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Arkah

Interview
Alexander / Photography by Sal Marston

Graeme Holford has found Identity as a grass roots taste maker working under the Enorme moniker. Now feeling the need to pursue a more defined direction he is relaunching as Arkah.

As part of its ongoing dissociation with the main body of Drum & Bass, the more experimental free form aspect of 170 BPM music has relieved itself of the formers established disseminators in favour of a more communal, open source, decentralized network of would be taste makers.

Podcasts like Vykhod Sily, Come Meditate, Towerblock Sessions and Source Echo Broadcast have uncovered a fertile undergrowth of selectors with tact, with a remit to show the music for all it can offer. Partially born out of the very visible online community but I suspect, previously operating as independent individuals unaware of like-minded brothers (and sisters) in arms. It is in this climate that Graeme Holford is making waves. Recently he dropped his Enorme alias in pursuit of a sound truer to his nature as Arkah.

We caught up with Graeme to find out why he had decided to start afresh with a new alias and new dedication to his musical pursuit?

I hadn't been happy with the Enorme name in a while as it felt quite comic book-esque and I've always played quite dark, serious music so I was already mentally open to a switch in that respect. Coupled with that, my tastes in the music were changing too. I began to tire of the standard two-step style rollers that still perpetuate the Drum & Bass scene now. Everyone is doing the same thing and I feel that a lot of artists don't have a great deal of identity these days. It used to be that you could hear a track and you'd have a pretty good idea of who the artist was.

I feel that much of the music coming from that side of the scene is purely a dance floor tool and a lot of the musical feel is falling into the background. It's like there's a formula or template going around and everyone's trying to make the next cool dance floor roller.

I'm not trying to devalue what all these producers are doing though as I'm sure they love what they do and more power to them. A lot of them are friends and amazingly talented producers. It's just not where I'm at anymore. I don't go out to clubs much for the purpose of dancing all night these days, I'm getting old and sore, so my focus isn't there anymore.

So with that in mind, where does that leave you musically and who’s lead do you take?

I've been listening to, and playing more and more deeper, stripped back tunes in the 170 sphere and as that side of the scene has developed, I've found music in other tempos and genres that carry the same ethos or vibe, and the idea of blending these all together is something I find quite exciting. I love what Samurai, Horo, Grey Area, UVB, Auxiliary, Narratives, Nord, Ortem et al are doing in the 170 sphere and you can tie that in really well with Techno, or go the other way towards the modern Jungle sound that Rupture or Repertoire are pushing.

What do you feel has brought this change about? Was there a watershed moment that solidified your position?

It all came to a head for me a few months back when I made the trip to Bristol for Abstractions. They seamlessly blended Techno and Drum & Bass throughout the night and kept the vibe together so you barely felt the change in tempo. After conversations that weekend with Vega and Overlook, I left feeling really inspired and started really considering widening my scope musically.

Graeme might represent a general mode of thinking with the deeper depths of 170 BPM music, and although he talks frankly about Drum & Bass, his general outlook is optimistic.

Electronic music in general started as a boundary-pushing movement and a lot of it has become very stagnant and disposable in my opinion. Experimentation and challenging people's ideas of what something is, is how things get pushed forward. I'd rather be doing that than perpetuating the status quo.

Moving forward with Arkah, I'll be replacing my Blackdub Sessions podcast with a new one called Shadow Sequence, the first edition of which should see the light of day towards the beginning of 2017. I'll be trying to represent and blend the 170 BPM sounds I love and people know me for with Techno, Grey Area and some Ambient stuff. Basically deep, dark music with texture and atmosphere. I'll be keeping my residency with Haunted Science in Amsterdam but will be keeping it strictly 170 with them as we are a Drum & Bass crew but I'll also be looking for gigs in the Techno scene and anyone who'd be interested in pushing the kind of sound I'm into. Hopefully people enjoy it.

www.soundcloud.com/arkah_music
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