With his "Homeland EP" in the shops now, we catch up with Dispatch Recordings' man from down under Safire to talk all things Australian drum & bass.
From the UK we have quite a disparate view of drum & bass in Australia, in that we only get to see what makes it's way here, from Pendulum to Consequence we don't have any perspective of the scene on the ground. What goes on that we don't see?
Based in Melbourne, we've always been surrounded by various creative avenues. Nowadays, you can be situated anywhere in the world and be as up to date on any artistic style whether it be music, art, fashion etc. i've been part of a promoting crew 'BBA' for quite some time, we've been orchestrating events and tours for 8 years and things are quite strong at the moment, we have a lot of good artists touring Australia and New Zealand all the time. In regard to production there is beginning to be quite a lot of new talent and competitive edge developing over here... Something we haven't had quite a lot of like places such as UK where producers are constantly pushing each other and raising the standard every day, The more of this in any creative environment the better as it essentially gives a higher output of quality in the content.
You've performed at European festivals like Sun & Bass and Outlook, but how do things compare in Australia?
It's hard to compare shows like Outlook & Sun & Bass to any of those in Australia as we just don't have the market for Bass music like in Europe. The festivals and lineups of those in Europe for the genre that we're immersed within is definitely something else over there. Things are quite stong in Australia and there are some really cool festival lineups in summer, especially over in NZ. In Australia the scenes are generally a little more commercialized to be honest.
Across the Homeland EP you collaborate with several artists both UK and otherwise, how does the process work in each case? Are you always in the same room, or do you work over a distance? How does it all work?
A few of the collaborations were started in my studio while artists we're touring Australia, the DLR and Cern colabs we're started this way and finished via correspondence. The Minor Rain colab was done totally online and actually came together the quickest out of any I think. He's a really good artist to work with, I enjoy his production quite a lot.
Australia's cultural history is completely different from that of the UK. Formative sounds within drum & bass that influenced the music from the beginning are absent, like ragga for example or reggae. The social build that led to these influences is different. What are the musical landmarks that have shaped drum & bass in Australia?
Definitely, we don't have the cultural influences like those of EU and US … I think we've just followed sounds that we enjoy from those continents although, a lot of the people probably don't understand the roots of where they come from I guess. In my opinion, with the new production coming out of Australia there seems to be a new energy being developed and in a way beginning to create a sound which isn't about cultural influences although possibly more so nature and earth in country that is more detached from outside influence of the western world.
What are your own personal high points on the Homeland EP and why?
Probably the title track "Homeland", I guess it was a personal feat for me in regard to production… probably the beginning of a more technical approach where there is a lot of focus to clean and powerful production.
What can we look out for?
We've just launched our a new label 'Plasma Audio'. We have a lot of new, cool material coming. Beside music we've got various other components within our new formed collective including an apparel brand, art & digital media plus various other avenues.
Safire - Homeland EP is out now on Dispatch Recordings.