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Album Walkthrough: NC-17 ‘Most Violent Year’

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the past year or so, you will by now be aware of NC-17‘s ‘Most Violent Year’ album which he’s steadily been releasing on Dispatch Recordings. The album was written during a year in which the global pandemic first took hold, intense political disruption created unstable futures and media outlets across the world became further polarised and outraged, creating vast swathes of angered and confused people, unsure of who to trust.

NC-17 created a mammoth selection of tracks which have been released over 3 parts. With the 3rd and final part out on Bandcamp now and all other platforms this Friday (20th May 2022), we had a catch up with Peter to get a walkthrough of the album. Obviously, asking him to do a breakdown of all the tracks on all 3 parts would be too much, so we just asked him to choose his 3 favourite tracks from each part.

NC-17 is a Drum & Bass producer and film graduate, based out of Toronto, Canada. The namesake refers to the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) rating system which undertakes that an NC-17 rating film would be one based around violence, sex, aberrational behaviour, drug abuse or any other element that most parents would consider too intense for viewing by their children. NC-17’s first release came with his hit ‘Slug Path’ on DSCI4 Recordings back in 2008. Right now, NC-17 is on a hot streak with steady releases on labels such as Metalheadz, Dispatch and Ram Records. He’s also garnered huge support from the likes of Goldie, Andy C, Marky and many more. 

He has been DJing for around 20 years now and started to produce music in 2005. With releases on Viper Recordings, Renegade Hardware, Mainframe, All Sorts, DSCI4, MAC II, SOM Music, Proximity, and many more. He formed his own label, Grindhou5e Audio in 2012. While the imprint was still in its infancy, it almost immediately featured tracks from the likes of State Of Mind, The Upbeats, Mr Explicit, and Smooth.

NC-17 in the mix

Most Violent Year Part 1

Part 1 – Cut up images by paying homage to “Hereditary”. I made a score which really had to make an impact so I went with big horns and drums. Very inspired  by Bernard Herman

‘Excellent Day for an Exorcism’

For me, this was the song in which I feel was the big turning point for me. Written in the fresh weeks of the Pandemic, the approach was very much “I am just going to do what I want”. I wasn’t expecting anyone to like it. I mean it has satanic vocals sampled from “The Exorcist”. Also, one thing that was a big switch was, I was drawing from horror influences, which I had stepped away from for a very long time. I was really just going balls to the wall. The funny thing was, when I sent it, I actually didn’t mean to send it to Ant (TC1 – Dispatch label head honcho) as a demo. I was just wanting to show him the song as a track for my Patreon. He loved the approach. This song also told me that Ant was really willing to test the boundaries. So much was clicking!


‘Dio’

Easily my first or second favourite track from the album. But a lot of ‘Dio’ was a series of accidents that turned out brilliant! Well, a lot of the album was really, but this one in particular. I was messing around with sounds which were very glitchy and I was messing with these tones, kind of having a good time and I really didn’t think much of it…untill I showed an early version to my good friend Dr. Apollo. He kept telling me “Peter, this tune is sick, finish it gas…You got a special vibe here!” Had he not said that, I am not sure I would have gone all the way with it, but it turned out to be one of the best songs on the album. Also, it was the re-birth of my teknoid sound which I brought back out from my arsenal!


‘Howling in Silence’

‘Howling in Silence’ was made hours after ‘Dio’. ‘Dio’, in some ways, felt like the practice tune to get set for ‘Howling in Silence’. With ‘Howling in Silence’ I remember how excited I was, as I felt like I had created a new approach to my craft. It had also come to me so fresh! With this track, I wanted to take the teknoid elements and really kick it up to a 1000 million! Heavily inspired by Konflict, this is probably my favoruite track on the album and the one I play the most still, by far! The acid sections get me everytime…I love it! Also, it was quite late in the process of creating Part 1, so my sound was maturing. You could definitely hear it.

