Conrank Interview


Street Bass has maintained it’s head above Grime in the ever evolving world of Electronic music. In large due to the combined efforts of Dev79 & Starkey. Together with their combined network of labels, Slit Jockey Records & Seclusiasis Records Street Bass is alive and well in all it’s dirty future splendour.

Artists like Conrank have been key to the affirmation and longevity of Street Bass, and also it’s root genre, Grime. Like minded individuals like this have indeed been the foot soliders for these labels and genre. ‘Danger Rank’ made it’s way to the world via Slit Jockey Records yesterday and is now available on Bleep, iTunes, Juno Download, Bookmat and Beatport. We were able to catch up with Conrank to discuss the release, lock down an exclusive mix originally aired on Seclusiasis Radio on Sub FM, below is what we discussed, read on:

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Hey man, thank you for taking the time. Hows life?

Life is good man, life is good. Currently based out in shanghai, spending my days eating chinese food and making music, does it get better?

‘Danger Rank’ saw it’s drop last week, with Slit Jockey Records on Juno. It’s also now available for purchase on everywhere. Good feeling having that one under your belt?

Yeah, that EP has been underway for a long time, i have been so excited to let people hear it, i kept it quite close to my chest with a handful of DJ’s getting some early versions to play out like the Doggtown guys and G Jones. I am really proud of it, and even prouder that it was released by such a prestigious label. I was thinking ahhh, wouldn’t it be dope to get in the top 20, and a few days after the release it hit no.2, it’s hard to describe the feeling when you spend hours carving something from scratch and people actually like it, support it and appreciate it. Makes me even more excited for the next release which is already in production haha, no rest for the wicked.

How long has ‘Danger Rank’ been in the works before release? And how does it differ from your previous releases?

It got started summer 2013, my track Boy Tell Em was circulating and i heard Starkey was really into it. We started chatting on FB and decided to look into me doing an EP for Slit Jockey. I really feel like this EP has a complete and unique sound, for example my Ankle Grinder EP was a bit more of a mish mash, not in a bad way, just a lot of the tracks were really different sounding and i don’t just mean format wise or musically i also mean like mixdowns and the quality of sound, but with Danger Rank it feels more together, i feel like my production has come on leaps and bounds in the last year. i had a vision of what i was looking for and Dev and Starkey gave advice on track lists and what came out was exactly what i envisioned, it wasn’t like i followed a strict plan, i just knew what kinda vibe i wanted and where i was at creatively and then let it flow.

Is there an meaning behind the title ‘Danger Rank’?

Yeah, it’s kinda a funny story actually. I was performing at a festival in China…. the band before me wasn’t really connecting with the crowd or getting them hyped, so i made a conscious effort to get on the mic and hype them up when i got on. I went heavy with the music, threw out some CD’s and shouted at the a lot, and next thing you know the security barrier at the front gets pushed over and the chinese police jumped in and shut the sound off. A festival rep came on stage and told me “Your music is too dangerous, we must finish early”. I wrote it up on my FB page and some whitty fella wrote “Danger Rank” in the comments….. and BAM, the name was born.

Once you’ve got a track all said and done, for the most part, how do like to test it’s bass abilities?

It goes through so many tests, i have an ARC2 System in the studio which allows me to reference the track in many virtual environments like “Car Strereo” or “Laptop” . Then i listen on headphones and a few other things and finally it gets the club treatment, which is critical, playing your stuff against other peoples tracks that you know sound dope, if yours hits harder or makes the crowd go nuts, you have a winner.Usually i will tweak it after that, but i am getting better at hitting it out the park first time, like AMPM was only mixed down once, then a couple of DJ’s played it out and i played it and the feedback was awesome, so it got mastered and that was that, with mixing down and producing, it really is a practice makes perfect situation.

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If you were to pick a piece of hardware that has helped shape the sound of Street Bass over the years, what would it be?

