am·bu·late (verb) – to walk or move about
As listeners and fans of drum and bass, we are very lucky to have such a label like Divination Recordings. Built on the principle of exploring the future while honoring the past, Los Angeles-based Divination Recordings aims to provide a variety of music across the drum and bass spectrum from both new and veteran producers alike.
The sonically punishing tag-team duo known as Sub Killaz has teamed up with Celerity to bring you “Ambulate”.
This song is a wonderful experience for the ears. The intro invokes this murky, sinking feeling as if time is running out. Before you know it, you are tumbling down into the ambulatory abyss. The atmosphere and pluck sounds have this cryptic feeling that happily reminds me of the oh-so-beloved Virus Recordings sound. As soon as the drop hits, the filthy chicken necking begins. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, chicken necking, that means that this song creates the incessant need for me to bob my head like a chicken and I can’t get enough.
The definition of the word ambulate is to walk or move about and that’s exactly what I want to do. This song has a perfect restrained aggression that makes you want to groove and stomp at the same time. Sub Killaz and Celerity are flexing their skills by properly reigning in the darkness of this tune with drums that slam throughout while keeping your head flowing with the tech-driven ambiance.
I was able to shoot a few questions at Sub Killaz (Sean and Brian) and Celerity (Max) about music, *hits blunt* and “Ambulate” *hits blunt* and music.
How did Sub Killaz and Celerity get started making music?
Sean: Brian stumbled across some turntables, bought some jump up records and it just went from there. I was at his house all the time watching what he and a couple of friends were doing and as a DNB fan plus a lifelong musician, I fell in love with it. It was all so new and seemed so complex, yet so free, I was 100% about it.
Brian: The DJing started in 2007, then thought we should give producing a shot. I think it was 2009 when we started producing. We started making tunes on Reason but switched to Logic shortly after.
Max: I got introduced to DNB/jungle in early 2004 which was junior year of high school. Dominic Sagona (now known as “The Voss”) would have me over on the weekends and we would spin records and dabble in reason. That dude and Mike Toth would drive me out to all the festivals and try to sneak me into the parties back then. Slowly, but surely, I think we began to take it more serious and eventually started putting together what we would call tunes. I think my first official signed and released tune was in 2009.
What influences your sound?
Sean: There are so many influential producers out there that it’d be hard to say there’s any specific direction we aim for. We do love the hype jump up or neuro tunes just as much as the rollers. I feel like we do our best to design little hybrids of all the styles…but really we just ask ourselves…”Would Hazard play this?”
Max: I’m a mesh of many things, typically I don’t listen to much drum and bass outside of production sessions and when I am getting a mix in. I prefer to draw inspiration from sounds of the late 80s, early 90s, but I grew up on the sounds of Spor, Calyx & Teebee, State of Mind, Prolix, Nocturnal, and of course Noisia, so…I suppose those would be key players there.
Name one of your favorite non-DNB artists that no one would expect.
Max: The Talking Heads.
Brian: I love listening to Tribal Seeds or any reggae.
Sean: No one would expect? If “My Boo” comes on it’s a fucking party. Otherwise whatever has a good vibe. Old punk, old hip hop, even some current top 40. All about the vibe.
What was your first experience with Drum and Bass like?
Max: House party or summer thing 2004.
Brian: I remember my friend showing me Tarantula and was immediately obsessed with the sound. I also remember going to an underground rave in LA and seeing local SD artists Gum-B and Trix play “Mr. Happy” and “Busted”. They actually inspired me to DJ in the first place.
Sean: There was a ton of raves and tracks that drew me in but when we first started mixing, I remember Brian would play “Deep” by TC, “Don’t Be Silly” by Original Sin & a tune called “Evolution” by Phetsta…DNB was coming to me at the perfect time in my life.
Tell me about your musical process. How did “Ambulate” come together?
Max: Oh jeez, I think I had put together a couple of little pieces for the guys to see what they wanted to work on. Sean kind of instantly knew that was the one and asked to send it over. As I remember, it had a lot of the key sounds, and the basic rhythm was there, but when those 2 grabbed it, they really gave it a nice twist adding in those high-end screams and relentless stab edits.
Sean: Yeah, Max basically had the bulk of the tune laid out. I felt like I instantly could hear where to go and we just went for it. It was exciting to work on considering we’ve been friends for years and are finally getting down on a tune, but it’s also a lot easier when you know it’s a sick one cause your boy killed it, rather than spending so much time questioning yourself and thinking it’s awful haha.
When you’re in the studio, do you have any rituals?
Brian: We do 1000 push-ups before we start any producing in the studio.
Sean: After that, it’s all coffee and weed :]
Max: Usually start with a clean desk and a nice “safety meeting” if you get me.
What is most important to you when putting together a tune? (What do you focus on the most?)
Brian: Drums are the most important to get right.
Sean: *Hits Blunt* It’s like the drums are the weather and the sounds are what you chose to wear. *Hits Blunt*
Max: A nice rhythm and response for dance floor…after all to me, this is dance floor music and demands that it is of course dance-worthy. I enjoy a fresh idea and a different approach to how producers get their sounds. Don’t always need to use Serum patches, sometimes its good to try weird stuff!
Do you ever encounter writer’s block when producing? If so, what advice would you give to producers struggling with their tunes?
Brian: Yes. Usually, going for a walk or just taking a break will work.
Sean: I can’t help but just keep at it. Banging my head on the desk till it sounds right somehow usually works.
Max: My best approach has been to open a new project, start something fresh, find your freedom. Then come back to your project once you have some good energy and creative juices flowing. Pause.
Where’s the best Mexican food in San Diego?
Sean: There are bomb spots all over SD especially as you get closer to Mexico. Don Pancho’s in IB, Humberto’s & Gloria’s in Golden Hill, Colima’s in North Park, El Nopalito in Encinitas, Lolita’s & Pueblo for sure..too many good ones to name.
Where do you hope to see the sound of Drum and Bass evolving to in the next few years?
Sean: Hopefully, it just keeps growing into this big beautiful hybrid and unity of styles. It’s sick to see guys like Benny L, Serum, Replicant, Limited & Bou, for example. Always coming correct with these jungle tunes that make you want to jump up! Certainly less one-note foghorn tunes would be ok…
Max: Hard question to answer! I personally just wanna keep hearing new sounds and approaches to what we are doing. Less of the same Serum sounds and something new and fresh. We are all victim of it. Let’s step outside the box more.
Grab your copy here: https://fanlink.to/DVN008