It’s finally here: the legendary drum and bass record label Renegade Hardware is releasing its final retrospective spanning their 22-year tenure in the scene. The Final Chapter is an epic release with over 100 digital tracks and a collection of incredible DJ mixes. Your EDM was thrilled when the Renegade Hardware team decided to pen the following in a heartfelt goodbye to DJs, fans and friends on our site. We gave the team a few questions and, as usual, they gave us their all in their response, as well as an exciting announcement. Keep reading for one last gorgeous gift from this influential label.
So today’s the day of the final digital release from Renegade Hardware, The Final Chapter. How does it feel knowing that this is truly the end of such a legendary drum and bass establishment?
It’s definitely a big day for us at Renegade Hardware. We’re extremely excited to share this body of work, comprised of so many talented artists – both newcomers and household names alike. That said, to put an end to something that’s been around for over two decades is very bittersweet. We wanted to go out on top and leave behind something for all of our loyal fans worldwide, and we hope we’ve gone some way in achieving that goal with this album.
The Final Chapter LP was a huge project to undertake and one we began putting together over a year ago. In the midst of creating the album we were reminded of the many reasons why Renegade Hardware was established. From the countless demo submissions from “up and coming” producers that were filled with love, enthusiasm and hope at one last chance to be on the label, right through to scene veterans, who privately expressed deep gratitude for the many doors RH had opened for them and what it really meant for people to grow up with the label as such a staple part of their lives. It’s in those moments that we realise what Renegade Hardware set out to do from its conception, and after 22 years this still holds weight in the chaotic, ever-changing world of drum & bass. We also understand that it’s good to pass the torch along to the younger generation and make space for new labels to break ground and become the next “movers and shakers” of our music culture.
It seems this subject has been talked about quite extensively in the run up to RH’s closure, but explain a little about the reasons for ending the label.
Renegade Hardware has always been a team-ran label and at the head of this team has always been the label’s owner, Clayton Hines. The decision to put an end to RH has definitely been deeply rooted in the fact that Clayton just feels he is done with it all. After putting out records for 25 years, he’s ready to move on to a different chapter in his life. His drive and love for the music industry – not to mention the sound of drum & bass in general – has died out. When you can’t put your whole focus and love into what you do then results will suffer and more importantly, he wants to remain true to himself. If something isn’t making you happy anymore then it’s time to move on to something new that fulfills you again.
There have been many people over the years who’ve co-managed the label with Clayton, such as Ink, Loxy, Chris Renegade, Yoko, Scott Cold Fusion and in recent years Joanna Syze. Many people have asked the obvious question: “why not give the label over to someone else to keep it going?” The simple answer to that is that it seems undeniably impossible to separate Clayton from Renegade Hardware. It’s one of those things where the soul of the label from its birth to its end is a reflection of Clayton. We at the Renegade Hardware team, however, have been fortunate enough to have this opportunity to put out one last project; it just didn’t feel right to just close the doors with empty hands.
The Final Chapter is quite extensive, with about a hundred tracks on it as well as DJ mixes. How did the team come to the decision to structure it thus? How tough was it to go through Renegade’s huge catalog and pick out the single tracks?
The layout of the project was definitely something we had to figure out well in advance to ensure it made sense to the public as there are so many tracks that all represent different corners of the RH sound. We split the project up into four parts:
1. Neuroware – RH has always been a label deeply rooted in dark techy sounds – some may say we helped to pioneer it. We also understand that at the moment the neuro sound is a very big deal, reaching areas of sound we are proud to say we’ve always been huge supporters of. The label was one of the first to start releasing neuro tech sounds and one the best example of that would be the iconic anthem “Messiah” by Konflict. We wanted to have a section of the LP dedicated to the sounds of the future; after all, our logo at RH has always read: “Future Beats for Future People”. The Neuroware pack includes new producers as well as established artists and it’s a killer bundle.
2. Horesementality – Here we dive into the deeper side of the Renegade Hardware sound and those familiar, organic breakbeats and warm tones. We couldn’t leave out this vital part of Renegade Hardware history, made popular by label heavyweights Loxy & Ink. Many of our lifelong fans have been very excited that such a big collection of the Horsemen sound will be represented.
3. Rewired – We decided to pick ten tracks from our back catalog for a remix package. It was no easy task for the select chosen few to undertake, but the results are a thing of beauty and we’re confident the fans will be excited by these heavy remixes that breathe new life into those classics from yesteryear.
4. Magnum Opus – And finally we delve deep into the RH vaults. As you mentioned, this was no easy task! How do you narrow down 22 years of anthems and memorable tunes? We tried our best and went back and forth until we put together the final 31. So with 104 tracks and 2 continues DJ mixes, we wanted to go out big.
