Ready for an adventure? Get on board Kolectiv’s crucial guestmix for 1 More Thing. Catapulting us into a timeless tech funk tear-up from the very first mix – a hectic triple drop salvo featuring some unreleased dubbage from the duo themselves and climaxing with Moving Fusion’s classic Turbulence – Kolectiv hurl and heave us through a whole maze of subgenres and flavours in one of the most high energy and deeply dug mixes we’ve had so far.
Business as usual for the hard working London act: their Structure mixes have been a consistent source of brutalism since they launched the series in January 2021, as are their Rebel Transmission mixes on Unity Radio. That’s just online; their presence on line-ups has been heightened this year, especially during the first half of 2022, with a whole slew of bookings across the UK.
Meanwhile in the studio their release rate has been just as prolific with two high profile heavyweight EPs on Dispatch and Sofa Sound, plus appearances on major missives such as the recent Optiv tribute album trilogy Stories and both Rebel Alliance 4 and ZeroZero’s Respect EP on Rebel Music.
More Kolectiv material is likely to land before the year is out. If they could somehow miraculously pause, defy or stretch time then there’d be even more; As they revealed in a previous interview on UKF just over a year ago in June 2021, they had planned to release their debut album in 2022. Under the working title Stream Of Consciousness, the duo’s whole creative process and schedule was planned around it.
As is standard in these strange and challenging times, those plans haven’t quite been realised. But the best things in life are always worth waiting for. And, as Simon and Kerim explain in this interview, it’s not about how much you smash stuff out… It should always be about the quality of what you’re putting into the universe.
For a taste of what they’re about to put into the universe – and plenty more – chow down on this exclusive mix. Then scroll down to find out exactly where Kolectiv are at as they head into the final months of 2022.
Kerim: Thanks. We’ve got a pretty good system now with our mixes and our Structure series. Always lots of energy, plenty of exclusives, loads of our music so we can push our stuff and showcase what we’re about.
What are you all about right now? Last time we spoke was in June 2021 but feels like a lot longer!
Simon: It really does.
Kerim: Time has flown. The first six months of the year were the busiest we’ve had for gigs in a long time. We had done a lot of ground work and pushed a lot of content, started a radio show with Ben OB1 from Rebel Music and did a lot more mixes.
Simon: We were down at The Cause nearly every other week during lockdown.
Kerim: Yeah we were very active and tried to make more opportunities. The luck was on our side for the first six months, which was great. It’s a bit quieter now but that’s okay. Standard festival season.
How do you feel about festivals? I think they’ve impacted club culture quite a lot and have potential to affect clubs even more as people are starting to budget during these turbulent and tight times!
Kerim: There’s too much to unpack there! I think festivals have done a lot of work booking the new talent that’s come through in recent times. But I do worry some of those bookings are based on the wrong thing like social media numbers or looks and not skill.
Bookings, for us, should be based on contributions to the scene and raw talent. Not doing a bootleg that blows up or doing some clowny shit on Instagram or TikTok. Creatives are generally introvert. Not everyone wants to have to clown around on social media. To be like ‘wahey look at me!’ It’s not me.
Simon: It’s definitely not me.
Kerim, I know your feelings on bootlegs. I’ve been involved in the same online arguments!
Kerim: Ironically I do like some bootlegs! The Circles one drops really well, for instance. I just think bootlegs should be done with the right intention at heart and for the right reason. If you’re literally doing a bootleg just to get more numbers and get gigs then that’s bollocks and I’ve got no time for it. Creativity should never be about calculated moves.
Tell you what, Eats Everything summed it up for me perfectly recently. He played a D&B set at XOYO and he played our track Can’t Hold Me. I messaged him and didn’t expect a reply but he came back saying he loved our music and that if he didn’t play house music then he’d play D&B.
Yeah he really knows his stuff!
Kerim: He does! I invited him to get involved in a Dub Wars event but he said he wouldn’t want to steal the limelight of dedicated D&B DJs. That really resonated with me. It’s the reason why you do things. If you’re doing something for the right reason then no one can tell you if you’re right or wrong. It’s all about the intent for us.
And I know we come across as very serious about this, but we’ve come up through this music since very close to the beginning. It’s precious to us as a lifestyle. Kinda like hip-hop in that way. So when we see people disrespect that lifestyle or the culture then I’m going to speak out about it.
The pursuit of authenticity isn’t it?
Simon: Authenticity has to be key to everything or what’s the point?
Kerim: Totally. We want to make music and be rated purely on the quality of our music. Yeah I love a rant online but we’d much rather put our anger and emotion into our music. That’s how a session goes – we’ll work on a new idea and vent our frustrations or emotions into the music. Then Simon will usually go, ‘I want to make something with loads of drums’ and pull out a new break he’s made. Then we’ll work on some existing projects and see if we can push any of them over the line.
Where does all this fit into the album plans you had? Is it still going to be called Stream Of Consciousness?
Kerim: That’s still a working title but the plans have changed. The gigs at the start of the year were a nice surprise but they did take out a lot of studio time for us. We had two big EPs out lately – the Dispatch EP and Sofa Sound EP – and we’ve got a collection of tracks growing for the album which we’re always looking at and tweaking.
