LA based powerhouse SMOG has been synonymous with the rise of bass heavy music ever since it first arrived in the USA. Label head 12th Planet has maintained a close ear to what’s been going on, constantly adapting to an ever-changing scene. 2014 saw the launch of the “Battle Royale” series, a platform to bring light to some of the more underground sounds from the best of the up and comers around. Today we’re premiering “Time Again” from UK artist Axel Boy.
After recently dropping an EP on Buygore that demonstrated the range of styles he was capable of producing, the Bristolian returns with an in-your-face onslaught of dubstep craziness. I kid you not, this track is lethal. Expect this to be doing some damage at a rave near you. Catch our interview with Axel Boy below and stream “Time Again” exclusively before it drops official on March 25th along with tracks from Phiso, Twine, BloodThinnerz, BladKlaat!
How you did you first meet 12th Planet?
So like most people 12th has been an influential figure in the Dubstep scene and I’ve been following him for years now.
Whilst I was kicking it in LA my manager who works very closely with him was doing some work over at his place. He invited me over and I got an Uber there straight away. After about half an hour from getting dropped off & walking around central LA looking for the entrance to his apartment I finally found the place. We entered and I was instantly greeted by 12th who was very welcoming and comforting! He congratulated me on my progress, then we proceeded to get in the studio and have tunes session where we shared music & spoke about the future! it was an excellent evening.
How has it been working with the SMOG Records team and being featured on Battle Royale?
It’s been fantastic, just by looking at the track-list you can really tell that SMOG are doing this to boost us artists. We are not massive yet but these sorts of platforms are what really raise us up to the next level.
So far they have put some good work into this release, so I’m excited for it to go out as its just the beginning of what both myself and the label have in store for the future!
You’re from Bristol, a city with a rich history of bass music culture embedded within it. How was the city influenced your sound?
It really is! This city set the foundations for everything i love about the music. Back in the golden era of UK heavy dubstep I attended all of the raves around town, we used to have an unbelievable amount of talent flying through our city every week! Its still the same, however musical tastes around here have changed slightly, the in thing at the moment seems to be more down the route of grime, but deep dubstep is definitely making a big return too. These early days for me we’re hugely influential and really gave me the motivation to get in the studio and write the music myself. To answer the question directly, A few years a go I was really getting in to the ‘Hench’ dubstep style which originated here in Bristol. It was a sick crossover between the original dubstep sound fused with the heavier sound, but it was still very UK sounding! I’d say this era of influence is definitely something that rubbed off and still sticks with me when I’m writing dubstep for sure!
Do you think “Dubstep” has become a bit of a dirty word in the UK in recent years?
Unfortunately yes and it pisses me off haha! Everyone is so very quick to jump on trends here in the UK and because we are such a small country they come and they go very quickly! I think at the moment everyone has been gravitating back toward the darker UK sound, so I’m seeing lots more OG dubstep gigs popping up recently, which is awesome! But I personally crave that heaviness which is definitely lacking in comparison to the past. But that being said there I’ve seen a few line-ups announced here in the UK as of recent that have some incredibly strong line-ups which is refreshing! There is still a massive following for it, that much is certainly evident. However the promoters are much more reluctant to put these events, but I feel like this will change soon, Europe is on the up again with heavy dubstep in my opinion! I think the radio has a massive part to play as well, Radio 1 for instance are quite literally just pushing grime at the moment because its become the profitable trend, this sorta thing upsets me.
Talk to us about your new record we have today for the SMOG “Battle Royale Volume 2” compilation.
‘Time Again’ was the first dubstep tune I’d wrote in quite a while! I think its a record that is full of energy and this certainly showed when I was playing it throughout my Australia tour! I wanted to catch a bouncy vibe with various different styles of dubstep, the intro has quite an original Dub feel to it, where the drop has a really jumpy wobbly vibe! I think its a good blend, when my manager sent it to 12th Planet he immediately responded saying the want it for the compilation which was excellent news, glad to be a part of the SMOG team!
How do you balance the filth and the feels?
Again, its literally down to how I’m feeling at the time. I demand a lot out of myself as a producer, I’m a person who expresses myself in lots of different ways so that definitely translates in my music and that is why its so varied. I might wake up one day and think ‘I’ve got some energy to unleash on a banger’. Or I might just feel like I want to write some emotional music that I can really enjoy purely for music’s sake, its something that is constantly rotating. I think its hugely important for an artist not to bracket themselves and that is something I’ve always tried to avoid.
Who’s your dream collaboration outside of the bass music realm?
Dr. Dre, Eminem, The Who, The Doors, Blink-182, Tenacious D, Daft Punk.
There are loads!!!
I heard you’re coming over to the States. What can your fans over here expect?
I’m finishing up my last year at University, once that is out of the way I’m a free agent. As I’m also writing lots and lots of new music parallel to my studies, by the time the summer comes and I unleash this music we should already have a solid tour planned out. When the time comes that I do make it out there, I will have some serious fire to ignite the country up. In a sentence – expect A LOT.
What does 2016 hold for Axel Boy?
It holds big things! I will be working with lots of new people in the industry and I will be touring as soon as I can! & of course I have LOTS of new music of all different styles to release which I will be getting out as soon as I possibly can, so stay tuned!