Drum & bass' baddest b-boy duo come together once again. We catch up with Nucleus & Paradox to talk about their latest slice of breakbeat pressure on Metalheadz and a lethal mix to boot.
So guys! Back on Metalheadz! A well overdue return since your last single way back in 2005! That's almost a decade... Two of the finest breakbeat manipulators back on the firm, does it feel good working with Headz again?
N: Yeah it's great to have more titles on one of the most influential labels in drum & bass.
P: Even though it’s Metalheadz it still feels like the Son of Reinforced, so it’s nice yes.
Did you write "The Return Of..." and "Analogue Life" for Goldie especially? Both tracks are absolutely wicked, still retaining the feel of old Reinforced cuts with that 2014 Metalheadz sheen. what does proper breakbeat drum & bass have to say in 2014?
N: “The Return Of..” was the first track we worked on for a while and yeah we did have Metalheadz and nights at the Blue Note and Leisure Lounge in mind. When it was finished we thought it had Headz written all over it whilst still sounding like us. There seems to be a lot more room for experimentation in drum & bass in the last few years, especially now with tempo changes, 170bpm etc, less banging generally and more room for getting the funk back in the groove.
P: It was quiet easy to do actually. We’re lucky because we both went to the '90s weekly sessions like a religion so capturing that low black ceiling-standing by Eskimo Noise speakers vibe in our studio felt natural. As Nucleus just said about the groove, you can’t have proper breakbeats with fills running at 180 bpm so it’s pleasing to feel more swing nowadays. I like it.
We can hazard a guess to "The Return Of...", but what's the meaning behind "Analogue Life"? It sounds like a big statement?
N: We were trying to think of track titles and ended up talking about how much life has changed with the internet regarding communication, Music technology, low vinyl sales and the practicality of pressing vinyl etc. Reminiscing about the good old days before the digital takeover and how it's nice to have a physical product in your hand instead of a yellow folder on a computer. So it relates to the vinyl verses digital thing but also life in general, a backlash to the way the internet / facebook / technology is taking over people’s lives, lack of interaction in the real world, face to face or even talking.
P: “Analogue Life” is the beginning of the end with Nucleus & Paradox releases. We start in our relic hardware studio and at the end collect a plastic vinyl disc. Even after all these years absolutely nothing beats that feeling holding a new release with art in your hands.
Sampled breakbeat is to music what vinyl is to formats... All senses of logic at first glance suggest that it should be long dead, however it is always the last man standing in the metaphoric gun slingers shoot-out that is drum & bass... What is it that keeps it in the game every time?
N: Jungle was built around break manipulation so it will always be an important element. There's been a lot of drum & bass sounding a bit clean and polished with drum machine laptop beats which can be cool, but I think you need breaks to give it a bit of grit and character.
P: There is a reason why everyone still uses breakbeats – it still sounds really good. I was listening to some old Colin Favor Kiss FM DATs the other week and random acid techno tracks with Funky Drummer coming in half-way even sounded brilliant over a 4/4 kick drum. To be honest we could bore you to death on this subject as we’re breakbeat nerds but we’re always hunting for undiscovered breaks to use in our collaborations and that’s what keeps the scene ticking also – the undiscovered '70s gems.
The mix you've put together for "Metalhedz x Organic" covers so many recent years with sneaky classics from Photek in the form of "One Nation" and Bassbin anthem "Get Away". What was the mission statement when compiling the track listing?
N: I wanted to have a mix of old and new so I picked a few classics I've been feeling lately as well as some brand new stuff and just mixed them up to see which tracks go together, then worked out a set with a nice flow.
Check out Nucleus' Metalheadz x Organic Mix below:
Nucleus & Paradox - "The Return Of" / "Analogue Life" is out now on Metalheadz