Further adding to Manchester’s on point underground music scene of late, production duo Nian Dub are building up to their first official release, a six track EP on young label NB Audio. Including a vocal feature from Estate Record’s Fox, The Aftermath EP sees the duo flexing their range of styles, from the piercing sound scape of that collaboration, entitled Aftermath, alongside Fox’s sinister vocals, through the amen workouts of Deliverance and the sublime mix of smooth saxes and tearing synths of Jazz Craft. Intensely varied in both their influences and style, Step Out completely changes things up once again with bongos juxtaposing more futuristic atmosphere, before Almighty Dub finishes things off well and truly in the roots with a natural, feel good reggae workout.
A great EP to kick things off, their skill at crafting a range of sounds is instantly apparent, taking you right through the spectrum of bass music in a way that very few producers do. With the release dropping just in time for Christmas on December 19th, we caught up with them to find out a bit more about this fresh duo and what’s planned for the future. Although there’s little audio about for the release as yet, catch a few of the tracks in their NBA Mix below while you have a read of what they had to say for themselves. Also keep up with them on Facebook here.
Easy chaps, tell us a bit about your selves firstly. How long have you both been producing and how did you link up together to form Nian Dub?
Nian Dub formed at the start of 2013. Before that, we’d both been making beats for a couple of years on and off but nothing too serious. When we started producing we were living in different cities so rarely had time to get together in the studio, but after a couple of years Tim moved from Leeds to Manchester. We were still producing individually but gradually started working on more collab’s and we found we work well together so it made sense to start a project.
Did you previously go under solo aliases, or is this your first real foray into releasing tunes?
Yeah we previously went under our solo aliases Runes (Rory) & iLLtone (Tim), although we were more known as DJ’s so this is the first thing either of us have officially released.
What artists have had the most influence on your sound and musical outlook?
We’ve both got really broad musical influences from Reggae to Jazz to Hardcore Punk & everything in between.
As far as the dub/reggae side of our sound goes we’ve got to tip our hats to the original pioneer King Tubby, the influence his techniques had on the genre is unparalleled and he laid the foundations for everything we love about that sort of music. Along with that, crew’s such as Mungo’s Hi-fi & Reggae Roast who are always championing homegrown producers and artists have to get a massive mention!
On the d&b side of things I think producers like dBridge, Gridlok, Loxy & Paradox (to name a few) have helped influence our sound. Although in a scene which is so broad it’s hard to narrow down influences to certain producers; it’d probably be easier to name labels who’s music has had profound effects on our style. We’re both massive fans of Metalheadz, Violence, Renegade Hardware, Exit, Dispatch, Horizons etc
Hailing from Manchester, the underground music scene’s really blowing up again round those parts recently. Looking from the outside in to the scene there, it seems to have a very strong network and bond between all of it’s artists, would you say that’s something that’s more apparent there then elsewhere in the UK?
Manchester’s a great place to be at the moment and we’re lucky to be surrounded by a wealth of talented artists. On the one side you’ve got established heavyweights like Soul:R and the Estate Eecordings crew bringing the damage with their respective club nights, on the other you’ve got emerging institutions such as Relapse, Red Eye, Pandemik and Amen Brother cultivating upcoming local talent, and it’s really inspiring to see every one supporting each other. It’s been great working with the likes of Fox & Kuntri as those guys have got a lot of experience and it definitely made us up our game. We couldn’t necessarily say its more apparent here than anywhere else but everyone up here’s representing hard and the scene’s kicking.
What kind of production kit are you using and what are some small comforts you couldn’t live without in the studio?
Logic on the Mac has always been our weapon of choice. It’s what we both started on when we first got into producing and we love it. We’ve tried a few other programs out over the years, but never found anything that would make us switch it up. About a month back we picked up an Access Virus B which is an awesome bit of kit, we’d pretty much finished all the tracks for the EP by this point so it doesn’t really feature, but since then we’ve been rinsing it out. Other than that we just use a Presonus interface to hook up microphones and record any live stuff we need for the tracks and use a lot of Software FX units.
