Interview: Virus Syndicate talk official DMX remixes, ‘The Swarm LP’, coming up in Manchester, ‘The Swarm’ and more!
Virus Syndicate are widely considered somewhat legends within the Mancunian Bass scene having come out of the sparse original Northern Grime circuit, pioneering dubstep alongside local legend Chimpo. We got Manchester raised DJ LZ in convo with them as they discussed youth club days, collaborations and the new LP entitled ‘The Swarm’.
1. How would you describe Virus Syndicate to someone who had never heard them before? Who are the core members?
Virus Syndicate are an electronic hip hop outfit. who mix bass heavy production with intricate flows, lyricsm with sing along hooks. core members are myself Nika D, JSD, Goldfinger and MRK1
2. What were the main catalysts behind the conception of VS in the early 2000s? Who or what was the main motivator behind the formation?
Virus Syndicate was born in Fielden Park youth club in South Manchester – we were all just kids who wanted to do something with our lives – we all had big dreams and ambitions with no idea of how to achieve them, and found motivation in each other and created a “for the good of the crew” belief system.
We knew we were trying to achieve the impossible but were prepard to make sacrifces. Its not fair to put one man above another as the catalyst or motivator behind Virus Syndicate because everyone did their best “for the good of the crew”.
3. How do you think you have progressed from the days of ‘Work Related Illness’, despite it being ahead of it’s time…. and what were the highlights from that release??
That release changed our lives! We had no expectation of it at the time. We literally made 13 tracks sent it to the record label they chose 11 of them and that became The work related illness. We traveled the world for the 1st time off the back of that releae, that had to be a career highligh!t We also actually saw real money out of music for the 1st time off the back of that release!
To be honest we didn’t really know what we were doing then. We were new to the game, we had made a bunch of tracks that everyone had gone mental for and we didn’t really know how we had got it so right and not much of an idea as how to follow it up especially with all this new expectation that had suddenly been put up on us. We just did us and hoped everyone liked it in the end and fortunatley for us people liked it enough for us to of had a good career from back then to now. Amen haha
4. What’s the story behind your awesome DMX remix? was this official and how did it come about?
Thanks mate.. erm this label (X Ray Records) from LA got in touch asked us if we wanted to re-work some DMX material. All being big DMX fans, we were on it like flies on shit!
The label sent us his vocals, Mark worked some magic in the studio and we just sat there and banged out the vocals in one night! We loved it man, was an honour to be asked to re work such a big tune from a hip hop legend and yeh its official!
5.What were your main inspirations and end goals when producing ‘The Swarm’?
It really felt like time to drop an album.. We have been knocking out singles consistenly since 2010 and touring like crazy. A lot of the tours we have been doing have been in Europe (mainland) and America so we wanted to drop something that we could really push at home (UK) aswell as abroad.
Although we have been doing this for a minute we haven’t even nearly achieved all that we want to as Virus Syndicate and are still very hungry for more. We are trying to push Virus Syndicate to becoming the premier rap group in Europe and eventually the world. Its all just atoms and we have the hunger and motivation for at least another three albums. The Swarm is the begining of the next phase!
6. Having listened to the new release, there seem to be a lot of heavy club tunes, did you have live performance in mind when producing it?
We made this album during a big European tour and the energy of that tour is definitely very apparent on The Swarm. The album is definitely designed to work in a live environment as well as in the car. The live thing is such a huge part of what Virus Syndicate is about these days that its only right that we represent that within the music.
7. What have you got coming up, any more releases, projects or live shows we should know about?
Yeh man! We already working on the next project which is a collab EP with dutch rap group Dope DOD. these guys are sick they bring such raw energy to tracks and are wicked live! We are also in the process of planning the next Virus Syndicate EP/album we are just mapping out the direction we wanna go with with it. We are definitely looking to do something much more story based but we will keep you informed as and when we got it all together
8. Who else in Manchester should we look out for in 2014 and beyond?
We are backing a bunch of artists at the minuet in Manchester but primarily you gotta watch out for Batz Inda belfry, a female rap duo who are really breaking new ground these guys are killing it. A rapper called Kapital is also smashing it at the moment and from a production point of view you need to look out for the deep house duo Haremoor these guys have a bunch of material ready to drop….!
Interview by DJ LZ for Blatantly Blunt
the new album from Virus Syndicate The Swarm is available now for £4.99. Get yours here