De Inglaterra para o TSDcast - Quantum Soul
Take a step to Dub - First of all how are you?
Quantum Soul - Hi TSD, I'm well thanks! I'm just getting over the beautiful summer we've had in England and preparing for the winter months, which are normally when I am most creative.
TSD - So who is Quantum Soul?
QS - Is the alias of myself, Guy Chambers. I've collaborated with a few people over the years but never thought to 'partner up' in order to expand the alias or reach.
I have my own vision of music and it's not always easy to share a vision with others.
The project I did called 'Cymatic' was the closest thing to sharing my vision with a group of other producers (Ruckspin, Octane, & DLR).
TSD - Looking back across everything you’ve achieved to date, where would you say you’re at now as an artist?
QS - I've managed to achieve a lot: I've produced a lot of tunes, many of which I've been blessed to get released on vinyl, which was my main goal when I set out producing 'dance music'.
I've played quite a few gigs at home and abroad, met lots of great, like-minded people - the high point being the Innamind tour of the USA last year.
However, it's not possible to make money from releasing underground tunes to support yourself with your art alone, so I am always looking for more bookings so I can turn my life's work into a career. I've never pigeon-holed my sound as I prefer to be free to experiment and to reach a different audience with each release.
I feel confident in my vision, and my ability to continue to re-evolve when necessary.
TSD - Where do you find yourself drawing most of your inspiration from?
QS - I have always drawn my inspiration for making Dubstep from other genres and different regions of our shared musical soundscape (in particular dub and world music), as well as from nature and from within.
That was how I approached it in the beginning - combining elements of dub and soundsystem music with whatever sounds appeal to my aesthetic sensibilities, as well as the occasional esoteric vocal sample from a deep documentary or lecture - and I try to keep it that way. I've always been massively into dub, and it's a constant source of inspiration. I've found myself making more and more of it these days.
It seems to be where my heart and head is at the moment, and I feel now is the time to really keep pushing into that territory.
TSD - Two months passed since you released Mantra's debut "Emergence / Nemawashi". Have the reactions to that been what you expected?
QS - More or less! Putting out a very musical tune is, paradoxically, a gamble: I was expecting it to alienate some people who thought it was too musical and those who thought it wasn't Dubtep enough, or at all. It was a challenging tune to produce, and hopefully challenges people's perceptions when they hear it.
A lot of people appreciated the complexity of emotion and musicality in 'Emergence', which I'm glad about, as well as the overall package which took a great deal of time to bring together.
Also, I don't know whether people realise how earth-shatteringly heavy 'Nemawashi' is on a proper system! I'm hopeful that these tunes will stand the test of time, which is something that I am mindful of when planning a release.
TSD - You were one of the artists affected by the all ST Holdings situation, can you give us your thought on that? And for you what can we expect in the future?
QS - [Just to clarify, Mantra isn't my label, but I helped to get it set up using my tunes as the debut release.]
As an artist it was frustrating that ST collapsed, but not as much as it was for many of the labels involved, I'm sure. Mantra got off quite lightly and were given the benefit of the doubt as they hadn't released anything yet. Many of the labels which were dropped have been able to find distribution elsewhere, including Mantra, so all is not lost.
My main thought is that, as music production has seen an exponential growth due to technological breakthroughs over the last decade, successful distributors will be those that won't give away deals to too many labels, and will really look after the ones that they have, helping them to grow and thrive. Although being the preferred medium to many, vinyl costs a lot to produce and all the music produced in the world can't be pressed onto it.
This means an increase in quality control is necessary (both from labels and distributors) to ensure that only the best gets pressed. This is how labels build their reputation: through curating the best, as they see it. This may sound harsh, but it is a reality: as soon as people realise that the exponential increase in quantity of music does not automatically equal an increase in quality, there will be an increase in quality control and a decrease in poor music (however that is defined) finding it's way to vinyl.
