I caught up with DJ and producer Cynical Gene to discuss drum n bass, music, releases and life!
Introduce yourself and tell us a bit of the history behind Cynical Gene
My name is Craig Winney , a.k.a Cynical Gene and I’m originally from Brighton but now living in Brussels , Belgium. I started DJing at around the age of 15 in Spain where I grew up, mixing house music, garage and anything in between after a friend of mine taught me on some technics he had at his house. I was then introduced to drum and bass by a good friend of mine called Steve and to be honest the rest is history !!
Where did you get your name from?
Well, I used to go by the name of DJ Subverse many moons ago, until I was in Denmark for a wedding and I randomly got a message from some guy I’d never met nor even spoke to, complaining that Id stolen someone’s artist name even though I was Subverse for 10 years or so , he was also quite rude to me, so I thought sod it , I want to learn to produce music anyway so maybe it’s time to re brand myself as someone else.
So I was thinking how do I come up with a new UNUSED name , and one that resonates with me as a whole ??
So I put my full name into an anagram generator online and spent the next few hours going through thousands of names until I found CYNICAL GENE and I thought it was perfect as I’m a cynical bastard and it’s in my genes !!
Who is your favourite non-dnb artist?
I wouldn’t say my favourite , as I have so called favourites for different moods I’m in, but I love bands like madness , parcels , slipknot and also artists like Garfield Flemming, Snoop Dogg and of course the Prodigy !! Depends how pissed off or chilled I am haha
What was your first experience with Drum and Bass like?
My first real experience with dnb was with my longest friend and brother who goes by the name of THRETS ( big ups Steve my brother ) who basically got me into drum and bass by showing me Total Science : defcom 69 and mixing it on his decks with another track, can’t remember that one though , and then I think he took me to my first rave in Brighton as well probably in the sweat box the ocean rooms, and then I was pretty much hooked , hitting as many raves as I could ( being underage as well and using my mates i.d which then got taken off me by the bouncers.
Tell us about your most recent release
So I’ve recently had 2 releases actually , one track on the massive 50th release on Grand Theft Audio , run by 2 thirds of the producers called SOLA ( big ups James , Rob and Paul ) and then my first solo ep for quite a while on the ever growing Deeper Dnb label ( big up all the guys at deeper , they really work hard and are real sound guys) called Nocturnal Fiends.
What is you’re biggest break / thing you are most thankful for to date in your music career?
I think it’s just having the chance to release on record labels really , I never thought I’d even get as far as I have and to be honest it’s just the beginning of the road , and also DJing at a Metalheadz night in Manchester a few years back alongside Lenzman, Dillinja, Randall and SL8R and Data 3 ( just as they started smashing it ) courtesy of Grand Theft Audio and Worried About Henry, was a proper rave that one ! And maybe DJing in my hometown of Brighton at the mighty Volks club where I spent many a nights spilling red stripes all over the dancefloor pretending I could dance !
Nice one on the Volks! I actually spent many hours dancing there too! Excellent venue for bass music, although you could never put your drink down the music was so loud it would just vibrate around and fall off the table! So who would you say are your top 5 current Drum and Bass artists?
I’m a bit out of the loop at the moment as I’m busy with my normal job , but there’s some sick producers out there at the moment! KOAX, is such a sick producer and has helped me in many ways with my music so here’s a shout-out to him !! Big ups man. My boy and one of my best friends SCEPTICZ , also smacking it hard at the moment and I’m proud to say we may have a track coming out together this year but shhhhhh. Then I guess the dons such as break , DLR and S.P.Y etc gotta get a shout-out also!
If you could collab with any artist, of any genre / style, who would it be and why?
BREAK, simply because he’s god and I’d learn a shit load and could boast about collaborating with him
Describe your favourite bassline of all time, preferably by just describing the sound (no technical terms- this is supposed to just be a fun answer).
I really love a good dirty Reece bass ( just like many others I can imagine ) the one in particular is Noisia and the Upbeats Sacrifice is and absolute face melter!
Tell us about the strangest / most embarrassing experience you’ve had before, during or after a show?
HAHA well…. Here it goes
I was booked to play in gent here in Belgium for the first time and let’s say it didn’t go down to well …
It was a dnb night but I was the only person that was gonna be playing tech / rolling dnb and all the others were jump up , like the screechy Belgian shit … So I decided I get absolutely battered to ease the pain of the music, before my set of course with my good friend Matt ( sorry for ruining your night bro ) I annoyed every DJ before me by touching the decks and God knows what , and there was this little door about knee height to get into the booth, I fell over it and out the booth and slammed so hard on the deck my mate heard it over the music , I broke my shoulder without realising and when it was my set time I played one track from start to finish and then got booted off can safely say that hasn’t happened again nor will it happen in the future ( apologies again to the guys that booked me )
Where do you see / hope to see the sound of Drum and Bass evolving too in the next few years?
I see dnb/jungle continuing to take over the globe showing anyone and everyone that we ain’t going no where and are here to stay !!!
What is one tip you would like to give to aspiring Drum and Bass artists?
Be patient , keep working as hard as you can and don’t expect things to happen overnight.
And BE HUMBLE , no matter how “big” you think you are , there’s no need to let it get to your head , and no need to look down on others because trust me , there’s plenty of others that are bigger and better than you and will continue to be so !!
Anyway enough of that neggy stuff , just wanna shout out to my friends here in Belgium that are continuing to push drum and bass all over the globe
Big shouts to blanko at abyssal music , Scepticz , teezer and the WUOA crew , bredren , and anyone that has booked me over the years and helped me become the little artist I am today !! Got more tunes and some rescheduled gigs coming up so keep an eye out on my socials !!!
Check those socials here!