With a grip of upcoming releases, Ronin Ordinance is looking to make an impact heading into 2018 and beyond. I sat down with Benjamin, the mastermind behind the label, to get an idea of what they have in store for us….
How long have you been involved in drum and bass music? In what capacity?
The music? I would say growing up as a kid in London I was always exposed to jungle and dub just being in the area and environment I was in. I didn’t fully understand it at all at first, but I started stealing my brothers tape packs and got hooked on listening to Stevie Hyper D. Around 2008 having just left high school and living up north in Blackpool on the North West Coast of England we had zero good bass music. It was all normal chart top 40 tripe so it was hard to find an output until I met a lad named Luke EP that ran a night called Breakout which had already been doing parties for around 4 years and have hosted artists such as Break, Heist, Sappo and Hazard. There was a very small scene to be discovered, he invited me down to one (I was only 16 at the time) so club life was unknown to me, but as soon as I stepped in and heard the music on a proper rig, I was sold. After playing a few parties I finally reached legal age, so I branched out to the cities and played for some heavy lineups. From there I’ve been lucky enough met a host of producers and fellow dnb lovers (big and small), and all of which are doing amazing things now. I got involved with a few nights in Leeds having then moved to the city. There was also a night in Brighton by the name Simply Vinyl which was down at the Volks I was holding residency and the rest is history as they say.
What was the deciding factor / motivation in starting the label?
Being a nerd for this music like the rest of us, buying records, going to nights / parties, and connecting with people. I’ve never been the producer type as I’ve not the patience for it, but playing and discovering music was always a strength of mine. With the label I guess it all started when I moved to Leeds 4 years ago. I was lucky enough to meet a wicked bunch of people who were as passionate and were making moves with their production/nights/labels. That and always being on soundcloud digging and coming across an array of amazing unsigned stuff and just thinking ‘’Why don’t you just put it out’’ my friend Toby (Colossus) guided me as he ran a Liquid imprint at the time named Rush Records which was really cool to see how everything worked behind the scenes. So with the connections I had already made through my drum and bass life I went and curated Ronin Ordinance. I’ve always loved our area of 170 as I grew tiresome of your normal drum & bass scene. Don’t get me wrong I love a big stinking roller as much as the next guy but it just wasn’t as pleasing as some of the music to be discovered if you dig deeper into things. Plus I love my jungle and old school tech step. I like my music to progress musically and have groove something which is hard to find with just dance floor based tracks but saying that we cater for all spectrums
What is the labels mission?
Being an upstanding source of material for the scene new and old. To have a good quality input on music and have our clan grow. The roster is already strong and we have a lot of great new talent coming through. It’s amazing to have artist I already love releasing with us its even more of an honor when approached. Coming to our first year this month we strive to make 2018 more active and more of a reach audience wise.
What do you look for when deciding on what music to sign?
I usually always have an idea of who and what sound I want so it comes pretty easy. That and networking with a lot of artists hearing them grow. It becomes natural that you want to give them that encouragement, constructive feedback and output for their music. As for the sounds I’m pretty picky when it comes to tunes I want to sign so there’s a lot of back & forth at times. The thing I try to do is bring all the flavors I love together as its very easy to get pigeon holed very early if you are just sticking to one style. Deep 170 is what we love most, so that’s usually priority but we have Jungle, Tech and lots more styles emerging so don’t always assume we will always have the same flavor. The calendar now is rammed so things are healthy right now.
What do you think drum and bass needs more of?
Banning of jump up live streams……nah I’m just kidding. I cant really say much on what it needs as its probably the strongest its ever been right now. As for the music selection, there’s everything you could want from every style. If you asked me this question about 3-4 years ago I would of said more old school orientated stuff and jungle, but that’s bursting right now! I love it! The fact people like Spirit are back with a boom; its good to hear those nod to the old-school. I gotta shout out Repertoire on that note. That label has been keeping it 100 with the tunes! Real contemporary jungle and forward thinking beats love everything Ricky and Ben put out!!
What do you see as something drum and bass needs less of?
Who is doing things musically that you are really enjoying (can be on the label or not)?
As far as labels it deffo has to be Repertoire. They kill it every time. That ILK release ‘’Four’’ is one of my favorites this year go check it out!!! Another label really interesting me at the moment is Cosmic Bridge. They have a very ‘’looking back looking forward’’ kind of policy which is cool, and always keeps it fresh. Loxy is a big inspiration too. He’s been donning it for the past 20+ years, no bullshit just beats. That includes all the Cylon releases.
Artist wise, Antagonist. Mike’s music is his own and the style of which he writes is intergalactic if you know what I mean. I’ve always been a big fan of his from way back when so its really good that he is finally getting recognized and the respect he deserves. His music is just naughty as hell! Expect more from him on Ronin in 2018 that’s for sure!
Concealed Identity, again another guy who plays by no rules and you never know what you’re gonna get from him fantastic guy also Sully, Crypticz, Corrupted, Akinsa, Medika, Fuj, Djinn, Forest Drive, West, Overlook, Paragon
What do you think the future of DNB / 170 is? Where is the next breakthrough going to come from?
Honestly couldn’t answer that without some sort of controversy. I think with this fusion coming through big time this year from the Techno scene I think something more will draw from that, but who knows. Probably some artist Dbridge has signed he’s always 4000 years ahead of anyone.
I was discussing this the other day with a friend, how will all this music sound in 15 years time and what’s going to ‘’replace’’ it? Drum & bass is just that – drums & bass. Its always going to have the same foundation and soul, its just whether it can be manipulated even more and that is pretty exciting to think about.
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