INTERVIEW: INTO THE ‘LIGHT OF THE VOID’ WITH ED RUSH [BLACKOUT MUSIC NL]

by | Jan 31, 2024 | Interview, News, Reviews, Spotlight, Tunes

Ed Rush is one of the most iconic producers around being crowned as a true pioneer of the techstep/neurofunk sound. With more than 30 years in the scene he’s undeniably a crucial cog in the drum and bass machine. Progressing on with his musical career Ed Rush is embarking on an empirical journey diving into his first solo album to be released on Blackout Music twisting through those gritty vibes that identify his style with a fresh, funky flare ready to flip the scene with his ever evolving vision of drum and bass and set to leave his mark once again with this anxiously awaited album ‘Light Of The Void’ on the horizon. Let’s take a look at the first singles from the forthcoming release, “Body Back” and “Maasai Funk”, and get an exclusive peek into what else to expect in a one-on-one with the legend Ed Rush himself!

MAASAI FUNK

Suspense clutches the build transcending into thick atmospheric primordial songscapes as aggressive, unearthly vocalizations shatter through, petrifying the vibe while a blistering beat pattern begins to build. The cries continue to creep generating a passionately dark mood as “Maasai Funk” is already oozing with an apex of energy, twisting the turbulence tighter, as the bassline bubbles in ready to pop! The drop consumes following a devilish delay with a dynamic bassline that morphs and grooves, breaking the mold as it steamrolls with powerfully punchy beats charging up the mix and severe stabs with every kick. Swarming with sound and a temperamental drive “Maasai Funk” continues to swell from every angle as it schemes to suffocate the dance from the twinkling effects echoing with malice to the striking bass riffs bringing the balance and the vocal samples piercing the mix with precise detail slashing throughout the composition. A savage blend of experimental concepts with contemporary techniques paired with the nostalgic tones and design of the beats results in an overdose of exuberance and unrestrained funk to make heads rush to the booming sounds of “Maasai Funk” from Ed Rush.

You can get the second single “Maasai Funk” from the ‘Light Of The Void LP’ by Ed Rush this Friday on Blackout Music. CLICK HERE to pre-save.

BODY BACK

An ominous intro rumbles in, trembling deep through the build the darkness constricting tightly as “Body Back” builds aggressively slipping into a dangerous four on the floor formula. Motivated to move and pulverizing the room with stuttered vocalizations sliced and diced in heart throbbing configuration “Body Back” slams steadfast into the drop. Without warning a sic delay pulls the floor out leaving the crowd gasping for air as this technical monster is ready to pounce. The rhythms attack, thick and complex, broken and stacked for a powerful attack, conjuring a hypnotic groove and the effects are sprinkled flawlessly elevating the vibe with the bassline surging and snapping to shake the room as we roll through the mix. The breakdown brings back the mysterious mood from the beginning of the tune elevating the second drop to new heights with forceful beat patterns that bounce between the stuttered vocal with a brilliant arrangement that keeps the momentum flowing and the floor growing as all bodies are pulled into the dance. A master of his craft Ed Rush continues to awe and inspire new trends and the first single “Body Back” from his forthcoming album ‘Light Of The Void’ on Blackout Music is solid proof of that! GRAB IT HERE!

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

ED RUSH INTERVIEW for BEST DRUM AND BASS with AMY OCTANE

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me for Best Drum and Bass! We’re loving the new single, “Body Back” and highly anticipating the rest of your solo album coming soon to Blackout Music so let’s get right into the good stuff and talk a little bit about all of that. 🙂

More than three decades in the game and still going strong, that’s an impressive run! How have your experiences throughout your career molded and evolved your artistry over the years?

Absolutely, it’s been an incredible journey. The wealth of experiences I’ve accumulated has played a pivotal role in shaping and evolving my sound. In the early days, I was heavily influenced by the raw energy and underground vibes of the London scene. As I progressed, collaborating with like minded artists and pushing the boundaries of sound became more of my focus. I am also a bit of a nerd so the constant evolution in technology has allowed me to learn and experiment with production techniques. Having travelled for many years, inspiration comes from a lot of these experiences which can shape your mindset and artistic influences.

