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Ivy Lab's Drum and Bass Owes a Debt to Vancouver

The UK has love for Swollen Members.
September 16, 2015, 4:55pm

Ivy Lab, a UK-based trio of producers, are pushing the limits of drum and bass; their interest in other genres means they aren't afraid to mix palettes. The influence that west coast bass music has had on the group is palpable, particularly its contributions to hip hop. Unsurprisingly, the group chose Vancouver as one of the few stops through Canada on their 2015 tour. They consistently vary their live sets with new music from new and underground artists: these guys keep their ears to the ground and it shows in their selections.

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THUMP caught up with the trio to get their take on sampling, touring, and why they love the best coast.

THUMP: You guys just came off playing Outlook Festival in Croatia, what were a couple highlights?

Ivy Lab: The absolute highlight was our first ever 20/20 boat party. Feels like we're punching above our weight, but seeing it come alive in front of our eyes was very affirming. The event is little over a year old, and now we're competing on a boat party schedule with some of the most revered players on the bass music landscape. Very satisfying moment, if not kinda surreal.

On September 12 you played the SHAHdjs eight year anniversary party in Vancouver, Canada. This crew has been keeping the pulse of drum and bass alive and vibrant in Vancouver for years now. Were there local organizations like SHAHdj's who helped you in your early years?

Maybe not as Ivy Lab, but as solo artists, before we came together, there were definitely some very important regional supporters. Momentum crew in Leeds, Drumfunk crew in Bournemouth and Fabric in London being the biggest forces.

In just a couple words, what's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Vancouver?

Swollen Members!

How have west coast producers influenced your sound? I'm going to take a guess that guys like J Dilla and Madlib have inspired you.

Yeah, for sure those guys are big influences, and you can throw Muggs, Domino, Alchemist & E-Swift in there too. Drum and bass-wise there is one name that really sticks out though and that is JuJu. The guy was operating in pretty much exactly the same range of drum and bass sub-genres we were working in years before we cut our teeth; a lot of the ideas you find in our music were present in his production too. Honourable mention to Eprom too, of the current fraternity, he is probably the guy whose beats we dig for the most often.

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Where did that sample of the child speaking on "Two By Two" come from?

Honestly, probably Youtube! We're pretty shameless when it comes to ripping speech from random videos. French Film Noir, Ted Talks, blog rants, we'll rip it all.

Who are three artists outside of drum and bass that you have been listening to recently?

Ka, Lil Simz, & Ho99o9

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What are a couple tracks you've been putting in your sets lately that are hyping up crowds?

There's a new guy from Denmark called Shield with two tracks, "My Flava" and "Horror Movie," that have been killing it all year. The Shades project from Alix Perez & Eprom has spawned a couple of big hitters. Biggest is probably "Run the Dance" by Sam Binga & Slick Don — a very british piece of music that fuses many different schools of UK bass together.

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What is the feeling like to see crowds react to tunes that you have built from scratch? Tunes that maybe at one point you had doubts about.

As long as they react positively, it calms nerves because it's very hard to hear your track loud without searching for inadequacies, and the honest truth is that introspection never really ends, even after the track is finalised and released.

Any final words?

We got 20/20 beats you ain't ready for!

Ivy Lab is on Facebook // Soundcloud // Twitter