The drum and bass duo flip the script and provide an hour of house and techno.
House and techno probably aren't what you expect when you see the word Commix. But George Levings and Guy Brewer have been full of surprises of late, not least of which was the commissioning of a remix album of their massive drum & bass full-length Call to Mind which found Kassem Mosse, Underground Resistance and Marcel Dettmann rubbing shoulders with drum & bass stalwarts Instra:mental and dBridge. As Levings recently put it, "We didn't want an album that had anything too insular, too samey. We wanted it to tell a journey through different genres of music."
Levings and Brewer have long attempted to stretch the boundaries of the oft-insular drum & bass world. Just listen to their versatile Fabric.Live 44 mix or "Japanese Electronics," the "luscious precursor to today's '80-fetishising Tetris-step" (as RA's Max Bacharach poetically called it last week). On this hefty hour-long mix, the duo do it again, taking you through some of their favorite tunes of the 4/4 persuasion.
What have you been up to recently?
After our last album on Metalheadz we decided we wanted to drastically change our sound. We had been making mainly sample based music using Reason as our platform, and we found ourselves getting bored of our methods. We agreed that our studio needed a proper revamp and that we wanted to be more experimental, not just with the sound but with the tempos too. So, for the last year or so, that's what we've been up to. Forging a new sound, learning how to make other styles of electronic music and collecting more studio equipment.
How and where was the mix recorded?
We recorded the mix at our studio in Stoke Newington, London. It's actually set up within a friend's flat. He's got a really cool setup there for DJing. We did it using two CDJ's, two 1210's and an Allen and Heath mixer as we much prefer the way mixes sound when done live over mixes done in Ableton. You might end up with little mistakes, but it's a much more fluid and natural way of doing things.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the mix?
Both of us have slightly different tastes in house and techno music, so we wanted both sides of what we're into to be represented properly. We were also keen for the mix to have a good dynamic and flow to it. In the past we've just been known for our drum & bass productions and DJing, but since doing Call to Mind back in 2008 a lot of our time has been spent writing house and techno stuff. We've also played more 4/4 orientated nights like Medium at Plastic People and, more recently, the Electric Minds loft party in May, we'll be returning to that for a special event being planned for NYE. We're also playing Panorama Bar on Nov 26th, which we're really looking forward to.
You had strong words about the state of drum & bass in advance of the release of your fabric mix last year. Are you still depressed by most of what the scene has to offer?
There is, and always has been, a lot on offer within the drum & bass scene. There is loads of stuff that we are really into. Some really cool producers making some wicked experimental stuff. But at the same time, much like any scene, there are some really bad productions too. So bad, in fact, that it would be hard to actually describe it as music. It's also a shame that the worst stuff seems to be the most popular within drum & bass, as it generally scares off your average intelligent listener before they've had a chance to seek out the good stuff.
What are you up to next?
We are currently writing a new album for Metalheadz, which will include the result of our last year's experimentation. Our last album touched on quite a few bases, but for this next project we're keen to hone in on a particular sound across a variety of tempos. We're also each working on our own solo projects that are completely removed from what we do as Commix, however we're going to remain tight lipped on these at this stage. Aside from all that you can expect the first release on our label Beaten Track to drop in the near future.