DnB producer Metrik, given name Tom Mundell, has just come off a huge tour of the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and he’ll be back in the U.S. shortly for EDC. His tour was off the back of his most recent album, LIFE/THRILLS, but he’s also put out a massive single for the summer festival season, a remix of the pop-heavy “Catalyze” by Bobby Tank. Your EDM caught up with Metrik as he was catching his breath from touring and before he starts his rounds again with Hospital to talk about the single, his style and what inspires him in drum and bass and music in general.
You’ve done a lot of remixes of pop tracks and have a great way of mixing unique beats with pop and groove. How do you decide what kinds of tracks you want to remix?
In most cases my choice of remixes are born out of a respect of the original artist. DJ Fresh and Eric Prydz are two of my main production influences so having the opportunity to remix them made a lot of musical sense and was also a big honor. Taking something from the pop domain and bringing it into the drum & bass world is always a fun challenge. My music is centered around hooks and pop is full of them so those remixes are often some of the most interesting projects to take on.
Similar question, how did you decide you wanted to make a remix of Bobby Tank’s track?
I’ve been a long time admirer of his music so it’s been awesome working together. I reached out to Bobby and we got chatting music and the potential of doing a collab. We discovered we’d been mutual fans so the ball started to roll very quickly. I invited him to do a remix of my single ‘We Got It’ feat. Rothwell which he smashed out of the park. In return he asked me to remix “Catalyze” which I gladly accepted. I loved the track. I love synthwave and my music has a lot of that vibe going on already and that track encapsulated all the things I was feeling in music at that point. The track has a distinctly 80’s edge backed up with some amazing soul chords and layered melodies. It sounded like the same pool of influences for my album “LIFE/THRILLS”, so it was a really creative and exciting remix to work on.
What draws you to the style of DNB you produce, infusing sort of technical beats with groove or more melodic sounds?
Growing up with a lot of dance music throughout the 90’s and the synth music of the 80’s through my parents, my music generally leans towards the more melodic and euphoric. I’m a fan of house and techno but I was also big into rock/metal in my teens so a bit of that harder edged ethic comes through in my music. I’m big into cinema so I like to capture some of that drama and emotion from the film world and inject it into the music. Essentially my music is all about atmosphere and feeling combined with powerful drops. Dance music is nothing without groove so there has to be a strong feeling of groove and funk in my tracks. I often achieve this with my melodies or the basslines.
On “Catalyze”, the main DNB beat is clean and fun but also very techy. How did you decide to put that beat together and what about the original song do you think made it work?
I wanted the drop to be heavy hitting in the club but also maintain some of the contemporary minimalism of modern drum & bass. The drop is very simple. I sliced up some sounds from the original track and rearranged them into a high energy groove. I created a bespoke kit specifically for this track to fit the aesthetic of the music yet at the same time hitting the right frequencies for a high power club mix.
The intro is quite long in respect to the rest of the track on “Catalyze”. What was the reason for this? Did you want to mix styles or have it seem like two separate tracks?
I tried creating a more truncated arrangement but there was so much musical gold in the original song that I wanted to keep. I kept a lot of Bobby’s synth work and vocals but used typical Metrik soundscape to re-frame the musical parts to give it more of my own identity. I imagined a Madeon-esque hands in the air moment with the big chords and synths so that worked very nicely to create the drama leading into the drop. I think I went through three different versions of this remix until I got it right! It originally started out as a liquid roller but it wasn’t quite inspiring me so hence the dancefloor mix was born.
What inspires you most about drum and bass?
The futurism and the diversity. Drum & bass continues to inspire me, year after year. I’m so grateful to have a platform on BBC Radio 1 to represent the genre that I love the most. If you want to hear what most inspires me, then lock into my show and it will give you a snapshot of what I love.
New projects/albums coming out?
I’m hard at work on my next batch of music. I’ve just come back from touring USA, Australia and New Zealand and I’m the most inspired I’ve ever been. I feel like I’ve found my own sound and owned it with my most recent album LIFE/THRILLS, so I’m really excited to continue in this vein and take Metrik to the next level. There’s also some very exciting collabs in the pipeline. Watch this space!
Anything else you’d like to say to the fans?
Thank you to everyone who came out to my recent shows in the United States. I’m very excited to be returning for EDC Las Vegas this Summer. See you soon!
Metrik will be touring heavily throughout the summer throughout the UK and Europe, with a stop at EDC Vegas and ending with Hospitality in the Park. A full list of tour dates is available on Metrik’s website, and his latest LP, “LIFE/THRILLS” can be streamed or purchased here.