Interview with Ivy Lab | the 20/20 operators!
Starting to be very well known within the Drum & Bass scene with their liquid tracks alongside Frank Carter III, Ivy Lab evolved their sound and are now one of the most forward thinking group in the scene. Sabre, Stray & Halogenix came together because of their sharing love to Hip-Hop and this is, what they bring together with the deep and dirty basslines of Drum & Bass. In a studio or laboratory, which was surrounded by ivy, they started the production into an very special fusion and under the name of 20/20 LDN they share that new sound with the world, both as a label and a regularly clubnight.
We are happy to have them here in Leipzig coming Saturday the 1st of October. Before that we had the chance to relief some questions from us and our audience into the cloud:
IT’S YOURS: Hey guys how is the ivy doing around your laboratory?
Ivy Lab: The original lab is gone! We moved a couple of years back, sadly. 🙁
What are you working on, at the moment?
20/20 Volume 2 LP is about to drop in November so just setting up the final touches on that… after that, it’s a new EP for Critical and a bunch of demos for a rapper, we’re looking to begin working with next year
It seems that you are feeling very comfortable in the sub-genre halfstep/halftime and within that you are one of the most leading artists. How did you came about the idea of making songs like “No Answer”, “Love Is Here” or the collab with Noisia “Possession”, the halftime sound in general?
We’ve all been making hiphop for a long time, but only in the last couple of years has it felt, that basslines have taken centre stage in the hip-hop / beats scene and that was a clear opportunity for us to infuse some of the ideas and history, we have as bass music artists into the scene.
Working in a group can probably be difficult sometimes. How do you manage the work, do you feel yourselves in a certain position within the group?
It’s all quite equal really. Label and clubnight stuff tends to be mostly down to Sabre and Halogenix does a lot of the graphic design, but everything else from accounting to A&R, production, social media, etc, we just take care of as a group.
Let’s talk about the label a bit:
20/20 LDN came with a big one. What have been the reasons of starting the own label?
I think we just wanted to have a fresh start from our history as Drum & Bass artists, with a new canvas. This music is very new and just getting rolling, so it wasn’t clear how it would mix with the usual Drum & Bass crowd. As it happens, the Drum & Bass crowd seem to really love it, so it’s not a big problem, but we didn’t know when we launched it, so it seemed sensible to create some separation.
Do you understand it more as a platform for your own music or to show and support others music?
A bit of both, we have a tight team of people like Deft who we really want to do a lot of work with. That team will grow, if we find the right people, but it has to be acts that we think we can work with again and again. We don’t want to put out one release and then never work with that act again.
How strong is the label connected to the 20/20 events?
The clubnight came first, but the two are very strongly connected. There is music played at the clubnight, that you won’t see on the label, but everything on the label gets played at the clubnight.
Now, that you have your own label, you still release music on Critical. Do you plan to work close with Kasra on Critical in the future as well?
Yeah we work a lot with Critical, both as producers at the label and DJ’s at the Critical sound events. We totally plan to keep our relationship going and we have a very regular pattern with them, which is to release a big EP at the start of every year. It’s been that way for 3 years now and next year it’s happening again.
Can you already tell us something about the next releases on your label?
The Volume 2 LP drops in November. Volume 1 was kind of a V/A LP with all tracks by different Ivy Lab members but this one is a proper various artists LP with music from a load of different acts from inside the crew and also some guests.
We invited our audience to send in some questions to you:
How does a day in the studio with you three together look like?
We try to do maybe two or three full days every week. Tend to start around 11am, do email and admin stuff for an hour or two and then just do beats all afternoon till around 7pm. We have one main studio machine but we also have our laptops open in the background doing bits of artwork or clubnight bookings, etc.
Do you create your tracks always together? How do you decide, which sketch will be under the flag of ivy lab and which one is going to be a solo project?
Nah, we have tracks where it’s only one of us doing everything from sketch all the way to mixdown but others, which are just a basic loop, that others will pickup and work on. If it fits into the Ivy Lab halftime sound, we tend to give all of our solo projects to the collective. Sabre only does Ivy Lab stuff at the moment, Stray will keep some mellow or offkey things for Exit releases and Halogenix still has Drum & Bass tracks he makes, but the bassline halftime / hiphop stuff is almost handed over to Ivy Lab now.
Every one of you has a successful solo career, but do you think, that those careers sometimes suffer because of the Ivy Lab projects?
Suffer is the wrong word, it’s more of a case make way. Suffer implies it’s a burden, but for us this is a choice. We all knew that space for solo work would shrink as Ivy Lab stuff takes up more energy and we’re all signed up for that.
Will you bring some exclusive stuff to Leipzig to play at FAT BEMME?
Absolutely, we have a ton of unreleased music but also lots of cool Drum & Bass, that we don’t get to play all that often, because most of our shows nowadays are just multi-genre bass music nights, where we’re booked as a halftime act. This show will be a little different…
What are your mothers thinking about the whole things, you are doing?
I think they’re all proud. They’re worried what will happen in 2….5…..10 years time, but so are we! This is the music industry and things move really fast.
Thanks a lot for your time and looking forward to see you in Leipzig soon!
Thank you too and see you Saturday!