We caught up with Samurai Breaks & Vyking who have just launched their new label ‘Tsunami Bass Weight’ with a free compilation plus an exclusive interview which you can read below
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Sam: Sam aka Samurai Breaks, I am a 23-year-old production addict, been making beats for nearly 3 years now, currently residing in Czech republic for a change of scene (and weather) and I love powerful and unique music that makes you flail your arms around and sweat buckets!
Jake: Jake aka Vyking! Also a 3rd of the DnB trio called Creatures. 22 years of age right now, plugin geek/addict extraordinaire. Living in a caravan on the edge of Bath in southwest England with a cat. I enjoy beatboxing, researching plugins and drinking tea.
For those who don’t know, tell us a bit about Tsunami Bass Weight.
Both: Tsunami Bassweight is our new label aiming to deliver unique and interesting music and create a platform for all the amazing artists we know, to release their music professionally with high-quality mastering (Jake: from yours truly!) and good industry contact so it gets the attention it really deserves.
The name aims to describe the aesthetic we want in our music, raw and powerful sound but more curvy, weird and natural than just an all out sound war of smashed super loud nonsense that you hear a lot of lately in the dnb scene.
How would you describe your production style?
Sam: Raw and unrelenting assault of bass, beats and breaks, got to be heard to believe it! Fusing and melting genre boundaries into my own unique and weird sound.
Jake: The search for a varied and rich sound, I’m always looking to create unique textures and get “that” feeling in a track which simply makes you move. Though I’m definitely guilty of participating in the loudness war!
Was there a moment or a tune or a DJ set that made you decide you were going to produce?
Sam: I supported Ital Tek in Glasgow about 3 and a half years ago, I had only been DJing for about 6 months by then, and his set was totally amazing and unique. I had never heard anything like it and after talking to him it turns out it was his interpretation of Chicago footwork combined with his unique post-dubstep weirdo sound design and intense production skill. He played his whole new album as a live set and it blew me away. One day I hope to share a stage with him, buy him a drink and thank him wholeheartedly for converting me to footwork style.
I really love it because it combines so many things I love, heavy rhythmic drum patterning similar to jungle but more precise and crazy with the layers, Roland 808 sounds, frantic energy and crazy vocal editing. I took what I liked about the genre and mixed it with everything else I like to create my sound.
Jake: Nothing in particular to be honest! I’ve been messing around with computer music for quite a few years since my dad had Reason on his laptop when I was 13 or something, maybe earlier than that. I have been around bass music from a very young age (about the age of 6?), being taken to festivals and such, so it’s in my blood.
I started a vocational college course for music production in 2011 when I realised that I literally could not put myself through another year of sixth form college (For anyone unfamiliar with the term, it’s just like secondary school, but with more essays and is generally more difficult. No thanks!)
Since then I’ve been honing my skills and this past year I’ve been getting into mastering. It’s all I’m focused on in life so it’s all about finding my true sound.
Which events from over the years in your illustrious career really stick in your mind and why?
Sam: Every time I play at Eden Festival it gets better and better, the crowd there are lovely people who are so enthusiastic about the music and every year I pack out the dance tent and have a really really good time! The year I supported Bez was hilarious because it went from 128bpm acid house straight to 165bpm juke jungle, people didn’t know what was going on but when that huge 808 baseline kicked in every person in the tent was bouncing! And getting handed a bottle of champagne from Bez’s rider that he didn’t drink when I finished my set was the cherry on top of the cake hahah!
Jake: Gotta share the love for Eden Festival! One of the best moments this year, also my first year there, was when Sam dropped a track we started when he came over mine beforehand. He dropped it near the end of his set and as it got into the first switch up the crowd starting screaming! The only track in the whole set for which this happened and what a feeling! That energy transferred directly into the audience. Super cool.
When would you say was your breakout moment when heads turned to your music?
Sam: Recently getting support from Noisia has brought more limelight to what I am doing!
Jake: I guess when myself and my 2 mates in Creatures had an EP signed to Infidelity Records. That got our music out into the scene and got some good feedback. I don’t know if it’s really turning any heads but all in good time.
If you could work on a track with anyone from now or way back when, who would it be?
Sam: Alix Perez because he has got the widest square wave bass’s ever and they just sound great!
Jake: Current Value, just love his sound. Machine music at it’s best! I do like my straight up, no nonsense DnB. Sam definitely doesn’t share this passion though, haha!
Sam: I do like the sound design and I like some dnb but just not the boring stuff!!! If it has some variation, I am all ears
Tell us about any other music related stuff you’re involved in.
Sam: Got a lot of very exciting forthcoming releases on Halogen Music Group and Groundmass to name a few, also me and Jake have almost finished our debut EP together which will cause major seismic activity
Jake: Creatures DnB is my Drum and Bass project, I’m making some super funky glitch hoppy, breaky tuna with some mates, and general musical fun is a’happenin’!
Are there any major influences, production wise, that inspire you?
Sam: The Chicago footwork movement has had a huge effect on the sound I go for, also my love of tribal music, jungle, grime and trap is all very evident in my sound. I try to combine everything I love from any genre with the production and pace of DnB.
Jake: DnB is a constant. I’ve long been into dubstep of most varieties, particularly the jazzy and deep side of it with artists like Phaeleh and Congi and all the Deep Heads lot. I’m also really into achieving an “analogue” sound in my productions and I’ve recently started investing in Acustica Audio plugins with their Acquas and Nebula products. Incredible stuff, used properly it gives the digital ITB sound a “realness” and depth you simply can’t get from algorithmic plugins. The supreme In The Box sound in my opinion!
Sam: I did a sly DNA test on Jake and it turns out he is actually a plug in!
Tell us a few of your favourite producers.
Sam: Rockwell , Ivy Lab , Junglord , Alix Perez, Lakeway, Moresounds, Fracture, Dub Phizix, Danny Scrilla, Fixate, Mark Kloud, Depth Range Crew, DJ Hybrid and Moralz
Jake: Current Value(!), Noisia, Alix Perez, Hybris, HYQXYZ, Subtension, Boards of Canada, Gorillaz (looking forward to the upcoming album!), Kursa, Haywyre, Skeptical… Many more of course.
Are there any unfulfilled goals or aspirations of yours musically?
Sam: Vinyl Release and US tour
Jake: I don’t really think of the future much so I can’t say! I’ll see what happens
Could you offer a bit of advice for an up and coming producer?
1. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
2. Always use WAV samples (this one will tickle you Jake after our chaos sorting that .mp3 break disaster on that track)
3. Don’t feel trapped by genre boundaries, every genre was born from someone experimenting and cutting a new sound for themselves.
• Music is your life, how you express yourself and your emotional life. Make the music you feel! Don’t have an ulterior motive to making it.
• Put the time in and you’ll get a lot out of it.
• Take your time as well, don’t feel like you need to get somewhere before you’re actually ready. All will come to you if you’re patient with yourself.
Where have you DJ’d?
Sam: Glastonbury Festival, Boomtown Festival, Cross Club (CZ) , Eden Festival, Beaverworks, The black swan, Lakota , The Mill, Mint Warehouse, Audio Soup Festival and quite a few windy rainy hillsides and dodgy warehouses
Jake: The Black Swan, Timbuk2 and a few free parties in Bristol, Club Ice Westbury, Beatherder Festival, few other places!
Who’s supporting You on the DJ circuit?
Sam: Noisia, Sam Binga, Greazus, TMSV, Johnathan Thomas, Moralz, Depth Range Crew, Mark Kloud, Dj Hybrid.
Jake: Mostly support for Creatures from DJ Aphrodite, Rene LaVice, Villem, S.P.Y. I haven’t released any music as Vyking just yet so we’ll have to wait and see what comes of that!
