SOLA is a Drum & Bass trio comprising of Nothing To Lose & Echidna from Manchester, UK and Hanm from Brisbane, Australia. With releases on Ram’s sister label Program, Formation, Korsakov Music, Gorilla Warfare, Dub Damage, Nuusic, Riot Dubs, Druid Records, Heads Bass and their own imprint Grand Theft Audio, these boys are just getting started.
I decided the best way to introduce you to the lads (if you don’t know them already) was through an interview just in time to talk about their upcoming release on Program.
Introduce yourself and tell us a bit of the history behind Sola and where did you get your name from?
James – Me and Robbie run Grand Theft Audio Recordings and signed a load of tracks by Paul. We started making a lot of collaborations together and realised we needed a catchier name than “Nothing To Lose, Echidna & Hanm” so we chose one and the rest is history.
Paul – My name is Paul Hanmer I am a Dj/Producer under the name Hanm/Sola/Significant Kids/PCD. I have been djing and listening to Jungle and Drum n Bass since 1995. I have been in a few bands from rock music(Drummer) to Dance music Djing and Production.Teamed up with a mate (Shane Doggie Wilson) and started Significant Kids and began writing Jungle and Drum and Bass as a duo for about 7 years playing shows in New Zealand and Australia.
My partner in crime at the time had to move on from Queensland where we were based. I met up with a
young chap (Cameron Swales) that I had been supporting for a while with his live drum n bass shows that he and
his very talented drummer brother Kris. They had Mad energy and their shows were always hype.
For a while Cameron and I had been talking about doing a collaboration. Finally we did and we clicked
Both of us being live Muso’s. I had originally met Dave Knowls (the third member) back in the Significant Kids days and he had shown me some of his productions and they slapped. Shane(sig kids) and I asked him to do a remix of one of our tunes and he killed it. So when Cameron, Dave and I teamed up we created PCD.
We were able to generate a lot of hype and began writing straight away. In no time at all we were
supporting international artist(Andy C, Chrissy Chris, Fierce, Black Sun Empire, Phace, and so many more)
We managed to get an unreleased track uploaded to NFG’s youtube channel PCD – Barretta
Around that time one of the band members had to leave due to some health issues so it was down to cam and I
We were picked up by a Label based in the Uk, Synergist Records and put out our first 2 track ep.
Off the back of this we were approached by Label owner and all round legend James Galloway from
Grand Theft Audio Records Label. James had requested and ep from us so we got under way on that.
After that release Cameron and I unfortunately went our separate ways due to life commitments.
It was down to Me again Hanm. I continued my relationship with the Manchester based GTAR, James and Robbie (label Boss’s) had me write and ep and contributed to the yearly compilation album. Where I met some great and very talented producers like KS (aka Minor Flux), Data 3, Sl8tr and many more.
David Masters aka KS, Minor Flux and I started talking and began writing collaborations together. We put out many tracks together during that time I had stumbled across a live Drum n Bass podcast from a very hard working American Dj/Producer Dorian aka Bad Syntax – Abducted and Abducted LTD record Label boss and owner. His weekly podcast Best Drum N Bass Podcast was about to go live for Friday sessions when Dorian put the call out for last minute dubs. I sent him a track and he dropped it in the same show. The track was not mastered though he liked it enough to add it in his show.
Dorian(abducted) asked me I was interested in doing an ep. So I enlisted my buddy KS to jump on a track with me. The original that I had sent Dorian for the show was a collaboration with a Kiwi artist know as Unsub and one of my own – Alien Future ep was born. We then were inducted into The Abducted Hive crew to then have further releases on the yearly Hive Compilation LP’s
During this time I was approached by GTAR Label boss’s James and Robbie to form an international DNB Group Called SOLA. We currently have releases on Ram’s sister Label ProgRam, GTAR,Formation Record, Nuusic,Druid Records and Korsakov to name a few.
Who are your favourite non-dnb artists?
Robbie – Outside of DnB, I listen to a lot of punk rock like NOFX and Green Day, but electronic music-wise my favourite non-dnb producer is probably Billx at the moment
James – Outside of DnB, I go through phases of listening to a lot of a certain genre like hip hop, reggae or motown, then I move on. At the moment, I’m loving Grammatik for those jazzy hip hop flavours and Opiou for the harder trippier sound design.
What was your first experience with Drum and Bass like?
Robbie – My friend took me to see Dillinja play at The Phoenix in Manchester and from that moment I was immediately hooked
James – I was 14 listening to a Nicky Blackmarket mixtape with Skibba & Shabba over Choppa Tune blended into Original Nuttah and it was like nothing I had heard before.
Paul – I originally heard Prodigy;s The Experience album which got me into electronic music. but then met a English man who was on a working visa down here in Australia. He had three cassette tapes which had a LTJ Bukem One Nation set with Mc Conrad, a Dreamscape set by Dj Slipmatt anda radio show called Kiss Fm or something like that which had Hardcore on it, Bit of Just for you London-London-London. ju ju just for you London. Never looked back. I was hooked. that was very early 1995. It triggered a very long and expensive Vinyl Record addiction which is still going to this day.
