Introducing: Semitone
There isn’t a country or culture that hasn’t been touched by the DnB outbreak. SouthAmerica is certainly no exception and has given up some real talent over the years. Semitone hails from Columbia and keeps the standard high for his continental peers. Check out my review of his ‘Backlash’ EP out now on Faded Music, after his interview below.
How did you get into Drum and Bass?
Well, I was always into music. I had a drum set when I was a kid and I played all day long. Then, MTV got me into The Chemical Brothers & The Prodigy and from then on I think it was a natural progression to discovering Drum and Bass. It’s a funny story because I got into drum and bass back in 98 without knowing what it was, I just liked that
music. I randomly bought the Roni Size/Reprazent – New Forms album at a Virgin megastore in Miami and used to play it on repeat while playing Need For Speed games on my computer. It wasn’t ’til a few years later when I met someone who would become a good friend of mine that gave me a Dieselboy mix, he said, “This is what you like. It’s called Drum & Bass”. I think it was ‘The Sixth Session’ CD the one that intro’s with Konflict’s “Messiah”, bless him for that.
What is the scene like in Colombia? Is it big? Is it mainly in the cities?
It’s been a long but fun process in spreading the sound and educating the crowds and I’m proud to say that the movement here is finally becoming a scene. As part of the RE.SET collective, we have been promoting drum and bass in Colombia, mainly Bogotá
for the past 8 years bringing DJs like Icicle, Ed Rush, Ant TC1, Raiden to name a few. RE.SET also makes part of the biggest festival for underground music in South America, ‘RADIKAL STYLES’. An event that holds 3 thousand people and recently had big names in the scene like Audio, Current Value, Ulterior Motive, DLR and Goldie.
What are your musical influences?
My dad was always listening to all kinds of music, so I’ve had all sorts of influences since very young. But mostly the classic British rock was what stuck with me; bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons, etc. Teenage years were the grunge days… I played the drums for hours while listening to Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine. All that changed when I saw the video for “Block Rockin’ Beats” by The Chemical Brothers… all about that bassline and those breaks.
Who do you respect most in DnB?
I wouldn’t know how to answer that! I think there are so many people that deserve respect in the scene, not just producers or DJ’s but also the people behind the curtains. It’s impossible to just name a few.
What production equipment do you use? I have 2 computers: MacBook Pro and Mac Pro. I use Splice to sync my projects online
so I can open my projects on either computer. Preferred DAW is Ableton Live. My studio interface is a Digi002R (Black Lion Mod). Monitors are Mackie HR824 MKII. Hardware Synths: Novation Bass Station II and Access Virus TI Snow. Plugins: NI Komplete, Arturia collection, FabFilter, + various other plugs.
What’s next for Semitone?
Europe tour 2016! I’m working on setting dates in Europe this summer. Have confirmed gigs in Germany, France, Spain, and to finish off I will be playing in the Outlook festival in Croatia! You will hear more from me soon on the first release for RE.SET Audio, a 5
track EP which includes tunes from Brain, Sebass, Xue, Unreal Project and myself.
Tell us about your new EP, Backlash. It’s full of great work man!
Well this EP has tunes old and new. Since it’s my debut EP, I made sure to include collaborations with my best producing mates, Coma from London and my nephew, J. Rhodes. It’s an EP that hopefully showcases a diverse taste in drum n bass as it’s hard for me to stick to a technique, sound or synth. I like to always keep evolving and try new ideas, so the Backlash EP is really a mix of everything.
When producing, do you start with a vision in mind or is it an evolutionary process?
It depends. Sometimes I have a clear idea of what I want to do with a track before even starting it. It’s purely composition that matters the most and for some reason those sessions are usually fast-paced and the tune’s are finished quickly. Other times im just in the studio, typically starting with a beat and then slowly evolving as I hear the “sounds in my head” dictating what to do next. Massive shout to Semitone for taking time out to answer those questions!
Check out my review of the EP below and listen to the EP yourself via the link at the bottom of the page.
‘Backlash’ This warped minimal stepper is laced with warm pads and strings and is a really nice introduction track to this EP. Raindrop ambiences provide the atmosphere.
‘Binomial’ This track explodes on the drop after a weighty breakdown. hyperloop drums provide the energy of a methed-up greyhound. Neuro sweeps provide the horror element. Clever and punchy throughout!
‘Deterrent’ Jumpy vibes are on the menu here with dramatic sweeps on the intro’ that are bullied on
the drop by some brilliantly worked bass and purcussive elements – a proper neck snapper! A fluid sub layer ebbs and flows to give a natural swing. Love this!
‘Self Centred’ The title of this track infects the listener and so leads to self indulgence. The dreamy vocal and slow attack of the pads are perfectly combined with punchy bass stabs and a classy, aggressive reese that gatecrashes periodically to remind you who’s in charge. A
really well balanced track for all tastes. Check out the Soundcloud playlist right here
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