Friction – Elevate This Sound
“I think it’s very important for drum & bass not to lose its underground and what helps maintain the underground are its club nights. Doing the festivals is great but you’re not really promoting the underground at a festival. You’re not looking to drop dubplates you don’t know are coming out anytime soon. The club scene is so important to drum & bass because it helps to break that brand new music.” There is no room to question the unbridled love for DJ’ing that Friction clearly has. While he is a man of many talents; producer, radio broadcaster, label owner and A&R – he is, at his core, a DJ first and foremost. He’s already built and established his own very successful brand with his Shogun Audio imprint, which turned 10 years old earlier this year. But December 5th sees him once again take centre stage at Elevate, where alongside a number of specially invited guests he will be showcasing the skills that have lofted him to the heights as one of drum & bass’s biggest names. “Originally I’m a DJ; before production, before A&R’ing a record label, I’m a DJ and that’s something I want to show with Elevate. I want to DJ to the crowd in front of me, mix tunes and enjoy it.”
Friction’s latest venture allows him to step slightly left of centre from what he does when playing down at Shogun. His criteria for an Elevate party is simple: play what you like for as long you like and bring some friends and DJ’s along for the ride. “It’s a place for me to do something a little bit different,” he explains. “It’s mainly about me getting some friends in and doing an event that’s a little more intimate. With Elevate I’m playing for three hours and I think people can expect the unexpected.” It’s pretty much impossible not to mention Shogun Audio when talking to or about Friction. Something he is keen to stress is that the only thing Elevate and his label have in common is the man himself. “Obviously with Shogun now we’ve got a lot of good, strong artists – I can’t take over the whole night and hog up all the DJ time. Shogun also has a certain sound that’s quite quite hard to get away from,” he laughs. “Elevate is me getting my mates to come down and play. I just want people to enjoy it and hear really good music all night.” One of those friends representing on the night is the legendary DJ Zinc, who’ll be keeping the crowd entertained with a set comprised purely of classic jungle. You can gather Friction is rather excited to have him on board, and is full of nothing but praise for one of dance music’s most pioneering figures. “Me and DJ Zinc go way back and he’s one of my biggest inspirations. He’s a bad boy DJ. He’s influenced me a lot; he’s also helped me a lot and got me on a lot of shows early on in my career. His jungle sets are unparalleled in comparison to anyone else. He knows about selection, he knows about music and is a brilliant person to have on the lineup.”
On the night Friction is playing what is billed as an ‘extended 3 hour set’ which no doubt gives him adequate room for manoeuvre when it comes to track selection. I ask if he’s ever considered playing for longer. With dBridge, Calibre, Andy C and Marcus Intalex having played sets of 5 hours or more, Elevate will afford him the ability to undertake such a task at some stage in future. “The problem I’ve got at the moment is finding the time to work something out like that,” he says. “It’s something I’d definitely like to build up to – just turn up and open the club at 10 or 11 o’clock. Maybe start off with some deep, left field trip hop and then build it up over say five hours and play all the way until the end. That would be amazing, I’d love to do that.” While he maintains there should be no preconceptions on what you’re likely to hear down at Elevate, you’ll more than likely be privy to some forthcoming material from the man in the form of his upcoming single. “I recently finished it off and I’ve got two collabs with Dimension and Icicle which will come out early next year. I’m really happy with how they’ve turned out. Doing the ‘Friction Versus’ thing gives me a chance to write some bangers basically and I’m working on an EP for it next.” I briefly touch on the subject of a possible Friction solo album. “It’s something I want to do but what with the radio, DJ’ing everywhere, doing Shogun, it’s hard for me to do something of that magnitude. To get an album done I’d have to take like six months off. I couldn’t give up DJ’ing for that long man. I think I’d cry.”
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