Tell me about your latest single to be announced, The End ft. T-Man // Fidget on Ram’s sister label
Robbie – This is our 3rd and 4th tracks that Ram have taken for Program. The first 2 were on compilations so it’s great to have a full single to ourselves. It’s something we’ve been working towards for a while. Program were the first big label to give us a shot so we’re grateful to them for this opportunity. It’s also an absolute honour to have the legend that is T-Man on the A side.
Paul – Yeah really stoked to have this one come out on Program with the Sola Boys. It wold seem as though we are gaining momentum. I may have to come out of DJ retirement and start playing gigs again!
What is your biggest break to date in your musical career and what are you thankful for?
James – I wouldn’t say we’ve had any big breaks so far. Every release fits into our musical journey like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. The things we’re thankful for are actually the smaller everyday things, seeing that an idol of ours is supporting a track, or the joy that comes from knowing we performed well live and the crowd enjoyed themselves. Music is a long journey and if you don’t learn to take pleasure in the tiny steps along the way, it can be hard.
Paul – Meeting and being friends with so many talented people is the big one. Having Noisia play a track on their huge Radio sets and struggle to pronounce my name Hanm.
Who are your top 5 current Drum and Bass artists at the moment?
Robbie – Prototypes, PRFCT Mandem, Mandidextrous, Syran, Tantrum Desire
James – In no particular order I’m really digging Kanine, S.P.Y., Metrik, Conrad Subs and Mefjus’ output at the moment
Paul – 1.Malux 2.Volatile Cycle and Dropset are killing it right now. 3.Hello World is going to be the artist to watch. 4.Audio 5.Magnitude
If you could collaborate with any artist, of any genre / style, who would it be and why?
Robbie – Vocalist would be Shotty Horroh or Alex Gaskarth. Producer currently: Mandidextrous or all time dream: Pendulum
James – Vocalist would be A Little Sound or Rag n Bone Man. Producer currently: PRFCT Mandem or all time dream: Noisia (or literally any single one of them now they’re disbanded)
Paul – I wish I had the time to collab with all my usual mates – Minor Flux, Bad Syntax, Hello World, Killer Industries. Big Artist wise I would have to say Malux. Kind of a Fan boy. Would love to see how he operates.
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).
Robbie – Bwaaahhhh (Benny L – Low Blow VIP)
James – Woooop, Woooop, Werrrr werrrr werrr werrr (Humanoid – Tibetan Mist)
Paul – Boowow Boowow Boowow Boowow…..Boowow Boowow Boowow Boowow…..Strontium Jazz Dylinja Remix. That tune is Fire.
Tell us about the strangest / most embarrassing experience you’ve had before, during or after a show.
Robbie – Mine I absolutely cannot tell publicly but if you ever see me out, ask me to tell you the Tinder Mafia story.
James – In my much younger days, I went on after Randall who left all of his brandy when he went home. I may have possibly drank it all, and may have possibly fallen over. Not fallen over *something*, just one second vertical, the next horizontal hahaha. Luckily no one had a smartphone out to capture the moment with it being so long ago.
Paul – A set I did with my Significant Kids Buddy when we supported Concord Dawn. The room was Jammed. Had a few people come up and request Morning Light. haha
Didn’t have the heart to tell them we were not Concord Dawn. Great set. That wasnt the funny part though. My boy was dancing so hard that he accidently hit
the pause button on the CDJ and stopped the Track. Lucky for us people were into rewinds at the time. Crowd went wild!!!! happy accident.
Where do you see / hope to see the sound of Drum and Bass evolving to in the next few years.
Robbie – My favourite thing happening at the moment is the introduction of these 4X4 sections in tracks. I don’t want it to take over too much and I know it’s not for everyone but I’m absolutely loving it. It just goes to show DnB can still evolve even when it can feel like we’ve tried everything.
James – I think a few years ago DnB subdivided into all these different subgenres within subgenres and all these walls were erected. Recently I’m seeing artists taking the initiative to break down those barriers and make tunes which draw their inspiration from all corners of the scene and plenty outside the scene. It’s nice seeing so many ravers nowadays who are into the full spectrum of DnB, and when you see the biggest artists like Andy C, that’s what he plays. Everything.
Paul – Definetly not Gabba or 4×4 kicks unless its the build up haha. That’s a hard question to answer.
If you think of it like this. we have all these sub genres going on. we have old/newschool jungle on the return. Liquid, Jump up, Neuro etc. Its too hard to really sit in one place for too long. as you can hear by the Sola Sound. all three of us like the full spectrum and just hope people like what we are doing.
What is one tip you would like to give to aspiring Drum and Bass artists?
James – Set habits. Make sure you’re producing at the same time each day/ week for the same amount of time, because when you lose motivation (which will come and go depending on so many factors like mental health, etc…) the habit of working towards your goals and dreams can carry you through.
Robbie – Similar to James, mine is to find a way to pretty much force yourself to produce and decide when a track is finished. Procrastination can be an absolute killer.
Paul – Network with like minded people. Collab with as many people as you can in all genres. Djing always helps as you get to play your tracks directly to the crowd and get instant feedback. If the crowd don’t like it you will know straight away.
To check out Sola all their social media links are below