Interview: Bristol producer Exposure on his new label, D&B collab with Radiohead
Exposure – Drum & bass courses through the veins and soundsystems of Bristol. So when a new label dedicated to the genre launches in the jewel of the South West it is only right that the d&b world sits up and takes notice. A R Audio was born this summer with producer Exposure at the helm, and it is his release. ‘Delicate Lives’ featuring Sula Mae / ‘Sacrifice’ – that got the ball rolling.
We caught up with him to get the lowdown on his own relationship with the genre and where he sees his new label heading. And what’s all this about a Radiohead collaboration…?
Blatantly Blunt: Hi Exposure! Tell us a bit about yourself – how and when did you get into the drum & bass game? Was there one particular record that got you hooked, where it all began for you?
Exposure: I got into drum & bass in the late 90’s. CDs like LTJ Bukem’s ‘Logical Progression’, Roni Size & Reprasent’s ‘New Forms’ and Grooverider’s ‘Pure Drum and Bass’ mix were my first experience of it, I was hooked straight away. I started going to raves at the age of 15 and DJing shortly after and I knew that’s what I was meant to do, there was no going back.
BB: You’re from Bristol, a city with a strong d&b heritage – would you say that’s influenced your sound?
E: Yeah Bristol’s great, it’s a very special place. The sheer amount of good music here never ceases to amaze me. Every five minutes a car goes past blaring d&b out the window, you hear it in shops, in the gym, it’s everywhere – it’s like the law! I’m surrounded by top producers and DJs too which is great, I’ve learnt a lot from sitting in with people and have some very nice sounding collabs on the go which I’m really excited about.
BB: You’ve recently launched a new label in the city – what made you want to do that, and how is it going so far?
E: I’ve run nights for years and running a label was the next step. I’ve started to get a good sound together and I’m lucky to know some great producers, so I see it as a good opportunity to promote our music. So far it’s been good, people are buzzing for it. It’s a lot of work but I’m very excited about what we have in store for the future.
BB: The launch night sounds like it was pretty nuts! How did you find it? Are there plans for more nights – in Bristol and beyond?
E: Yes the launch was nuts! To have legends like Bad Company and MC GQ down was a real honour. Then we had our NYE show with Break, Commix, me and Carasel MC doing the midnight set, that was a great start to the year. I’ll be doing more nights in Bristol and we’re also planning more launch parties across the UK. I want to take the sound globally, so watch this space.
BB: The first release on A R comes from yourself and it’s tasty! ‘Sacrifice’ is a bit tougher than ‘Delicate Lives’, what influenced the two tracks? Is this the sort of sound we can expect from A R?
E: Thanks, it means a lot. My sound is constantly developing and I guess it matches my selection when I’m DJing – varied. The music policy for the label is the same, we have artists making beautiful liquid rollers and others making real dirty techy bangers, if it’s good, I’ll put it out.
BB: How did you come to work with Sula Mae on ‘Delicate Lives’? What was that process like?
E: We met at Subsonic festival and after hearing her singing there I asked her if she wanted to work on a d&b track. I sent her the idea and what she sent back blew me away. She is a folk singer songwriter normally and this was the first bit of d&b she’s appeared on, but I think her voice lends itself to it well… The peaceful, soulful vocals work well with the tougher beats and bass. That contrast is something I try to achieve a lot in my productions, hence the name ‘Exposure’.
BB: Can we expect to hear more from Exposure this year? And anyone else coming on the label?
E: Absolutely. I’ve got several projects on the go, including a few collabs with Bristol producers I’m really excited about. We’ve got Precision doing a single up next, then a vinyl release in November, one side is one of my tracks with Mark Douglas on vocals and the flip is from an absolute don in d&b – TBA! After that we’ve got releases lined up from Phaction, Antrax, Stitch and Ill Truth, plus a new singing out of France I’ll be announcing real soon, so keeping busy.
BB: What music do you listen to outside of d&b?
E: To be honest these days it’s hard to find time to listen to any music other than what I’m making – sounds quite self indulgent I know! I do love Radiohead, Bonobo, Submotion Orchestra, that kind of thing. Like my trip hop too, Aim’s ‘Cold Water Music’ is probably my most listened-to album.
BB: And finally, what would your dream collab be – d&b or otherwise…
E: Break. He makes the best d&b for me. Noisia as well, those guys keep pushing the boundaries. Outside of d&b a collaboration with Thom Yorke / Radiohead would be insane, as would Portishead, I already have some ideas, I just need to meet them!
Buy Exposure’s debut on A R Audio in mp3 and wav formats HERE.