So gassed to be presenting my first self-released EP. I'm painting with UKG, instrumentals, jazz, R&B, drum & bass, sonic surprises and vocals from some of my favorite collaborators on these six tracks. Each idea flows into the next, almost like you are walking through a musical landscape. So put on your headphones and get groovy with me.
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Self Release - June 2020
This track speaks to the power of second chances. Its bones (the stems) are actually from the first official release I ever had – a tune called 'Suspect' released on Noir Sur Blanc under my then name Spoilr Alrt.
I have always believed in tucking music away and letting things simmer, and then pulling it back out and giving it new attention. You just never know what time can do to the creative process.
On my 21st birthday I decided to get real, start using my own name professionally, and be confident enough to make the music that lived inside my own head. Ghetto Strut was my first honest attempt of this. When the legend DJ EZ played this track on BBC1 and then I got so much positive feedback for the sound, I allowed myself to think that I could be a part of expanding the international range of UKG, a sound that had completely captured my heart.
Lost (Feat. Kaylan Arnold)
Self Release - July 2022
This has to be my favorite thing I've ever made. Period. Music, video, anything creative. I feel like this tune properly expresses itself unlike anything I've been a part of making in the past. Kaylan and I met in college, and her lyrics and vocal on this are my idea of perfection.
Night Bass - August 2022
Operator w/ Gemma Fox
Serene w/ Event Horizon & Whiskey Pete
Thief in the Night
Local Action (UK) - February 2021
My first release with DJ Q, a massive accomplishment. Just having him offer me his stems was so validating. I think collaboration between two artists from two sides of the globe is incredible, to say nothing of the fact that songs of his were why I started making UKG music in the first place.
Often I will endlessly try adding new ideas to improve a song. This tune itself is extremely simple, which began to teach me about workflow and choosing necessary sounds. A lot of the atmospheric sounds (rain, wind) are voice recordings on the windowsill from my iPhone. Having natural sounds contrasting with the digital world I find takes away the whole idea that you’re just strapping on some cans and listening to a tune. Rather, it lets you go wherever you hear the tune heading, or where your memories take you. It always reminds me exactly of the time and place of the creation of that song.
Cygnus Music - May 2022
I remember starting this project on my Twitch stream after the longest bit of writer's block and I absolutely loved how it sounded right out of the box. Maybe it was the pressure of people watching, but for some reason this one just poured out perfectly. So cool to release something I made with people watching live. First time for everything and big up to Oppidan for adding her signature spice and bringing this tune to life.
I Can't Stay
Local Action (UK) - July 2021
I originally thought that the vocal was an exceptional Splice sample, but at some point Q told me who was behind the voice. Having not grown up with UKG, I didn’t know of Shola Ama’s legacy, but what I did know was that her vocals – so incredibly soulful – cater perfectly to the detail, transitions and harmony of this track. I really enjoy making slow and melodic music like this.
"Best Tracks of the Year 2021" – Mix Mag
Mad 4 U EP
Wub Club (UK) - May 2021
I made the 3 tunes on this EP (Mad4U, You Can Dance, and Olvidado) over the course of 2019 and 2020, but I wasn’t satisfied with them and put them away for so long that when I wanted to work on them again for WubClub, I didn’t have the original project files anymore. I ended up taking the master bounces, and working from there. Having to work with music already baked in, where I couldn’t take anything out or make anything quieter, meant I had a totally different relationship to the tracks. Instead of obsessing on the sound, I spent time on this EP workflow to make the music better. And for those who wonder why I often choose Spanish lyrics, I just think Latin words roll off the tongue nicely.
Nostalgia (ft. SG)
Night Bass (US) - June 2022
Super stoked about the response this tune got even months before its release. What's even cooler is that we made this live on my Twitch stream! Not often do I go into a project thinking its going to be a fluid and smooth process but SG smashed the vocals and turned this tune into something special.
Cygnus Music (UK) - April 2021
From the first time I heard her sound, I loved Oppidan’s style. When she sent me the initial first section, I was well into making my own songs without a lot of repetition within them. Being surprised keeps things fresh, right?
So this was the first collaboration where instead of taking her stems and adding or subtracting from them, I just added my spice to her section and then took the stems and completely broke down the section she sent me – completely deconstructed the song actually – and built it back up for my second section. During this whole process, I almost forgot what her first section sounded like. As a creator, I find the result really refreshing to listen to and it’s certainly refreshing to make.
Wub Club (UK) - November 2021
This is really an example of me making a tune leaning heavily into my love of soundscaping that creates that ambient, ethereal spaciousness and movement. I take a lot of inspiration from Pink Floyd. Then there’s the whooshes, vibra slaps, pings – that’s the percussion section in the live band that lives in my head doing all these things – keeping it interesting.
