sound in noise

Sound In Noise: I appreciate the whole spectrum of drum and bass throughout the time

Estonian DnB producer Sound In Noise has shared his memories of the early days of the scene, his creative journey and upcoming album release.

Let's talk about firsts. How and when did you get into DnB and do you recall your very first event in the scene?

My interest in drum and bass genre piqued in 1996. I think the very first time I listened to the music was on a radio show called ‘Vibratsioon‘ by Raul Saaremets. I can’t really remember the first event I attended, but at the time there were parties of that kind in Kinomaja (venue in Tallinn- edit), ERKI and the internet cafe called Enter. My friend and I hosted a party in the latter- I played all the songs from my very first four LPs. My first big DJ gig under the alias ‘S.I.N’ was a rave ‘Tune In’ that took place at a former cellulose factory. DJ Critikal played there as well.

What would you say are the biggest changes in the drum and bass scene compared with the time 20 years ago? Can you name a few names or moments from Estonian DnB history that you think every DnB head should know?

sound in noise

The biggest change is the fact that drum and bass music is not so underground/niche genre anymore and also, we don’t generally play LP’s anymore. The venues and the audience have changed too. The music has become more mainstream compared to 20 years ago when all the DnB events took place at factories or in small underground clubs. Now you can attend drum and bass gigs in some of the biggest Estonian clubs.

Üldkokkuvõttes on Eesti trummi ja bassi skeene algusaegade (90ndate teine pool) võtmesõnadeks lisaks Saaremetsale, Kinomajale, ERKI-le ja Enterile kindlasti veel ka: Lu:k, Flexus, Orav ja Drummie, Critikal, Dzheimz, Ninja, To-Sha, L.Eazy, Qba, Mander, Koit Raudsepp, Kosmos Control, Vibe, LAB, Circulation, Tune In, Ametiühingute maja jne.

For example - Orav and Drummie were the ones to equip us with Technics turntables. This was crucial because although everyone wanted to play EP’s at gigs, there were only a few of those available at the time. Later on, I mastered my skills at a friend's house until I finally got my own turntables which I still keep in the studio.

Then started the so-called noughties era where, Slavin, Conflict, Phibbs, Stare, Focus, Sinda, Cezol, MC Busta, MC Basket, Spirit, The Lightning, Sun Dance Music Festival, Sin City, Jus'Fine, Formation events at Prive, cafe Wimbledon, RadioBar, The Force, 5 Element, Mutated Forms and many others joined in. This was also the time when I started playing more and more gigs and at the same time producing my own music as much as possible. It was the time when the first good CD players were introduced so from there on the big disc burning began. I had a rule that I burnt only one or two tracks on one CD, so there would be enough record changes during the set that would be also seen in the dark, just like it was with the turntables.

Later on artists like Planeet, Indivision, Grind, Cartoon, Insct, Modest Intentions, Imaginary Friends, HeadRead, Coverk, Byte, Mean Teeth, Bone, Thing, Audioholic, Käärkäsi, Majestim, Yohan and others joined the scene. Honestly, it's quite difficult to recall all the names at once. I'm pretty sure I either forgot someone now or added them to the wrong time period.

When was the first time your music got released on a foreign record label and what was it called? Was it difficult to accomplish that at the time?

It was 2002 when a tune called ‘Highline’ in collaboration with Stare got released on vinyl on DSCI4 Recordings in the UK. The B side of the record contained a legendary track by Crossfire called ‘Hydra’. It was exceptionally popular in Estonia.

There were a lot of DnB producers in the UK at that time, so getting your foot in the door was quite difficult. Main source of communication was AOL Messenger (AIM). It was a magical place where drum and bass producers, DJs and labels from all around the world came together. Through this platform I met and exchanged my tracks with artists such as Pendulum, Sub Focus, Chase & Status, TC, Noisia, London Elektricity, High Contrast, Bad Company and others. I sent couple of my demos to a legendary producer DJ Trace who had a record label of his own and that’s how my first release came about.

You and Raul Saaremets take turns steering the course of Radio 2’s show ‘’Tramm ja buss’’. How do you decide what to play on the show? How much do you play Estonian music?

I do the show once a month and introduce new tracks that aren’t probably played by any other radio station in Estonia. I make my selection from the promos record labels send me weekly. Quite often there are a lot of tunes that can only be played at parties though. That’s also why I recommend going out to gigs more - that's where you get to listen to the most recent sounds. I try to include as much Estonian music as possible, but I never get to play all the tracks I'd like. It's only an hour-long show. From time to time I invite local producers and DJs on the show to talk about their music and what are they up to.

