Photo Credit: Chelone Wolf
Carlos Lima, aka S.P.Y, is a fixture of the Hospital Records sound and family after signing with the UK imprint a few years back. Following a string of EPs and singles with reputable imprints like Metalheadz, RAM, and Shogun, the Brazilian native and now-Bristol-based producer found a home with Hospital, releasing his debut full length in 2012 which was followed in 2014 by the Pete Tong-approved double album, Back To Basics.
It was the double album that really caught our ear here at Nest. At over 24 tracks, Back To Basics Chapters One and Two was a monumental release, and its inherent homage to the early days of Drum & Bass was a refreshing reminiscence. Luckily for us, S.P.Y and Hospital Records were up for collaborating on a joint release here in 2015, and BRSTL Hardcore was born. With the four-track EP out this morning, we had a quick chat with Carlos about the release, his ability to produce prolifically, and his thoughts on Drum & Bass in America.
Read our chat below, and download all four tracks from BRSTL Hardcore for free on NEST.
You’re recently coming off of your debut Essential Mix. What did you do to prepare for the opportunity and how has the reaction been?
It was such an honour to be asked to do an Essential Mix and a bit nerve racking as I only had five days to select the tracks and prepare the set. The reaction has been really overwhelming, as I never expected to have such a positive response.
You have the fortunate ability to produce a lot of music, with the double album last year and the BRSTL Hardcore EP coming out this month. How do you keep yourself motivated and constantly coming up with new ideas?
Music production is the way that I express myself, so it is easy to stay motivated and continue creating. I find inspiration all around me, whether it’s from a film score or a track on the radio, or even music that my girlfriend is listening to. When I’m not touring I spend a lot of time in my studio writing new tracks, working on old ones and playing around with new sounds. I have hundreds of unfinished, unreleased tracks, the difficulty for me is selecting which ones I mix down and finish.
Back to Basics was a throwback to the old school sounds of DnB. When did you decide that you wanted to make that album an homage of sorts? Was it a reaction to contemporary sounds that you weren’t as impressed with?
No, I wouldn’t say that I’m unimpressed with the contemporary sound, more that I wanted to take the old school sound that I grew up with and add my twist to it. There is a lot of great music around at the moment, but I will always have a place in my heart for old school drum and bass.
How would you describe the overall direction of your new EP? Are there big differences in the way you approached these four tracks in comparison to your album cuts?
To be honest, I approached my NEST release in a very similar way to how I approach all of my releases. I wanted this EP to showcase some of my personal favourite unreleased tracks that I regularly play out in my DJ sets.
What are your thoughts on the state of DnB in America? Do you see or experience any upswing in fans or engagement with the increased popularity of dance music here in the past five years?
I’ve been playing in the US since 2010 and there is always a great vibe there. The US in general has a really supportive drum and bass scene and every time I go back it has grown even stronger. I think the large-scale popularity of dance music has, in a way, opened the doors to a wider variety of dance music sub-genres and enabled them to become more broadly recognised. While I don’t think drum and bass will ever become too commercialized, it’s great to see drum and bass acts headlining festival stages and the sound reaching a larger audience.
Hospital Records seems like a great crew to be a part of. Is there a family vibe between the label and its artists?
Hospital Records is a great crew to be a part of. There is a close family vibe and everyone on the label really supports each other. I think because many people have been with the label for years, they have grown and developed with the Hospital family and so are welcoming to the new artists. Tony, Chris and the team at Hospital HQ are great too, they’re always looking out for us.
You’re playing a couple of Hospitality events this month in London and Leeds. What is your favorite thing about playing Hospitality?
Hospitality nights are always great fun. There is so much effort put into every aspect of the night; from the light show to the lineup, the venue and merchandise – It’s a big event. My favourite thing about playing a Hospitality is the vibe from the crowd and the atmosphere, both on stage and backstage. The Hospitality nights really bring everyone together and it’s great to see the other guys on the label having a great time and supporting each other.
Who are some non-DnB producers that you follow/listen to frequently?
Lately, I’ve been listening to a real mix of records and adding some new vinyl to my collection. My current favourites are; Bonobo, Shadow Child, Boards of Canada, Amon Tobin, Cinematic Orchestra, Massive Attack, Claude von Stroke, Justin Martin, Trevino and some old Aphex Twin.
Finally, what was it about Nest that made you feel like it would be a good home for this EP?
“BRSTL Hardcore” and “Warrior Dub” were part of my Essential Mix that I did at the beginning of January and it seemed like a great opportunity to follow up on that by giving them away on a NEST EP. I also saw this EP as a great way to make drum and bass accessible to people who may not otherwise be so aware of the sound.