We are lucky as drum and bass fans to have such a rich, vibrant array of styles and sounds and if, like myself, you have a constant thirst that needs to be quenched you will be on a never ending quest to hear more artists and new material.
One such ‘find’ is a duo that has been making quite the splash in the deeper, more technical pool of the scene working under the name, Handra.
Hailing from from Bydgoszcz, Poland and currently residing in Poznań and Warsaw. Handra found their place in the scene back in 2012 and since then have had a string of releases on some acclaimed labels including, Fokuz, Avantgarde and Addictive Behaviour.
Their latest release on the tech imprint Addictive Behaviour is an E.P called ‘Forget‘ featuring 3 collaborations: one with Mystic State, another with vocalist Tiiu, all topped off with a rolling remix of their cut back track ‘Far Away’ by Shogun Audio’s Ed:it.
We thought it best to have a chat with the guys and get an insight into their workings and see what we might expect in the future!
Easy, Handra! Thanks for taking the time to speak to us here at In-Reach.
So you guys have been around for a few years now and we’ve loved everything you’ve dropped so far, how would you describe your sound for newcomers to the name?
Filip: I’d say our music is Drum & Bass inspired by minimalism and nature. I guess listeners would describe our sound as deep, however in our latest tracks there has been quite a mixture of styles. We try our best not to use obvious sounds in our music. I personally like natural sounds, for example noises of the forest..
Marek: I agree, we probably should be called deep/minimal D&B producers however we’re always open to new music experiences and try to explore new sounds which sometimes are not that typical for D&B.
We got the ‘Forget‘ E.P through a couple of weeks back and it’s been no stranger to our playlist’s since, really awesome tunes! How long has that E.P been in the works?
F: Thanks! Being honest I don’t remember exactly how long we started but I know it took much longer than our previous EP for Addictive. I think naturally it was always going to take more time to compose a tune when cooperating with other artists. All of the collaborating artists really added something special to this EP, helping to shape the final result.
M: We always try to include some different elements to each new track, making them stand apart from previous releases is always very important. We try to avoid the literal cloning the side A from an EP, a practise that seems to be quite common these days. I guess for these reasons the project ran across several months.
There are fellow collaborators and a remix artist featuring on the E.P – How did you guys go about choosing them?
F: The track with Mystic State was very natural. We have a mutual love for each other’s music. We had already been chatting online about working together so when the EP idea came along it was easy for us to do something together. Cheers boyz!
M: Agree, Mystic State are awesome producers and I’m really happy that we had the chance to work with them. In regards to the ‘Far Away’ remix we wanted to have someone who had already been working with Addictive and so we chose Ed:it. We really like his latest releases. Ed:it skilfully remixed ‘Far Away’ into a completely different vibe compared with the original. Also, we would like to send big thanks to Tiiu for her vocals ofc!
So, you are Polish nationals, drum and bass has a very obvious presence in Europe as a whole, what is the scene like in Poland?
M: The Polish D&B scene is a bit different than the British one. We wouldn’t be able to point to the city/town that is the capital of Polish D&B. I suspect that many years ago it was Lodz. These days D&B gigs are all over the place and there’s not many regular nights – it’s more like pop up gigs. I live in Poznan – a city which a decade ago was avoided by big D&B events in general! These days though things have changed – we have lot of good quality gigs taking place here. By the way – I’d like to say ‘hello’ to guys from D.O.
F: I agree – the Poznan music scene is definitely busier over the last few years. Shouts to the guys! In general there isn’t a huge D&B scene in Poland. The reason is that the people who used to be old school ravers are now grownups with busy lives and there are not that many younger people continuing on the organising of gigs. Producer wise I’m a big fan of Mortem who is very skilled and is a good old friend too. I also like SATL who we are actually working on a new production with at the moment – Cheers, Adrian!
Take us through a typical day in the Handra studio, do you guys have any rituals before sitting down to write music?
F: I don’t think we have any particular way of working or preparation. Well, we always have a few beers while working and that’s it really. Always have this strange feeling that we are doing the best D&B track of the world when we’re a bit drunk lol. Seriously speaking, each of us is adding something to the tune and there is always a great atmosphere in the studio. Sometimes we spend a couple days writing a track, other times a track could take a couple of months or even longer – there’s no rule really.
M: There are a few constant elements that are repeated each time we turn up at studio… For example Filip will always turns up in very uncomfortable skinny jeans and the first thing he does is he goes to my wardrobe (studio is at my flat), picks up these old, awful sweatpants, that are looking like the clothing that a character from Asterix comic book would be wearing (you know what I mean, chequered pattern) and puts them on. I think no Handra’s tune has been made without him wearing doing these. Picture this in your mind when listening to our tracks, ha!
Have you got any shows/radio/festivals you are excited to play this summer?
F: We tend to focus more on our music production than DJ bookings. However we do have very busy autumn ahead with sets in Wroclaw, Katowice, Warsaw and Poznan. After this we fly to Switzerland for a gig in Basel.
What other artists are you guys feeling in the scene at the moment?
M: There’s loads of brand new and fresh D&B however I try to listen also other styles of music too. Later on this tends to influence my D&B compositions. Recently, I’ve been listening a lot of techno, one of my favourite producers is Harvey McKay.
F: My current favourite D&B producers are Fre4knc and Friske. I also like Jubei, Bredren and Skeptical. They play very dark and rough sounds. I also listen lot of UK grime music and old school hip-hop stuff.
Any last words at all, incoming releases?
F: We’re planning two or three more releases this year. We have 4 more tunes ready and have just started a new collab so ears to the ground!
M: Now it’s more holiday time for us and we’re back in the studio in September. Sweatpants are all ready and waiting for Filip, lol.
Thanks again for chatting to us today, we are looking forward to hearing a lot more in the future!
Both: Thanks you! Take care, guys!
Interview by Kris Blake