We caught up with Drum & Bass producers Teknian & ZeroZero, to hear a bit about them and how they got into producing…
Tell us a bit about yourselves and how you got into producing Drum & Bass music?
Teknian: I’m Samuel and I’m from a small viking village in Sweden. I have been producing music for roughly 10 years. It’s sort of a cliché I know, but Rockstar Games introduced me to Drum & Bass with GTA 3 (I had no idea what the genre was called back then, I called it simply fast electronic music) and later Midnight Club Dub Edition which had an excellent selection of tunes from Calyx, Dom & Roland, Aquasky, Noisia and more. I’ve produced a lot of different stuff, from UK House to Dubstep, but didn’t really focus on Drum & Bass until much later – probably because the production value tends to be much higher than other genres. Now it’s the only I thing I want to do.
SamZero: I’m from Jersey (UK not US) a tiny island with not a lot to do. Im a lover of music, DJing, skateboarding, snowboarding, food, blazing, avoiding a haircut, travelling, partying, etc etc I always listened to lots of different music from Reggae to Funk, Rock and Classical and took an interest at an early age, I started off playing guitar and trumpet in school and when I discovered Drum & Bass I took up DJing and realized that was what I wanted to do. Shortly after I inevitably started producing tracks and linked up with an already established D&B Duo, Terminal State, also living in Jersey, and worked on a string of releases with them before deciding to move to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam I started studying Audio Engineering, DJing and here I met Jesse and Tek and started to work with them. I currently work as Head Engineer at Red Bull Studios as well as a freelance engineer recording, producing, mixing and mastering all different genres.
JesseZero: I’m from London and have always been making music, when I was younger I played lots of instruments, mainly piano and when I was 17 I went to music college and started to meet producers making electronic music, something I hadn’t been so exposed to in the past. I was introduced to artists like Noisia, Spor and Break and was so blown away by the technicality and raw funk in the music, I knew it was something I had to learn how to do. When I moved to Amsterdam I met Sam, we started doing ZeroZero together and I’ve never looked back. I currently also work as a head engineer at Red Bull Studios and I do lots of live audio work for funk, jazz and electronic music events as I absolutely love concerts.
Your remix of Rico Tubbs & AMPR – Red Sun is superb. Tell us about how you got the release together?
Teknian: Well I had been talking with Rico earlier about doing a Bomfunk MC’s remix (I rinsed that shit as a kid) since he had some stems left on his studio computer. So I started on a Freestyler bootleg for fun, sent it to Rico and got some of the original parts to finish it up. Then we got a request to do another remix for his label for his new EP, which turned out to be ‘Red Sun’. I chose that track because the vocals and the vibe was very easy to work with, the ideas came naturally to me and we were able to write the arrangement very quickly.
ZeroZero: Thanks! Well basically it stemmed from the Freestyler Remix we did which started off as a bootleg a few months ago. Tek sent it to Rico and he loved it and immediately offered us to remix one of his new forthcoming tracks, Tek already had an idea for the track soon as he heard the vocal and it went from there, the track was written in two days, over a weekend I believe, and then mixed in two sessions in the studio.
Teknian, you’re from Sweden and ZeroZero you’re from Jersey. What are the D&B Scenes like there?
Teknian: Compared to UK the DNB scene in Sweden is nearly nonexistent. But there’s some Stockholm promoters doing great work keeping the small scene healthy. We’ve had names like Noisia, Black Sun Empire, Ed Rush & Optical, Dispatch and Critical crew coming over to play to name a few.
SamZero: Being such a small place, Jersey doesn’t have much of a music community like a city would, but there are some surprisingly good parties being thrown. My favourite thing about Jersey is the underground illegal parties that happen in the islands variety of German War Bunkers and beach locations, plus all the ravers are mad and love dnb. I gotta give a shout to Lee and Robin at Vanguard for keeping it real and keeping the underground scene alive! I recently went back for a weekend and played at a small venue which was absolutely packed out with a new generation of ravers, the place was so sweaty the fuse tripped 5 mins before the end and killed the party, ha! Shouts to the Subfactory crew for that one! I love going back to play to my hometown crowd when I can.
