Since their initial launch back in 2002, Kasra`s Critical Music has gone from strength to strength, climbing the ladder and now being recognised as the go-to for forward-thinking, technical drum and bass. Along the way the label has amassed an ever-impressive roster that provide us with the aforementioned technical goodness. One such producer high amongst the Critical ranks is the Yorkshire badman, Emperor.
Since he exploded onto the scene in around 2011/2012 we`ve seen a no-holds-barred whirlwind of cutting edge futuristic drum and bass released from the man. His signature style of bouncy yet rolling tech is becoming more and more recognisable and also his foray into other tempos and alias releases under the name ‘Monuman’ is more than worthy of note.
This month see`s him release his debut LP for Critical and its definitely his best work to date. From moody melodic numbers to his more aggressive technical sound, it certainly displays all the sides of Emperors musical mind.
We thought it only right to have a catch up with the man to get the low down on the LP and see what he`s been up to!
Emperor, how`s it going? Thanks for taking the time to speak to us here at In-Reach!
Good, thank you! Thanks a lot for having me.
So, must be exciting times for you right now with your debut LP out now.. How long has the album itself been in the works?
Definitely is. It’s such a pleasure to finally have it released. The oldest track, Infrasound is about 4 years old now, so I guess you could say then. It hasn’t really felt like that, to be honest. Most of the tracks have come together in the past couple of years, it feels like that’s where most of the work was done.
After listening through to the LP, we are hearing flavours from you that we haven`t heard before, did you feel more free to get creative and explore your sound with a 16 track LP?
Definitely. I know I’m primarily known for making heavy Drum & Bass, but I’ve always made other stuff as well. I have plenty of cool liquid tunes that will probably never see the light of day. The album format allows a lot more freedom, but at the same time I didn’t want to just throw random tunes on there for the sake of being different, I wanted the album to make sense as a whole piece of work. In my opinion, an album shouldn’t be about showcasing how many genres you can pull off, but more about a concept that makes sense thematically throughout. I could easily have thrown a minimal track, a liquid track, a roller, some half time and a breakbeat track on there but it wouldn’t have made sense for the idea that I was trying to get across.
There are a few vocal collaborators on the LP, how did you go about choosing them?
Myself, Kasra and Badger (Label Manager) sent emails back and forth with different suggestions, until we found people who would work well with the style I was going for. SOLAH fit the bill for ‘Made Of Light’ perfectly, she nailed it. I knew Peta Oneir from Hyroglifics’ tracks, so we reached out to her, and I love what she did with the track too. I’ve always wanted to work with MC Fats but never really had any tracks that I think would suit him. Fortunately I started an idea that I thought he would like and we went from there. Really happy with how ‘Thunder’ turned out!
Have you had anything else in the works recently, we saw a picture of you and Mefjus in the studio again which is always exciting for the fans to see, any word on that yet?
We’ve been working on our new EP together, which I’m excited about! I can’t really say much more about it at the minute, but there will be info soon. Working on a lot of music for my Monuman alias, hoping for my debut set at Boomtown to be 90% my own material, so even though I’ve just put out the album, I can’t rest just yet.
Do you have any studio rituals? How would a usual day in the Emperor studio go?
Usually I wake up around 1pm, head outside and get a coffee, sometimes have lunch or come back home and make some. Then I usually chill out for an hour or two, browse pictures of cute animals on Reddit and look at Emails. Then I’ll start bits of sound design throughout the day, and if I’m feeling inspired start working on tracks/bigger ideas. I find I’m most creative around 1am, so I don’t usually sleep till 4/5 am. I try not to force things too much, if I’m not on a creative streak I won’t force myself to write as it more often then not ends in my frustration.
The recent weather reminds us that summer is approaching and in-hand comes the festivals, anywhere you are excited to play this year?
Super excited to play the Noisia Invites stage at Let it Roll festival, Boomtown festival with the Critical gang, and I have a load of upcoming shows that haven’t been announced yet. It’s a busy year and it’s only getting busier. Very excited!
Who else are you feeling in the scene at the moment, anyone we should have our eye on?
Really feeling the new EP by VROMM. Signal, and Kimyan Law are current favourites.
Any final words, upcoming shows, radio etc?
I have a busy schedule, so I’m going to put up a list of dates I’m playing on my Facebook page. Other than that, make sure to check out my album!