Winning a competition is a really big deal and Deadline has not only impressed one of the pioneers of the Drum n Bass scene in Mickey Finn, but also a magazine which focuses more on 4/4 dance music. Described by Mickey as “…tighter than a submarine door” the mixes undulating rhythms filled us all with a real desire to hit the dance floor. Hard.
Deadline are Peter van Dongen and Oliver Outen, a drum & bass duo hailing from London. Not discriminating against any sub-genre or era of DnB, the newcomers aim to celebrate the genre as a whole in their mixes. Having recently supported Sub Focus and Dimension. Their debut EP is also in the works which should see a release towards the end of 2016.
UK Editor sat down with the guys this week to talk about the competition, the DnB scene and more.
Hi Guys, congratulations on winning the competition. Has it sunk in yet?
Peter: Thanks a lot! Not just yet, we were convinced we hadn’t placed but there was a slight delay in the announcement of the results – when the email came in we were over the moon.
Oliver: We’ve entered competitions in the past but they primarily focused on the number of plays and interactions which – while we understand the importance – has often meant we didn’t do well despite putting a lot of thought into the entry. Considering Micky Finn was judging we put extra thought into this one, so we’re delighted with the result.
Mickeys comments on the mix included the immortal phrase “mixed tighter than a submarine door!” What does industry validation like that mean to you both?
Peter: Aside from the obvious benefit a comment like that carries for bookings, we grew up listening to Micky – to get feedback like that does make it feel like we’re stepping in the right direction and starting to break into the scene.
Oliver: All feedback is important to us but it is particularly special to hear an original in the scene say this about our mixing style.
Tell us how you met. Have you always been hardcore DnB fans?
Oliver: We met at Outlook Festival in 2014. It’s weird because we had a lot of mutual friends and lived five minutes away from each other in North London but never met before that point.
Peter: Conveniently, we met watching Andy C at the Harbour stage. I accidentally almost took Ollie’s eye out within 5 minutes of meeting him with a cigarette, I think that’s how strong friendships are made. We’ve always been fans of bass music in general but drum & bass will always take the cake.
Oliver: During our late teens we were going to fabric on a weekly basis – we can’t tell you how devastated we are that it’s now closed but that’s another discussion altogether. We really hope the appeal goes through and we can rave there again.
Peter: Maybe even play there one day, was definitely on the bucket list before it closed!
We understand you’ve already supported Sub Focus and Dimension. Talk us through a DnB warm up set, how do you approach them and who would you consider to be a good warm up DJ?
Peter: We personally really appreciate the importance of warm up sets. It’s fairly straightforward to play the current Beatport slammers but the real heroes are the DJs who ease people onto the dancefloor and set the tone for the rest of the night. More than ever you have to read the crowd and try to assess what they like, so we always prepare a few drops/sections in various sub-genres and go from there.
Oliver: In terms of a good warm up DJ we’d have to say Subdivision. We run a mid-week DnB night in Leeds called Arcane and take a lot of care with our lineups, having a good warm up DJ is essential for us. We booked him for our last event in Leeds and he got everyone onto the dancefloor, won’t be long before you’ll see him headlining events!
Residencies are something we at Decoded have discussed many times. In these times of instant fame, it appears that touring is preferred over playing in the same club week in week out. What’s your take? Would you ultimately prefer the by residents or touring artists?
Oliver: I think both have their pros and cons. Having a residency forces you to be on your toes as a DJ. If you’re playing to the same crowd on a weekly basis you have to give them something new each and every time – I personally find that really exciting and I know Pete does too.
Peter: Absolutely. I think in an ideal world we’d have a bi-weekly residency and then tour the rest of the time! We haven’t had too many bookings outside of our home/uni towns yet but we love going places we haven’t gone before and playing to new audiences.
High Contrast recently told Decoded he believes drum n bass is in a particularly good place right now, what’s your assessment of the UK DnB scene, and who are the main players these days?
Oliver: The scene is healthy at the moment! There’s great music coming out in both the commercial and underground spheres. We try to play the best of every sub-genre and fortunately there’s so much great drum n bass coming out every week that there’s a lot of choice in what we can play!
Peter: For us, Noisia still fly the flag for the genre from an underground perspective. Their album, which unfortunately got leaked earlier this year, is a work of creative genius and a masterclass in sound design. We’ve also really been feeling Dimension’s output recently, he’s big already but in a couple years time he could definitely be the next Sub Focus or Wilkinson. Finally a quick mention to Lenzman for producing our favourite track this year with his remix of Children Of Zeus’ ‘Still Standing’ – absolute vibe. [Ed: We’re fans of Lenzman too]
Has being based in London been helpful for your career progression given the turmoil the city is in with club closures and violence on the streets? Would you consider somewhere like Cambridge with a similarly strong DnB scene?
Peter: Growing up in London has definitely shaped our development and taste – as we said going to fabric week in week out was pivotal to our electronic music education, so I’m glad we got to go there when we did – even if it was only for a few years! Fortunately, we never really saw the violent side of London’s nightlife. In terms of career progression things only really started to pick up for Deadline in terms of bookings when we moved to Uni. I’m currently studying at Sussex in Brighton and Ollie’s at Leeds.
Ollie: I think London is saturated with creative young people all wanting to make it in the industry so it is very difficult to get noticed. We found that moving away and talking to promoters in Leeds or Brighton for bookings was far easier than in London. We’ve never played in Cambridge but have heard great things, the Warning nights are meant to be legendary!
Let’s move on to production for a moment. You have a new EP due soon we understand, can you tell us a little about it?
Peter: Indeed, it’s almost finished! Our productions reflect our aim as DJs and so are quite varied in style – there’s two heavy hitting tracks on there as well as two liquid tracks. We’re in communication with a couple labels about it and it’s still unnamed for the moment!
Oliver: Pete’s the more technical guy in the studio having studied music production and sound engineering before but he’s slowly teaching me the ways! This EP should hopefully see release either around Christmas or early 2017.
Talk us through how you put a DnB tune together. Do you follow a similar workflow each time or does inspiration strike you differently?
Peter: We very rarely start a tune from scratch together in a sitting. I’ll usually get something down, send to Ollie for feedback and then work on it together from there and vice versa. We tend to always start with drums, as once those sound tight and funky it’s quite easy to lay down a gritty bassline or contrastingly a nice melodic line.
Oliver: Of course sometimes ideas come from nowhere, I must have 20 recordings of myself humming out of tune into my phone! I’m glad to say some of those ideas have translated into tracks we’re happy with!
Well, it’s been wonderful to meet and chat guys. All the best with the rest of the year and your musical endeavours. Where can we check you out live?
Oliver: A pleasure, thank you very much! Our next big show is on Friday 2nd December supporting Critical Sound at Patterns in Brighton.
Peter: For anyone up north you can always find us at our own night called Arcane at Wire in Leeds! Cheers!