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Audio – Keep Their Heads Ringing

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“I felt like I’d finished that chapter. I like changing things up; in my life and in how I do music. I like to start afresh every so often.” It can be easy for an artist to fall into a comfort zone. When Ram Records announced another batch of new signees to the label earlier this year the biggest, and possibly most surprising, was Audio. Having become a headline act over at Ed Rush & Optical’s Virus Recordings it was a shock when news was revealed he’d made the switch to Andy C’s team. “A big question people had was why. I was an established artist at Virus, I did three albums for them. But I did it when I was at Freak Recordings. I wrote that sort of stuff when Therapy Sessions was bubbling; people like Limewax, The Sect and Current Value were coming through. It was an exciting time but really I was a ’97 boy. That’s what I grew up on and it needed to be Virus. That’s where my heart was at. Once I managed to get to that the same thing happened. I needed a new challenge. I didn’t wanna start repeating myself.”

It would be to easy to pinpoint Ram picking up Audio’s remix of Neo for Nightlife 6 as a sign of things to come. Not so. In fact, there were no real plans for it to come out at all. “I just did it to play at Let It Roll festival. It went down really well so I sent it to Hive who then sent it to Andy and he wanted it as an exclusive for Nightlife. It just so happened to be at the tail end of when we started discussing me moving over. But it would’ve come out on Ram whatever.” Audio’s remix is a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster, as he explains. “A.M.C. sent me all the previous versions: the original, Hive’s VIP and the Dom & Roland remix. I made mine from all of them. If you listen to mine its the intro from the VIP and the breakdown from Dom’s remix. I didn’t have any of the original samples. It was made from ripping bits of the three versions that were already out there. I added stuff on top and bolted it together.” Audio’s first single proper on Ram is the storming Heads Up, a supercharged blast of high energy drum & bass. “Heads Up is the start. I wanted to make the first thing special and it had to be right. It was the first one where everyone at the label was like ‘yeah, that one’. I think Andy played it and he had to have it. Stampede came a bit later and it felt right that those two should go together. Plus, I always wanted to do a tune called Stampede. I have a list of tune names, if I think of something cool I’ll write it down and Stampede has been at the top for years!” he laughs. I point out that Heads Up is, while typically Audio, a more riff laden, almost dancier affair than his usual stomping beats and bass. Was that deliberate considering his new homes output? “It kinda came organically. Probably in the back of my mind I was thinking I don’t wanna come at them with a crowbar to the nose straight away. Because I’m entering a world where people who might not have heard of me are gonna start hearing me I was conscious that I wanted to introduce myself with a gentle handshake first.” A fear Audio definitely wanted to allay was that signing to Ram would mean either a change in or a possible commercialisation of the sound that has made him an underground favourite. Have no fear though. “The whole reason I moved to Ram was to do what I do. When I sat down with Andy and Scott it came up. Admittedly I had concerns because that’s not me, that’s not where I see myself. That doesn’t interest me. I’m an underground boy. I’m gonna change it up obviously, if you listen to my albums my sound is tweaked and moved but I have to do that because I’m an artist. I have to keep evolving but whatever I do will always have my stamp on it.” During his time at Virus he was known for a highly prolific work rate, both for the label and beyond it. How does he feel now he’ll have to, in a manner of speaking, wait his turn for releases? “That’s the nature of the beast I guess. That’s what I’ve signed on for and something I’ll have to deal with. But I feel like I’ve played the field in drum & bass,” he says laughing. “I’ve gone wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Now I want to have a home and a bit of security, in a label sense, and the ability to build something not just for Ram but for me as an artist.”

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Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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