The next artist to be featured in the MakeItGoodx FKOF series cut his teeth learning the ropes with arguably two of dubstep’s finest young producers. While Ipman and Killawatt have (sort of) stuck with the 140bpm sounds, Kane FM's Axon has made a name of himself by speeding things up and sitting around the 174bpm area. Given Axon’s heritage, and the fact he’s a gatekeeper to the best cat videos on the internet (more on that later), we figured we’d take a departure from the standard deep and dark sound we support in the MIG x FKOF series. This is the first time that we’ve gone with a strictly DnB mix/ artist and Axon definitely doesn’t disappoint…
Who is Axon?
Axon is me, George Aston. I am a drum and bass producer based in Guildford UK. I’m also a line-manager and presenter at our local legal FM underground music radio station, Kane 103.7 FM.
What got you into mixing and producing drum&bass? How woud you describe your production style?
I started out mixing and writing dubstep with my buddy Ipman as Magic Mash, about 4 years ago. We lived together at uni and he had decks so I started mixing. We were doing a creative music tech course at Surrey Uni so started getting into production. DnB has always been my proper passion though, started working on some solo stuff about a year and a half ago as Axon. I suppose I would describe my tunes as bleepy techy wonky minimal DnB… I can’t write a decent straight beat! Something I’ve never have been able to do; as soon as I start moving snares about to unusual places and get some beeps in I seem to be able to find a vibe.
How long have you producing and DJing?
DJing and producing about 4 years, only DnB last 2 years.
How do you go about building your tunes ? is there a process behind each one? What software do you use?
I compose on Logic, absolutely love it. Everything works though, you’ve just got to know how to use it. Tunes usually start off as an idea through listening to other tunes in the shower or the car. Then I try and lay it down; start fiddling with percussion and something completely new usually comes out. I use lots of samples and a bit of synth work. I need to try and concentrate more on synths, but I have to work fast to keep a buzz going. Samples are good for working that.
Turntables or CDJs for when you play out?
I started out on vinyl, but now strictly CDs. Anything can go wrong on turntables - and clubs don’t look after on them anymore. Wherever you are CDJs will work the same. And all the promos and dubs are all digital now…
What’s been your best gig and if you could DJ alongside anyone, who would it be?
Best gig is probably a Magic Mash one playing at Guilfest last year for Kane FM. We were part of a team running the dance tent there. Were on straight after Nero, was about 1500 people in the tent. Was the tits! Mosh pits and everything. Andy C is my all time greatest hero mixing-wise. If you know me then you know how emotional I get about his DJing. For my type of DnB though, the last few times I have seen Kasra, who runs Critical, he has smashed it up.
Who are your top 5 drum&bass producers at the moment; and why? Any labels you’re feeling?
That is too hard! I’m gonna do more than 5. For what I write: Rockwell, Dub Phizix, Alix Perez, Amoss, Noisa, Phace, Xtrah, Data etc, but then there are people like Break and SPY who influence me hugely in a less direct way. Labels: Critical, Demand, I also love how varied the output from Shogun is. The label I’m on too, Proximity. They have been putting out some sick tunes recently and it’s an honour to be on there with people like Meth, Gerra & Stone, Xtrah and so on. There are some big things in the Proximity pipeline coming up too.
What’s the future of DnB - where do you see the genre going? Where do you see it fitting in within the ‘bass music’ spectrum?
FKOFing hell! Hmmmm. DnB is huge right now commercially, but also in the underground. Fresh has had like 3 number ones or something! He was part of Bad Company, it’s mad. However you have deep tunes like ‘Marka' becoming huge as well. It's an exciting time and it's only going to get bigger. When dubstep came along people thought it would kill off DnB ? but they are now both thriving (and I think they work well together). Hopefully there will be a place for my glitchy bollocks in the future. Bass music is massive (as it should be), and you can hear DnB and dubstep influencing music across the board. It's a good time to be in the scene, and the future is looking better.
Any forthcoming releases we can look forward to?
