I recognize that I’m somewhat new to the world of ‘journalism’ (I use that word as loosely as possible), but there’s something special about talking with one of your favorite musicians. When I heard I was going to interview High Contrast, I f*cking lost it. I told everyone. Why? Because he’s just that good. The Hospital Records Drum and Bass producer-extraordinaire has released 5 albums in just 11 years, all of which received high praise. See the club banger below.
High Contrast has been working tirelessly on his new album, so it was no surprise to me that when I called, he picked up in-studio.
COED: Thanks for hanging out for a bit, man. I know that you’re working on your album, how’s that going?
HC: Well, I’m literally working on it right now. It’s been a few years since the last one and I kind of wanted to take a breather from making albums, and just do some other stuff for a while and then come back to it refreshed and re-energized. It’s taken a little bit longer than we had anticipated. I think it’s going good. I’m really happy with it so far. I can’t wait to get it out there and see what people make of it. I think for me it’s the most personal album and I can’t wait to get it out there and see what people make of it.
COED: Personally, I’m a bigger fan of Drum and Bass but here in the US, dubstep is really blowing up. What’s your personal take on the genre?
HC: In the UK, I think it’s been a force for good because when I go out I don’t necessarily want to hear drum and bass for 8 hours. On a lot of the big nights here in the UK you can go and hear drum and bass and dubstep and hear DJs alternating throughout the night. It keeps it more interesting.
But I think it’s a shame that dubstep has kind of devolved into using the same sonic palette, as a lot of aggressive jump up drum and bass has as well. Sometimes the only difference between the music is 40 bpms, which I think is a shame because dubstep used to have a dub element to it. Whereas now, really what it’s turned into is more the brostep than the dubstep. And of course, there’s great stuff within that.
I’m a fan of Skrillex. He brings melody into it. [Dubstep] is almost like the punk music of the electronic scene – you know, it’s loud and in your face and will piss off a teenage girl’s parents. I can appreciate that level, but there’s always got to be the melody. There’s a lot of people making that kind of dubstep that are just showing off how crazy they can make a bass line, where really it’s all about the groove. Even if it’s just the most simple bassline, it’s gotta have that groove and some melodic hook to it that people can connect to.
COED: Drum and Bass isn’t nearly as popular as it should be in the United States which is surprising, especially with the addition of MCs for many live shows. How do you find the audience enjoys the MC aspect of shows?
HC: If he’s a great MC, or she’s a great MC, then it can a show to a whole other level. It’s just so hard to find the people who can fit your particular style. And I think with the stuff that I play, MCs can find it difficult to fit into the space of the music that I play. I think a lot of the tracks that I make myself are somewhat MC resistant. They’re really hard to rap over. I don’t know why that is, but I do try to make the music do all the talking.
My favorite MC is MC Dynamite and I work with him a lot. He’s just such a showman and he’s just got such a great personality that comes through the mike and just hits the audience that he really can elevate a show. I think at a festival it definitely helps to have an MC there. But club shows I can go either way. Sometimes it’s nice to just play the music and not have any verbal element. You know, a lot people from the crowd come up to me and say that they don’t like MCs at all and they prefer not to have one. So, it can go both ways.
COED: You’re a busy man and I’m sure that touring can get pretty hectic. What kinds of foods do you try to eat to keep a cool head. [He chooses not to drink, otherwise I would have asked his favorite beverage].
HC: I’m a borderline vegan. I would be a vegan but it’s so hard to get vegan food, good vegan food, especially where I live. On the East Coast and the West Coast of the States it’s much easier to find vegetarian and vegan spots. Any kind of quality vegan food I’m into. In New York there’s a place Sacred Chow. It’s a real small cafe, I’d eat there all the time if I could but I’m a few hours away.
COED: Yeah well if you need a place to crash, my couch is open. Thanks for your time man, I don’t want to keep you from your album any longer than I have. I’m really looking forward to hearing it and seeing you in New York for Electric Zoo. I will be raging my @ss off.
HC: Yeah bro, come say hi.