June Miller have been making themselves heard in the scene since 2007. Their open-minded approach to music has bore refreshing beats and sounds, oblivious to any rules and genre limitations. We caught up with the pair ahead of Sub:side Presents Horizons Music to talk about how two punks ended up in the drum & bass game…
Mark McCann & Bart van Dijk, aka June Miller, have been making themselves heard in the scene since 2007. Their open-minded approach to music has bore refreshing beats and sounds, oblivious to any rules and genre limitations. Their music is now infamous for its depth, emotional charge and genuine versatility. We caught up with the pair ahead of Sub:side Presents Horizons Music to talk about how two punks ended up in the drum & bass game…
You work as a duo under the name June Miller, whilst you live in separate countries. How does this affect your production process? Are there benefits in living across the water from your musical partner?
Actually, we now live in the same city; Utrecht! I (Mark) am originally from London and I have been living here in Utrecht for the last 5 years. In 2010 I moved back to London for a year and I must admit, at times it was pretty difficult to get our ideas down and both have a good enough input into our music.
Since late Summer of 2010 I moved back to Utrecht and ever since then the whole writing process has been so much fun! I really can’t express how much more fun it is too be able to sit in the studio with your best friend, do what you love, bounce ideas off each other and generally have fun! Oh and Bart makes like the best coffee too, extra bonus!
Before you began producing and releasing drum & bass, you were in a punk band together, touring Europe. Tell us a bit about your journey from then to now. What drew you to make such a change in music? Had you produced much electronic music before?
I have no idea to be honest, haha! If someone would have said to us when we where 16 that in 10 years time we would be making drum&bass, we would have laughed our heads off!
But the reality is that your musical appeal changes and evolves over the years. I think in 10 years time, we’ll be making slager anthems!
But to directly answer your question, the story begun back in 2001. I used to run a small hardcore record label with a friend of mine and we were hunting around for some new talent. We heard of this Dutch band called Deluge, we checked out their first album and were blown away! It stood for everything we wanted at that time, so we arranged for them to come and tour in the UK.
After a few days of driving in a big white bus, playing shows every night, having fun and eating sickening amounts of pepperami's, the whole group became so close. It was just an effortless understanding and we had so many laughs. After this, we continued to arrange tours and put out releases.
I used to pay visits to the guys in Holland and ended up purposely missing my flights a number of times just because I loved to stay over. In 2006 I moved over to Holland and funnily enough, that’s where the whole drum & bass thing kicked off for us. We headed to a few drum&bass parties and loved it so much; it was a pure rush.
We progressively started to try and mix after this, which was fun! I remember recording our first mix and doing about 25 takes haha!
We had never really tried to write electronic music and I guess we approached it with an open mind and without really paying any attention to any rules.
Does punk influence the music you make now? Or are there any other specific genres/artists that you draw influence from?
Yeah I really think it does. It’s funny because I was listening to one of my favorite bands called ‘The Get Up Kids’ last night and I could hear so many resemblances. They are not the most obvious of influences in our music but I guess the only way I could describe it is the actual feeling I get while listening.
I think though, if you listen to bands like, Shai Hulud, Isis, Cave In, Dillinger Escape Plan you will get a better idea of what influenced us years ago. The bands mentioned above seem to approach music with all feelings and aspirations in mind. If you can look past all the bad screaming, studded belts, black dyed hair and tattoos, it portrays such a feeling of frustration, beauty, emotion on a totally different level to what you would expect. The technical ability is second to none and the whole scene is so unbelievably creative. I love all these aspects of it and that’s what still inspires us today.
You have a lot of music that is renowned and respected, and sometimes it never gets released, or it is a long time before it is. Can the process be frustrating for you? Or is it just part of the way things happen?
I guess this all comes as part and parcel of the music industry but yeah it can be quite frustrating sometimes! We have so much music which has never seen the light of day and it probably never will, but you have to just accept that I think. Talking from a personal point of view; releasing a record is a special process and if it’s for the right label/people, then waiting is not really a problem.
You are seeing a lot more artists setting up their own labels which I think says it all. Total control over your output! I'm sure we will look into this in a few years.
Although you had your first drum&bass release in 2007, you have always been earmarked as one of the more experimental names of the genre; making music with great depth, diversity and emotional charge. How confident were you coming into the scene with this new sound? Did you feel any pressure to sometimes be in keeping with a ‘status quo’?
I think when we started making music at 170, we could never have predicted where this whole 'movement' would go (if you want to call it that) but it was/is great. It gave people like us a platform to just do what we want. I think we still feel like that and to be honest, we're not a big fan of genres. Music genres have come so far and they all seem to have webbed and crossed throughout their own existence, so I only see labeling the type of music you write as some sort of guideline.
We've always been huge fans of every type of music, whether that be a film score, hardcore punk, straight up drum & bass to something more 'musical'. This past year for us has been a pretty cool period for us, and we have just been writing the music that we want to write. No boxing ourselves in a genre or thinking that we have to write to a specific sound. I think a lot of people might be surprised!
What are the plans for the coming 12 months? What have we got to look forward to?
Well I think the next 12 Months are going to be really exciting for us. We have a lot of music we are finishing up which is destined for a special label in drum & bass. We will be touring the US in early 2012, which we are really excited about.
Confirmed release-wise we have planned :-
Give Up the Ghost - Horizons EP
The CD version will be (* for Vinyl Release) –
1. Half Top Feelings
2. Give Up the Ghost*
3. Neurosis 140 Mix *
4. Star Eyes
6. Half Top Feelings Instra:mental Remix*
7. Half Top Feelings Amoss Remix*
A: Brave Man
AA: Bright Eyes
B: Aged 23
Plus plenty more to all be announced soon!
Sub:side presents… Horizons Music
Friday 21st October 2011 9pm-3:30am
Plan B (Basement) Brixton, 418 Brixton Road, London SW9
Naibu (90 mins) (Horizons)
June Miller (Horizons)
Alexander & Suspect (Organic)
Loftie & In:Vision (Sub:side)
Hosted by: Code:breaker, Fokus, Deefa
£4 advance available HERE