2015, depending on who you talk to, means different things for Grime. For some, it’s the year that the vocal side of the scene was kicked out of its slumber by hungry young MCs like MicTy and Jammz. Other people will tell you it’s the year that “America discovered Grime”, but, when the time comes to look back, 2015 could be the year of the “super producer crew” (we’ll work out a better name later). Beatgatherers, Silk Road Assassins, Krud Fam… the list of people to watch for is longer every week, but for now, one crew leads the way – Edgem.
With a new EP, “Terror Fortress” out at midnight (13/7/2015), I spoke to Boylan about Edgem, hooking up with JT and Dullah, Drum & Bass, and more.
GrimeDisciple (GD): First of all, when I was researching for these questions, I found out you were/are a Drum & Bass producer? How long have you been producing?
Boylan: Yeah, Jungle was a huge influence on me and it really inspired me to start making electronic music, it just blew my mind and I wanted to know how the hell they were making those sounds! As it progressed into Drum & Bass I started to get some kit together, and, when I eventually got my first sampler I started to make some roughly ok tunes! My first release was in 2002 on a label called Dope Ammo, under my first producer name Tempa, and a couple of years later I had my first release as Boylan on Bad Company’s label, Square One.
GD: You’ve been engineering for Oil Gang’s releases for a while now, but how did that come about? Was it doing that that introduced you to Grime? If not, what did?
Boylan: I’ve been friends with Oil Gang for ages, and we were both into d&b and used to make tunes together. He introduced me to grime around 2003, the Slimzee & God’s Gift Street Beats mix was never out of my CD player for a while! I mixed most of the tracks for his label (Oil Gang) and ended up working with lots of cool producers in the process. From there I met all the Boxed crew and they were pretty encouraging that I make some Grime!
GD: Apparently you’re working on a solo EP. How’s that shaping up so far? Will your remix of JT’s “Grime Orchestra” be on there?
Boylan: Yeah, there’s a few bits and pieces I’ve done that aren’t fully finished, but we’re testing ’em out and getting good responses, so it’s definitely in the pipe line but no tracks set in stone yet! “Grime Orchestra remix” is fairly sure to be on it though.
GD: How did Edgem come about? Can you remember the first track you made as a crew?
Boylan: Oil Gang had been playing me JT & Dullah stuff for a while and I loved it. I later mixed down “Garden of Eden” which is a phenomenal track that just blew me away with its depth and musicality. Dullah’s “Hijack” grabbed me so much the first time I heard it, I’d always pester Oil Gang to play it when he was DJing! We all met properly down at Boxed and instantly hit it off and had a laugh. We got together at mine, with the 3 of us and Oil crammed into my sweatbox studio, and just started writing. That first tune was pretty cool but didn’t quite get finished, but shortly after we did “8th Chapel” which we’ve played a few times on radio. Not long after we did “Secret Garden”, which sealed the idea that we should work as a unit.
GD: Yeah, “Secret Garden” has been out for a while now. Are you happy with how it’s been received?
Boylan: Really happy to be honest, and grateful that it’s appealed to DJs across the Grime spectrum. That track has really helped to get the Edgem name out there, and given us a great platform to build from musically.
GD: Dullah was on Radio recently saying that there could be up another 4 Edgem EPs this year! Just how many tracks do you guys have ready to go, and what can you tell me about any future releases?
Boylan: Our second EP, ‘Terror Fortress” is out on July 13th (tomorrow), and we’ve been getting some great support on that from people like Logan Sama & Slackk. We’re currently planning the schedule for the rest of the year, but it’ll definitely include more Edgem and some solo stuff.
GD: Dullah and JT are both music machines and I’ve seen you tweeting about some tasty sounding collabs, so I was wondering if you had a similar work rate? In an ideal world, can we expect regular music from you?
Boylan: Dullah & JT are always writing and are both next level quick at making sick tunes! They’ve definitely inspired me to write as much as possible,. I’ve recently made tracks with Spooky, Trends and Slackk – all of ’em were wicked to work with, and the tunes are all getting great feedback. I did a remix for Trends that’s hopefully coming out on Mean Streets, plus Edgem have been doing some really cool collabs so we definitely plan to keep it coming!
GD: As a sound engineer, what’s your top tip for people struggling with mix downs?
Boylan: Most importantly, you’ve gotta make your tune sound fat before you mix it down by using good sounds and all the tools at your disposal to make ’em as big & heavy as you can. That can involve loads of plugins and automation and stuff going on, so, once it’s sounding done, I find it really useful to bounce the tune out as stems, as in separate audio tracks of all the parts in the tune, and then put them into a clean, fresh project. From there I find it easier to do more subtle bits of eq, compression and reverb to make the tune sound more together, and make sure I’m putting in as much bass as possible!