On the DJ mixes, did the DJ’s feel a certain responsibility to pay homage to the label, or was it just kind of a going away party?
The DJ mixes for us were just another way for our fans to enjoy the album. Each mix represents the album bundles, so all the tracks from each bundle are featured in the relevant mixes – with a few cheeky exclusives thrown in for good measure! RH, TOV & Barcode have always released mix CD’s in the past, so I think the fans are used to us putting out mixes; it’s a tradition we couldn’t leave out.
What, if anything, is next for Clayton and everyone else currently managing RH? Is everyone splitting off or still planning on working together? Does Trouble on Vinyl continue in some form as well?
Good question! Clayton has been hard at work on his food line, “Jerk Me Crazy”, that includes a handful of rather tasty hot sauces. He’s been getting deeper and deeper into the food industry over the past few years and working towards opening his own restaurant and line of Caribbean style condiments and drinks. He’s also been in talks to write a book. He’s never been one to shy away from speaking his mind and the man has a lot of history to share, so it’s safe to say he’s got a lot on his plate at the minute. On top of all this, he’s still promoting a few events here and there, which are more geared towards the old 1995-2005 sound of drum & bass.
Giles aka DJ Ink, the foundation to the operation, or as we like to call him, “the anchor to the Renegade Hardware ship” is still going about his music production, DJing shows worldwide and running his own label Architecture Recordings. We don’t see him slowing down anytime soon in putting out quality Horsemen-style tunes and continuing to inspire the next wave of producers. He’s also the proud father of two beautiful kids: preparing the next generation for world domination!
As for the rest of us who help manage the label, we too are venturing off in separate directions. Some of the team will continue their business behind the scenes and work for other labels, while others will continue to produce music and perform at events. As one door closes many others open. While our work at Renegade Hardware may be done, our contribution to the worldwide drum and bass movement will still continue!
With the drop of the digital album happening today, RH has one last announcement for fans, in the form of a vinyl box set and merch for The Final Chapter. What’s the date of this release, and what will the box set contain? What’s the other merchandise?
Well, we couldn’t say goodbye without dropping one last infamous RH box set, could we? People need to follow us on our Renegade Hardware fanpage via Facebook where we will be announcing the exact details for purchase links and release dates in the coming weeks. But, what we can tell you for now is that there will be two different packages for sale:
Option one – this will consist of a five piece vinyl boxset containing 20 tracks.
Option two – this is the the mother lode and it’s got all of us at Renegade Hardware very excited indeed. The ‘Deluxe Boxset’ will have just about everything in it. A bespoke, spot varnished spot card box, housing five 12″ pieces of vinyl in individual printed disco sleeves, all beautifully mastered by the legendary Beau at 1087 Mastering. The deluxe package will also include a four page pull-out booklet a huge merchandise package: t-shirt, dog tags, lanyard, badges, slip mats, A3 poster, stickers and a draw-bag. This is truly a one-of-a-kind, limited edition collectors item. Once they are gone, they’re gone, never to be re-pressed, so people need to follow closely for more details to be announced soon.
Is the box set really the last thing to come from Renegade Hardware, or does the label have more surprises we’re not at liberty to discuss?
Yes. The digital release and box set collectors items are the last for Renegade Hardware. So if you’ve been a long time collector of the merchandise and vinyl, then this is your last chance to grab hold of these last physical RH products. It really wouldn’t have felt like a complete goodbye if we didn’t do some physical release on the project.
Is there anything else the RH staff have to say to fans, producers and DJs as we all experience the closing of this huge chapter in drum and bass?
It’s been a long road and an epic journey. There have been tough times, but on the whole it’s been absolutely incredible. We can happily look back and see the list of names who’ve graced the RH back catalog, the likes of Spor, Noisia, Pendulum, Konflict, Chase & Status, Loxy, Ink, Usual Suspects, Future Cut and so many, many more that we’d need pages to list them! It’s fair to say, there hasn’t been that many of today’s A-list artists who haven’t either gotten their start via RH or who haven’t walked through our doors at one time or another.
So, to everyone who at some point in their lives has contributed to the growth of our label, we want to say a huge thank you! We thank you for believing in our vision, the method to our madness and being part of shaping not only the label, but also the very sound and culture of Drum and Bass worldwide. Not many labels can close their doors and walk away saying they’ve made a difference. We hope that ‘The Final Chapter LP’ is a body of work all of our fans can take away as our gift to them.
Much Love & Respect,
The RH Team
*The Final Chapter drops today on Beatport and the Renegade Hardware website.