Over the past few years, British Drum & Bass producers Hybrid Minds have broken out as one of the most significant acts within the scene. Defining a new era of liquid Drum & Bass, they flow between beautiful vocal melodies and the more high energy productions, creating the innovative and unique sound they’ve become known for. Hybrid Minds is made up of longtime friends Josh White and Matt Lowe. The pair work on every aspect together from studios at opposite ends of the country, taking in both their influences from all ends of the musical spectrum to create smooth sounding, yet addictively danceable drum & bass music.
I caught up with Josh from Hybrid Minds to talk about all things Drum & Bass and when we spoke he was spending some time in the studio like many producers at present whilst in this crazy surreal time… “With everything that is going on at the moment, the plus side is that we have found ourselves will plenty of studio time which is turning out to be pretty productive”. This, of course, will hopefully mean lots of new music from the guys over the coming weeks whilst we are all in lockdown and with plenty of time to listen to new music.
I went on to ask Josh about the label Hybrid Music, and why the guys decided to start their own label, and what some of their biggest lessons learned were over the years… “We just decided that the time was right. We had all the contacts needed to run one and just went for it. It has been one of the best decisions we have made. I always did our own artwork and arranged the bulk of our own promo there was no need to be on a label. Being good friends with our label manager Gareth, who runs a business helping record labels was great. We have the contacts for pressing vinyl etc sat there waiting for us to do it. Labels in Drum and Bass are brilliant to help get artists off the ground and in the clubs, but once you have a strong enough following and the right contacts it just makes sense to self-release. You can pick your own release dates and just use friends in the industry to help you A&R your own music. It’s quite easy if you are lucky enough to have that kind of contacts. It is a fair bit of work but having the right people around you helps take the load off”.
I was intrigued by what first got Josh hooked on electronic music and in particular Drum & Bass… “I have always been a fan of drum breaks. I was into a lot of boom bap hip hop and people like DJ Shadow. I just love that whole kick, snare relationship so when I first heard Drum & Bass as a teenager it grabbed me. Then I got more and more into it as I discovered new artists and tracks. Along with getting into drum and bass, I was listening to people like Aphex Twin, UNKLE, The Chemical Brothers and the album Kid A by Radiohead. I love music that has a lot of atmosphere and feeling to it, so I have always been grabbed by acts that achieve that”.
“I just love that whole kick, snare relationship so when I first heard drum & bass as a teenager it grabbed me.”
The Drum & Bass scene has seen many changes over the years and I feel is producing some of the best underground music around at present. I asked Josh about his thoughts on how the Drum & Bass scene has evolved over the years… “I think every style of music evolves with technology and the times. Everything is very well produced now, you have to be constantly studying and trying to make sure your songs match other producer’s music sonically. It’s tough! There is no doubt that drum and bass is a hard genre to make in regard to its technicality”. I went on to ask Josh who some of his favourite producers are at present… “Matt and I have been shouting about Monrroe a lot recently. He is consistently releasing brilliant music that is right up our street. Then we also love Fred V, LSB, Technimatic, Alix Perez, Bou, Camo & Krooked, Kanine, Dawn Wall, Artificial Intelligence, The Sauce, Ekko and Sidetrack and pretty much everyone else releasing music at the moment. There is such an amazing stack of Drum & Bass coming out almost weekly, it’s pretty mental. Pendulum are coming back with new music as well which we are pretty excited about”. I feel that very news may excite a lot of people! Good time ahead!
Getting on to some studio chat I asked Josh if he and Matt have specific roles when laying down a new track of remix… “We both give it all a go really but definitely have our strong points. Matt has been smashing the bass grooves at the moment. We tend to just do whatever we feel like doing that day whilst also trying to be a bit smart about it. We want to make sure we have tracks that are almost ready to play and release amongst starting new ideas and being creative. The main trick is just having fresh ears on stuff at all times. We can send clips to each other and get instant feedback all day as we pretty much do the same hours in the studio. We are really trying to step our ability up at the moment as well and try and get some different vibes down as well so trying to do a lot of learning amongst the creating”. Whilst on the studio chat I was keen to know some of their go-to kit in the studio… “We use the Valhalla Reverbs and FabFilter stuff a lot. I’m also borrowing my friends Moog Sub Phatty at the moment and loving that”.
