Welcome to the latest Full Flex Audio Q&A on our website, featuring all the artists involved in this edition of Trinity. The Trinity series is dedicated to three tracks for free download, and is a great stepping stone for artists that may be new to FFA for the first time, or artists that are coming back to the label for a free download adventure. Now let's get stuck into the latest Q&A!
Artist #1: Marrow & Ozumata
Q1: Marrow & Ozumata, your track on the "Trinity #6" release is titled "Duele," which means ‘pain’ or ‘hurt’ in Spanish. What inspired you to create this particular piece, and can you describe the emotions or themes you aimed to convey through it?
"Marrow: With this tune, the original idea was something hard hitting and playable in a live setting so we leaned into the aggressive nature of the pre-drop vocal; it made sense to us to add a little twist to the title based on Ozumata's roots which I think also tied in nicely with the surprise middle section in terms of grit and US style hip-hop culture! A nice extra coincidental detail and a reason that the name ‘Duele’ worked so well and stuck out to me is the similarity between it and the word ‘duel’ - since there are the two of us, it fit even better!
"Ozumata: When working on music, I like to bring a story as well as giving it a 'vibe' - music is always telling a story. The first thing that came to mind when working on this tune was 'preparing for a fight' in whatever manner the listener wants to interpret. With the metallic sounds and flow with the chords, there's a good amount of 'fight' happening within the song. In the middle section, as Marrow said, the main focal instrument used is an electric guitar which is where we got the name "Duele". The guitar can release a lot of emotion from oneself and a strong one that fit the 'fight' was 'pain'."
Q2: Collaborative efforts can yield amazing results. Could you share some insights into your creative dynamic as a duo? How did your partnership enhance the final piece of "Duele"?
"Marrow: We are familiar with working together as we have been doing so for many years (only coming to fruition in a few other instances so far such as in the form of 'Distant') but this track did actually work differently from others - lots of the sound design and the skeleton of most of the track was from an old ID I was sent stems for which was stripped away aside from the intro and with the main sound design reprocessed, giving the whole track new context. From there, we agreed to lean into the meaner and more aggressive theming and ended up with a result that sounds like a completely different result from what we showed with 'Distant' which I really enjoy and think is exciting."
Ozumata: Comparing 'Code: Unite' and 'Duele' you can hear the dynamic of each sound come together. With Marrow's signature sound design and flow mixed in with my metallic sound design it worked. Collaborating ain't easy! Sometimes it can fall apart so its best to find the right dynamic though trial and error."
Q3: Electronic music often incorporates elements from various cultures and genres. Did you draw from any specific cultural influences while producing "Duele," and if so, how did they shape the track's identity?
"Marrow: I think so - intially the theme of 'hard-hitting track which would perform well live' was met solidly but we thought that having a middle section switch up inspired by 90s hip-hop/boombap added an extra level of depth and thematic context to the whole piece - I'm proud of my subtle guitar work in that section too; I think it captures the essence well! Making sure the drums weren't standard and a little bit more interesting with some switch ups thrown in also helped to give things flavour and keep things moving, in my opinion."
"Ozumata: Mixing genres can be a challenge. If done properly, it can create something new. I believe we achieved that. I speak Spanish so thats where the name 'Duele' also stemmed from - my Mexican roots."
Artist #2: Cosmoa
Q4: Cosmoa, your track "Clock Drive" exudes a futuristic and modernistic tone. Can you tell us about the influences that led to the creation of this unique track?
"I'm very consistently inspired by retro future media, especially from the 70s, and I like to think that my music takes from that, albeit with a more modern twist! I tend to keep the sound design in my off-drops true to that, and let the aesthetics shine."
Q5: Electronic music is known for its diverse sub-genres. How would you classify "Clock Drive," and what do you think sets it apart within the electronic music landscape?
