A month ago, we were in Toulouse for the annual Blackout show and we had the chance to speak again with the leaders of the label reprented today by Rene Verdult. Here is the interview of Black Sun Empire !
You are back at The Bikini in Toulouse, how do you feel before your set ?
I’m very excited ! I didn’t know it was sold out, I just discovered it now so I’m really happy ! Everyone is here and are looking forward. Hopefully it’s gonna be wild.
You organise Blackout editions every year in Toulouse and in others cities. What’s behind this idea and what do you want to bring us through these gigs ?
Blackout started in our own city in Utrech in Holland because we felt that our sound wasn’t represented. There was some DnB but it was a lot of Jump Up, wich is fine, but for us, our sound is very dark, and there were no party like that.
And it’s still the same, trying to reprensent our sound, the music we put out with the label, and our enthousiasm but not only hard stuff. It has to be a bit of techno, a bit of melodic, differents sounds… That’s our thing, stay between super hard and more soft tunes and bring this to everybody ! Simple but that’s how it is.
Speaking of that, as leaders of Blackout, one of the greatest current DnB labels, how do you manage it, to discover new people, etc… ?
First of all we have our « normal » artists that we signed so we have to talk to them to know what they want to do, what they’re up to. And then we’ve got a lot of new music coming in and that’s always difficult because sometimes someone make one good track but we also like to sign artists who potentially can do more…
A lot of people can make one good Neurofunk track, I mean that’s hard enough as it is, but some people can only do that sound and we try to look for people who understand that you need to have a little a bit of variation. It’s hard in a four hours DnB party to recognise that one tune so you need that one thing to make your tune stand out. It could be a vocal, a melody, something different from the ten other tracks before. That’s what we are looking for and that’s super hard.
That’s the main part of the label and of course a lot of day to day stuff like getting all your stuff online properly, etc… but it’s less interesting for you.
I would never say for something new that is gonna be huge but we always work on music. It’s difficult because we already have done so much. Our first release was in 1999, and during this time we have done differents types of DnB, Dubstep a little bit, etc… so we always need to take a long time to find what we want to do with a new album or a new ep or whatever.
So right now, Micha has a side project wich is more house and techno. So we also need to find the time to work together and find something. I think we have found a few things but it’s not yet going to be released. We make a lot of tracks, we combined a lot of ideas and we finish nothing… We don’t like to make promises for a release date so we take our time to discover what we want to do. In the same time we are working hard on a lot of collaboration for the album we have coming up soon, with a lot of artists, called «Lifecycle» but that is not a BSE thing, it’s for everyone on the label.
So the next project for us will probably take place next year because end of this year we finally moving in our new studio that we built, first time we will own our proper studio, and after that we will have to get used to this new room, etc… So we don’t wanna rush it.
As you said, you are on stages for years now, how do you perceive the evolution of DnB genre through the years ?
If I listen to stuff from back in the day it’s still really good. It’s one of my favorite music and when I’m listenning DnB it’s usually old Drum’n’Bass. I have so many good memories from there.
It changed radically during that last 20 years, it’s almost not the same music anymore. I think a lot of people produce very different sort of music because it’s super easy now to get a computer, get some sound pack, get serum, or whatever you want. It’s not that hard to make something that sounds acceptable.
Back in the days you had more jungle and everything, the time signature was different, etc… And maybe we could come to something similar. I don’t know if it’s gonna work so who knows and let’s see what’s next…
By the way, last year you played at Lost Land in USA, and we know that DnB is an outsider genre in there, was it a big challenge to you ?
It’s not a bad thing but it’s different. USA is very much dubstep orientated. I think the quickness of DnB, the energy of it never really got on at 100% in America. But it still a lot of people in USA that are really into it but America is a big country ! (laughs) There are very far from each other and there are outnumber when they reunite in festivals compared to dubstep lovers.
So America is a bit different from our usual gigs where people go out to listen DnB. That doesn’t happen much in USA. So yeah it’s a kind of a challenge.
Yeah, definitely ! That’s why I said there is a lot of people who like it but you just need to get them together and bring some more people and you’ll have a good scene. But right now it’s still difficult but it could be.
Few quick questions to finish, why is it so rare to see the full BSE crew together on stage, the three of you ?
That’s simple, because people don’t book us together ! (laughs) I’m sure we would do it if people have the idea to book us together, I’m sure it could happen. Sometimes big festivals ask for two DJs because they want to make it more special. We have never played with three either even in our own parties, we always do one or two of us. Because to be honest when you play with three guys you basically end up waiting (laughs). I rather play a set alone or with one of the other guy but three I don’t see it happen. But if someone book us we will do it !
Is there some memories on stages, or festivals or whatever you would like to share with us ?
There are a few that I can’t share because of people involved…. (laughs) I’ve got one, it was a long time ago, a girl did like a stage dive and it went wrong and felt like super hard and we saw her fall and she went directly to emergency people and then she went right back on the shoulders of her friends ! (laughs)
And also some alcohol abuses and people getting crazy… You try not make it not to crazy for yourself cause you have a job to do. So we try to control but you know sometimes things happen… (laughs)
2020 is a new decade, and according to you, who is the artist to follow ?
A producer from years actually, Redpill. Just before we were talking with him of different projects. He is a very diverse musician who can go in different ways. He just need to focus that on a big project and we are working with him for that.
There are also people from Holland who are really good right now, there are also Russians coming up and doing some crazy stuff. Or Emperor, Mefjus, etc… I know these people are established but I still want them to do different things.
Right now the scene is very healthy and people want to make this music and it’s always a good thing.
To end with this interview, do you have any last words to say to your French fans ?
Keep it up ! You guys are amazing and we hope to come more in France in different cities, that would be cool. Big up the Frenchies !
crédits photos : Blackout, Let It Roll, Jack West
BASS IS LIFE, BASS FOR LIFE