With recent spectacles like the DEEP MEDi Boiler Room takeover a few weeks back, the latest wave of American dubstep producers killing it left, right and centre, the future of the dubstep sound’s looking pretty damn exciting.
Whether you’re tight, familiar or completely unfamiliar to AxH’s sound, this producer has been doing big things since signing exclusively with Tempa Records. From his Tempa releases to his recent appearance with a remix on the new Trojan Audio, AxH never seems to disappoint. We sat down with him to talk his latest EP with the eponymous dubstep imprint, moving back to Boston and much more…
Hey Andrew! It’s been a while. How’ve you been since our last chat? What have you been up to? Easy man. Yeah time flies! I’m doing great. I’ve been busy moving back to Boston and planning out the next phase of life, working on beats, launching my clothing and toy brand, playing gigs, geeking on Star Wars… Full plate!
How’s the evolution of the sound going your side of the pond? As an outsider, it looks like you’ve got some seriously exciting talent popping off. Things got a bit quiet for a minute, but are ramping back up for sure. It’s great to see so many new, talented American producers and DJs focusing on deep, minimal, and classic sounds. The interest is still there, and that makes me happy. I’m excited to see what’s to come.
In terms of playing out, the US seems to be loving its system sound at the moment. As far as systems go, any US setups stand out to you? As far as systems go, if Badman Sounds has anything to do with it, I’m in! I’m really looking forward to playing for Tsunami Bass, as well. For venues in general, I love big cities and dark, basement clubs!
How’s Bassic Boston going? What’s your local scene like? I just moved back to Boston last week, actually. I was in the midwest, out in Iowa for the last year and a half. BASSIC is not currently throwing parties, but maybe again someday! From what I have seen locally, the herd has thinned out, but in a good way. All the heads show up and support like they always have, and the diehard promoters and DJs are still doing their thing!
When it comes to your situation, what’s changed since Tempa signed you? Anything happened differently than how you envisaged Getting signed to Tempa exclusively was a great opportunity. It helped me to focus my efforts and allowed me to have the feedback and exposure I needed to progress with my music. Still shocked and humbled!
Since being picked up by the label, would you say your sound (or at least the tunes you send Yunx) has changed? Not so much, really. Nothing outside of normal growth and progression. I’ve always been obsessed with weighty drums and low bass… The hip-hop days, jungle days… Warm bass and drums were always at the center of it all. Youngsta liked how I was just doing my own thing. I finish a lot of beats… I just know which ones not to bother sending him haha!
What’s the reaction been like to the Numbskull EP? How would you describe the release? Man I’m so glad Numbskull is finally out. It’s been a long year waiting! The response has been overwhelming, and topping the Juno Download charts has been kinda nice, as well! Thanks to everyone supporting. These tunes were fun. Blippy and techy. Earthy and mechanical. Last year I went into hermit-mode and just made the beats I really wanted to make. I think the EP really captured how I was feeling and living last year.
If you could choose a track you felt best epitomised Tempa, what would it be? Skream‘s Midnight Request Line and SP:MC & LX One’s Hunted are the two I draw for every time someone wants to know about Tempa (or dubstep in general). Definitive, genre-shaping beats on my favorite label. Benga & Coki‘s Night is the one to use for finding out whether or not he/she is a keeper.
What are your thoughts on Tempa moving into new territories of bass music (alongside what might be known as ‘classic’ Tempa? Of the new vibe, what are you feeling the most? For me, I prefer the 140 halftime. It’s what I play and what I primarily enjoy making. As long as that never goes away, I have no complaints. The 125-128 BPM stuff is cool, just not my preference. I wish they’d release my 170 BPM stuff haha!
Which labels are you rating at the moment? Tempa, Wheel & Deal, and Artikal will always be at the top for me, in no particular order. The Triforce. The dubstep I always loved, and the calibre of music I strive to create.
With everyone starting their own label, or self releasing tunes, do labels still add value to the scene? Labels will always add value, because someone will always value labels, new music and new artists. Artwork matters. Fresh new perspective matters. Music matters. As long as it’s being released and available for people to listen and play, there will be value.
More labels means more choices, more catalogs to collect, and a constant changing of the guard. People start labels because they are passionate about something. I’m all for that. I love variety. Labels open and shut their doors every day, it seems. Things stay interesting.
If you had the power to fix or change one thing in our community, what would you do? Less negativity. More solidarity… Unification. I hate the word “scene”. We are a community… A family. We didn’t die, we just forgot. Opinions and gossip are damaging. Leave them at the door. I’m guilty of both, and they don’t do any good. Dubstep needs to hug it out and rebuild.
What’s been your tune of the year? Numbskull! I nurtured that thing forever, and it’s finally here. Big up braap braap!
The FKOF Review
AxH’s Numbskull EP opens with the self-titled track; a tune Youngsta’s been battering for a very long time. It reveals the producer’s Americanised, unparalleled dubstep sound. The loud lead bleeds through the production, allowing the enriched percussion to hit just that bit harder. Boston’s jam maker is heavily armed with hard-knocking percs, a blowout of a bassline and a futuristic sense of direction. It delivers, slithers and deals with the faint of heart…
The dubby excursion that is Gem Tone forms the pinnacle of AxH’s sound. Appearing to epitomise the true West Coast sound, the tune’s not quite what you’d expect. Spring reverbs, expressive delay-times and a junglistic break showcases the producer’s expansive skill set and sound worthy of an appearance on a flagship like Tempa. The loop grooves without hesitation and digs deeply inside into one’s brain. This one’s a highly recommended journey through untouched, high-grade dubstep music from the Western territories…
Gremlinz joins AxH’s trail of destruction with the third inclusion on the EP, delivering a truly jungle-esque 140 monstrosity. Dub sirens, natural delays and war signals colour the aggressive stereo image. The invasive growls do the beat justice, as the reverberation times takeover in an all-or-nothing situation. Various knocks, hits and outbursts signal that a truly successful collaboration. Hacker‘s a brilliant piece of work!
D-Lux is the more traditional, untouched half-step monster AxH’s truly nailed. This loop is as contagious as any of the other beats he’s produced the last few years. The break is murky, drenched in hatred and definitely has a near ‘dungeon’ sound to it. With its weight and impact hitting like a bulldozer, great panning techniques and ruff atmospheres, this one production slays the crowd. AxH doesn’t mess about and his TEMPA103D EP highlight this fact nicely…