"I don’t like to classify my music by genre honestly, don’t really think about it during the process and just try to enjoy the act of making! If I had to pick something, I think I would put 'Clock Drive' as riddim or tearout. As for setting it apart, I don’t really feel like there’s anything specific doing that, I just make music how I want to make it, without any real rhyme or reason."
Q6: As a producer, you must have encountered creative challenges along the way. Could you share a specific obstacle you overcame while working on "Clock Drive" and how you managed to conquer it?
"During the making of Clock Drive, I had just come back from a very long break, this was my first proper attempt at a song since that and honestly that made the biggest challenge actually starting the idea. Had that not been the case, the biggest challenge in this was making the main bass sound deep in the way it does, so most of the time spent on this was tweaking all of the different EQs and distortions, trying to keep it clean and full without it getting muddy."
Artist #3: EL!XR
Q7: EL!XR, your contribution to the "Trinity" release is titled "Evolve," which is suggestive of the progression of dubstep. Can you tell us about the evolution of dubstep from its early stages to its current sounds and how this evolution influenced your track?
"Dubstep has changed a lot over the past decade or so, from its humble roots in Jamaican dub music and UK garage, to the diverse and experimental genre that it is today. I wanted to capture as many of the different stages dubstep went through in this track as possible. For example, the intro draws from the garage and breakbeat influences in the late 90s and early 2000s, while the 1st drop reflects the famously screechy and aggressive sound of early dubstep artists like Skrillex, Knife Party and Doctor P. The 2nd drop moves towards a brostep-like sound with darker atmospheres and prominent brass instruments, reminiscent of artists like Virtual Riot and Panda Eyes. The mid-section is my best shot at a future garage break, something that seemed to appear in every other dubstep track back in 2018, and the final drop pays homage to the surge in popularity of color bass and tearout around 2020, finishing off with a minimalist and experimental B section.
Obviously, there are many more incredibly talented and nuanced artists who have contributed massively to the sound of dubstep over the years. I stuck to the parts I knew best, and I think if someone else had a go at the same concept, they would probably produce a pretty different result."
Q8: Many electronic artists draw inspiration from their surroundings or life experiences. Can you share a personal story or experience that influenced the creation of "Evolve" and how it reflects the changes in the dubstep genre?
"I’ve wanted to make a track like this for quite a while now, but it took me a while to decide what was important to me and really put pen to paper. When I was making this track, I found that it not only reflected the progression of dubstep as a genre, but also a lot of the changes I’ve made to my own production over the years. This track was uniquely fun to make because I could go back in time and create exactly what my 13-year-old self would have wanted to make back when I first picked up music production. I’ve always enjoyed embracing the light-hearted fun and quirkiness that originally brought dubstep into the limelight, and I think this track does so better than anything else I’ve made to date. Moreover, I think it really goes to show that the growth of this genre as a whole is a direct result of the improvements of each and every producer individually."
Q9: Dubstep has a dedicated fan base that often appreciates innovation within the genre. What do you hope listeners will take away from "Evolve" in terms of the future of dubstep?
"I didn’t really have a message in mind when I was creating this track, I saw it more as an experiment. I wanted to wrap my mind around how each phase of the dubstep sound morphed into the next and see if I could find any trends or distinct turning points within its history. Reflecting on the track now though, I think the diverse range of sounds and flows I ended up with really drives home the idea that we shouldn’t be afraid to embrace the next big thing, even if it’s something we aren’t really familiar with. From the very start, dubstep has always been driven by the will to experiment and to present bold new ideas. We’ve done it, and we’ll do it again, because we may not like it now, but in a few years’ time, a new generation of producers will speak of our sound the same way we speak of NCS and Monstercat. We will be the “good old days”, and just like the ones who have come before us, we will inspire producers of the future to take this genre in directions we could never think of, for better or for worse."
Thank you to Marrow, Ozumata, Cosmoa, and EL!XR for joining us in this Trinity #7 Q&A session. We hope this glimpse into their creative processes has deepened your appreciation for their music. Don't forget to download their tracks for free, available on all streaming platforms, September 20th!