It is an incredible honour to have the chance to speak to someone I regard as one of the most consistent and quality producers on the Dubstep scene, Never Say Die longterm artist 501. Never buckling to new trends yet keeping his sounds fresh and explorative, 501 is responsible for many of the bass heavy classics that continue to annihilate any dance floor they touch. Apart from a recent remix, it has been a little while since we’ve heard new material from the Finnish virtuoso. Now with the announcement that Never Say Die and UKF’s Volume 3 compilation is on the way, we can feast our ears upon snippets of the wonderful ‘Emotive’ – featured as part of the collection. I took a little time to speak to 501 about the track in question, and to ask more about his musical background.
Thrilled to chat to one of my favourite producers – when did you first decide to start making music?
Ever since I can remember I’ve been fascinated with music and the culture tied to it. As a kid I watched a lot of MTV, listened to the radio and basically just wanted to be around music constantly. But it wasn’t until one Christmas in mid 90’s when I got my first real instrument (a piss poor acoustic guitar). I churned and learned, and eventually joined a few bands too. Gradually I got more interested in the production side of things too, as music software became more accessible which led me into experimenting with it on my own. It’s been a long process but something I’ve always had in my mind.
I admire how you don’t constantly churn out music, but deliver such high quality releases when you do. What has been your personal favourite release to date so far?
Thanks. My personal favourite is still the Zedd ‘Shave It’ remix. Mainly because it was the first track I ever did on Ableton and because Zedd wasn’t such a huge mainstream artist at the time, it was nice to have been a part of the beginning of his success with my own tiny effort.
You have a new track on the forthcoming Never Say Die UKF Vol.3 album – did it take a while to put together or was it quite a quick process?
The track on the album (‘Emotive’) is based on an intro I wrote last year but didn’t know where to take it from there at that time. I normally don’t go back to my old ideas but this time I happened to come across an mp3 bounce of the intro and I’d just heard Never Say Die were putting together another album. I thought the idea from last year deserved to be finished properly and I’d say the work to patch it together took me about two weeks.
You’ve been part of Never Say Die for a long time now. What do you like most about how they work?
I think they have a knack for knowing how to treat people. I mean, they don’t treat their artists like employees and they genuinely want the label to grow together with their artists. I think one of the biggest dangers in music industry lies in the selection of your partners. Writing music for NSD puts a lot of the afterthought at rest and I can focus my energy on things I know better.
How would you describe your sound?
Synthy, epic and optimistic. I believe that you can get through most things in life if you just have a pair of headphones and a decent song.
Would you ever move into other genres to explore new styles?
I try to branch out all the time but the hardest part about working in different genres is putting my own twist to something that’s already created by someone else. I don’t want to copy what other talented artists have excelled at. I want to bring something different to the table which also bears some resemblance to what I’ve done before.
Can we expect another 501 EP this year?
Absolutely, I’m hoping to treat you guys with a new EP later this year!
Thanks so much for your time! Whilst you wait for the release of ‘Emotive’, check out 501’s exclusive Your EDM Minimix below.