 

‘Wormhole’ with Optical from 1998 is still held high as the ‘greatest album of all time’ in drum and bass today, reshaping the genre as we know it because Neurofunk was born in that masterpiece! How do you hope to carry this legacy through your solo journey?

As I embark on my solo journey with the upcoming album, I aim to honour the legacy established by “Wormhole” while also exploring new sonic territories. While the Neurofunk sound remains a fundamental part of my DNA, I believe it’s crucial to evolve and innovate. The scene itself, and the production techniques, even the way we consume our music have all changed drastically since the late nineties so it’s important to remain humble and allow yourself the space to grow and try new things. The solo album is a reflection of my growth as an artist.

Having said that, I also believe that having too much pressure on yourself based on the success of past projects is a sure way to make it not fun and when it’s not fun it translates into the music. So I try to approach each project without too much expectation or trying to fit a mold and just have fun.

 

That being said your first solo album is coming exclusive to Blackout Music soon! Any hints on what we can look forward to with this collection? How long have you been working on this project in particular?

This project has been a labour of love, and I’ve dedicated a significant amount of time to craft a collection that encapsulates my artistic journey and development over the last few years. Some of these ideas were born during the pandemic, others are more recent.

In terms of what to expect, you can look forward to a sonic exploration that draws inspiration from my roots in neuro and techstep. The album will feature a diverse range of tracks, there’s a full vocal track on there which is unusual for me with some tracks geared more towards the dancefloor and some more laid back and funky but hopefully each telling its own story and contributing to the overall narrative.

The album aims to showcase the evolution of my sound over the years. Expect a fusion of the familiar and the unexpected, reflecting my commitment to staying true to my roots while embracing innovation.

I can’t wait to share it with the world, and I hope it becomes a memorable addition to the drum and bass landscape.

 

Compare and contrast solo writing versus a partnership or collaboration. One gives you more creative control but it has to be nice to bounce ideas off another like minded artist from time to time. What are the benefits or hurdles of each method?

When working solo, I cherish the complete creative control it provides. It allows me to explore my artistic instincts freely and shape the music exactly as I envision it. The autonomy is empowering, and I can experiment with different sounds and styles without any constraints.

On the other hand, collaborations bring a unique and enriching dynamic. Collaborating with like-minded artists allows for a fusion of ideas, where the collective creativity often surpasses what one individual might achieve alone. It’s a synergistic exchange that sparks inspiration and leads to innovative outcomes.

However, navigating a collaboration involves finding a balance between artistic visions and preferences, which can be both a benefit and a challenge. Effective communication and mutual respect are crucial to ensuring a harmonious creative process, which is why usually like minded people make the best collaborators, but not always. There is the added benefit when collabing to not get too caught up in one area of the project which can easily happen when working alone.

 

Do you find your tracks are written more for yourself or for the intended audience? What’s your goal with your new album? Are you targeting a specific group or looking for a more openly accepted sound?

In the creative process, it’s always better to be quite selfish when making music. What I mean by that is, make what excites you. Make the tracks that you like, that you want to hear, not what you think people will like or what you think people will expect from you. Obviously the track will have to fall within a certain framework to work on the dancefloor, if that’s the goal. But make the tunes you want to hear.

So I aim to strike a balance between writing music that resonates with my own artistic vision mostly but I’m also mindful of the impact it will have on the listeners.

With my new album, my goal is to craft a musical journey that captivates and engages both long-time fans and newcomers to the drum and bass scene. While staying true to my roots and signature sound, I also seek to push the boundaries and introduce fresh elements that can appeal to a broad audience.

Rather than targeting a specific group, I want the album to be a versatile listening experience that resonates with the diverse tastes within the drum and bass community. I am a fan of all the different styles of dnb. It’s the diversity of the scene that makes it so special and adds to its textures and complexity. Ultimately, the goal is to create a body of work that stands as a testament to the evolution of the genre while providing a satisfying experience for anyone who appreciates electronic music.

