[rock the dub Interview]: The Enemy

Who knew that Atlanta was such a hot bed for good music? Back up 10 years ago... did you think that ATL would have a lock on the Rap game like it does? Did you think that an outfit of 3 guys from the A would take the DnB world by storm the way Evol Intent has? To be honest, I always knew it. Don't ask me to elaborate, I just had a gut feeling that this outfit was going to blow up. And guess what? 4 years and loads of "glitch" heavy DnB tunes, and Evol has dropped tunes on Renegade Hardware, Human Imprint, Barcode, Tech Itch, Outbreak and their home label, Evol Intent. This is not about the collective though, but one member: The Enemy. He is one quietly diverse artist. I got a chance on a recommendation *ez Inaya* to peep his Hip-Hop beats, and was floored at the funk that was so different than tracks like "Street Knowledge" (which I heard KRS-One LOVES!)... and when I got tuned in to his "Slow Funeral" alias, I knew I had to chop it up with this budding wonder. Check out the spoils of our discussion...

khal: As a core, Evol Intent hadn’t gotten true notoriety from the masses until 2004, when you guys came with the Barcode 12”. Many heads might not realize that you 3 started the Evol Intent label back in 2002. How did you guys get together and start Evol Intent? What was your goal in starting that label; were you trying to make a name for yourselves or just get your music out there?

The Enemy: Knick and Gigantor had met up at college and started working on a couple tracks and they found me through some friends of friends and the internet. We traded a few remixes and then started some collaboration tracks. I moved to Atlanta after I finished college just because it seemed like the right thing to do and I knew there would be a lot more opportunity for me here. With Evol Intent Recordings, the label, it was mainly to get our music out there and release what we wanted without any compromise. It paid off by building up a pretty decent fan base, getting some buzz going which lead to attention from the major players in the scene.

khal: As you guys have progressed, you went from unknown producers to some of the new breed of dark DnB styles to being the masthead for a style that has been called “glitch” on the Internets. How do YOU perceive your DnB output?

The Enemy: Honestly, it’s pretty different for every track. Now we are getting to the point that we don’t think of it as DnB, but just music. We don’t sit down and say “Let’s make a DnB track”, we just make music as we see fit, obviously most of it is going to fall in the DnB tempo range with us being DJ’s, but I think a lot of the tunes on our new album will surprise a lot of people.

khal: The E.I. tracks have evolved immensely from the days of “Take That” and “Seedic”. How did you guys get from that early point 4 years ago to where you are now, which is considered by many to be the next level of producers ready to run things?

The Enemy: I think our skills have just steadily progressed and still are progressing. We haven’t really settled in a comfortable state, nor kept making the same track over and over. It’s just constant progression I think. I’ve also always put a lot of thought into the branding and marketing of EI and am always thinking of new ways to get our name, image & sounds out there. There’s a lot of elements that need to come together to be successful in the music business that I feel that a lot of DnB producers overlook.

khal: Being as there are 3 producers in Evol Intent, take us into the studio and let us know how an Evol Intent track gets made. Are you just bouncing ideas off of each other, or do you come to the table with fleshed out tunes already?

The Enemy: Typically, one of us will have an idea for a tune and ‘sketch’ it out, a rough 32 bars or sometimes a lot further. Then we’ll just send the file around in a circle for hours, days, weeks, or months until we feel it’s complete. If one of us if feeling extra special, we’ll have almost the whole song done and then pass it around for some final feedback or tweaks or some edits here and there.

khal: What’s your studio setup like? Are you strictly software based, or do you like to mix it up? What is your most essential piece of equipment?

The Enemy: We all 3 have separate studio setups and all own quite a bit of gear. But for EI tunes it’s mostly just software for the actual production. Gigantor has a great analog tape machine we’ll use to run sounds through, but as far as samplers or synths, it’s all software.

khal: One thing about you guys is, on the strength of your “Amazing Friends” series with Dieselboy’s Human Imprint, you guys do rock a nice amount of collabos with other producers. How does a track like “Broken Sword” get made, with credits to not only Mayhem and the THINKTANK crew, but Evol Intent as well? Are these tunes created in the studio with all parties present, or are you guys utilizing AIM (or other programs) to get the sounds to each other?

The Enemy: "Broken Sword" started with Knick, Mayhem & Trip1 from TT in the studio then progressed afterwards through some passing files around. With “Rapture” we just traded files back and forth through AIM with Ewun until it was finished.

khal: Not many of your DnB fans might know this, but as a solo artist, you have branched out into other genres… you have recently won an Atlanta Hip-Hop beat-making competition, for instance. What differences are there in making Hip-Hop tracks as opposed to DnB tracks?

The Enemy: It’s a world of difference. Night and Day really. Especially with the type of DnB we usually make. With Hip-Hop, you have to be conscious of the vocals, so the music needs to be the background, whereas in DnB it’s at the front. It’s a fine line of keeping things minimal enough to not clutter up the vocals, but also keep things interesting.

khal: Is any style easier for you to make than the other?

