Massively excited to be working with Dolby on a technology I believe will change the future of electronic music. We shot this video in Chicago on my most recent USA tour to talk about my musical background, creative process and working in Atmos.
Very excited to announce I have remixed all-time classic Sub Focus ‘X-Ray’. It was a huge honour to be asked but also a big challenge to take on such an iconic record. I remember hearing it for the first time during an Andy C set at Fabric in my early years of going to raves and is one of the most influential tunes for me growing up. The remix will be released on the #RAM25 album. Head over to UKF on YouTube to check it out.
A few weeks back I was lucky enough to be invited to Berlin to present Dolby Atmos at Ableton Loop. It was a great honour to be asked to work with a brand such as Dolby and on a project as ground-breaking as Atmos - it’s going to be a game changer! For those unfamiliar with Dolby Atmos, it's the next step beyond surround sound for cinema and in my mind, the most exciting development in music for a long time. Sound is reproduced in 3D and can be moved in space to create an immersive experience. Apply this to electronic music, and you've got something pretty special!
The idea for my presentation was to make a track from scratch in Dolby Atmos. The track came about across a few sessions at Dolby's studios in Soho. The more I got stuck in, the more ideas I had on how to use the 3D panning to my advantage (some were quite crazy and experimental like taking a sound and have it ping-pong against the back of the room). The track evolved into this cinematic beast as I imagined sounds as characters in the centre of an epic battle in a sci-fi movie. It was such a cool experience animating my sounds like this using the Dolby Atmos Music panner - lots of fun was had :)
The presentation took place at Loop Berlin which is a music summit hosted in probably the most unique building I’ve ever seen, Funkhaus. It was purpose-built in the 50’s as the broadcast HQ for the GDR’s state radio. Such an awesome setting for an event like this. Seeing it from the outside, I was struck by it's imposing Bauhaus architecture. Inside was a colourful fest of music tech and visual art with Ableton’s slick branding stamped everywhere. It was really inspiring to just walk around and geek out on all of the amazing gear!
I made the presentation in a huge hall alongside Gabriel Cory, head of Dolby Atmos for electronic music. We started by playing the finished track; it was very cool to see people's reactions, some were looking around the room to see where the sounds were coming from! We exploded the track and I explained how I created and mixed a lot of the sounds. We then talked about the general challenges mixing in 3D space and expanded on psycho-acoustic phenomena such as the Doppler effect and how it can be used to great success. We also covered some conventional sound engineering stuff such as phase alignment, working with drum transients and sound design / synthesis - I'm planning to do a blog post on these topics at a later date.
It's been a great experience making music in Dolby Atmos and it's something I want to do a lot more of. The end result is pretty mind blowing and in a club scenario you can imagine how epic that is. I love the idea of creating something custom made for this medium to really show off it's capabilities. I also highly recommend Ableton Loop for any electronic music people out there; artists / producers / engineers of all levels will get a lot out of it - it's seriously inspiring stuff!
Honoured to host the drum & bass show on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra whilst Friction was on holiday for the last two weeks. I've had Coda and Muzzy in for guest mixes aswell as Friction Fire from 1991, Killbox and a Murky Monday from Phace & Mefjus two weeks in a row. Check it out on BBC iPlayer.
I went live for the first time on international BBC Radio 1 last night with my latest Residency show. The vibe in the studio was amazing and it was so good to see everyone's texts and tweets rolling in. The show is now live every month so don't forget you can get in touch by texting 81199.
This week I brought in Whiney for #Back2Future ahead of his new album, Talisman on Med School. I also had exclusive new music from Makoto, Ekko & Sidetrack and Kiril.
Listen back: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08ymvs7
Another big show this month. I had the pleasure of chatting to Kasra about 15 years of Critical Music and the 100th release - a huge milestone, congrats! I also played exclusive new music from Mefjus, Blaine Stranger, Chords and Ownglow. The show is available to listen back to on the BBC iPlayer.
Was delighted to return the favour on remix duties for Bobby Tank. Loved his work on Catalyze, which is basically an 80's synthwave pop tune. I gave it my own spin and brought it into the d&b dimension.
I chatted with UKF to reveal three things you probably didn't know about me and reflect on my turbulent teenage years. Head over to their website to read what is likely my most open interview yet 😬
Had great fun working on this month's show. I got interviewed Austrian masterminds Camo & Krooked for #Back2Future and dropped some exclusive new music from Muzzy, Keeno and Fliwo. The show is available to listen back to on the BBC iPlayer.
Each Bobby Tank track is like a work of art; masterfully blending emotive jazz chords and virtuoso synth leads with powerful, intricate rhythms. When I was considering remixes for We Got It, I instantly knew he was the right choice. LIFE/THRILLS was all about combining jazz / funk / 80’s themes with futuristic synths - it was essential that I got Bobby involved. I was blown away by how well he reinterpreted the song. Read on to find out more with this exclusive interview with the man himself…
please introduce yourself…
Bobby Tank, though my real name is Neil Taank. Bobby is just a nick name.
Sounds like you had a lot of fun in the studio working on this remix. Talk us through the process...
I sure did and as you are already aware, I've been a fan of yours for quite sometime so was more than honoured when you kindly asked me to be a part of the remix project.