Sam: Jake!!! Loads of the people I mentioned are supporting Champagne Club + How We Roll so that’s a lie!!!
Jake: Oh yeah! You’re so right Sam, I totally forgot! Derp, I’m a bit forgetful eh.
Describe to us your approach to a DJ set, do you like to gently warm up the crowd or go for the bangers or more of a journey approach?
Sam: I just pick a tune and go from there, that way it’s more raw and no-one knows what’s coming till the moment. I keep my USB’s loaded with all my favourite dance floor destroyers and top up with all the dubs from mates and personal productions that are ready before every gig.
Jake: Generally I DJ with Harvey as Creatures (Ben hasn’t been around the past few years we’ve been DJing.) and we go 3 tunes each. So each gig I like to get together my triplets of tracks which go together like gold and put them in order on CDs for easy mixing.
Of all the tunes you’ve made, which is your favourite?
Sam: Probably abattoir, it’s the title track of the DnB EP I am currently trying to get signed. It’s really unique, it has great drums all layered with lots of foley and great switch ups and progression, the vibe of the track is extremely haunting and scary! I really love it.
Jake: It would have to be a super funky breakbeat track called Hypnotized, I made a couple of years ago. All kinds of sweet breaks and dirty basses with lots of ravey sounds and funky switches. I’m going to do a fresh mix of it sometime soon so I’ll be sure to fire it over to you when it’s done!
What would you say is the label ethos?
Both: Supporting and mentoring awesome and talented musicians to their full potential and giving them a professional platform to release their music on.
You’ve collaborated with a lot of different artists who did you enjoy working with the most?
Sam: I like working with Jake aka Vyking the most because we have so much fun together and make the craziest tunes, he is such a talented engineer so I learn so much when working with him. One track we made we spent 2 hours messing around with his Kaosspad and Kaossillator making all the crazy sounds we could, we were falling off our chairs with laughter when we somehow made a meow meow bass sound… the track we finally made with all of our recordings is called Stellar Drift and it’s really amazing, spacious and powerful. I also really love working with HØST because he is literally insane so you never know what will happen when you pass him some stems!
Jake: Likewise, I love working with Sam as he’s super driven and that helps me to feel inspired. That session for Stellar Drift was epic!
Which tunes are essentials in your DJ sets right now?
1.HØST – BBZ
2.Junglord – 1000 Junglists
3.Breaka – Foot Forward
4.Mark Kloud – Angels Arc
5.Moralz + Johnathan Thomas – Tread On Me
Jake: Totally in love with Alix Perez – Elephant Dreams (ft. Skeptical)
HYQXYZ – Monad
Prime Perception – Moss Side (Forthcoming TBW!)
What are the vital elements to making a tune that come into play when you’re in the studio?
Sam: Roland TR-808 drum sounds, old school funk breaks and foley recordings. I try to break out of any habits or boundaries if I notice they are forming so nothing is ever a staple or vital element in my sound… I don’t want to become stale and samey like a lot of producers who keep rehashing the same formula because it was successful.
Jake: A big library of samples of all kinds, wacky effect plugins and Xfer Serum for making dirty bass!
When receiving demos for the label, what do you look for in a track?
Both: Unique ideas, high production standard and a good coherent vibe (and that special something that makes you pull a funny face and fire imaginary shots in the air!)
Any final words and shout outs?
Sam: Big up to everyone who has supported me over the years and helped me get to were I am now. Hugest of respect to anyone who sat down and helped me learn or has listened to the millions of crazy ideas I have, blessings and love to you all! Also to all you producers, if you like what you hear on this compilation and feel like your sound would work well with us please get in touch with a demo!
Jake: Don’t live life, you’re life itself! Respect and love each other, and yourself! Blessings, Enjoy
Tsunami Bass Weight Vol 1 is out and a free download, stream the tracks below