’s back seat driving constantly singing how he heard it or recreating sounds with his voice. Although anytime we lost concentration he would school teacher us back on task and he doesn’t back down when he likes the way something sounds if one of us wants to change it. This is key when working with more than one person and you need to make sure your allowing each other’s styles and tastes to come through as well as your own, I think this is how we have been able to write music together and hold each other’s styles so well.

Can we expect any more collaborations between you guys? I’m sure I wouldn’t be alone in saying we would be chomping at the bit to hear that you guys had plans for more!

Andy : These 3 tracks are just a few of the tracks we’ve written together over the past 3 years that are all finished. Expect lots more over the next year or so. If you can’t contain yourself then come to see us play out and you will hear much more.

Bertran : Yeah as Andy said, there are more EP’s coming up on Dispatch, but more info about that later.

Before we go, any shoutouts? 

Bertran – Shouts to Ant TC1 for the opportunity to release our music, the Bassic agency for taking care of us, the Asia and Australia crew where I had a lot of fun with last year, and all the listeners who support our music.

James Shouts to you guys for taking the time to chat with us. Mum, Dad, Morley’s chicken shop, British spring time, the neighbours dog for constantly being an alarm clock, Sainsbury’s potato waffles, the smell of freshly cut grass and the local community for not complaining about the noise during this writing process.

Nice one guys!

We have been told there is well under half of the allocation left to purchase, so if you want a physical copy – you better go cop it now.