 

The first single “Body Back” has gained huge momentum and support in the scene already. I’m really feeling a creative cross between the raw, unfiltered style that magnifies your iconic style of writing with a fresh, fun funk as you continue to branch out pulling new elements into your compositions evolving your sound as a pioneer in DNB. What does this track mean to you personally?

“Body Back” holds significant personal meaning for me as it represents a creative crossroads and a step forward in the evolution of my sound. It’s the tune that wrote itself. I think the creative writing process was only a couple of sessions but the mix took ages. I had the 4/4 section and the vocal looping and I had the drum and bass drop but it when I added the stab it took on a different vibe. It just came together.

Lots of producers have been doing the 4/4 section in tracks recently so I was a bit dubious about the reaction but It sounds good everywhere I’ve played it, which is all you can ask for really.

The positive response and momentum the track has gained within the scene have been truly humbling.

 

So many artists and trends have come and gone through the spotlight in the period of time that spans your career so far, what has kept you steadfast in your journey of over 30 years of devoting your life to this music? Is there ever a time you thought you couldn’t move forward and how did you conquer that?

The journey spanning over 30 years in the drum and bass scene has been both rewarding and challenging, and what has kept me steadfast is a deep-rooted passion for the music and an unwavering commitment to evolve both as an artist and a producer. Facing the challenges of transferring from an analogue setup to 100% in the box and the learning the new rules of the digital domain. Drum and bass is a genre that constantly evolves, and staying relevant requires adaptability and a willingness to embrace change.

There were certainly moments of doubt and challenges along the way, where the industry landscape shifted, and trends came and went. However, the love for the music has always been my driving force. The key to overcoming obstacles and pushing forward lies in resilience and a determination to stay true to you. Just do you.

We are evolving constantly anyway and are never the same as we were even a day or so ago. If something is exciting to you on that day, then do it, that might be a style you don’t usually make, then just roll with it. It can be more fun and you can end up with something beautiful that would never had existed had you not explored creatively.

The only time I really felt totally stumped and like I couldn’t move forward was during the pandemic. That is when I hit rock bottom in every way. The desire to create was seldom there. Which felt alien to me. Being stuck in the house but not wanting to write anything was impossible for me to process.

Eventually, I turned to production knowledge as an alternative and quickly became hungry again. Hungry to learn more. I really wanted to get better. I was watching loads of YouTube videos of which some were very helpful but most are trash. Samplegenie offers a web based platform that you can stream production tutorials from some excellent producers that are very helpful and Patreon is also a good way to learn modern techniques. I found I enjoyed the learning process.

Ultimately, the longevity in this career comes from a genuine love for the music, a continuous thirst for creative expression, a need to try and get better and a belief in the power of music to transcend time and trends.

 

Share one of your most memorable experiences or notable achievements that stands out to you in your music career:

When I took my 2 daughters to Glasto to see me play. Closely followed by same experience at Boomtown.

 

What has changed the most for you in writing tunes from when you first started producing through present day? How do you overcome the challenges of new technology and techniques as the genre continues to change and grow?

The evolution of technology and the dynamic nature of the drum and bass genre have brought about significant changes in my approach to writing tunes over the years. When I first started producing, the tools and equipment available were more limited compared to the advanced technology we have today. The transition from hardware-based setups to computer-based digital audio workstations (DAWs) has been one of the most notable changes. With, as mentioned earlier, all my work now being 100% in the computer.

In the early days, hardware limitations forced a more hands-on, intuitive approach to production. As technology advanced, the possibilities expanded exponentially, offering more intricate control over especially sound design. This shift has allowed me to explore a wider sonic palette and experiment with complex production techniques.

Staying relevant in a genre that constantly changes and grows involves a commitment to adapting to new technologies and embracing emerging production techniques. Keeping abreast of industry trends, and being open to experimentation are crucial.

Overcoming the challenges posed by new technology involves a continuous process of learning and staying curious. Regularly exploring new software, plug-ins, and production methods helps in incorporating fresh elements into my compositions. Collaborating with other artists even just discussing different techniques with them and learning from their perspectives also contributes to my ability to navigate the ever-changing landscape of drum and bass production.

