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DJ Vapour: "I don't care for sub-genres, I will just play good music regardless of what sub-genre it fits into"

Drum and Bass | Thursday 18th May 2017 | Arren

Fresh off the back of his latest album, Beatopia - Vapour catches up with us.

If you're down on this jungle thing then, of course, you know Vapour. He's earned his stripes as a DJ, producer and radio host; dedicated to delivering and sharing the best in jungle drum & bass music in the circuit.

Throughout his career, his tunes have been picked up by Critical, Philly Blunt and C.I.A and since 2007 he's been dropping quality music from himself and others on his 36 Hertz imprint. He also hosts the 36 Hertz radio show on Kool London along with Indigo Virus.

Since embarking on his career in music, Vapour has built a solid reputation as a DJ who doesn't stick to sub-genres. He'd rather do the full cycle of sounds and styles in his sets and productions. Which is exactly what he's done with his latest album, Beatopia.

He tears through a spectrum of sounds that taps into the 90s vibes while throwing in modern quirks. He delivers stinking rollers, spacey trips, even chucking in a hard metal/dnb hybrid with Tommie Radford. Following its release earlier this month we caught up with the Vapour.

Hey man, how are you?
All blessed sir, Just cracking on with promoting the LP and enjoying life!

What has got you motivated?
I'm always motivated – I don't take drugs, barely drink, go to the gym, keep an allotment and eat healthy. I am up at 7:30 every day pretty much and work a lot of hours. I am a firm believer of living positive and healthy and that you get back what you put in - so I just keep my head down, avoid negative people and work hard.

How do you like your beats?
I like them well done with plenty of seasoning, always fresh and never synthetic.

What sides do you like with them?
Big stinking heavy basslines and a good spicy groove!

I'll second that! How is your mission to rid the world of bad jump up and robot noise neurofunk going?
One step at a time, I'm not hating on anyone but there will always be bad music as well as good. All I can do is try to showcase and release what I think is good music and hope that people get to hear it. Personally, I like music with feelings and vibes – something you could sit down and listen to at home, but also dance and enjoy in a nightclub environment. I feel that is something that is missing from a lot of 'music' that is released today in the DNB scene, and outside of it.

What's gone missing in your mind? The fun?
I think the fun is still there, but the creativity and originality have both been pushed out of the way hugely. I get sent tons of music, but 90% of the tracks are clones of other tunes or just cut and paste sample-pack-sounds arranged into a track.

DNB used to be the most forward thinking genre of music, with producers pushing their equipment to the limit to do new things. Nowadays you can shamelessly copy the 'biggest selling' track of the moment using nothing but sounds dropped straight into a sequencer from a sample pack with no editing. Me personally I can spend a day making a drum loop from original source drum hits. Processing for hours through hardware equipment I spent a small fortune on, but people think I'm mad cos they will just happily drop a one bar-loop in from what ever the latest sample pack is and churn out another clone on their laptop.

It's just my personal taste that feels some of these sub-genres are missing soul and vibes. I come from way back in the 90's when a good tune was a good tune – there was no sub-genres, you just made DNB and if it was good then people played it. Nowadays people pigeon-hole themselves into these sub-genres and refuse to have anything to do with anything outside of it. I don't hate all jump up and I don't hate all neurofunk, I just don't care for sub-genres and will just play good music regardless of what sub-genre it fits into. I'm sure the people who make music I don't like think my tunes are crap.

So one part of your war on bad music must be your latest album, Beatopia. What your aim for this album?
I just wanted to make an LP that was DNB, that you could listen to at home but would also work in a club environment. I was aiming to make stuff that captured the vibes DNB had in the early 2000's and feel I achieved this especially judging from the feedback we received on the promo mailouts.

I tried to fit in styles from all over the corners of music from lighter stuff to even a full on heavy metal DNB track I did with my friend Tommie. I just wanted to show you can make many “styles” of DNB that people could enjoy at home and in a club – I think I achieved that.

Would you agree that jungle music is enjoying a resurgence in popularity at the moment?
I would agree it is in the spotlight, but it's as popular now as it has always been! The artists pushing these sounds have been grafting hard for years and it's great to see them getting recognition for the great music they put out.

Unfortunately, when something is deemed popular you tend to get the bandwagon jumpers who jump on things in the hope of a quick buck. I also notice a lot of labels who chose to vanish years ago when the going got tough and have now reappeared to prey on producers in the hope to make a quid. A lot of the guys who are killing it at the min all had either their first or very early releases on 36 Hertz over the years and it's great to see them all moving forward with their sounds and still putting out great music.

Speaking of 36 Hertz, you got nominated for awards at this year's We Love Jungle Awards, did you guys manage to get down there?
We would have loved to have gone as we got through to the final round of voting for both 'Best Jungle Radio Show' and 'Best Jungle Label'. The problem is the label is not just me. It's a whole team of artists and people who help out with everything, so I wanted to take all the guys with us to the awards. Unfortunately, despite us being through to the final vote, we were only given 2 guestlist places. I felt it unfair to ask all the guys on the label to buy tickets and queue up for an awards ceremony for the label they work so hard on, so in the end, none of us went.

You mentioned your radio show on Kool London, how long have you been on there? Tell us a little about the show.
We are coming up to 2 years now and both thoroughly enjoy doing the show. Myself and Indigo Virus host the 36 Hertz radio show on Wednesday afternoons. We wanted to do a show that was fun to listen to and showcased the best in new and old music.

We don't just play 36 Hertz tracks and will happily play all good music from any corner of the DNB scene and beyond. We talk about all kinds of stuff on the show and try to make it light hearted and funny and not your normal radio show with tons  ofwaffle. We get great feedback on the show and get listeners from all over the world every show from Australia through to deep America.

Listen in via the Kool London website & check out the full archives via www.36hertz.com

Was there a party that changed your life?
I used to be a regular at Warning at Cambridge back in the 90's and attended every event they did up to the 9th Birthday. I wouldn't say it changed my life BUT I certainly got a good education at those events and helped to shape the style of music I make.

If you weren't doing music, what do you think you'd be doing?
I used to be a chef and held down multiple head chef roles over the years so I guess I would still be slaving away in a kitchen for 12 hours a day.

What would you do to change the world?
Remove all governments – 99% of the problems that exist in this world are down to these self-obsessed idiots and
we would do well to get rid of the lot of them.

DJ Vapour
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