Downtime is a new series that showcases a different side of our favourite DJs. Up next, a mix of dusky and previously unreleased UKG productions from K-LONE
The underbelly of UK techno is in fine form at the moment thanks to figures like K-LONE, who specialise in a rhythmically dextrous and supremely bass-heavy strain of the sound that's been cultivated on labels like Livity Sound, Timedance and Wisdom Teeth, the label that the Brighton-based producer co-runs with Bristol's Facta.
K-LONE's manifesto has been mapped out on 12"s for Idle Hands, Dr Banana and Badman Chronicles and since 2015 he's risen as one of the leading producers of soundsystem melters that go whomp in the night. And this year sees the artist level up with debut album 'Cape Cira', a superlative 8-track collection that lifts his wiggy techno out of sweat-soaked basements and into more tropical climes. The warm minimalism within will surely make for one of the best LPs of 2020.
For his Downtime mix, K-LONE dips into his hard drives to pull out a selection of classic, dusky UKG that nods to the likes of El-B and MJ Cole. It's perfect for the summer, a smooth, uplifting run of previously unreleased dubs that climax in a few higher speed workouts.
Mix and Q+A below.
Tell us about your Downtime mix - what's the concept?
This is a mix of self-produced UKG with a couple of faster bits of mine towards the end. Writing music is definitely an escape from everything that’s going on so I thought some upbeat UKG would be fitting for this mix series.
How have you been spending your spare time recently?
At first it was definitely hard to get motivated and I didn’t really get much music done. I’m lucky enough to have a garden so I spent a week or so sorting it out. I’ve been writing music a fair bit since and am trying to collaborate while I’ve got so much free time on my hands.
What music have you been listening to?
I’ve been listening to all sorts, I think [the first] Bandcamp Day definitely helped lighten my mood at the time. Obviously GR Etiquette and the Skream dubs were wicked to get my hands on and the support Wisdom Teeth saw online was really amazing to see and extremely appreciated. I’ve been really enjoying the Freerotation Noods takeover, Duckett’s mix is incredible and really inspiring. To be honest Facta and I have also been deciding on the tracklist for the next Wisdom Teeth record and have been sent far too much good stuff so have been getting stuck into that.
What are your tips for maintaining creativity?
A big thing for me is trying not to be too precious with the music I write and just enjoy it. Everyone has a different approach to music and I really respect anyone who spends ages fine tuning their production so it’s definitely not for everyone. I think I just start to get sick of whatever I’m working on quickly so I try to trust the decisions I make at the time.
What social media accounts should we be following at the moment?
What new skill are you looking to learn this year?
Currently working on the live set of my album. I’m still working out the best way to do it but want to make it as intuitive as possible by the end of the year.
When did you make these tracks?
I think the oldest track in there is probably about 2 years old but the majority were written over the last year including two bits I wrote in isolation for the mix last week.
We're sensing a classic El-B and MJ Cole vibe: who are your favourite garage producers?
Yeah I can pretty much say most of my UKG is some form of plagiarism of those two, MJ Cole is the king of fruity 4x4 and I love EL-B and Noodles. I’ve been rinsing Dem 2 recently, the New York Soundclash Records Bandcamp is filled to the brim with heat. Love all the Gush Collective releases as well, am convinced Adam K's 'Follow Me' is one of the best 2-step tunes.
There's a ton of melody in the mix - tell us about that.
I think that probably comes from listening to guys like Horsepower Productions. Their tracks are laden with melodic and textural samples and are definitely a massive influence.
Can you give us some tips for achieving that deep garage groove while producing?
I think anyone who wants to make some garage just needs to get mess around with some UKG sample packs, add lots of swing, some jazzy chords and some obvious r'n'b a capellas and you’re onto a winner.