Premiere: Hear OX7GEN’s Spectral New Single ‘Trinity’
This is the Mumbai-based drum ‘n’ bass producer’s first release on U.K. record label Med School’s release series ‘New Blood’
When Aditya Ashok aka OX7GEN played a supporting set for drum ‘n’ bass veteran Tony Colman aka London Elektricity in Mumbai in 2013, he got to hang out with the producer. Ashok, who had just been a few years into discovering the world of drum ‘n’ bass, was starstruck, but recalls that the experience of meeting Colman was invaluable. “I felt really lucky that I was able to sit in a taxi and have a conversation with him about his label and how he found [Belgian drum ‘n’ bass frontrunner] Netsky. One of the most important advice he gave was ‘If you want to do this seriously, stop DJing on Ableton. It’s something I took seriously’.”
London Elektricity’s label, Hospital Records, was already one of the most well-known dance music tastemakers in the world and over the years of sending OX7GEN tracks to Colman, the Mumbai producer lucked out and found a place on the sister record label Med School Music. Ashok recalls, “He said it was great timing because they were just about to put out a compilation. He ran it by the Med School A&R and asked if I wanted it to be featured. I said, ‘Yeah, of course!’”
The latest drum ‘n’ bass single from OX7GEN, “Trinity,” is a shapeshifting, mood-elevating track featured on Med School’s 18th edition of the New Blood compilation, rounding up artists from around the globe. He says about being included, “A lot of the established artists on Med School started out by being featured on the New Blood compilation, so I’m very lucky to be there.” The producer will launch the song on April 27th at The Little Door in Mumbai.
Listen to “Trinity” below.
In an interview with Rolling Stone India, Ashok talks to us about his latest song, playing with prog band Skyharbor and what’s next for OX7GEN. Excerpts:
Your new track “Trinity” changes moods more than once. How do you go about that in your compositional process?
The layers usually are what I start with in Ableton. In there, there’s a session view that you can create loops and there’s a lot of jamming potential. I create layers there – and to some extent you have strip stuff back. What I do is back seven or eight possibilities of toplines, chords and pads that can work over the main groove and then I just start stripping them off. It’s super minimal in the beginning and then I’ll bring in two or three [layers.] Some of them don’t make the final version of the song. I like having a whole bunch of options and then use all of them or none of them, based on what kind of tension or release I want to create.
What has been the constant draw for you with drum ‘n’ bass?
Every time I take a small break from it in the middle – like if I’m in the middle of a Skyharbor tour, I find myself listening to a lot of rock and metal, I come back and sometimes you get a little tired of the songs you’ve been playing at DJ sets and it’s not exciting any more. But then you hear one good podcast somewhere and it just sucks me back in. There’s just something about the genre from the day I heard it, which is almost 10 years ago. It helps that a lot of producers are pushing what drum and bass even sounds like. It’s not the same old jungle. There’s a lot of intricacy going into the sound design and because of all of that, the kind of vibe and energy it creates is very new and cutting edge.
“Trinity” certainly sounds like it can be translated onto a live drumkit at a gig.
That possibly comes out because – whether I like it or not – I am thinking as a drummer when I’m working on beats. Even a lot of my lead lines are more percussive than played out by a keyboardist or bassist. I’m always thinking more in terms of the rhythm and because of that, sometimes I feel the music stuff lacks a bit of complexity, where I feel like the most I can make of my experience is playing the drums, the rhythm part of it.
There’s a Skyharbor tour with Babymetal coming up. What’s on the horizon for OX7GEN?
The next thing I’m looking to mindfully do with the two songs I’ve started writing is to make it club-friendly. Usually, whatever I make is chill. I’m not always too keen on playing my music in a club because when I’m playing my set, it just doesn’t seem like a good fit with everything else I’m playing. So I thought I’d write something that’ll really work on a dancefloor. Now that I have my foot in the door with Med School and Hospital, I want to see if I can get a few more singles released on the label over the next year or so. That’s my main priority at the moment.
Skyharbor is also in full swing right now with the album coming up and more touring. Does your music as OX7GEN ever come up when you’re on tour with the band?
Yeah, it does. On one of the previous tours, the [Czech instrumental metal band] Modern Day Babylon’s sound guy was also a drum and bass producer. We chatted and exchanged music. At the end of every tour we’ve done, there’s a few people who write in to say they’ve come across OX7GEN music after they found me through Skyharbor. It’s nice that there’s a spill-over effect.
It’s not been very out there, but there have been a few conversations, but I do enjoy the fact that I can grow the listening audience through Skyharbor fans who take a second to check it out.
OX7GEN and Metanoia perform at The Little Door, Mumbai on April 27th. Event details here.