The problem is that Simon is one of those scarily talented artists who just keeps learning new things and developing technically. So we keep having to go back to the old tunes and update them with his new techniques. Sometimes that works, sometimes that ends up meaning a tune needs a complete re-think. So yeah the album is coming… it’s just going to take a lot longer than we thought. It’s funny, Zero T warned us about doing an album and said how he’s not likely to do any more now. Icicle has posted that his album will be his last.
Still got to do one though, right? Rise to the challenge as artists!
Kerim: Exactly. If you’re not rising to challenges then what are you doing? You’re just waiting to die.
Simon: It’s such a big body of work and a massive undertaking, though. Things get in way and things take longer than you think. And it covers such a long period of time that the direction of it will change so some tracks are no longer fitting that vision you have.
Kerim: Yeah totally. We’ve got some tracks from last year which we want to keep and we’re willing to work on. We’ve got some new ones we’re really feeling. Now we need to write another 20 or so tunes so we can pick the best ones that all work well together.
You need to be ruthless with your time don’t you?
Kerim: We do. But, me being me, and us being Kolectiv, we love to do collabs too. So we’ve got a whole bunch of collabs to finish off on top of everything else. HLZ came over for a few gigs and stayed over and banged out four tune ideas in a day for instance. We’ve done a session with Minor Forms and made some ideas.
Simon: We did a session with Nurve as well.
Kerim:And a session with Ben OB1 and Science Of Man.
Wow collabo central. Didn’t you say the album would just be you guys though and no collaborationss?
Simon: Yeah, except vocalists.
Kerim: Actually we’ve got a track with Hijack, too. He’s done some sick bars for us on a track which we need to finish. That’s a real vibe. It’s got that early 2000s flavour. A lot of the tracks we’re working on all sit around that type of vibe. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not!
I’m hearing a lot of those vibes in new tunes I’m being sent and things we’re playing on Vision Radio. Perhaps that’s the next stage in the cycle as D&B constantly revolves and evolves? There’s also the Stories album on C4C in tribute to Optiv. That’s massively rekindling those formative tech funk vibes. You’re part of that.
Kerim: That’s an immense project and Mark’s smashed it. Me, him and Edd would chat on AIM a lot back in the day. We were so, so gutted when Edd passed away. I rang Mark and he told me about the album. We were going to write an EP for the label but in the end we’d written two tracks – one with Universal Project – Up An Optiv – and a remix of Infectious. We’re really happy both of them got picked up for the album. To be part of the project and be mentioned in the same breath as some of the most influential legends who are on the album is a real honour.
Absolutely. So, all in all, it sounds like you’re sitting on a whole load of sick projects, you’re on top of them and you’ll be smashing them out in due course.
Kerim: Yes but the ‘smashing things out’ thing is a real worry. The pressure to create so much content so quickly is not conducive to real creativity.
Simon: It doesn’t lend itself to you making content that’s meaningful or that you want to create as an artist.
This has come up in another conversation with Note literally today! He says the same thing…
Kerim: We love Note. We’ve been hammering one of those tunes on his new EP. He’s right. The focus is on very quick turn-around, proliferation and numbers. Things should be judged much more fairly and not based on numbers or anything like that. Judge on the content people make, not on anything else – not on how quickly it’s released or how many numbers you have on social media or what gender you identify as. It’s about the quality and integrity of the content you make.
Amen but please stop calling music content! Music is art. I make content. Throwaway stuff you read on the loo or bus.
Simon: I completely disagree. Anything that’s some form of media is content whether it’s meaningful or not. If you produce a great article about something and have meaningful things then that’s meaningful content.
Ah okay I hear you. But tunes take days or weeks and a lot of articles can take a few hours, you know?
Kerim: Some tunes can come about in a few hours. It’s all art though. Whether it’s music or writing; if it’s meaningful and done with the right intent then it’s art.
Simon: It’s not about the amount of time it takes you to do something, it’s about the amount of time you’ve put into your craft to get to that level. My girlfriend has a go at me because I always relate different forms of creativeness together because to me they are all related. I can understand creative process behind anything, because I have a creative process myself.
Kerim: This is the whole thing about society – we put things in boxes don’t we? This is academic, this is creative, this is sport. It’s very linear. But writing is very creative and interviewing is an art. You’re thinking of the right questions to ask at the right time. It’s a skill.
Nice. So what arts or skills of yours are we likely to hear next?
Kerim: So our music is out on the last two Optiv albums over the next few weeks, as we’ve mentioned. We have an EP planned with Midas which we’re revising the music on right now. That’s coming out early next year. We’ve got some Renegade Hardware remixes and we’ve done a dubstep EP, too, which we’re waiting to be signed off. And of course all the collabs we mentioned.
Loads going on!
Simon: Yeah and that’s not even including the album.
Kerim: We definitely learnt a lesson with that. Respect our limitations and the fact we are grown arsed men with commitments in life and can’t spend 24/7 in the studio like we wish we could, especially when we’re on the road a lot too. So yeah, as you said, loads going on…