When you talk about artists taking the power back, you need not look further than the drum & bass scene to see how different things can be. While many electronic music genres have gravitated towards some kind of major label backing, drum & bass managed to stay pretty insular for some time, which is even more astonishing considering how important the role of vinyl and dubplate culture was the drum & bass sales. With everything from an influx of start-up labels flooding the market with subpar music and the inundation of file-sharing, drum & bass has taken hits over the years, but has strived on through the release of quality music on the scene's biggest labels, and names like Gridlok and Prolix have stood the test of time, remaining relevant in a scene that seems to grow inward with each passing year.
Having already teamed up for releases on Ram Records, Playaz, and each other's imprints, Gridlok and Prolix are a formidable drum & bass team that many definitely love seeing link up. What many might not have seen coming was the decision they made to work on putting together their collaboration album on their own, funding the project via Kickstarter as opposed to going through one of the powerhouse drum & bass imprints. Going under the name Project Trendkill, they've set a course that many in the drum & bass scene have not embarked upon yet. We got a chance to speak with Gridlok on this decision, why they're going back to vinyl, and what this could mean for the drum & bass scene going forward.
Fans of drum & bass know how acclaimed both of you are. You’ve had releases as a duo on Playaz, and had a monstrous single on Ram earlier this year. Why did you choose to go with setting up a Kickstarter to release your album as opposed to one of the labels you’ve worked with in the past?
This is obviously a massive piece of work for the both of us, something we have wanted to do for a long time. So we thought hard about the best way to get it out and realized this is the ONLY way to do it! It's allowed us to have complete creative control and to put it out exactly how and when we wanted.
And of course the flipside is, with such a move with music literally not being tangible anymore, how important is it for you two to craft an album that’s being specifically made to get pressed on vinyl?
I guess it depends how long you want your music to stick around? Digital is awesome. We use it to make music, to DJ, and to listen to music while away from home. But vinyl is what we want to have in our collections, it's what we want to spin on at home or when we just want to listen to some GOOD music. It's something that stays with us for decades, not just a few minutes on our hard drives. The music we make, we think, is timeless and deserves a timeless format.
Is there any stock in saying that the digital trend for music sales had a bad effect on the drum & bass scene, one which was very regimented to the vinyl medium?
I think what we are doing with Kickstarter is black and white proof of how much people's artistic output is compromised due to profit margins and budget constraints. We've just taken that entire beast out of the equation. As far as what the scene is doing, hopefully they take note that the machine is painfully broken, and anything new or different is refreshing in this sea of SoundCloud links, Beatport buy links, iTunes store spam, etc., etc., etc.. This is something real.
Talk to us about the album. How long have you guys been working on it? What tracks can fans expect to hear on it?
We started in January while on tour in Australia. It's taken up until now mostly due to the distance between us. What you can expect is full on drum-and-mother-fucking-bass! There is no pretentious journey here. It's just 38 minutes across eight tracks, no-nonsense straight to the point, smack you up the side of the head with an aluminum baseball bat.
We think we understand what you’re trying to say with PROJECT TRENDKILL, but can you break down where the idea for the name came from?
It's simple really: my Project 51 imprint plus Prolix's Trendkill Records = PROJECT TRENDKILL.
What’s next for PROJECT TRENDKILL?
For our KICKSTARTER to get fully funded!
Do you guys think this could be the start of a trend, with other dnb acts (or electronic music producers in general) giving more of an emphasis on the physical medium for their releases?
We don't follow trends, or even aim to set them. We do what makes sense for us and if inspires somebody else along the way then we are thrilled!
Would you say the future of music distribution is in crowdsourcing institutions like Kickstarter?
Absolutely! Look to Kickstarter or Steam and their Greenlight projects. They are leading the way in the future of funding artistic projects. We've simply done our best to adapt it to what we love to make, RECORDS!
If you want to help Project Trendkill hit their reach goal, hit their Kickstarter page right now. You can donate until October 31.