After a 13 year hiatus the Metalheadz Platinum Breakz series returns to a roaring applause from the drum & bass fraternity. We speak to Loxy and Blocks about why the label is still headz above the rest....
Where do you start to explain why Metalheadz is so loved within drum & bass? Is it the absolute affirmation of quality that was set from the labels conception? Is it the iconic artwork that has served as a seal of credibility? Is it the charismatic figurehead behind the label? Or maybe it is the insistence on always moving forward, always striving for progression?
You could argue any of the points above, but whatever it may be Metalheadz has created a cult following unrivaled within drum & bass. The artist roster at any one time has boasted some of the genres most influential producers and DJ taste makers and has spawned more than it's fair share of stone cold classics. With this in mind we were ecstatic to hear that the Platinum Breakz LP series was making a return having been on hiatus for 13 years.
As with its previous 3 editions, Platinum Breakz 4 is made up of productions from the people who are innovating within the genre right now; AI, Calibre, Ivy Lab, Jubei, Consequence, Om Unit, Loxy & Resound, Dub Phizix, Blocks and many more.
We were lucky enough to talk to Loxy and Blocks who both make significant contributions about the LP and Metalheadz...
For you, as much as a fan of the music as a part of it, what does Metalheadz mean to you? What does it stand for?
Loxy: For me Metalheadz is the musical heartbeat for cutting edge music the blueprint and extension of what Reinforced stamped into this musical spectrum we call drum & bass jungle.
The Platinum Breakz series were monumental back in the day, featuring what became the original masters of this music. What does it mean for you as an artist to continue in this lineage?
Blocks: It makes us really proud to be involved. It goes without saying that Platinum Breakz is the champions league of drum & bass and has had a massive influence on us as artists. I could throw cliches at it all day but the first album is pretty much a blueprint for the music we have loved since being kids. While I certainly hope we fit the mould of such a series I suppose only in years to come will people look back and say if our inclusion is justified.
Respectably how did your tracks come about, were they originally written for the LP or was that something that happened later?
Loxy: "Paradigms" was specifically done with Headz in mind, we wanted to create something that reflected our musical progression of what we do now mixed with the classic nature of the Metalheadz ethos.
Blocks: Goldie called us and showed amazing support to what we have been doing with Narratives. It was during our first conversation he asked us to do something for the label. It was at a time we had been writing 'deeper' stuff like "Embers" and "Slow Wave" so we took it as an opportunity to write something harder; if I remember correctly, Goldie asked us to write a 'roundhouse kick' tune! For me they have always represented a huge variety of drum & bass. Jazz fusion, lush vibes, immersive soundscapes aswell as hard and crunchy stuff. We just set out to do something with the basic elements of the genre, you know simple basslines, a cheeky sample or two and try and reclaim classic breaks with our own take on bringing them up to date. I think our biggest nod to Headz with the piece is the evolution in the track and creating something you can get lost in.
Do you remember how it felt and what it meant to originally release on Metalheadz?
Loxy: It was great, myself and Ink were the first artists to release a 4 track artist ep on Metalheadz so it was a very exciting and also an honour to be involved in the label as we were DJing from the start of Blue Note so to then be an artist on the label was like the final link in the chain.
Do you think the latest installment matches the legacy of the original Platinum Breakz album? What are you highlights across all 4?
Blocks: Big question. I've had 17 years to soak up the first album and over 10 years to appreciate the last edition so I probably need a while longer to give a proper response. In the same breath though, as a varied collection of music it certainly strikes me as similar in ethos. It goes without saying that some of these artists will grow as big as some of those artists on Platinum Breakz 1. For me Platinum Breakz has always been a statement album and that skull logo a forewarning of promise.
1. Om Unit “Timelines”
2. Calibre “Archive”
3. DLR & Script feat. Martyna Baker “Blue Room”
4. Ulterior Motive (feat. Will Manning) “Gods Neighbours”
5. Digital & Spirit “Creeper”
6. Ivy Lab & Hydro feat. Frank Carter III & Lucy Annika “Make It Clear”
7. SCAR (Survival & Script) “When”
8. Lenzman & FD “Joanie’s Theme”
9. Blocks & Escher “Madness”
10. Artificial Intelligence feat. DRS ”War Horse”
11. Jubei & Consequence “Black Hornet”
12. Dub Phizix & Skeptical “Deeper Love”
13. Sunchase “420″ (digital album exclusive)
14. Heist “Great White” (digital album exclusive)
15. Digital “Mini Cooper” (digital album exclusive)
16. The Invaderz “The Ascent” (digital album exclusive)
17. Bipolar “Interlude” (digital album exclusive)
Metalheadz Platinum Vol 4 is out 28th April 2014.