This week’s mix comes courtesy of one of DnB’s most forward-thinking producers, Rockwell, whose WINTERMIX is packed full of heavy high-tempo sub-bass and percussive breakbeats. We caught up with Rockwell (real name Tom Green) to talk about his brand new label, the inspiration behind WINTERMIX and his plans for Christmas.
What inspiration did you draw from for you WINTERMIX?
The grey bleakness of London in the Winter. While in the summer months the nice weather seems to distract from all the concrete and lack of colour in my surroundings, in Winter it only seems to make it more apparent.
Any tracks in there that you’re especially into at the moment?
I’m having a bit of a resurgence of interest in more minimal styles at the moment, so this mix definitely reflects that. Special mention must go to the music that has been coming out on my friends labels - Guidance, 1985 Music, Entropy and Ish Chat - they’re all represented on here and it’s rare they put anything out that I’m not supporting.
You’ve recently launched your own label Obsolete Medium, can you explain what inspired the decision to start your own shop?
On a creative level, it just seemed like the next step - to write not just the music but have overall creative control of everything to do with the label - artwork, social media assets, and also the other music that the label puts out. It’s definitely a new challenge [and a lot of work] but it seems to have reignited my desire to keep writing this music.
You’ve toured in countries like New Zealand and USA over the past few years, what have been some of your favourite venues to play across the world?
Even though I’ve done a massive variety of gigs in my career thus far - from huge American EDM institutions such as EDC Las Vegas to smaller bucket list venues such as Fabric in London, I can definitely attest to being happiest playing in a small dark room with a low ceiling and a lashing system. Close proximity to the crowd is also really important for good vibes. Being on a huge stage 10 meters from the crowd always makes me feel a bit detached from the dancefloor. I like to be able to feel and feed off of the energy from the people.
Would you still call yourself an out-and-out DnB artist, or do you think that the genre has become more influenced by other styles of music as the internet has taken over how people access music?
Yes, definitely - probably more-so at the moment than for a long time. Drum and Bass has always interested me as it’s such a crazy melting pot of styles - taking in everything from dub, to funk breaks, to techno and hip-hop traits. On paper, it shouldn’t work, but it does. I always looked at it as having the attitude of hip-hop but with the speed, urgency and DIY ethic of punk rock. How the different influences weave in and out of the music over time is the thing that keeps it interesting. It’s a very broad church which gives a lot of room for experimentation.
What did you record collection look like growing up? Have you always been into electronic music?
Not really. Where I lived as a teenager the access to proper clubbing, in as much as seeing proper ’name’ DJs, was just not there. I was aware of drum and bass through Fabio and Grooverider on Radio 1 which I used to tape religiously but didn’t have a clue where the clubs were that played good music. I was, and still am as a kid raised on skate videos, very much into hardcore, thrash metal and hip-hop. It wasn’t really until I attended University in Bristol that I experienced drum and bass in a club - attending dances like Drive-By, Mutiny, and Full Cycle Sundays at The Level. If you could tell me back in my Bristol raving days that I would be playing at nights like Mutiny and doing tunes with Roni Size later in my life I wouldn’t have believed you.
Here at oki-ni we’re well into the winter collection for brands like Off-White, Canada Goose*, Acne and A-Cold-Wall* - what are some of the winter essentials you’ve picked up this year?
I really like what Samuel Ross is doing with A-Cold-Wall* - technical and futuristic without crossing that line where something becomes unsuitable to actually wear. A very interesting and individual almost industrial aesthetic. I’m a big Gosha fan and the multi-camo bits he has brought out this winter are right up my street. I’ve had my eye on that Multi Camo Parka for a while, but I think I’m going to have to shift some more units on my label before that finds itself into my wardrobe!
What are your plans heading into the Christmas?
A standard music industry December - A slow but steady decrease in effort with an eye towards a few weeks of Christmas parties, countryside walks with loved ones and many lost hours in various public houses.
Check out Rockwell’s newest EP here