JesseZero: Well, London has always had the strongest dnb scene in the world. As soon as I was old enough I was going to places like Fabric, Cable, Matter, Fire, Area, SE1 and seeing pretty much any artist I wanted to. Its sad to see so many of the best clubs closing over the last couple of years, but at the same time smaller mid-week nights seem to have been popping up and are doing quite well so that gives me hope that as long as people are making and supporting the music, the parties will continue to happen. Now we’re all living in Amsterdam and the scene here is quite healthy. The parties aren’t as big as in London, of course, but they happen regularly and the ravers turn out to support. Shouts to Cheeky Monday throwing two dnb parties a week!
Your remix of the Bombfunk MC’s classic “Freestyler” has gained some serious recognition, with over 27,000 plays on Soundcloud as well as your remix of Evol Intent’s “Middle Of The Night” reaching over 35,000 plays. What kind of support have you been given? (eg. Radio Plays, support from DJ’s etc.)
Teknian: I don’t keep track on radio plays and that but it seems to do pretty well. And yes we’ve had some good support from DJ’s on both the Freestyler remix and our remix of ‘Middle Of The Night’ which is very cool! I’m really thankful for all the support we are getting.
ZeroZero: We had some nice support and radio play on these, for example Reso played the ‘Middle of the Night Remix’ on his BBC 1xtra guest mix, and of corse Evol Intent have been playing our tunes in their podcasts. Spor also dropped the track on one of his Lifted podcasts and skankandbass listed our Freestyler remix as one of their top tunes of 2015!
What were your highlights of 2015?
Teknian: When I found prime King Hassan for €6 a g at one of the local coffeeshops, what a bloody bargain!
JesseZero: Playing at Outlook Festival was incredible, definitely hope to go again this year. Also hearing Spor support our track stands out – that guy is an absolute idol of mine!
SamZero: Finishing my degree in Audio Engineering, playing 4 sets in Croatia at Outlook Festival (and many other sets in many other cities), getting my job at Red Bull Studios Amsterdam, being asked to play the last ever Renegade Hardware event, meeting my lovely Italian girlfriend, endless cheeky mondays, Stroopwaffels, Favourite Chicken, general Amsterdam life, eating lots of english breakfasts despite not being in the UK, 2015 was a good year.
What can we expect from you guys in the future?
Teknian: No trap music nor future bandwagon stuff. Just strictly slammin’ DNB releases.
ZeroZero: We are currently working on producing the perfect cup of tea, other than that we have some music you might or might not be interested in, lots of collabs with some wicked artists, and shows in London, Sheffield, Brighton, Amsterdam, USA, Mexico and Canada booked so far.
Finally, what were your top 5 tunes of 2015 and why?
Teknian: That’s a tough one…
Breakage – Voyage/Roller
I’ve always looked up to Breakage as a producer and his latest release on Digital Soundboy is pure fire. Tracks speak for themselves. Simple and elegant rollers.
Calibre – Posh Boy
Mmmm… Calibre can never do wrong. One of the best producers in the game, nuff said. Loving these vibes.
Mark System – Optix
This tune. Dis chooooon!!! It’s pure perfection. It builds up beautifully and that bassline is one of the best I’ve ever heard. Mark System is a true don.
Nausika – Synthetic
This track is so militant and evil. I love it. The crowd don’t know what just hit ’em!
DLR – Los Angeles
My favourite from the ‘Seeing Sounds’ LP. Super tight production and I love the switch when it drops 64 bars in. Goes hard as fuck!
Shoutouts to the Amsterdam crew and my mates back in Sweden. And of course biggest ups to mom & dad who’s always been there supporting me!
(And everything by Break) – because Break.
Xtrah & Noisia – Gravitas
Favorite dark neuro roller of the year definitely, this sound is the future of dnb!
Enei & Kasra – Lessons feat. DRS
The whole album was so forward-thinking, but this track is the one we keep playing in our sets. Killer vocals by DRS, loose, groovy vibes and tight as fuck mixdown.
Ulterior Motive – Music City
Funkiest track of 2015 no doubt. We love how the guitar riff and drums play off each other. 70’s cop show car chase vibes!
Phace – Digital Diet
This album was probably the most technical music made last year. Phace’s production is second to none. We’ve chosen this track because the bass is so original, and the drum switches make the track work so well on the dancefloor. Absolute banger.
Teknian & ZeroZero’s remix of Rico Tubbs & AMPR – Red Sun, as well as the whole Big Bad Tune / Red Sun release is available HERE.