I’ve got a 3 track EP coming out on American label Icarus Audio soon, which is exciting. Big up Staticalpha and Fallen for their support. I’ve also got a single track forthcoming on Proximity on a compilation thing, but a while off I think. Nearly got a bit done with my mate Killawatt which sounds good, and I’ve started a tune with Data, but not sure if we will ever get it done! So more bits in the pipeline.
Have you got any advice to upcoming DJs/ Producers looking to get their music heard or signed?
Specialise! Too many new producers write music that’s too varied and just get lost. Find a style you like and get good at it. Write lots of similar tunes. You can branch out once you are big and respected. Work with other people as much as you can, send your tunes to other people as much as you can (for feedback) - and don’t be afraid of criticism! Wail until you are at a decent level before you send stuff off to labels. I have put tunes out that I listen back to now and they are dreadful; I wish I had waited a bit longer. However, on the flipside, it’s hard to listen objectively to your own tunes. If you think it is rubbish but lots of people (who know what they are talking about) say it is sick, believe them!
The whole team behind Kane FM. Run by a group of amazing volunteers and providing a sick station for people who are fed up of usual shite from the radio. Fame, Nomis, Subterra, Murkle, the whole gang. Basher and Kit at Proximity. Never had so much support from a label, was so psyched when Basher hit me up. One of the best moment yet! My good buddy and MC Tone Def and his partner in crime Kreepah. My friends and sick dubstep producers Killawatt and Ipman who are doing big things at the moment on the 140 side of things. We all did the same course at uni and they have been such a massive influence on me in terms of making tracks sound decent. Wouldn’t be doing anything without them two! My mate and massive inspiration Data. MC Fuzzy Ruzzy, and DJ Curry Mutton as well. And of course FatKidOnFire and MakeItGood for the support [nice one man]! So many good people in this game.
3 people (dead or alive) you’d eat pizza with (and why)?
Will Smith (before I found out he was into Scientology), Andy C and Trey Parker. Man crush on Will Smith, Man love for Andy C, and South Park/ Team America are my absolute favourites.
Favourite website for cat videos?
Marka or Skeng?
Don’t do this to me? Marka probably, such hype for that tune. Still kills it now even though it’s rinsed. And the flip! ‘Rags' is just mental.
Axon’s mix for MakeItGood and FatKidOnFire is a solid selection of massive DnB tunes and marks the start in the next chapter of the series (any DnB producers/ DJs interested in taking part? Hit me up). Follow Axon on Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget to tune into his shows on Kane FM (every other Thursday/ Friday).
Click to DOWNLOAD
1. Alix Perex & Rockwell - Ballbag [Neosignal]
—- Axon - Untitled [dub]
2. Fracture - Bad Habit [Astrophonica]
3. Axon - Radial [Proximity]
4. Gerra & Stone - Subconscious Control [forthcoming Proximity]
5. Sabre, Stray & Halogenix - Askari [Invisible]
6. Flame - The Game (Axon remix) [forthcoming Icarus Audio]
7. Detail - Autoreiji [dub]
8. Hybris - Raindance [Critical]
9. Axon - Pinpoint [forthcoming Proximity]
10. Heavy1 - Specium [forthcoming Vampire]
11. Mtwn - Aftermath [Proximity]
12. Matt Pulsar - Aerolite [dub]
13. Axon - Deadline [forthcoming Icarus Audio]
14. Axon - Relapse [Proximity]
15. Axon - Fibres [Proximity]
16. Dub Phizix ft. Fox - Never Been [forthcoming Critical]
17. Spectrasoul ft. Terri Walker - Light in the Dark [Shogun Audio]
18. June Miller - Snapcase [Critical]
19. Rockwell - Full Circle [Shogun Audio]
20. DJ Fresh - Heavyweight [Digital Soundboy]
21. Submotion Orchestra - All Yours (SPY remix) [Hospital]
22. Sabre, Stray & Halogenix - St. Clair [Critical]