Five Minutes With Emperor

5 EMPWhat would you do if you ruled the world?

Daft question… Unless you’re called Emperor.

With a big name, and even bigger sounds to back it up, world domination is highly feasible for this young Halifax-based producer. The latest stage in this domination is his first full EP for Critical. Entitled Begin, it’s his most comprehensive offering to date. We called him up to find out more. And, yes, to find out what he’s going to do when he eventually rules this planet of ours…

Begin: Big release!

Thanks! The physical copies sold out on pre-orders and it’s had some amazing feedback from DJs. It’s pretty humbling to be honest; people who I was looking up to a year ago are getting in touch. I’m still not use to it!

The title’s a hint at things to come, right?

Yeah definitely. It’s a bit cheesy to say ‘this is just the beginning’ but it is. My first full EP on Critical, this is a massive deal for me, I want to really show what I’m capable of and what my sound really is. It’s definitely the beginning of something. Let’s hope it’s something good!

Definitely. Emperor domination is nigh. But…. How would you run the world if you really were an emperor?

What a question! If I was an emperor I’d just spend my money on nice meals. I’d be a pretty bad emperor to be honest. But in terms of drum & bass, I’d have a rule about tunes being released quicker. The time it takes from sending a track to a label to it being released can be long. Too long!

Yeah, loads of artists have said that. By the time a tune is released it feels old…

It can do yeah. Not with Critical, they jump on things pretty quickly but in general the whole release process is longer than people think. For example, I’ve finished two tunes today and they feel like the best I’ve done. So now everything before feels like it could be better. You’re desperately trying to push things and get these new sounds to people as quick as you can. I want to put these up on Soundcloud and show people what I’ve done but you’ve got to keep it locked down.

Bar DJ sets. Gotta have dubs, right?

Yeah. I played at Fabric for Critical and dropped a new tune I’d finished that day. Kasra ran over and was like ‘what the hell is this?’ That was great. But yeah, it’s just an online thing. I really want to get everything out there as quick as possible and show people what I’m doing!

Who doesn’t? Any other rules for the D&B world if you were genuinely an Emperor? How about the club side of things?

In general I’ve had really good experiences with promoters. I’m gutted to hear about Cable closing so one rule I’d impose would be more support for nightclubs and the people running them. Without them we’d be screwed! Another rule would be that it’s mandatory that DJs get a good meal before the gigs.

That pretty much is the rule on the continent. Not so much over here, right?

Definitely. I had this incredible meal when I played in Austria. Schnitzels! Never had them before, it was a great way to start a set. Over here it’s more like ‘here’s your hotel, this is your set time, have a good one’. It’s not like you’re treated badly, but more meals would be very nice!

What’s been the best gig you’ve ever had?

Let me think… I’ve had some amazing gigs. Fabric is always incredible. The crowd laps up everything so you’re never afraid to drop new bits. Some crowds want stuff they’ve heard before but Fabric encourages brand new stuff.

Fun manning that soundsystem, I’d imagine…

Oh yes! It’s incredible. Loud but not too loud and eight monitors, so if one goes down then you’ve still got a spare seven.

Nice. Tell us about your live online tutorials you’ve been doing…

They’re quite sporadic but it’s me producing live online, usually with a couple of friends like Centra who I’ve done a co-lab with on the Begin EP. It’s just a few dudes making tunes online with a bit of Northern banter over Skype. I’ve had some nice feedback; people have learned stuff from it which is cool. It’s a little hobby and if you can learn something from it then great!

Have any ideas you’ve done on these tutorials spawned releases?

Most of the time it’s just messing around but some ideas have led to big releases, yeah. The intro to Begin came about through the live stream. Jackhammer, which is due on Inspected, came about through a live stream, too. That one’s coming soon. It’s a bit different, it’s kinda trappy but not in a conventional way. I like to keep things mixed up a bit. I hope people like it.

emperor begin


Begin is out now on Critical. Listen and download.

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