Noisia have been known in recent years as really helping to push the halftime drum and bass movement along. They introduced the genius of Ivy Lab to the wider world and featured lots of other halftime, experimental dubstep and soundsystem artists on the Noisia Radio podcast.
Even more integral to making halftime a lasting subgenre has been the Partial series of compilation albums Noisia have released on the DIVISION imprint. Partial #4 released in late March and features six tracks from artists with very diverse styles working in this slowed-down yet bass-heavy format.
Your EDM decided to get to know each of these artists individually; how they approach halftime from a technical standpoint and what they want to say with their tracks. Because halftime is so experiential, it’s a lot of fun to listen to the EP while reading how each artist came up with their track, so we encourage the readers to press play and float along with the artists’ thoughts (for streams without Nosia commentary scroll down for the Spotify playlist or click here for YouTube stream).
How did you come to work with Division on this EP?
Razat: I got this opportunity because Noisia used to feature some of my sounds on their radio show. At one point they said on air that they wanted to sign one of my already released tunes called “d:beat.” Since then I’ve been sending demos and this is my third release with them.
Samba: It started with Noisia supporting a few releases of mine on their radio show and then Thijs (Thys from Noisia) reached out directly and I sent him some bits. There were a few he liked and he invited me down to go see Noisia in London where he played “Blister, “another one of my tunes called “Ladrão” and then “Tsss.” After the reaction it got that night he said he wanted to sign it to Division and then a few months later we locked it down.
Signs & Sotilas: It’s been a while now that we are working with Division for all our beats. It started with our song “Diesel” almost three years ago on Partial #1 and the release of our Skin Out EP last year.
HØST: I’ve been a huge fan of the label and have been lucky enough to get the opportunity to work with them. I guess they liked the tune.
Dub Head & M.Justa: Now and then Noisia was a big source of inspiration for us. We always stay focused on the music they’re releasing. Each of us has been producing music for a long time, but only when we got together it became possible to merge such different styles into something outstanding. When we heard the result of our work we felt like it was something truly unique and the next step was to find a place to release it. Since it was such an original tune, the answer was obvious: it’s DIVISION.
Anti.Negative: I sent them this track a while back through their demo form! They were super nice and contacted me, getting me in contact with Jaap (label manager) and listening to other stuff I had at the time. Hope to work more with them in the future.
What was a statement you wanted to make with your track?
Razat: “Vampire” was really an exercise in repetition, trying to take that minimal approach in terms of elements while maintaining a hard vibe. I tried to keep it real minimal, the breaks are just the beat re-sampled with effects. Simple but effective. I’d describe it as the sweet sound of looping weirdness.
Samba: With “Tsss” it was trying to keep the melody line at the centre of the track whilst not taking anything from the weight of it. It’s generally how I like to write most of my tracks but this one especially so. As for the “Tsss,” honestly, the way I name my tracks is so random, this one I called it that when I was working on it just so I could remember which one it was after I put that hiss sound.
Signs & Sotilas: I think the day we did “French Slang,” we just wanted to make something for the floor and we all together got hyped in the studio. We came up with the name because this track is a collab with our dude Sotilas from Toulouse, and when we all hang out in the studio a lot of French slang is spit. With regard to production, we build nearly each and every sound from scratch, especially the synths. They are 100% home grown.
HØST: I’m a bit of a history head and was on a late night session wanting to make a tribalesque beat. It wasn’t meant to be a statement as such more to conjure thoughts of prehistoric man; hunter gatherer communities. Hence the title “HNTRS.”
From a technical standpoint, I wrote the bass in this track to just be a big thuggish hit on the back, allowing the percs to rip it up at the end of the bar. The aim was to make a wave kind of effect. Bit of a staggered skank movement. I played the beat in over the top, aiming to get a wonky structure to the track. I wrote ‘HNTRS’ during an all-night music session when I first moved to university. I remember having the vocal and starting to write the song around this. I had just got my first synth as well so spent ages working to get dark wonky atmospheres and movements out of it. I wanted to create something daunting to separate the first and second sections.
Dub Head & M.Justa: Both of us are from Ukraine. We can’t stay calm when we hear the music. It’s not about listening. It’s all about the feeling it! You just get obsessed with this groove and you dance like no one is around. Our goal was to share it with people, to make them feel this blowing energy, to make them shake their heads, to let this sound run through you. That’s how “Ghost Note” was created, inspired by hip-hop beats and the power of drum and bass.
For us, it’s all about the ghost notes (laughing). Actually it’s all about the funk that’s inside you. If it’s in your heart then all your music and your whole life will be full of it not depending on a tempo. I (M.Justa) really love to experiment with the sound and go beyond genre frames, and Dub Head is a true master of groovy steppers. The things that really tie us together are cold sounds, dark atmospheres and massive basslines.
Anti.Negative: The statement I was trying to make, was actually pretty simple but deep I suppose. I wrote “Radiance” while the disaster in Puerto Rico was happening. I was absolutely inspired by the efforts people were making to help those out in need. I’m all about that. I was also going through a storm in my own life at the time, and the only thing that got me through it was my friends, my family, my tribe. So the statement is no matter the storm, we’ll make it through with help of our tribes, just like the ancient times, just like the present. Love for your fellow beings transcends time and space.
I love the hyper-contrast of duality, the fight between darkness and light. I coated the main bass in Corpus and Resonators to add a glossy, murky chord texture to soften the vibe and smoothen out the transition. I wanted to make it feel as though you were entering into the eye of the storm, and everyone came out to jump in the mud with the sun peering through clouds. I chose rainsticks and spiritual chants to setup the image of a tribe dancing and singing in ceremony. By the end of the story I wanted to make it feel as though the innocence was not lost, we can still have fun, laugh, dance, sing, no matter the severity of disaster. We mourn the loss of others and our livelihoods, but dance in remembrance of them, to inspire us to rebuild and honor their memories. I do sound design for a living, so I love creating images and scenes through sound, almost as therapeutic as painting for me.
What’s coming up for you next?
Razat: Got a bunch of tunes coming. Expect a new EP on Saturate and also a new EP on Flexout.
Samba: At the moment I’m in a bit of an interim period between the last couple of releases and the next few that are in the works. For now I’m trying to just focus on writing music and playing shows.
Signs & Sotilas: Next up is some dnb on Prolix’s Trendkill imprint and in the meantime we are finishing our next Division EP, something we’ve been working on for a while now. To be continued.
HØST: I have a Remix EP I’m planning to self-release of a couple of my favorite hip hop instrumentals and tracks which I’ve reworked. Also got a few things in the pipeline but not to announce currently.
Dub Head & M.Justa: We’re so inspired with the result of our collaboration so the next studio session is scheduled already and new tunes will come up soon.
Anti.Negative: Well besides a weekly multi-genre self-release I’m pushing out of my own cloud on Tuesdays, I also have a release planned on May 10th with this cool up and coming collective called Subverse. They’ve been super nice to me, I like their spirit and they’ve treated me like an equal even though I’m a small fish right now, just like Noisia/DIVISION, homies. I’m on a compilation with Phuturecollective which is out some time in June/July with a bunch of cool artists. Tons of other cool stuff with other people/labels I can’t talk about yet.
Partial #4 is out now on DIVISION Recordings and can be purchased or streamed on all platforms by clicking here.