Thursday, December 3, 2009 3 Comments
Taken from Kmag.co.uk…
From the land of extremes, American drum & bass don Sam Pool, aka SPL, has impressively bolstered the harder end of the genre for the past few years, attracting attention from the likes of Tech Itch en route.
Going full tilt on his Lost Soul label nowadays (as well as sister dubstep imprint Hollow Point), the Portland, Oregon-based producer has just unleashed his self-titled album.
“I’ve spent the last three or four years working on the album,” explains SPL – aside from any reference to his birth name, the acronym stands for Sound Pressure Levels.
“I started shortly after I launched Lost Soul, so I knew I would have complete creative control, to write deeper music while still fitting in the d&b / rave fold. The concept throughout the LP is the push and pull of emotion, the tension and release. I wanted to touch on different moods and colours of feeling.”
He certainly achieves that on an eclectic record, from brooding dancefloor slayer Juggernaut to punisher epic Run From The Feeling. Hard-hitting percussion throughout can be attributed to his past as a teenaged drummer; Pool feels progressing to a producer was natural.
“I could never really find a band to play with and I was beginning to experiment with music software at a young age,” he elaborates. “Eventually the software just took over as I started to listen to more electronically made music. It was definitely natural and inevitable. What really drew me into electronic music was the synth element.
“Drum & bass was one of my first dance music loves. I was into a few different things growing up: I listened to more IDM than anything. I was really into dark-psy and acid techno as well. I was listening to lots of Aphex Twin and Photek, D.A.V.E. The Drummer early on, as well as Plastikman.”
Back in 2009, having expanded his musical portfolio into the zeitgeist-owning fields of dubstep, a typical SPL set draws from both dubstep and d&b, despite compartmentalising releases via Lost Soul and Hollow Point.
“Right now dubstep is dominant over drum & bass stateside,” he opines. “It’s an area I can express myself without having to change what I like or my production style. I would say it’s over-saturated; an even bigger danger that it faces is over-homogenisation.
“The artists making money right now are afraid to lose their cushy lifestyle so they’re resorting to making music that no longer takes big risks. The result is music that sounds derivative. D&b has done the same thing: the dark stuff is just feeding off of its own sound and only a few producers are continuing to push it forward.”
Don’t expect the same malaise to affect SPL, though. “We have a huge project planned for Hollow Point at the moment which encompasses an awesome concept,” he reveals. “I don’t want to divulge too much at the moment but it’s an art / music pseudo-superhero theme that’s going to push the limits of dubstep as we know it.”
Add that to forthcoming Hollow Point product from Triage, Babylon System and The Bassist, plus an SPL EP with Eye-D on Lost Soul. There’s also a mooted gabba EP, drawing influence from the artist behind the hottest tune in his bag currently (Jupiter by Limewax), due for completion while on tour in Europe. “I’ll be staying with Limewax for a bit,” he says, “so expect something in that vein.”
While on tour, SPL deals with his personal live Sound Pressure Levels with sensible precautions. Other elements of often-raucous shows aren’t quite as simple to protect against, however. “I wear earplugs as much as possible,” he says. “I can’t say what the single loudest show has been. I’ve definitely experienced some loud Eastern European raves with pretty massive sound systems.
“The Ukrainian crowd can definitely get buck wild at times. I had a girl ask me to ask her to marry me. I’ve also seen girls reduced to tears in Moscow for some strange reason. Drugs? Strange groupie fantasies? I’m not certain. Mosh-pits are a plus as well. Every crowd has its way of getting crazy.”
Words: Adam Anonymous
Photography: Derek Anderson
SPL on the exclusive free track…
“I was going to do a VIP version of Distance but decided to remixSins Of The Streets instead. I really love this one part while the track is winding down so I decided to harness that vibe for a whole track. This is my first freebie so I’m excited to hear how it is received. I’ve thought about doing something like this in the past and I’m really glad that we can this way.
“I had a subscription to Knowledge for a few years. I’ve been struggling with writers block and pulled my head out of the scene a bit for the last year, but I’m back on it, paying attention to what’s going on.”