If you haven't heard tracks from the Switchblade Digital imprint yet, then you've been missing out on some of the finest old skool style jungle tracks around, we caught up with label owner Abyss for a chat, he also very kindly put together an exclusive free mix for us too.....
1.Tell us a little bit about yourself for the uninitiated
Well, I just recently turned 36 (Yikes!) I have been around the scene since day 1. I got my first set of decks in 1994, some lovely Soundlab DLP1 belt drives, lol. Being able to mix on those was a skill in itself! I had a Made2Fade GM25 mixer to go with them. I always remember having to replace the crossfader every few months, either they were very poorly made, or I was a bit too eager with my cutting and chopping (Probably the latter, lol)
2.When did you get the Hardcore/Jungle bug? What was the defining tune/moment that drew you into the
Well, it all started for me with 'Humanoid - Stakker Humanoid' back in 1988. It was just the energy of that track, and sounds that I'd never heard before in music. I still to this day occasionally turn all the lights off in the room, put headphones on nice and loud, go onto Youtube and watch the original music video on full screen. (Try it, it's a real trippy experience!) Of course in the coming years I listened to all The Prodigy tracks and loved them (Saw them live in 1994 in my hometown, it was a wicked night!) Pretty soon after some mates got me listening to some pirate radio in 1993. The station was called PCRS and based in Southampton. The DJ I used to listen to was called Mr E. I remember his mixing being very questionable, but it opened me up to a whole new sound. The darkcore of 1993 was something else that was new and it really got me hooked. I started buying mixtapes from the two underground music shops in town, namely 'Movement Records' and 'Tripp 2 Records'. Whilst in there I would see all the local DJs buying vinyl and would recognise the tracks from the mixtapes I bought. It wasn't long before I was buying records too and listening to them on my Hi-Fi at home, lol. I probably had about 100 records before I got my first set of decks!
3.And what/who influenced you to start producing tracks?
Back in 2008 I started trying to produce some D&B, mainly because I was DJing D&B on an internet radio station (Headrush Live D&B) and thought it would be cool to have a bash at making my own tracks and putting them in the mix. The results were ok, but very basic. I soon got bored with the sound too. I didn't like the direction D&B was heading. I then stumbled across DJ FX playing some oldskool on Subbass FM. This brought me back to my roots and I rediscovered my passion for that classic 90's sound! I started making music like the music I loved back then. It was an easy transition for me, and the tracks started to flow.
4.You've had releases on Kode 5 Recordings and also started up your own label 'Switchblade Digital' where you are now putting out your own tracks and signing new artists, again, what inspired you to take these steps?
Yep, Kode 5 are a great bunch of lads and put out my first 'Oldskool' tracks. I remember at the time just thinking how cool it was having my music on places like iTunes etc. It was a dream come true. Pretty soon I stopped DJing and concentrated on producing. I started my label 'Switchblade Digital' early this year. I saw it as another challenge. I wanted to leave my own imprint on the music scene. I wanted to do a label a bit different to the others. A slightly darker sound, like the 1993 style that drew me in all those years ago! That's why you won't find any 'Piano anthems' on my label. Just mostly dark and mean, lol. I get all my releases mastered by the same engineer, so they all have their distinctive quality finish to them. I use Jon Doe (CLSM) to master all the Switchblade releases. With 20 years in the game, and hundreds of releases, he knows his stuff!
5. When selecting tunes for your label, what do you look for?
Tracks that are well produced, and had time spent on them. I'm sure I could churn out 3 tracks a day if I wanted to, but to me they really stand out as being rushed and sound shoddy. I'm not really a fan of the 140bpm jungle either. I like the authentic 160ish bpm like it was back in the mid nineties! Nothing against
the guys (& girls) that produce those tracks, but it's just not the fitting for this label. Anything with a decent break and bass works for me :)
6.And what can we expect in the coming future from Switchblade Digital and yourself?
Well we have a great track coming soon called 'Missing' by Beatgem. It's a track that was originally produced in 1994 on an Amiga, but never released. Beatgem has a couple of these tracks that he has up on Youtube, and he has a bit of a following because of them! You can't get any more Of an authentic 90's sound than that! We are still a new label, but growing nicely. Only more great music to come. I am also contemplating a special one off vinyl release sometime in the future. Keep on the look out for that one ;)
7.Now you've done this rather fine mix featured here below, tell us a bit about that
Well, I wanted to put all my favourite tracks into a mix. Some have been released and some are exclusives. I hope people like the tracks. Feedback is always appreciated, without it we can never improve...
8.Lastly, any final words, big ups & shout outs?
I would like to thank anyone that still supports the scene today. I think the Oldskool scene has had a real revitalisation in the past year or two, which is fantastic. It's always good to see the younger generation appreciating the old 90's sounds too. In the immortal words of Q Bass 'Hardcore Will Never Die!'
DJ Abyss has dropped an exclusive mix of current and forthcoming tracks from the label, you can check it out here: