Over the years he’s been responsible for some of the most cutting-edge drum & bass creations that we’ve had the pleasure of listening to. After a slew of releases on various record labels, he’s now embarking on the next journey of his musical career – an exclusive signing to Hospital Records.
Having recently released his ‘Where Are You?’ EP, we got in touch with Lynx to discuss it, as well as the prospect of a third album and what will now happen to his own label, Detail Recordings.
You’ve been on the music circuit for a while, and have released on many a label – now you’re settling in to life as an exclusively signed artist to Hospital Records. How were you approached with the opportunity and what made you say yes?
I met with Tony (London Elektricity), Chris Goss & Tom at Hospital back in September 2013. I remember it being quite a bizarre meeting because I honestly had no idea what I was doing there. Around this time I was experimenting with other genres of music. It’s not that I had lost love for dnb; I wanted a new challenge. I felt a little trapped in my sound as Lynx. So for me to be going to a meeting with Hospital didn’t make much sense to me. But it had already been a bizarre week as I had also just signed ‘Take Back the Night’ to Ram Records, which came out the end of last year. For someone who had been questioning their future in dnb I certainly seemed to be making waves that week!
Hospital explained they were very keen to sign me as a Hospital artist, I was very flattered but also had some reservation. I have seen the highs, lows and everywhere in between in drum and bass. I knew for myself I needed change but was a little concerned that signing exclusively in dnb might not be the answer. Hospital were very patient with me and my reservations. Numerous meetings later, months passed, an offer from a competitor label and a lot of soul searching – I decided Hospital was a great place to call my new home. Those few months were very stressful but I can safely say now I think I have made the right decision. It’s nice not to be out of the rat race of shopping tunes to labels – and wondering if I’ll ever get paid. It’s nice not to have to do all the label leg work like I had to with my own label Detail. It’s great to purely focus on what’s important and what I’m best at, writing music and DJing.
What does this all mean for Detail Recordings – will there be a hiatus whilst you concentrate on making music for Hospital?
Detail was primarily focused around my music, so it makes sense to take some time out from the label. It wouldn’t be right to keep it going just for the sake of it. I’m not in the business of signing up other artists, so that might be it for Detail. I released 8 singles and an album on my own label – I’m pretty pleased with that. It’s now time to focus purely on my own work as Lynx with Hospital Records
We interviewed you a few years ago and you were surrounded by hardware. Do you use a lot of the same equipment as you did when we spoke to you then?
No sadly not! Everything is in the computer now and all software driven. I have recently just got a new computer, Cubase 7.5, Native Instruments Komplete 10 and a few other toys. Everything runs at lightning speed compared to my old setup. For the first time in years it’s me trying to keep up with the computer and not the other way around.
The music on the ‘Where Are You? EP’ is imaginative and a little off-centre – which is characteristic of a lot of the tracks I’ve heard from you over the years. Do you spend a lot of time thinking of original ideas and how you’re going to structure it before you proceed?
It’s very rare that songs are planned in advance. I enjoy the process of starting from a blank page. It means the track can evolve naturally rather than forcing it a certain direction. I can usually see within a few hours if the track is going to turn out good, or if it’s worth just shelving it as an idea to look back on another time.
Tracks such as ‘Hurting’ started out as instrumentals. Master X did an awesome vocal that sat perfectly with the track. ‘Bees Knees’ & ‘Where Are You’ were pretty quick tracks to finish. Often the best ones are.
A prime example of the edginess of this release is ‘Blue’ – a track that reminded me a little of ‘The Pink Panther’ or an 80s cop show. Was there a moment of madness in the studio making this one?
I’m happy it gives off that vibe, that’s how I see it too. It’s definitely nostalgic and a tune that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. It’s fun to write these quirky tracks – too often dnb is soulless, cold, DJ music. ‘Blue’ is a bit of a backlash against that. Bring back the flavour!
You are quite the fan of remixes and edits, having masterfully reworked James Blake’s ‘Limit To Your Love’ and Junior Jack’s classic hit ‘Thrill Me’ to name a couple. Have you got any more of these lined up?
I really enjoy remixing tracks. To some extent it takes the pressure off as an artist. As the remixer you are there to make the best of what the original track has to offer while adding your own sound to it.
When I think of classic Lynx, immediately ‘Disco Dodo’ springs to mind – or if we’re thinking more recently, I’d say ‘Balloons’. Which tracks from your past conjure up the best memories?
It’s not so much particularly tracks that stand out for me, it’s pivotal moments that change your way of thinking when writing music. ‘Global Enemies’ was definitely one of those and I think that track has really stood the test of time. Of course ‘Disco Dodo’, because it made people go wild when played out in the clubs. I’d say ‘Take Back The Night’ on Ram is another. There are really crucial moments for me with tracks that have never seen the light of day that aren’t even drum & bass. Maybe they never will but they have certainly helped the evolution of me as an artist.
What will a third Lynx album sound like, or is this early days?
Hmm…I’m a fair way through ‘an’ album. Now I’m signed with Hospital it’s not just my decision what makes the cut and what doesn’t. It’s a tough job having a big label looking over my shoulder and scrutinizing what I do. I’m quite stubborn! However Hospital have been great so far and provided some very useful feedback. We are hoping for a late spring release for the album.
I can tell you how I see the album shaping up. It will be the biggest drum & bass album of 2015! If it’s not then I have failed somewhere along the line. Each track is unique. There are no fillers and no 2 tunes that sound the same. There are songs with awesome vocals that could be on radio. Some very cool collaborations that might shock some people. Master X has a few tracks on there; I’m working pretty closely with him so you will be hearing a lot more from him in 2015, not just as my MC but on tracks too. There are DJ tools that I’m seeing are already smashing it in the clubs. There will be hands in the air anthemic moments, tongue in cheek wonkiness, griminess, head down gritty rollers. The whole album will feel in full colour rather than the pastel shades of my previous 2 albums. In some ways it’s more light-hearted than my previous work. And I know people think that could be Hospitals influence on me. Believe me it’s not! If anything it’s me pushing for things to go more radio friendly and they are very aware it would be safer to stay true to the Lynx sound. I say to that, when have I ever been a safe artist? Change certainly keeps me striving and writing, and hopefully people are intrigued in what I’ll do next.