The lyric shares that secret: “There’s something in me says.”
Self Release - March 2020
This was my first collab with MPH, and at the time we were both starting to get recognition for our work. We would trade sending each other stems.
This one set of stems he sent me had one sound that sounded like a bird screech to me. So I Googled “bird noise” and went to the Splice library and then threw all those sounds in Logic, and pitched them all to the same key. No kidding, I then silently arranged them randomly within the existing track, and pressed play. If it sounded bad, I would move it. The Owl hoot, and every other bird noise, found the perfect home that way. And then MPH, being the genius that he is, took the first drop I made and then totally deconstructed it and made the second drop.
Bar none, this was the most collaborative track I’ve done. We both deconstructed the tune and put it back together to make what is no question, one of my favorite songs.
Feel Like MJ
Self Release - January 2021
This started as a bootleg remix of a Section Boys tune. When I added the flamenco guitar, I thought to myself that it actually had the potential to become a single and something special. I sat with this and worked on it for over a year, eventually taking some vocals from Cam James, a great artist out of Atlanta who I worked with when I first started collaborating with folks from around the world over Fiver in high school. The original song was 105 BPM, but the lyrics were really catchy and I always thought the content of the song and the lyrics would lend themselves to a faster tempo. I wanted 2021 to have a positive and unique beginning.
And who is MJ? I was watching Michael Jordan in The Last Dance when I started this track. Then Eze Wan drew Michael Jackson for my album art, and I loved what he did. Mary Jane is also a good friend of mine.
Night Bass (US) - March 2021
My first major label EP all started when I won AC Slater’s Twitch Sample Battle in the midst of COVID in September 2020. I took his stems and even though I knew the Night Bass sound was a lot heavier, I just figured I would make my style and hope that AC’s love for UKG would sway him. 'Set You Free' is the result.
I had made 'Culture' long before COVID and I would put it in my live streams at the end of my sets. In context, it was really pretty, but I didn’t know who would want it or how to release it. When AC offered the chance to create an EP, I figured this was my chance to set me – and Culture – free.
AC then sent me something he had created, and I really was honored that he trusted me to rework the main drop melody and the bass line. Here we were in California, collaborating during COVID, helping to add another piece to what I hope will make UKG music truly worldwide.
The soundscape of this EP is based on a unique piece of equipment I was lucky enough to be loaned by my family friend and analog electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani. It’s called the Deckhard’s Dream, and it is an analog polyphonic synthesizer. It’s beauty and complexity are at the heart of Lumen.
Something About You
(Hans Glader Remix)
Garage Shared (UK) - January 2022
I was gassed when Soulecta asked me to do an official remix. And the original with outstanding vocals from Leanne Louise was so strong. Anyone who knows my music, knows when I get vocals I milk them, because I love them. But this wasn’t a case for how can I make this song better, just how can I make it different.
Initially I started without the main bass groove and more of the vocals. I added syncopation to take it from the original 4-4 to a 2-step drum pattern. But we all decided the main version was so vocal heavy, that my remix would be better to use the original elements. That’s when I turned to the bass heavy vibe.
Sammy Virji - May 2020
No question, Sammy Virji is one of my favorite artists and my biggest influences. I heard his music in college for the first time, and right there in that moment, I wanted to make music that would make me feel the way I felt when I listened to his music.
During the summer of 2019, Sammy started getting hyped on my stuff and I was flabbergasted that he was supporting me. 'Be Careful' was either the 2nd or 3rd idea I sent Sammy, and he started messing with it. I listened to his first edit sitting in my car, and one baseline walk down that he added in the refrain literally almost brought me to tears, it sounded so good. This song I could NOT stop listening to. I played it over and over and over again. When he asked to put it on his debut album, I can’t even quite put words around how I felt.
Music In The Sun
Am Not Playin (UK) - August 2021
This track started with a beat I made in bed. As a drummer, I often start my projects with a beat. But then I got stuck, and I wanted to find someone to put some vocals on it to see where that might take things. Collaboration always moves things forward.
I knew that Coco had done up tempo stuff with garage beats, and I liked his cadence and delivery. My sending a beat as I went to sleep in California coincided with his waking up inspired in London, and he sent me back a verse in like 15 hours. In fact, I’d say this was flawless production from start to finish. Working with Coco was such a pleasure.
Be Alone (Hans Glader Remix)
Kiwi Records (UK) - May 2022
My 'Be Alone' remix for Oppidan was such a fun one. Normally I take literal months to make tunes but this one was a unique experience for me. I had to return it in a much shorter time frame, but all that contributed to a unique production experience, as well as a unique final track. Big love to Oppidan for thinking of me and for providing a gas fire of a tune, and to Kiwi records for having me on.