When Black Sun Empire make drum & bass, they just don’t flirt with the genre, they embrace it. Since the inception of the trio in 1995, the Dutch stalwarts have carved out their own brand of music ranging from drum & bass, dubstep and drumstep. They’ve continued to develop their own unique style and sound, releasing numerous singles as well as five full-length LPs and establishing themselves as leaders in the field.
2017 got off to a massive start for Black Sun Empire. ‘The Wrong Room’, the trio’s sixth studio album has done some serious damage. ‘The Wrong Room’ is a fourteen track LP packed with relentless pace and energy exhibiting the trio’s creativity. From the Grime scene of the UK in Virus Syndicate to the fiery Hip Hop stylings of Dope D.O.D, Black Sun Empire displayed their versatility in their productions whilst delivering some drum & bass dancefloor decimators with Pythius, State Of Mind, Neonlight, Audio and Prolix.
We sat down with the guys to know more about album and their influences.
Sagar – Congratulations on the album guys! The album is an absolute stomper.
Black Sun Empire – Thank you, glad you like it!
Sagar – How did the idea of an album come about and how did the initial idea crystallize into an album?
Black Sun Empire – We like working on albums. It allows us to be a bit more creative and explore things within the genre, but the process is always quite similar. We just write a lot of music and by the time we have 20 or 30 good ideas, come to the conclusion that it’s time to write an album. When you have so much stuff piled up it really needs to come out! So the drive to make it a finished project becomes very strong.
Sagar – After experimenting with multiple genres, how did drum & bass consolidate as the trio’s standout genre?
Black Sun Empire – We where teenagers in the 90’s. So we grew up together with all the upcoming genres like: Techno, hardcore, triphop, chemical beats, leftfield etc, but this was also the era in which drum and bass was born and we just fell in love with it when we heard it and never let go.
Sagar – You have witnessed a decade and some more of how drum & bass has evolved and reinvigorated over the years, but how do you think your sound has evolved over the years?
Black Sun Empire – We try to keep challenging ourselves and always try to keep up with the new technology, the new plug-in’s and software etc. This automatically helps us to keep up with the sonic evolution of the genre (or at least we try). When it comes to the evolution of our music. That’s harder to answer. Because we are part of drum and bass, we hear most of what happens within this genre and are automatically (if you want to or not) inspired by all the new and old ideas we hear. Besides that we always kept listening to all kind of music and I guess that’s where most of our inspiration comes from. But eventually we just make the music we love and if we like it, that’s enough for us.
Sagar – Why ‘The Wrong Room’?
Black Sun Empire – It’s the story of our life, haha.. no we’re drawn to the feeling the title gives you. It’s mystique.
Sagar – You have collabs with Noisia and State of Mind in the album, how often were the six of you involved and how did the fluency in writing the tracks come about?
Black Sun Empire – To be honest we are never in the same room with 6 producers. That would be to many cooks in the kitchen and nothing would come out right. It’s always 2 or 3 people working on a tune and by the time it’s almost done the others give their feedback etc. So eventually everybody would be involved one way or the other. But the fun part is that it’s always different combinations with different outcomes.
Sagar – The album has seen more of the tech drum & bass side of the genre. Was the initial idea to stick with tech drum & bass or explore new sounds in the album?
Black Sun Empire – Our music has always been more on the tech side. It’s the side we’re drawn most too. Without the science and it’s technology this music wouldn’t be possible. It’s constantly evolving. So we don’t think too much about exploring new things. But if we really make different genres (which we do) we rather do it under a different name, so people don’t have any expectations while listening to it.
Sagar – Having explored tech drum & bass over the years as a trio, do you think tech drum & bass has taken a bit of a back seat in the recent years compared to other sub genres?
Black Sun Empire – What people call neurofunk or tech drum ’n’ bass is the genre I actually think grew the most within drum and bass. So much new great producers and parties pushing the sound to its limits.
Sagar – We want to pay close attention to No Advance (our favorite track from the album). The tune is plain BADASS. Tell us more about the experience of working with Prolix!
Black Sun Empire – Prolix is one of our favorite people in the scene, just dedicated to his sound and all-round nice dude! He (also) likes heavy metal a lot so working with him is a bit like having a metalhead jumping around, hugging the speaker at times, to see if the vibe is right. It’s this metal vibe we tried to capture a bit without actually going for samples or actual shredding guitars. We struggled a lot with the mixdown of it, but in the end we are glad the people respond to the tune so well!
Sagar – You enjoyed a lot of success making dubstep as well. Do you think dubstep has gone down the pecking order a bit? Considering the bloom it witnessed in the last decade?
Black Sun Empire – It has. It became so big that you could hear it everywhere and when that happens people start looking for different things. But like everything: it’s about cycles and I actually have the feeling it’s growing again.
Sagar – Your favorite track from the album?
Black Sun Empire – That’s hard, and not really important. We just like the album as a whole and that feels real good 😀 It’s nice to see people like both the dancefloor stuff as well as the more typical album stuff, very nice that people don’t skip those!
Check out ‘The Wrong Room’ here.