What’s your creative process like, do you both have certain areas of the tune you excel in, or do you tend to work on every element together?
Overall we do tend to work on every element together but we bring totally different vibes to the table. Often one of us will jump in on a tune the other’s started individually and just go from there. We feel we complement each other quite well musically and it’s really helpful having someone to bounce ideas off, as it keeps everything fresh and on track. It’s quite easy to get lost listening to continuous loops for hours on end!
Your first release, The Aftermath EP, drops on the 16th through NB Audio, a young local label. How did you get involved with them?
We’ve known Adam (NBA) for years and been involved in a lot of the projects he’s organised. He actually booked Tim for his first ever set at Kilo in Preston back when he was 17! We’ve always been in regular contact and now that we all live in the same city it’s a lot easier to work together. He’s always been passionate about music and asked us to release an EP before he’d even set up the label, which was the push we needed to start taking things more seriously. There’s been some great releases on the label so far, and some absolutely killer dubs in the pipeline so we’re really happy to be part of the family.
How would you describe the sound and vibe of the EP?
The EP combines a variety of styles and takes you on a bit of a journey. At it’s core it’s a d&b EP, but it’s got a heavily dub and reggae influenced sound. There’s dark dance hall riddims, jungle madness. heavy trumpet licks and warping basslines…. hopefully something for everyone. In short, its just a brief insight into the music we love.
Prolific Manny vocalist Fox laces the stripped back break and stinging atmospherics of it’s title track. How did that tune come about, was the track made with him in mind? Did you work together in the studio?
The track originally started back in 2010 as some mad sound-scape. We forgot about it for a few years and then rediscovered it when we were starting to think about the EP. Adam told us Fox was down for doing a track with the label so we took the original ideas and reworked them into something we thought would suit his style. We left the track with him for a month or two before hooking up a studio session at Red Eye’s Studio, and we were buzzing with what he came back with!
Almighty Dub is the second vocal feature which comes from Extra Love front man Kuntri Ranks. If you haven’t been to see them live then you’re missing out! We sent the track over to Kuntri to see if he was down for getting involved…… and within 48 hours he’d written the lyrics and was ready to record! We worked closely on the mix down, firing the track back and forth till we had something everyone was happy with.
Tell us a bit about the two producers you’ve collaborated with, Semiotix and Dan Tasker…
Semiotix is a wicked producer. We’ve been mates for years and all got into production at roughly the same time so it was great to get him involved with the release. He’s the co-founder of Relapse so he’s pretty heavily involved in the scene and we’ve been working together on quite a lot of new tunes recently. He’s got a really technical and percussive dark style, which we’re both big fans of, plus he’s a cool guy to chill with so it just works really well in the studio.
Dan’s more of a musician than a producer, we first met through a 9 to 5 that we were all working. We were chatting about music and he mentioned that he used to play trumpet so we hooked up a jam session and started laying down some ideas. He hadn’t played for years but the guy’s got some serious skills so he was back in the game in no time! He’s a really versatile musician and we’ve got some great bits in the pipeline so expect to hear some more collabs soon!
Lastly, what else have you got planned for the future?
We’ve got a few nights coming up – Firstly we’ve got our EP launch mid-december @ Kraak Gallery, we’re also playing Grand Theft Audio at the end of Jan and then there’s Relapse 3rd birthday and an event in Amsterdam in Feb. As far as production goes we’re just trying to spend as much time in the studio as possible, so hopefully there’ll be more to follow soon!
Cheers, anything else you’d like to say?
Yeah massive Big UPS to all the Artists involved in the EP, The NBA Family, DLO productions, Red eye Hi-Fi, Brotherhood, Relapse, Travesty, Eastern Bloc, May Rd crew, Fortune & everyone else we forgot haha… and shouts to Broken Culture for the interview!