Nostalgia is a thing that influences our cultural creation and consumption today, but nostalgia is also how Drum & Bass finds a way to reinvigorate itself and M-zine expresses this feeling immaculately. M-zine’s work is meticulous and transportive. If you have followed M-zine closely, you won’t be surprised experiencing the depth and raw power of his music. After starting his journey as a Drum & Bass producer in 2011 with Proximity Recordings, M-zine has gone from strength to strength and with releases on labels like Dispatch Recordings, Commercial Suicide, Critical Recordings, 31 Records, the Belgian producer has sculpted his own niche of Drum & Bass.
Following releases on labels like Utopia Music, Dispatch Recordings and Sofa Sound Bristol this year, we had a candid chat with the producer about his beginnings as a Drum & Bass Producer, his influences, COVID-19 and lots more.
M-zine began his journey in 2011, and has spent a decade in the scene but it all began for him back in 2010 when he attended the famous Star Warz showcase in Gent. “Star Warz is a huge Drum & Bass party that happens in Gent and my love affair with Drum & Bass started when Break dropped Dillinja’s “Angels Fell” and it completely blew me away with the light and dark mood of the tune.
I was into Techno before stepping into Drum & Bass and I was already fiddling with Electronic Music ,but Drum & Bass just struck a chord with me and Star Warz became my church. Drum & Bass has a very flexible tempo, it allows tons of influences from the outside and gives you the flexibility to infuse it into your own style of production.”
“I started buying vinyls and immersed myself completely into the scene by supporting artists in the best way I could. After that, I got in in touch with the guys at Future Soul Crew and we started throwing parties with the likes of Spectrasoul, Break, Icicle and more.
I got into production eventually, and the good folks from the Spinline trio gave me some neat production tricks and I kicked on from there. So, Big up the Spinline guys, they have been making some breathtaking Drum & Bass music, and they will start releasing music again in the next two years. I am really looking forward to that.”
Along with being a versatile producer, M-zine is also an immaculate selector behind the decks, and we spoke about how he likes to approach his DJ sets. “To be honest, I still approach DJ sets with my usual go with the flow kinda perspective. I’m never really sure what I am going to play except for the first three tunes; and then it’s just adapt and survive the vibe, for me.”
You need to take into account the vibe and the soundsystem as well. Not all soundsystems are the same or on par. I just do it old-school, I know my catalog by heart and I know how my tunes are structured. I try to combine different tunes together and that’s how you stumble upon different combos; sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. I’ve taken this approach for nearly 12 years and I have learned how to make tunes work in my DJ sets.”
Effect of COVID-19 Lockdown On His Music and the D&B Scene
The entire world is ravaged with the Pandemic and it has affected us all in some capacity, be it our personal life or our professional life; but the nationwide lockdowns across the world has also given producers a chance to give themselves ample amount of time with their music and M-zine shared the same sentiment.
“When you are at work, you are either sat there and you’re constantly wrecking your brains and you’re being watched at the same time. But the lockdown has actually given me time to myself while being equally productive with my work. Now, because of the lockdown, no one is really checking on me and it has given me the space to work freely, be productive and give time to my music as well. There is a lot of time that is being freed up because of the lockdown to do your own thing and it has benefitted me with my work and productions as well.
The lockdown period has also given me a chance to rethink about my love for music, rekindle my production ideas, and give it a whole new perspective. I just found a steady rhythm while making music during this lockdown, and I ended up writing 20 tunes in the process. So, yeah, it’s been great.”
COVID-19 has completely put an end to outdoor events and it has hit the music industry real hard. We asked M-zine how he envisions the scene coming back on track and flourishing the way it did.
“The financial losses promoters had to go through were huge because rave nights were mostly paid in full and it has hit DJs equally hard as well. We have to wait and see how it pans out, really. Will everything spring back at once or we’ll have to travel to a different country or a continent to have a rave again. There are just way too many factors; it is going to be weird to start with but I hope we can bounce back soon.”
Mellowing His Productions
M-zine has been all about the grittier and punchier side of Drum & Bass, but we asked him if he sees himself stepping it down and venturing into the Liquid side of D&B.
“It’s never going to be Piano-y if that’s an appropriate answer, but I will say that there is a lot to my sounds than just dark and minimal Drum & Bass. I’ve been experimenting a lot with harmonies and textures. My recent work with Sofa Sound Bristol did have some chunk in it but it had the atmospherics that I have been experimenting with lately.
For me, it’s not always about how dirty and distorted you can get with your tunes, but it’s about finding the right balance between the lighter and darker tones along with the grooves. These three components are so essential while making music, and I’ve been focusing a lot on how I can combine the light and dark tones in my productions and find the right balance between these elements.”
Let It Roll is a festival that is close to every Drum & Bass head’s heart, and M-zine, like we mentioned is a top-notch selector; so we ended our conversation by asking him the first and last tune he would play when he gets a chance to DJ at the Let It Roll Main stage, and his answer was The Sect – Cybermen (Break Remix) as his opening tune, and the last tune being M82 by Raiden.
“I am a sucker for old school flavours, and I’ve never played at Let It Roll before, but if and when I do get a chance, these two tunes will be the first and the last tunes I would play because these two tunes, for me, have the perfect mix of old-school and new-school flavours.
M-zine did a belting mix for us which we think is certainly one of the best we have had so far. Hit play and dive into the mix NOW!