It all depends on the original compositions so my process can vary. I approached this particular remix by extracting that beautiful piano sequence in the intro of the original, emulating it and then pretty much work round that melody. Everything else just seemed to follow and fall into place.
Your tunes sound like the culmination of some very interesting influences. Tell us about these influences and how they shaped your unique production style.
I inherited a love for soul, jazz pop/funk, rock at a very early age from listening to whatever my mother had blasting out the system when I was kid. MJ, Prince, Genesis, Aretha Franklin, Kool & the Gang, Madonna (just to name a few) were the sounds that consumed my household whilst growing up so I naturally gravitated towards gaining a great appreciation for funky upbeat melodic music. As I grew older I started listening to jungle, metal, hip hop etc and around 2006 I started to steer towards electronic music.
Your virtuosic style suggests an accomplished musical ability. Can you tell us about your musical background and your journey to becoming a successful producer?
I picked up my first instrument at age seven and have progressed from there really. Experimenting in various bands. Learning an array of instruments and understanding composition helped me cope with foundations of what I’m making today. It wasn’t until late 2010 I actually started making music on my own under the alias Bobby Tank.
Travelling the globe as a performer you must get the opportunity to see some interesting sights. What is your favourite city? Can you share any experiences?
Over the years I've been extremely fortunate to visit/experience so many different cities and cultures off the back of my crazy music! Japan stands out for me the most as its purely in a league of its own and they thoroughly understand what I do. Played alongside a good friend of mine that goes by the stage name Brokenhaze back in 2014 and was one of the most memorable nights of my life. Their hospitality is second to none and they really made me feel like I was on the right musical path for all those years.
Are you a fan of drum & bass? What are your favourite tracks?
Went through a phase of exclusively listening to jungle music for a couple years when I was a kid. DJ Krome & Mr Time 'The License' blew my mind and still does to this day.
What are your thoughts on the current state of electronic music?
I feel the experimental aspect of composition with electronica has dissipated over these past couple of years, there is no real sense of individuality anymore. Nearly every promo I come into contact with with sounds like one producer chucking out recycled loops. Don't get me wrong though, there's a sea of unbelievable music out there, we just need to desensitise from these generic trends and really open up our ears and minds.
What would be your dream collaboration?
Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis... I'd be too shook though.
Any tips for aspiring musicians?
Fuck what everyone else is doing and just do YOU.
Thank you for your time Bobby! It’s been a pleasure working with you on this release. Do you have any final words?
Big love Tom and beers on you next time we link 😉
Follow Bobby Tank...
My single ‘We Got It’ feat. Rothwell is out today. Really enjoyed handpicking the SPY and Bobby Tank remixes. They are epic, highly recommend checking them out! 🎉👍🏻
I'm proud to announce the launch of my #R1Residency show on BBC Radio 1. It's a privilege to represent drum & bass on one of the most globally recognised radio stations. Every show will be a journey through the best in cutting edge drum & bass. I will also be bringing on guests for my #BACK2FUTURE feature where an established artist reveals a track from the past and present. Kicking things off this week I've got d&b legends Matrix & Futurebound on the phone. Whichever part of the world you're tuning in from, let me know what you think of the show by getting in touch via Facebook or Twitter.
Following my One Mix, Julie Adenuga invited me to be her UK Represent for the week in the run up to the release of my album. I made a visit to the Beats 1 studios in North London for an interview where I chatted about the album, the collaborations, my One Mix and a bunch of other stuff. Can’t thank Beats 1 enough for their support, they’ve got really behind the album which is great as I’m a big fan and regular listener of the station. Check out the full interview on SoundCloud. M x
I was very honoured to be asked by Apple Music to do the One Mix on Beats 1. The mix is mostly made up of Metrik tracks with a focus on LIFE/THRILLS aswell as some unreleased edits and tunes currently doing the damage in my DJ set from other artists. You can check out the full mix now on SoundCloud. Drop me a comment and let me know what you think. M x
Really chuffed to find out today that BBC Radio 1 have made my track 'Chasing Sunrise' Elisabeth Troy their track of the day today. That means it gets played on every day time show throughout the day. Drum & bass being played at 6.30am on a Thursday morning, not bad going :)
I chatted to DJ Mag about the challenges of writing a second album, some of the influences behind LIFE/THRILLS and working with Hospital. Here's an excerpt...
I know a lot of people say they struggle with a second album but I didn’t struggle with it. It just seemed to come together really quickly, because I knew what I wanted to do, I knew what I wanted to write, and I had a lot of fun in the process.
The first stop of my album tour took me to Hospitality at UEA LCR Norwich. Shouts out to Carasel, Krakota, SPY and Nu:Tone for an awesome night.
I chatted to the good people of UKF about all things album, family and things that inspire me. Was a great opportunity to shed a bit of light on some of the thought processes behind some of the tracks and I had a lot of fun recounting some experiences that helped shape it. Here's an excerpt from the interview piece.
Take that ‘difficult second album’ cliché and burn it with fire… Exactly two years after his agenda-setting debut Universal Language, Hospital headliner Metrik has returned with an overwhelming follow-up ‘LIFE/THRILLS’.