Esteemed Drum & Bass host and studio fire-starter DRS is back with ‘Mid Mic Crisis’ LP on Intalex’s Soul:R, featuring an impressive network of production talents that could only be curated by an artist in his prime. This is his second album since 2012’s ‘I Don’t Usually Like MC’s But…’ and he’s continuing to flesh out his diverse take on all that is good in Drum & Bass and beyond…
[dropcap]D[/dropcap]RS has kept it realer than real on the Drum & Bass front with a monstrous new collection of dance floor anthems from some very talented friends, whilst ‘Mid Mic’ also showcases the MC’s foray into more of a live feel. Keeping his audience on their toes with his new band 8 Gold Rings; beautiful vocal collaborations with Shola (Ama) and Terri Walker, plus unexpected album tracks like the hypnotic post-rock tune ‘One And Only’ and a glorious call back to the Broke’N’English days on ‘Try Out’ with UK Hip-Hop prod. Micall Parknsun.
Sonically, lyrically and soulfully on point with this latest offering; we caught up with the Drum & Bass impresario to pick his brains about his recent creative pursuits…
Hello DRS! ‘Mid Mic Crisis’ has just dropped and it’s a corker. You must be in a good spirits right now?
I’m always in good spirits.
Just happy it’s finally out and people can hear what I’ve been up to since ‘I don’t usually like MCs but…’
You mentioned in your recent BBC Maida Vale In Session performance that this album took only three months to create. What sparked this massive explosion of creativity?
I’m constantly recording and creating music. I feel like I’m almost in my prime musically and usually the music bit just happens. It’s the label / distro / artwork bit that longs it out.
The album is especially personal, diverse in both sound and sentiment; altogether a well-rounded and nuanced release. Did you start out with a concept in mind?
Nah I started just with a load of beats Marcus and myself sourced from friends and family. The sentiment is a honest account of me and others like me. I’m not invincible or any different to anyone who listens to my ramblings. And I want them to know that. It’s ok to be awkward.
You’ve been an MC in Hip Hop and Drum & Bass for over 15 years, but your work with the live band and the performance friendly vibe to quite few of the songs on this record hint at a broadening of your sensibilities and reach as an artist. Where are you at right now as a performer and what direction do you feel that your music is developing future-wise?
As a performer I feel I’m coming into my own. Broadening my outlook on we’re we can take our music, and the best way to present it. 8 gold rings my band are amazing and I will be touring with them very soon so watch out for us!
“If we push for long enough, I know we’ll see the fight..” – The Puppeteer
There are prominent narratives running throughout the record lyrically, including the anti-establishment theme and social awareness of tracks like ‘The Puppeteer’, ‘Emergency’ and ‘Diablo’. How important is the role of politics in music to you?
I am not a preacher, politician or spokesperson. I just do me. The things that affect me, effect you, so I talk about them. I’m a peaceful person. I just want people to look around them and see what they can do to help themselves. Music is an escape I don’t want it to be education, but I will speak up if nobody else will.
You’ve injected a lot of soul and honesty into tracks on this record. Rather than talking slick like a fair few MC’s do, you offer up eloquently penned personal insights into your experiences of the stresses of modern life; personal struggles and life in the drum & bass scene. It brings a human quality that is often amiss in drum & bass music. Is this a conscious objective when you create new music?
That’s just who I am.
Honesty is always the best policy.
I’ve learned from a lot of mistakes I’ve made in music and life.
So I think if I can give you the facts maybe I can stop some people making the same mistakes.
It’s impossible to single out any one track that steals the show on ‘Mid Mic’ because the LP is so strong, but being a fan of your more vexed, dance floor destroying stuff; ‘Raptors’ is a huge tune for me personally. What’s it like to bring so many greatly produced drum & bass tracks together? Do you get dibs on the stuff you hear coming through from your collaborators?!
I usually just contact my friends and let them know I’m starting an album and do they wanna be involved? Then as the beats/loops arrive I just write to them all then start picking out the best ones. They are usually the beats the stir something up inside emotionally, whether that’s sorrow, happiness or anger. Raptors is a big tune and had so much fun in Bristol making it. Big up Die!!!
What are your plans for the upcoming spring and summer?
Got loads of shows, album launches and tours coming up for “Mid Mic Crisis” and Ive got a few more tricks up my sleeve this year too. So yeah watch this Northern space!
Cheers for taking the time out to chat with us at In-Reach!
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I appreciate it.
‘Mid Mic Crisis’ is out on general release today; available on digital and vinyl formats from the Soul:r store here and all good record stores.
Images credit Chelone Wolf & Other.