I won’t go over the obvious stuff and tell more about my mind set while approaching the first album.  But as you know it was written in the very early parts of the pandemic.  I think I finished Part 1 in 3 months. I handed in about 40 to 50 tracks and Ant cut them down to 13 full tracks with 3 interludes. But when people ask me “Peter. How did you write all those first songs?” Its very hard for me to answer because my mind was so hazy. I was really just working on the album and was studying a lot about sadism, as so many tracks were titles inspired by Hell. It was even to a point where I felt I was making something wicked and evil! I was really obsessing over “Rosemary’s Baby”. The imagery, the score, the themes. It was almost like I was studying the film like it was another film thesis. The process of the first part was very hazy, I think I went through some trauma and a lot of it just fogged out…


Most Violent Year Part 2 

Part 2 – Spliced scenes from “Beyond The Black Rainbow”. I was going for a more ’80s Sci-Fi vibe so was aiming for that analog vibe to it. Very much inspired by James Cameron and Simon Boswell

Brutal Violence’

When Ant had finished editing Part 1, Part 2 was not really 100% confirmed yet. Both of us were really on the fence, as we both knew if we were going to take a multiple part approach then we needed to tell the same story, but each part had to be very different in tone, but still continuing the story. ‘Brutal Violence’ I think is the track which convinced both of us that we should make another part. Right off the bat it’s dark is and has alot of the dark atmospheric approaches from Part 1. The drums and the bass, the overall tone was diffrent. It felt like an urban tek tribal influence. Very big bass. Very straight forward. Very much a song which depends on its basics to tell the story as they hold strong. ‘Brutal Violence’ captured all of those elements.


‘Repo Man’

Ah…’Repo Man’! For me, these are the kind of nasty tunes that you would drop at The End circa ’99 at 3am. Very tribaly but still really rolling. It’s one of those tunes that will keep you bobbing around in your seat. So rolling! But, the beauty in ‘Repo Man’ is the switch at 64 bars. Love it, pure energy! I still play it regularly. It’s also very inspired by the late ’90s ‘Quarantine’ sounds by Fierce, Break, C4C etc…


‘Gunked’ Ft Logam

For me, this is the sleeper track on the album. ‘Gunked’ has a super progresive approach which is what I love. The track just keeps building and building. All the credit on Logam for going with that approach, because although I gave him the canvas he very much told the story and its pace. It also, somehow, organically really fit the tribal tones I was on. Love those kind of collaborations where everything is flowing creatively!

Both Ant and I were very unsure if we should do the sequels but a few tracks gave us the confidence that we would make at least 2 parts. Part 2 though has one of the bigger tracks. It was very easy write. While Part 1 is set in Hell, Part 2 is Hell on Earth. Urban world vs Hell. Also, this part was largely written over times when riots and social carnage was on CNN 24/7. Subconsciously that’s how the metaphors organically flowed into the second part. Although, watching TV and Social Media etc was disturbing writing Part 2 was, in general, a very smooth flowing process…


Most Violent Year Part 3 

Part 3 – Spliced scenes from “Enter The Void”. The score is a combination of parts 1 & 2 as I wanted to blend both elements

‘Blood Warden’

‘Blood Warden ‘is the heart of Part 3. Absolute grunge funk. It also shows such a big improvement in my production game and over all sound. This is another which heavily inspired by that grungy ‘Quarantine’ sound from the 90s and 00s. The tunes that would draw you in at 3am. Love it man!


‘Punch Drunk Love’

One word “FUNK”


‘Romeo Is Bleeding’

Very similar to the tone of ‘Blood Warden’ but a bit more tekno inspired. If ‘Howling in Silence’ and ‘Blood Warden’ had a baby, it would be ‘Romeo Is Bleeding’ plus the Jake The Snake (old school wrestler to those who don’t know) vocal was $$$$ haha

For me, Part 3 is the very best part of the series on all levels! It’s the “Return of the Jedi”, “Dream Warriors”, “Return of the Living Dead”. It’s balls to the wall exploitation grundgefunk for me. I really feel of the 3 it’s my masterpiece. One thing to be noted.. Part 3 was written after Part 1 had commercially gone out. The first 2 parts I had absolutely zero pressure because I didn’t know what to expect. But, when the first 2 parts performed so well…Man, the pressure was on! Not only to make something that is different, but to continue the story to a well orchestrated conclusion. Showing big improvements over the time and process and if it’s to be the final part, then it has to be the very best part. The pressure I put on myself while writing Part 3 was not human. You see, I had never experienced an album release before so there was like a dump of energy, it’s very hard to explain, but I put myself into that pressure and it really shows in the energy of the work on Part 3. I was wound up, but it really worked for the vibe. It was so hard because it had to be perfect. I know it’s NOT perfect, but it’s a great way to end and close the chapter of the (Heaven & Hell) Trilogy which is ‘Most Violent Year’!

I hope ‘Most Violent Year’ holds up as a good representative of the time it was made!

Make sure you grab all 3 parts of the album from the links below!

‘Most Violent Year’ Part 1

‘Most Violent Year’ Part 2

‘Most Violent Year’ Part 3

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