Dan Blishen and Andy Hobbs, better known as production duo Silent Dust are about to drop their self titled album. Inspired by film noire, musically creating the narrative to a collective story, they tentatively blur musical genres while brushing aside the usual assumptions attached to drum & bass albums.
Your self-titled debut album "Silent Dust'' has a defined audio aesthetic, with each track forming part of a greater image, almost like scenes of a film. The use of shorter tracks plays out almost as interlude pieces. What was your vision for the album beforehand? What were the influences behind the recurring themes of the album?
Dan: The way certain films are paced was a big influence on our approach to writing the album. It’s about tension and release, and trying to get a sense of a narrative throughout the whole listening. When you’re making single tracks designed for 12”s, it really directs your approach to production. You get into the habit of trying to wow people to sell records, and that often means packing in loads of ideas into one track. For the album, we changed this approach and had the space to explore ideas a little bit further and not be scared to leave a track at 2/3 minutes long rather than 6 if that’s what felt right.
Andy: There are a few direct influences that are more obvious than some, The Giant is very much an ode to a certain 1990s TV show, then there are the “found” sound samples which give the album its texture, we wanted to make use of noise and any accidental sounds that previously we may have gone out of our way to remove.
The album leans away from obvious dance floor appeal and more towards a dynamic listening experience. Within the context of both drum & bass and also wider electronic music, as Silent Dust where do you place yourself?
Andy: It’s still a drum & bass album. There are so many sub genres now it’s just a tempo, and we are still working at that tempo. It’s got the potential to cross over to other genres but it’s certainly not us jumping ship to another genre.
Dan: We really don’t care too much about genre-labels though. It’s important to have an approach to making music but if people want to categorise as jungle or downtempo or whatever that’s up to them.
The album also sees the launch of your own None60. Has this new independence effected your attitudes towards making music and also the boundaries and expectations that you may have for your own productions? What freedoms does the imprint allow you?
Dan: The whole driving force behind writing the album was about removing boundaries and having the freedom to write exactly how we wanted to. Now we have the label, we have the freedom to release this music the way we want to as well. Having the label didn’t influence the writing of the album though, as it was finished way before we set it up.
Originally penned for release on Marcus Intalex's Soul:r label, it must have been a big leap of faith and also a strong commitment to then take the project on as your own label debut. Marcus's original involvement must have been a great tool in getting the project into the wider consciousness of drum & bass? Especially as Marcus was talking about the project openly for quite some time?
Dan: Marcus was very open about liking the music, and I think there was a buzz around the tracks he played on his radio show for a while. He has opened a lot of doors to us though: we got to play Fabric, our first 2 releases are remixes from himself and Calibre, and we have DRS featured on the album.
Andy: The Soul: R signing was great for us and it was hugely disappointing when Marcus came to us saying there wasn’t space for our album in the labels schedule but we wanted to be as positive as possible and we are still releasing that same album. It would only be a gamble if we didn’t think the music was worth releasing.
Following on from the album what are your immediate plans for both Silent Dust and also None60?
Dan: After the album we have NSY003 which includes remixes from Eveson, Triad, Kab Driver and a return to drum & bass from Brother!! They’re all producers that we have known for a while and have supported our music for years, so it made sense to involve them. We’re also putting a live set together in Ableton which is a total reworking of the album.
Silent Dust - "Silent Dust" Track Listing
03. A Million Words
06. Shadows on the Wall
07. Winter Song (Alternate #909)
08. Levitation Theme
11. The Sun Also Rises
12. Nordtvedt Effect
13. The Giant
14. Before Tomorrow