I am pretty much all in the box i am afraid, but obviously 808’s are KEY.. i mean i don’t know how many people actually own an 808, i think most have samples but without the hardware the 808’s wouldn’t be here today.Regarding equipment in general, i love my VXT8 monitors, the bass is so tight, plugins wise i can’t recommend Camel Crush more. It’s sick.. oh and Battery 4… such a versatile and well designed sampler, def gets a lot of use around the scene for chopping up vocals.

Where do you see Street Bass in todays “EDM” hungry world?

Well what we make is kinda tied into the whole trap/twerk sound #turntup #yolo ! hahahahaha… , and the more commercial side of trap is really now tied into the EDM pigeonhole, but what we do is different, it’s more gangster hahaha, this whole street bass, 808, hip-hop grime, thing that myself, Doshy, G Jones, Starkey, Dev79, Bleep Bloop and loads of others are focusing on is something of it’s own, it still holds it’s own in a dance and makes the crowd go just as wild as dropping the most commercial of trap tracks, but it has it’s own sound and it doesn’t rely on using a Miley Cyrus vocal to keep the audience interested. We are keeping it interesting, evolving the sound and therefore i think we are in a strong position in this EDM world.

At what point in your career did you begin producing Street Bass, and what drew you to it?

I have been producing bass heavy music for about 6 years now, i was always into bass, whether it was DnB, dubstep, jungle etc… and actually when i really got my teeth into production i was focusing more on DnB/drumstep, but i started getting tied up with it, my music was becoming very formatted and i wasn’t surprising myself or exciting myself with what i was making, i felt like i was following a chart, rather than getting experimental and you could hear it in the music.. I had been into grime and hip-hop for a long time and it was Doshy who really got me into producing it. I sent him a prodigy remix that was 140 and he loved it, next time he was in Shanghai we got in the studio and made some gold and i loved making it, i felt so free to experiment and be creative and i haven’t looked back. That was like 2.5 years ago. I always talk to other producers who are on the come up or struggling to get an audience about “finding your sound” and it’s so true, you have to find your sound, thats when the tables turn for an artist, when your music has a sound of it’s own. Thats what happened to me, street bass and the whole trap thing really allowed me to find my sound, and people started to take notice.

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Dunno about your end of the world but everyone seems be getting on with the festival hype. Lots of lineups coming out these days. Do you have any plan to fest this year? Any lineups have your attention?

I’m a bit weird, i find it hard to let go and lose myself like some of my friends are so good at doing at a festival. I am a bit of a control freak haha, plus i am all the way over in China, so it’s a long way to go if i wanna hit up Secret Garden Party for example. But over here in China, i am playing a few festivals over the next couple of months,… First up on April the 27th i am playing Midi Festival , then Strawberry Festival on the 2nd of May and last year i played the Syndicate stage at Intro Festival and it looks like i might be hitting that again this year too in late May.

The subject of reaching an audience is something on many peoples mind these days. And covering a release is a mighty good time to bring it up in interview. Of all the social platforms online have you found a most effective?

Facebook is always a winner, i use it a lot, that and soundcloud obviously. I am in China so Twitter is kinda tough cos it’s blocked here but i use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to get around the great firewall of china, so i still hit up that when i can. I mean, Facebook is blocked over here too, but i find FB to be more social, you can connect with people better, however it also wastes lot of my studio time too… reading random statuses and checking out memes

Leave us with words on your mix, where it was recored, in what mood etc. , ingredients, Shake n’ Bake!

The mix was recorded in my studio in Shanghai, earlier in the month it aired live on Seclusiasis Radio Sub.FM with Dev79. I am a pretty happy positive person so thats where i was at in my head. I just wanted to give a bit of all sides of the whole street bass thing, some grime, hip-hop, trap, more chilled stuff, rowdy stuff.. eclectic but still nestled under one huge umbrella. Anyway, big up and thanks for the support from you guys and also anyone reading this.. i hope you enjoy the mix!

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