T.H.E Interview – Crissy Criss

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Crissy Criss Interview

Single after single, Crissy Criss has been ensuring that both fans and the wider realm of drum & bass received his debut LP in its final form.

It’s his most important work to date and this is no small feat for an artist who made a name for himself decades prior to his first album. Crissy Criss’ history stretches from his time on Radio 1 as their leading drum & bass tastemaker, through to launching his very own label earlier last year. And as a genre, drum & bass is something which Crissy Criss is well versed in, having stepped up behind the decks at the tender age of five, mentored by the imperative DJ and producer Kenny Ken.

Following the release of his seminal ‘War of Silence’ album, we caught up with Crissy Criss who talked us through how the tracklist of his LP came to be.

WAR ON SILENCE ft. Teddy Killerz

I had been working on this track for a while, it was pretty much finished, but it was missing something. I was talking to Teddy Killerz at the time about a few tracks and ended up sending them over the stems. They added their touch and the rest is pretty much history.

SPARK PLUG ft. Malux & Erb n Dub

This one was a little idea I started quite a few years ago, then whilst in a studio session with Malux and Erb N Dub we were looking to start the track two or three of the day, so I pulled out this little idea I had and we pretty much nailed the whole track in a few hours.

THE RIDE ft. Carasel

This was the last track to be added to the album, the album was missing one thing and ‘I thought’ this was it. This took me about a day to make and I had to get a little verse off my boy Carasel on this to compete it.

BAD BOY

This track samples some of the legendary MC’s of the D&B/Jungle scene such as GQ, Fearless and Stevie Hyper D, introducing a hand full of jungle heroes. I have a huge sample library of tape pack cuts I’ve been building for years so thought I’d put together something a little special. There were so many samples and names I could have mentioned, it could have been about 20 minutes long!

NEED YOU NOW

With this one, I wanted to bring a few style influences together, somewhat of a dance floor radio crossover with a twist. My favourite part of this track is the epic guitar breakdown which I absolutely love!

LAUNCH ft. Inja

Me and Inja had been crossing paths for a quite a few years now at our ‘Warning’ residency in Cambridge, I’ve been a fan of his music from his early hip hop EP days and we had been talking about doing some music for a while and finally got round to it for the album with this sub low slammer.

RIGHT NOW ft. Orange Hill & Nature

I had just done a UK Garage bootleg of an old anthem ‘Bump & Grind’ by M Dubs for a bit of fun under an alias of mine so gave Ras Kwame (of Orange Hill) a shout who was originally a part of ‘M Dubs’ to get the heads up on it During that conversation he mentioned he wanted to do a jungle track with an artist called ‘Nature’ from Jamaica who he’s been working with. So, I said to send me over a vocal demo, and I’ll see what I can do, a few days later ‘Right Now’ was born! This was another track I wanted to let my jungle influences loose on and there was nothing better than to have a great reggae/dancehall vocalist to work with to finish the track off!

REAL

I & WiDEAWAKE were planning another collaboration together; we went through a few ideas back and forth. One of the ideas had a vocal idea that really worked on a track I already was working on so I sent over the stems for it and came up with an idea for them to make the first drop of the track ‘trap’, then I’d use the D&B version with extra production from the guys as the second drop which really worked well.

GLOBAL RIDDIM ft. Upgrade & $pyda

When you’re flying overseas to do gigs with other artists you get to spend a little time to catch up and, in some cases, getting to know these artists. I did a gig in Guernsey with Upgrade and managed to hang out and find out that he’s a very talented producer and a great guy. I had a vocal from $pyda and a little idea I had at the time which I sent over to Upgrade and we finished it over WhatsApp.

AIRLOCK ft. Malux & Erb n Dub

One day in the studio, myself, Malux and Erb N Dub made a folder and just slammed an equal number of samples in there and started to experiment. I guess the influence behind this one was something along the lines of Sub Focus’ early anthems such as ‘TimeWarp’ + ‘Let Story Begin’ crossed with the modern day Noisia techniques.

MALFUNCTION ft. FuntCase

It was a long time coming actually getting in the studio together for this one, myself and FuntCase have been doing dubs/VIP’s of each other’s tunes for quite some years now but never had done a track together, so I felt as this was my first solo album it would be a good time to finally get this one ticked off the list. No surprises on influences for this, it obviously had to be raw and full of screwface expressions!

LOST ft. Karl Williams

Another track with zero inspiration but plenty of experimenting and fun. The whole idea of the track is in the title ‘Lost’ because I was totally lost for inspiration and any direction, which is why I’m happy it came out the way it did. There are plenty of edits and sound designs in there!

RUMBLE ft. Heist

Another track I had started but wanted to share the energy with someone who could really add something unique to it. Enter my good friend ‘Heist’, we’ve been making tunes together for a few years now but haven’t had anything official released so my album was the perfect time and place to get something out there.

CURSE ft. Erb n Dun

There were no plans to release this at first, it was a little dub that I and Erb N Dub put together on a late night in the studio. I was playing this one out and people were loving it, so obviously it had to be on the album.

SHOW ME

Another track I wasn’t so sure on, but when I played it out people were going nuts. After quite a few messages on social media asking for an ‘ID’, I decided to add it to the album.

LIVE & LEARN ft. Karl Williams

Karl Williams is a vocalist who I’ve been working with for a while now and this track is something I really wanted to make special. I wanted to bring two totally separate influences and smash them together and that’s pretty much what came out. Most of the track is liquid/minimal but I really wanted to bring in some rawness of the rollers/jump up sound into the drop to make a unique sounding liquid-vocal-nasty-roller hybrid.

BREATHE ft. Dan Moss

This one probably took the longest to finish, nothing was right for the first twenty odd versions. It changed majorly though its lifetime until one day I stripped it right back and was in the mood to make something really soulful and uplifting and this is what finally came out with the vocal talents of my former BBC radio show producer Dan Moss, making it that little bit more special.

KISS THE SKY

This track came together through a close long-time friend who introduced me to T aka 5572 who played guitar and made songs as a hobby. He played me a little guitar riff and a vocal he did, and I instantly had an idea, this is for sure one of my favorites of the album.

Which track from the album did you like the most? Do not forget to let us know below!

Hannah Helbert

Content Writer | Bass Music News & Editorials at T.H.E - Music Essentials
Hannah has worked in the music industry for over five years, spending her time primarily across dubstep and drum & bass. However, she's a fan of a variety of sub-genres, which also include bassline, garage, tech house and many other types of electronic music.
Hannah Helbert

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