Ultimately though, I feel ST fell victim to the overarching trend in music consumption these days: that people just don't buy music anymore, and therefore pressing vinyl is becoming a less viable business model then ever before, in spite of people's love for it.
TSD - You are release this month the 10" "Steppin Up / B. Extract Of Dub".
Could you give us an idea of where you were trying to take this piece of music from a technical viewpoint as well as its listener emotionally?
QS - I wanted to produce a solid dub release and these tracks were selected by WhoDemSound to be their third release.
For 'Steppin Up', I wanted to marry old school dub vibes - live instrumentation, organs, flutes, vocal snatches and live sounding drum groove and bass line which flexes the full range of a system - with modern production techniques, as well as my own ethnically inspired take on music in general.
Emotionally, I wanted to make the listener and dancer 'irie' / happy, rather than introspective and moody, which tends to happen more with dubstep.
For 'Extract of Dub', the idea behind this tune was to produce a bare minimal 'extraction' of dub, to see how few elements I could use to create a recognisable dub tune. No dub samples were used, so it was about creating that sound from scratch, as well as the technical flourishes which make it sound 'dubbed'.
Emotionally, my intention was to inhabit that point between certainty and uncertainty, between straight and swung, and to form a bridge between myself and the listener from the present to the past, where this great music originated.
Ultimately, I would like this release to be a bridge between my dubstep and my dub.
TSD - What does the term UK Bass Music mean to you?
QS - Initially, not a lot! It's too vague to be meaningful to me.
'Bass music' from the 'UK' covers all genres and sub-genres, like 'EDM', lumping everything made on a computer into the same category. I don't find it particularly helpful myself as a musical label - perhaps it is easier to understand if you are on the outside looking in.
I couldn't tell you if there was a particularly identifiable sound as 'UK Bass Music'. I'm sure there are producers all over the world who are capable of making such music.
The nearest this comes to having any meaning for me would be that it refers to the experience of people who have lived in the UK, experienced the various music cultures, and then produced music back into the scene and so on.
This would be how I see myself, but I see this as no different to Portuguese Bass Music, or Mongolian Bass Music. It is simply people making music in response to the place where they are from, and this is universal.
However, what marks the UK out amongst other countries in the world geographically and politically is the influx of the Caribbean diaspora during the 1950s, and the dramatic and lasting effect the introduction of soundsystem culture had to the music of the UK, and then the world. This would be more to the point, but then it becomes a nuanced cultural term and not a music genre, as such. As time goes on, I'm sure there will be bass musics native to every country in the world, but they will all have had their origin in the 'Jamaican Bass Music' which arrived in the UK, and the cultural unity subsequently forged. In that more specific sense, I can relate to the term.
TSD - In musical terms, which projects have drawn your attention in recent times?
QS - The recent jungle war was pretty exciting and interesting, haha. It was definitely good fun to see people who don't make jungle try and war with people who do.
There is a definite way to do it. Amon Tobin's 'Two Fingers' project is mental, and Alpha Steppa's music as well as 'Dub Dynasty' is truly humbling, to say the least.
TSD - Take us through the mix you put together for us?
QS - The mix is a journey through recent dubstep releases, plus a few unreleased tunes, and finishes with some of the dub I have been working on. I wanted to provide a bit of background and context before bringing in the dub tunes to let people know what I've been up to lately, and what to expect more of in the future. I had so many tunes to chose from it was difficult to narrow it down, but I think on balance this mix hits the spot.
TSD - If you had the ability to make music with one person, dead or alive, who would it be? And what one question would you ask that person?
QS - I'd like to make music with a cave man, and ask them what motivated them to make the first drum.
TSD - Finally, any shout outs and special mentions?
QS - Sure, big ups to Simmy Mantra, Jack WhoDem, Dan Pressed, Jim Syte, Beau (teneightseven), Mat (Unearthedsounds), Jason Kidd, Andrew Howard, Jez Innamind, and all USA crew, Gaz and Tulip (Congi), Katya, my family for all their support and to yourselves for getting me involved.