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Friction: Versus Mode

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“It isn’t really like a typical single. This whole ‘versus’ thing is more like one big project I’m working on that’s just…” Taking a moments pause, Shogun Audio boss Friction collects his thoughts before continuing. “Basically I’m gonna do a load of collabs with a load of drum & bass producers who I really rate, put it all together at the end and then release the whole thing as a package. We’re doing picture disc vinyl to go with it. It’s something a little different you know? Giving it a theme and doing some really cool artwork for it. I’m really hyped about it.”

The DJ and producer is back with Scatter b/w Battle Scars, the first in a series of releases which sees Friction returning to the stripped back style that helped to play a massive part in making Shogun Audio such a powerhouse label within the scene. A more back to basics approach if you will. “It’s literally getting in the studio with other people who write drum & bass. No preconceived ideas. Just making good music that works on the dance floor. Back to basics vibes; getting amongst it and having some fun.” One act who is high on his ‘to work with’ list for this project is, unsurprisingly, Noisia. “I’m gonna harass those guys and see if they’ll let me come to Groningen and do a tune with them for it!” he laughs. “They are fucking ridiculous. Their studio looks mad. I need to get involved definitely.”

On this one Friction has teamed up with the legendary Total Science on Scatter, as well as joining forces with Austrian quartet and latest Shogun recruits Fourward on Battle Scars, which also features the gruff vocal talents of Jakes. “I was a big fan of them before I came through as a DJ. They’ve been heroes since day dot,” says Friction about Total Science. “To get in the studio with them was wicked. It was bloody boiling though as we started it last summer! But it was amazing vibes when we were coming up with the ideas, then finding the vocal so we put that in and it was like ‘I think we’ve got a tune here’. They were great to work with.” And what of working with Fourward? “Battle Scars was something I started at home. It was a little bit darker, kinda reminded me of old Jonny L. I sent it to Lukas and Ludwig from Fourward and asked them if they wanted to work on it and do it as a collab. We finished the tune but agreed it needed a gully vocal. You don’t get a gullier voice in drum & bass than Jakes. He did his thing over it.”

For Friction it doubles as an opportunity to combine two different generations of producers on one record. “If you look at it you’ve got scene stalwarts Total Science who’ve been doing it for god knows how many years, and are still doing it to this day, then you’ve got the new kids on the block in Fourward who are of the more current crop of artists. But they’re both incredibly talented. I love doing collabs. You have fun together, you feed off each other. You can learn new things off each other. It’s a really great way to help you develop as a producer, from my point of view anyway.”

As mentioned earlier, what was most paramount for Friction when doing this release was a retention of the sound Shogun had become known for. Something that, admittedly, had shifted away from its core for a while. “A year or two ago, we sort of branched out a little bit musically. I think the label lost its sound if I’m being totally honest. I’m much happier where the label is musically now though. You’ve got the deep liquid style of Technimatic to the very individual and original style of someone like Rockwell. We’ve got the variation in artists there that keeps the Shogun sound without the label sounding too samey. There’s a range of style there and I’m so happy with where it is now.”

Another recent shift has come in his job at Radio One. The news that Crissy Criss’s show is to come to an end in September came as a huge surprise to many, Friction included, leaving him as the sole representative for drum & bass on the station. His new show will now see him moved to Monday nights with a new time and longer slot, holding down the airwaves from 1-4am once the new schedule takes hold. “I’ve gotta big up Crissy for an amazing show he’s done over the years. I think he should be very proud of what he’s achieved.” he says, “I’m really pleased about my new time and I’ve got an extra hour to really go in selection wise. Being on Monday night will allow me to do a lot more live shows now, which is something that will really help me progress as a broadcaster.”

This summer you can catch Friction in Festival action at Belgiums Dour Festival this July and London’s SW4 Festival this August. For more information and tickets head to www.dourfestival.be and www.southwestfour.com respectively

Words: Wayne MacKenzie

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