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When speaking with people about influencers on the U.S. drum and bass scene, one name surfaces repeatedly – Evol Intent. Formed in 2000 by the trio of Knick, Enemy, and Gigantor, Evol Intent rose out of Atlanta, Georgia, to spread their signature sound, which they say combines the unique elements of “dynamic drum mechanics, razor sharp edits, sawtooth synths and an element of discord resonant of their punk youth.” TiD&B’s Melissa caught up with Gigantor to hear a little more about the death of what he calls Dogs on Acid-era narrow-mindedness about the U.S. scene, the influence of dubstep, and how working on side projects and other genres helps them keep their drum and bass work fresh.
TiD&B: Before jumping into D&B, you’ve stated in the past that Evol Intent was birthed out of hardcore punk culture. What are your top 5 hardcore or punk albums?
Gigantor: Haha, this will only go for me…Knick and Enemy will have differing answers for sure. In no particular order:
- NOFX ‘Punk In Drublic’
- Dead Kennedys ‘Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death’
- Descendents ‘Milo Goes To College’
- Fugazi ’13 Songs’
- Misfits ‘Static Age’
TiD&B: Your home town Atlanta, clearly has a rich hip-hop history being home to the likes of acts like Outkast, Ludacris, Goodie Mob, etc. What influence has the “dirty south” had on your music over the years?
Gigantor: You can definitely hear the hip-hop influence in our music, but I don’t think being from Atlanta holds much relevance to this. Most of our hip-hop influence comes more from the East Coast (Notorious B.I.G.) and West Coast (N.W.A., Dre, Snoop, Ice Cube, etc).
TiD&B: What was it like coming up 10 years ago and what do you think the global reception to U.S. drum and bass artists is today?
Gigantor: No-one really cares where you’re from anymore, as the Internet has made most of the scene a global community. I would definitely say the scene has evolved in this matter, and I don’t perceive any different treatment as being an American. That’s a narrow-minded attitude held-over from the Dogs On Acid heyday from over 10 years ago, and I’m glad to have seen it perish.
These days, the music matters more than geography. The reason there aren’t as many American artists in the drum and bass-only game is because most have moved over to branding themselves as multi-genre or “dubstep” artists since it’s so insanely popular stateside. We make music of many different genres ourselves. Being a multi-genre act is much more popular over here and most producers don’t stick to one genre per se. In fact, a guy like Skrillex could dominate drum and bass if he chose to – I heard a drum and bass track that Skrillex made that shits all over most drum and bass out there.
TiD&B: How have you seen the U.S. scene change over the years?
Gigantor: The U.S. scene has definitely gone through its ups and downs, and with dubstep’s explosion stateside, it has definitely put the drum and bass scene over here in a different place. Drum and bass-only parties aren’t nearly as popular as they used to be, but at the same time, many dubstep DJ/producers will often play drum and bass in their sets, exposing a lot of the new audience to drum and bass. Still, the mainstay nights like Respect in L.A. are still going and every city seems to have its die-hards who keep it alive.
TiD&B: So if you had to describe the U.S. drum and bass scene in one word, it would be…?
Gigantor: If anything, I would say, “transitional.”
TiD&B: What U.S D&B artists do you think have been most influential to the global scene? Conversely, what global artists have had the most impact on the U.S. drum and bass scene?
Gigantor: I think Hive and Gridlok have done a lot globally and stateside, and of course Dieselboy. If you include the guys who are coming up or are big now, then folks like Terravita, Figure, Kill The Noise, and even Bassnectar should be noted since they all play a fair bit of drum and bass and drumstep.
TiD&B: Aside from Atlanta, what are your favorite cities to play?
Gigantor: Los Angeles wins for keeping drum and bass alive the longest. There is always a scene in L.A. Globally, I always enjoy going to Belgium or Holland. As I said before, the American scene is in a state of flux. Europe generally still goes off, and overall kids dance more outside the United States than over here.
TiD&B: Drum and bass as a genre is no youngster – where do you think we are in the genre’s evolution in general?
Gigantor: It feels like drum and bass in its old incarnation died and a new day has begun. Good riddance to the negative attitudes and narrow mindedness that will hopefully die with the old. Don’t get me wrong, I see a lot of people pushing the sound forward…folks like Noisia, The Upbeats, Kill The Noise (aka Ewun), Camo & Krooked, Subfocus, Netsky, and Terravita. They are all doing huge things!
TiD&B: You’ve obviously worked with a lot of artists doing collaborations and partnerships with the likes of Chris Renegade, Ewun, Apex, Spor, Gein, etc. over the years, what would be your all-time dream collaboration?
Gigantor: Dream collaboration for me; Radiohead or Nine Inch Nails – probably wouldn’t make drum and bass though, sorry y’all.
TiD&B:Is three ever a crowd? What’s your creative process like and how do you all work together?
Gigantor: Generally, we rarely work together at the same time in the same room. We usually send files back and forth over the Internet and then it gets a final mix when we’re done. As far as production changing over the years, the most obvious way is that I’m not doing the final mix any more per se. Knick and Enemy are awesome engineers in their own right, so now I can focus more on tunes and songwriting than engineering.
TiD&B: What can we look out for next from Evol Intent?
Gigantor: We are currently starting work on a new LP. Look for a few singles before that comes out though!
TiD&B: Anything else at all you can divulge about the LP?
Gigantor: As far as the timing goes, it’s not really set. Don’t expect much, if any, drum and bass, drumstep or dubstep on the actual LP…we’re getting weird, haha.
TiD&B: In general, each of you have a lot of side projects going on, what keeps you motivated to still work on D&B?
Gigantor: The fact that we have side projects to explore new music keep us motivated for drum and bass. To be straight-up, there are a lot of dickhead fans who get pissed off because we’ve explored other genres (as Evol Intent or with other projects) and it makes it harder to focus on new drum and bass, but we’ve pushed ahead.
TiD&B: One last important question related to Atlanta, where do you grab your favorite soul food?
Gigantor: Dirty south barbecue. Alabama barbecue for me…Dreamland from Tuscaloosa. In Atlanta, I’ve always loved Fox Brothers. It’s been a while since I’ve been back though town though, and I heard a few new spots popped up that are excellent.