A fantastic concept of Drum & Bass modernity on full display.
Onset Audio / Ronin Ordinance / Seminal Sounds / Boey Audio / Tactical Audio / Nervosa / Industrial Coast – that is the scope of labels so far that BMA has put his music forward. A new generation of Drum & Bass outlets with label owners who have “skin” in the game. I first heard of BMA through a mutual friend in Philadelphia, where we both reside. The production value is high and the commitment to the art of making music and “hustling”, is a case study of making music by all means necessary. Not dabbling in histrionics, BMA wants to move forward and showcase his music. Covid-19 or not. He was gracious enough to share thoughts about my inquisitiveness.
As Philadelphians, I am very proud of our city; however, just like other major urban areas around the world, artists are pushed to the side as “non-essential”. How can we provide and fend for ourselves with the art that we love? What is your take on this?
My first thought is I think a lot of us have always been treated as “non-essential” from within our own scene. How many DJ’s don’t get paid for gigs? How many producers don’t get paid by labels for their music? How many people make Youtube rips of dubs or share tunes on Soulseek etc. So I can’t say it is Covid that has made us anymore “non-essential” than some in our own community. I know it is not a black and white issue and we all know what we are getting into. I just think until we really look inwards at our scene, things won’t change too much.
Now, as far as fending for ourselves, that really comes down to what each individual artist or group of artists wants to achieve and how much work you want to put into it. It is 2021. The ways we have to monetize or commodify our own art for survival has never been as easy or as varied. I am not saying everyone will be successful. I am just saying it is doable. What we have learned for sure is the commercial value of music aside from collectors is about zero in today’s market. At the same time, we have more data and more ways to make alternative income from it. Take the Spotify issue. Once you accept it’s basically just an exposure platform, you can make decisions from there. If you have say 25K plays with 18K listeners in a year, and you do not understand how to market to them, that is not Spotify’s fault. You can make a tee shirt and music bundle. Making a tee is about $6 wholesale….then you sell a combo of digital EP + tee on your Bandcamp for $22 after fees and costs, you can net around $15 per bundle sale. You can make videos and slowly build up payments on youtube. You can do a podcast on Anchor about music and promote it and make money that way. You can learn how to use Facebook analytics to make sure your music is going to true fans and not just cool haircuts on social media. It can be done if you want to put in the work is all I am saying.
The nightclub scene has been non-existent. Touring is out of the question. Has the Covid-19 downtime improved your production skills?
I think more than anything it has given me time to improve my craft. With a slower release schedule, there is less pressure to make per se so I have tried to have a healthy balance of trying out new things in my production and with my set up and watching some tutorials to get a fresh take from others. You can never stop learning when it comes to production. Once you think you have nothing more to learn you are setting yourself up for mediocrity!!!
Where and how (what equipment used) was this mix performed?
It was recorded in the first week or so of January 2021 in my home studio. It was mixed with a Pioneer DDJ-SB3, Serato, and my MacBook Pro!
I can’t help but notice under your logo “Modern Drum and Bass”. What defines “modern” from your viewpoint?
When I got back into hosting a weekly show back in 2014 I was really focusing on the newer minimal sound, halftime, ambient styles of drum and bass that I was really into (and still am!!!) and I wanted to phrase it and market it in a way that stood apart from a lot of the same drum and bass or jungle stereotypical art and graphics I was seeing everywhere. I also wanted to avoid any association with any subgenres we like to use in this scene. I was looking for a way to say that my show was going to be all about these new modern sounds of the drum and bass spectrum. I do love that after twenty-five years this music is mature enough to have many sounds. For many when they hear the terms drum and bass / DNB / jungle they have this notion of either just dance floor banger anthems or filtered amens with raga samples. I wanted and still do want to offer an alternative to that notion. I do love both of those styles, but do not want to be defined or compared to them. It just sort of evolved into the music I started to make and here we are seven years later and the term is still around!
What releases you have planned for the future?
As of now, I have a collab with Todd Buchler under the alias of Unrest coming out on Seminal Sounds as well as a solo BMA release on Seminal Sounds. I have two other collabs wrapping up with some other artists that are still to be determined where they will live. I just started on an EP for Inception Audio as well as another EP for another label that I can’t name as of yet. Not to mention ongoing random production I need to get over to the labels I call home. I am also hoping this year to overhaul and update my entire production and DJ set up too. Once that happens, I will get back into broadcasting on a regular basis! So yeah, trying to keep busy and productive as much as I can!!!
|1||???? – ????|
|2||Northern Barrier – ??? – ???|
|3||.Bereneces – Apparition – Forthcoming Onset Audio|
|4||Neurotoxin – B-Side – Skalator Music|
|5||RQ – LV-426 – Modern Convince|
|6||Joonas Aleksi – Arytmia – Forthcoming Onset Audio|
|7||No Name – Antichrist – Forthcoming Onset Audio|
|8||Fuj & Bereneces – Split Personality – Zodiac Music|
|9||Homemade Weapons & Red Army – Osedax (Red Army VIP) – Samurai Music|
|10||Northern Barrier – Cold Sweat (Kemal Remix) – Forthcoming Seminal Sound|
|11||Echtoo – Sea Of Color – Forthcoming Seminal Sound|
|12||Homemade Weapons & Torn – Spectre – Samurai Music|
|13||Darkgray Heart – Seal of the Seveth Son – Forthcoming Onset Audio|
|14||Tellus – Black Swan – Locked Concept|
|15||Vex Seven & BMA – Ever Expanding – Onset Audio|
|16||Sorse – Quiet_Wanderer – Modern Convince|