“We want to make sure we have tracks that are almost ready to play and release amongst starting new ideas and being creative. The main trick is just having fresh ears on stuff at all times.”
Moving onto gigs the guys were set to play Annie Mac’s Lost & Found Festival in May but it has been put back to September due to the COVID-19 outbreak. I asked Josh if he is looking forward to getting over to Malta should we ever get back to a state of normality this year… “I have never been to Malta and heard it is amazing so I can’t wait for it. We will be bringing some sunshine vibes for sure”.
Moving away from gig chat, as let’s face it, there is not really much to talk about at present I ask Josh his thoughts on social media platforms these days considering it has become an essential part of a DJs life now… “They are both amazing and horrible. I think it is an essential tool for any artist now. Having these platforms are just the best way to reach any following. But at the same time, they are time-consuming and dissolve your brain”. Something I am sure many of us agree on especially at present with the sheer amount of time we are spending staring into that rectangular screen whilst on lockdown! Whilst on the topic of social media, I asked Josh if he believes an artist’s social media, and likes in particular, can sometimes outweigh a DJ’s ability behind the decks… “I hope not. Any good promoter will know to look past that stuff. You might get one gig with impressive stats but unless the people at the event have fun then you won’t be playing for that promoter again”.
Finally, before leaving Josh to enjoy his day of studio time I asked what he likes to get up to when he has some time to himself… “I am a massive snowboard addict so I try to do that as much as possible. It is the best thing I have ever done to take my mind off things and be active.”
I would like to thank Josh for his time and wish both him and Matt a great 2020 when things all get back to normal. I hope you enjoyed the interview and the exclusive mix the guys put together for Decoded Magazine.
01. LSB & DRS – Frozen
02. Monty & Visages – Limbo ft Benabu
03. Elan & Djah – Replay
04. Hybrid Minds – Listen ft. Tiffani Juno
05. MustMake – Common Interests
06. Hybrid Minds – Paint By Numbers ft. Charlotte Haining
07. Grafix – Rain Fall Down
08. Tokyo Prose – Trick Of The Light
09. Hybrid Minds & Fred V – Drowning In You
10. Marcus Intalex – Celestial Navigation ft. S.P.Y
11. Hybrid Minds – Higher Love ft. Charlotte Haining
12. Mohican Sun – Fixation
13. Alix Perez – Numbers ft. Benabu
14. Edlan & Monrroe – Used To Be
15. Hybrid Minds – Pretend ft. Rocky Nti
16. BCee & Blu Mar Ten – Grow ft. Charlotte Haining
17. Dexcell – Landscape
18. Friction & JP Cooper – Dancing (Dawn Wall Remix)
19. Tom Walker – You & I (Hybrid Minds Remix)
20. Spectrasoul – Say What ft. Madi Lane
21. Dawn Wall – Take Control
22. Monrroe – Never Too Old ft. Emily Makis
23. Grafix – Radiance
24. Hybrid Minds – Kismet ft. Riya
25. Anile – No Code
26. Hybrid Minds – Solitude
27. Macca & Loz Contreras – Ghosts
28. Hybrid Minds – Supernova ft. Catching Cairo
29. Kanine – Depth
30 Artificial Intelligence – Degrees of Separation
31. Tokyo Prose – ???
32. Hybrid Minds – Wasted
33. Calibre – Bogeyman Bullshit
34. Alix Perez – Melanie
35. Hybrid Minds – Phoenix ft. Alexa Harley
36. Particle – Code 3 VIP
37. Dawn Wall – I Should Have Been There
38. Fred V & Grafix – Clouds Cross Skies
Press images by Chelone Wolf.