Ultimately, embracing technological advancements while staying true to the core principles of drum and bass has allowed me to evolve and stay hungry.

 

Tell us about something you experimented with or implemented into producing this album that you haven’t utilized in the past?

I used my phone to record things that I might use in an intro. Like background noise in an airport or street vibes captured somewhere on my travels. We have this recording device in our pockets so I try to use it when I remember to. You can get some really cool and original soundscapes this way. It’s fun. This is something I haven’t used before the album.

 

Being one of the most influential artists in drum and bass who motivates so many in their artistic journey where do you pull your inspiration from? What or who helps to spark ideas for your tunes? Having dabbled in producing House music as well as DNB is there a bit of a crossover for you in the genres?

My inspiration comes from a multitude of sources, and it’s a constantly evolving process.

The energy and atmosphere of a full packed night club, the love and passion for the music. I still get excited when I hear new material from producers I like, these are all primary motivators. Additionally, the ever-changing world around me, experiences in life, and exposure to diverse foods and culture all contribute to shaping my creative mindset.

In terms of sparking ideas for tunes, collaboration plays a significant role. Working with talented and like-minded artists, sharing ideas, and drawing inspiration from their perspectives often leads to innovative and unexpected outcomes. The collaborative process is a constant source of motivation and fresh ideas. New technology and techniques can inspire sessions of sound design and a new excitement for tune making.

Dabbling in producing House music and other genres has indeed provided a unique perspective. While the genres differ in many aspects, there is a certain crossover in terms of production techniques, rhythmic elements, and the overall creative mindset. Exploring different genres allows for a cross-pollination of ideas, bringing diverse influences into my drum and bass compositions. As I often develop a sound palette I wouldn’t normally have.

 

How do you feel about the current state of drum and bass and where do you hope to see this music in another 5, 10 or even 20 years?

I always try to embrace change and, although cyclical, the dnb scene is always interesting and challenging.

I feel incredibly optimistic about the current state of drum and bass. The genre has proven to be resilient, continually evolving and adapting to new trends and technologies. The diversity within the drum and bass scene is thriving, with sub-genres like jump up, neurofunk, and jungle coexisting and pushing the boundaries of the sound.

Looking ahead, I hope to see drum and bass continue its growth and expansion, reaching new audiences while maintaining its core essence. The genre has a unique ability to embrace innovation, and bring people together and I anticipate the emergence of fresh styles and approaches that will keep the music dynamic and relevant.

In the next 5, 10, or 20 years, I envision drum and bass continuing to be a pioneering force in electronic music. Technological advancements will likely play a significant role in shaping the sound, and artists will continue to experiment with new production techniques and technologies.

 

One piece of advice you would give anyone trying to succeed in DNB?

Stay true to your unique artistic vision. In a scene that values innovation and individuality, authenticity is key. Don’t be afraid to experiment and push boundaries, but always ensure that your music reflects your passion and personal style. It’s ok to copy others when you first start learning. Put in those hours. By trying to copy your favourite music you will, very often, stumble across your own style, or at least your own way of doing things.

 

Thank you so much for your time and the Best Drum and Bass team wishes you all the best on the single “Body Back” and the upcoming album release! We can’t wait to hear what you’ve been working on. 🙂

Thank you. Peace x

The first singles from Ed Rush’s ‘Light Of The Void’ album “Maasai Funk” and “Body Back” are available on Blackout Music.

The third single from the release, a highly anticipated DUB since 2012, “Forever” is finally coming out later in February before the full launch of the ‘Light Of The Void’ album 1st of March.

Sincere gratitude to Ed Rush for taking the time to sit down and share some intimate details of the album with us and to the Blackout Music team for making this happen! Much love always for everything you do!

Content Crafted by:

Amy Octane

Drum and Bass is life! Co-founder and operator at (((dB))) Decibel Drum and Bass. Proud to represent Boomslang Recordings as A&R Manager and official DJ. Check my SoundCloud for fresh mixes! Connect on Facebook