How do you balance playing the pop DnB with underground drum and bass in your sets?

There’s definitely a good, solid balance and I've always had that, because I like the whole spectrum of drum and bass throughout the time. Of course, my selection is also defined by the location and the audience.

For years you’ve been active as a promoter in Estonia, having brought a lot of well-known artists to the country. You’re also involved with event series Format by Studio and have an awesome 15-year experience to show with Sin City party series. What would you say has been the biggest lesson you’ve taken from these experiences and what are the most memorable moments for you?

Oh we’ve had way too many good Sin City parties. Cheers to Mander! It’s hard to point out something specific, because so much has happened within those 15 years – it has been a crazy ride!

Also all the Format parties in club Studio have been as awesome and fun for these past two years. So who hasn’t been yet, I definitely recommend to come!

Have you as a producer had a so called ‘’make it or break it’’ moment in your career and if so - how did you come out of it? Any advice for other producers out there?

It’s worth asking yourself what ‘'make it'' means to you and also is that the reason you’re doing it? Perhaps you've got it wrong from the start?

I'm not huge on giving advice, but what I've learned from my own experience is that it’s worth being patient, consistent and be able to see your work objectively. Also don’t over analyse, compare yourself to others and listen too much what other people say. Be you and do your thing!

What do you think of creating remixes? Is it worth the time?

I think they’re good. I'm happy to create remixes and bootlegs. I think they’re worth doing, breathing new life into old tracks.

You’ve landed an exclusive deal with a record label RAM Records, being the only Estonian to accomplish that. How did you manage to achieve that? What are the biggest pros for having the deal?

It happened quite unexpectedly. I sent an email to one of their employees. I'm well aware of the volume of emails they get with similar content, so I didn't really expect a reply, but one day there it was. They said they liked my music and showed interest in signing the majority of my tracks with RAM. After some time I got the proposition to sign the deal.

There's loads of pros. RAM Records is a spin-off company of a big label in the UK, BMG. For example it’s possible to remix tracks from some of the other BMG or RAM artists, compose for the gaming industry, movies, commercials, play at huge festivals and record company's events all around the world and take part in their exclusive private events.

You released your new EP ’Shapes pt.3’ on the 9th October and is now followed by long-anticipated LP that will be published at the end of November. How is ‘Shapes pt.3’ different from the previous two EPs in the series?

It's nothing else but a third collection of songs from the upcoming album.

Can we expect any interesting collaborations? If yes, how did they happen?

There’s one collaboration with an Estonian producer Insct on the new EP and the whole album, called ‘Give It All’. It was quite some time ago when he sent me a track that we then re-built. And that’s how the great track was born. Also there are a couple of features with vocalists/singers. For example- already released ‘Space Cadet’ with Jon Hazel, ‘One By One’ with Marianna Ray and some more to be added.

Do you have a personal favourite on the album? Which one would you say is the most radio-friendly and which belongs to a rave?

They're all my favourites. That's why they're on the album. 15 ideas sifted out of the original 50. These are the tunes that got the most attention from myself and other DJs in Estonia and beyond.

From the tracks that are already released I'd say that the most radio friendly would be ‘Deep Inside’ and ‘Space Cadet’. They were part of Radio 2's daytime playlist and got premiered on BBC as well. There will be couple more vocal tracks on the LP but getting on the radio wasn't really the goal for this album.

Tracks most suited for raves would probably be ‘Cowards’ and ‘13’. These got a lot of hits from big names in the industry - triple rewind from Andy C was a nice surprise for example.

How would you characterize your creative period right now? Is your upcoming album a reflection of it?

In a sense I've let myself be free. I aimed to play with different shapes, forms, sounds and emotions and convert it all into drum and bass. Yes, we can say the album is indeed a reflection of the past 20 years of my life. Album's title ‘Shapes’ sums it all up nicely.

What can we expect from Sound In Noise in 2021? Have you set some new goals?

I’ll be relieved once this album comes out. The release has been delayed for numerous reasons. Any way - this album has been something I’ve wanted to do all these years and now to release it on RAM Records is no doubt a dream come true. After that will be a time for new things and fresh starts. And we’ll see what will be – What I can say for sure – I’ve got loads of new ideas!