The Enemy: I’ve got a pretty wide range I think, but I don’t think one is easier than the other to make. I do a lot of ‘live’ trueschool Hip-Hop type tracks that I record live guitars, bass, Rhodes, organs or whatever on, so that obviously takes more time to get it all recorded but it’s fun and doesn’t seem any harder to me than firing up some VSTs and knocking out some simple synth lines for more crunk type beats.

khal: There is also another project you are working on, under the Slow Funeral alias. That side seems to be more on an IDM/broken beat style of production. Can you talk a little more about your influences in that style of music, and do you have any plans of shopping those sounds to other labels?

The Enemy: Yes, this is my deeper musical outlet. It’s just a solo thing that I feel I can do whatever I want with, no limitations. There’s so many influences I could’nt begin to name them, I’m sure when someone listens to a track or 2 they could easily guess quite of few of my influences. I definitely have plans on shopping it around. I’ve got about 5-6 unreleased finished songs and up to twenty more that need to be flushed out and finished. It’s on the back burner right now, but I hope to get back around to it ASAP. I’ve made a lot of good connections with some major IDM/downtempo labels over the past couple years, so that should come in handy when I get around to shopping the LP.

khal: These days in DnB, many artists are putting out artist albums. Do you have any plans on putting out an album, either solo or with Knick and Gigantor? Will there be any compilation-style releases from Evol Intent in the near future?

The Enemy: We are finishing up our album right now actually =). We’ve got a tentative release date of Valentines Day 2007 for the 4x12” vinyl release and the 2xCD and digital release will follow a few weeks afterwards. There’s no plans for a compilation style LP on EI recs right now. Just sticking to the 12” single format, and we’re going to do a couple artist EPs next year from Ewun and a possible Evol Intent vs. Eye-D EP also.

khal: With the constant talk of DnB becoming stagnant and boring, what are your views on the product being put out? Are you bored with the tunes that have been released? Are you wishing more of a certain style was being released? Who would you say is currently smacking it on a production side of things?

The Enemy: I think the good thing is that people are realizing that the DnB product is boring and there seems to be people who are trying to change things and bring some new life into it, which is great. I start to think I’m bored with most of the DnB tunes being released but as soon as that happen, I’ll hear something that I’m really feeling. I don’t really have a preference or suggestion as to a certain style that should be released more, as long as the clich├ęs are left alone. There needs to be progression and change, IMO. All the new Spor stuff is seriously smacking it. Ewun always amazes me also, always something new and heavy coming from him.

khal: Judging by your pics on MySpace, as well as hearing your sets in the past, you are a monster on the decks, DJing from Hollywood to the Netherlands. What is your mindset in making a mix – are you thinking as hard about putting a cohesive set together ala TeeBee, or do you kind of fly off the cuff with your sets?

The Enemy: I just freestyle it and play off the crowd for the most part. It’s usually a rollercoaster sort of thing. If you play nothing but super hard stuff for an extended period of time, then it loses its punch. I try to keep some good dynamics going. The set I would play at Therapy Sessions would probably be quite different from a set at some huge rave in D.C. depending on the crowd and vibe that’s there.

khal: Where do you hope to see yourself and your production going in the next couple of years? Do you have any hard goals set up for yourself?

The Enemy: I see Evol Intent still going strong with steady LPs and mix CDs coming out yearly or as soon as we knock them out. I also hope to be on the super producer status with the Hip-Hop thing, driving a limited edition 2008 Bentley with 42” rims. I just hope I can devote enough time to all the different projects I have to make them all succeed in some form. I am definitely getting goal-oriented. I’ve set some pretty hard ones up for the next year, so we’ll see how that goes =).

khal: Outside of production, what do you do to unwind and hang out?

The Enemy: Play around on the guitar or Rhodes. I’ve fallen for the xbox360, so I’ve been rinsing that a bit lately. My girlfriend keeps my free time tied up pretty well also.

khal: I know we share a bond in terms of being addicted to the TV show LOST… if you were on that island, which character do you think you’d take after, and why? Also, what the fuck do you think is happening on that island?

The Enemy: You’re thinking of Knick. ;) I don’t get into tv series dramas. I’ve got ‘The Office’ set on TiVo, but other than that I keep away from the demon box.

khal: People want to know what you are doing: do you have any releases set to drop soon? Where can your fans catch you spinning live?

The Enemy: Best place to stay up to date right now is our MySpace.

khal: Do you have any last bits of advice or shouts you’d like to give us?

The Enemy: I’d like to give some shout outs to my cats, Trapstar and Zooey for keeping it real each and every day. They keep me sane when I’m on the brink of insanity, and sometimes vice-versa.

related links:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Once again, great interview! :)