It starts right here with this heroically hectic 1 More Thing mix from Watford duo Bunnerz. 45 minutes of pure dancefloor / jump-up / roller energy, it’s an intense slice of what they stand for and what they’re at creatively. Check it…
For more savage slices of Bunnerz intent you can also check their recent release Bunnerz & Friends on new label Cryptik. Featuring pals old and new – Jappa, Dreps, Kombo, Blckhry, Magenta and Zeba – it’s an insight into the sprawling, high energy Bunnerz sound and a statement on their socially minded take on production. More heads are always better than one. Especially when you’re being headbutted by mixes as strong as this.
1 More Thing caught up with Bunnerz duo Marco and Ben on a quiet Monday evening during their regular weekly tune writing session. Check the mix and get acquainted…
So Monday night is Bunnerz night?
Marco: Yeah we meet up and see what we can do and write for as long as the creativity lasts really. Could go all night, could stop at 11.
Depends on the vibes you’re feeling I guess!
Ben: That’s exactly it.
How long you been writing together?
Marco: So we’re both 26 now and we got into drum & bass when we were around 17/18 but started producing around the age of 21 or 22. Because we’re so tight, we thought it would be better and more fun to collaborate and produce together instead of doing it on our own.
So five or so years… Not long before that Jorja Smith bootleg of yours came about!
Marco: Wow that one just keeps on coming up! That was our first ever thing. Ben took the lead on that.
Ben: We slate it these days.
You’ve moved on as artists!
Ben: Yeah I just think we could do so much better now. It needs a 2022 twist.
You’re always learning…
Marco: Yeah totally. We listen to things we made six months ago and we can hear the difference. You’re constantly learning and discovering new techniques. From what I hear even 20 years down the line we’ll still be the same.
That’s the beauty of being creative. Never sitting still, always having an open mind
Marco: That’s it and with other people in the game pushing boundaries and pushing things at such an exciting rate, you can’t afford to sit still anyway.
Totally. Friendly competition! That brings us nicely to the Bunnerz & Friends EP
Marco: We’ve been meaning to do this EP for a long time but I feel it’s come at the right time. If we’d done it a year ago then we might not have had such a great range of collaborators on it
How did it come about?
Marco: We originally pushed the idea to Warden at Bagged & Tagged but he liked the solo tracks more than the collabs so that led to Undercover EP earlier this year. Then we worked on the collabs more and sent them to Jordan at Cryptik and that’s where it started to take shape.
Ben: To be fair, most of this EP got really finished in the last month or two. The release date came earlier than we expected and we had to pull a lot of 3am-ers.
Deadlines create that extra push. No time to overthink! How did you curate the list of collaborators? When you’re working with friends it’s hard to draw a line and have a cut-off point!
Ben: Yeah you’ve definitely got to draw the line somewhere. Some people had to be on it. Jappa’s a good mate from local and from a long time, so we really wanted him on there.
Marco: Yeah he’s one of our pals and he had to be on it. That tune came together really well. It was him who suggested Natty D on vocals actually.
Is Dreps local to you? I associate him with Turno. Pretty sure Bedford is near you?
Marco: Well I did actually do a session with Turno as a tutor when I was first starting but the connection came through Jordan at the label. He does a lot of event management. He’d booked Dreps, asked him if he was up for being on the label and sent him some tunes. Dreps picked ours and we were proper gassed about that. He’s pretty exclusive with who he works with. Plus he did the personalized hook on the tune, so we were really gassed.
Sick. How about the Blckhry connection?
Ben: He’s pretty local to us, too. Like 25 minutes away. We kept on being booked on the same line-ups and have developed a really good friendship.
Marco: Yeah we were booked at the same shows and would chat all the time. When we realized he was in High Wycombe we were like, ‘We got to get on a collaboration!’ Now here we are.
How about Kombo?
Marco: So we started linking up with Manek about a year ago and him and Kombo do this No Intro freestyle project. They used a Dominator track for the first one and were looking for a second track to use. Anyway one night we’re in Pirate Studio having a mix and Manek and combo come down and get on the mic. We play the tune and Kombo pulled it up straight away like, ‘Bruv who’s this?’ We told them it was ours and they said they wanted to use it for their No Intro series. We kept in touch, Kombo needed some beats so we did a little swap. We gave him beats, he gave us a vocal. We were really happy with this.
Nice. Tell me about the Magenta link up. He’s Czech, right?
Marco: Yeah he is. We linked up online and exchanged a load of sounds. He sent us a folder with about 100 different bass sounds alone. It was mental. So we got to work.
Ben: There are a few Bunnerz and Magenta collabs in the folder right now! We’ve got more in store in the future.
Sick! So finally, let’s chat Zeba…
Ben: We went to Warden’s house to discuss the Undercover EP and he played us Zeba’s EP that was coming on Bagged & Tagged and it was fat as fuck and a lot of the style we really like. Slow but dark but jump-uppy dnb. We knew we wanted to do a collab and when the EP came about we linked up.
I love how these type of EPs highlight the social aspect of production.
Ben: Yeah we’ve always thought that. You see different sides of your own music when you’re collaborating with someone else. It’s really interesting.
Do you think it could turn into a series?
Ben: We’ll see how well it does. It’s number one on Juno Download at the moment and we’re talking about a remix EP.
Marco: I’d definitely be up for another Bunnerz & Friends EP!
Who would your dream collab be?
Marco: Gino for me. His ideas are so out there, they’re crazy. He’d be really interesting to collaborate with.
Ben: For me, Hazard would be the dream. One of my original inspirations, it was him. Going to Playaz, Fabric, that’s where it started.
Ben: Every Friday at the end of the month. We wouldn’t miss it.
Yeah I went to quite a few over the years. Mad vibes in there. Big up on the mix!
Marco: It’s everything we love. We like to give off the dancefloor rollers vibes, we keep things moving quite quick so there’s no time to get bored.
What’s the secret to a good mix?
Ben: Knowing when to let it breathe a bit and knowing when to go in. And obviously tune selection.
Marco: I love being taken on a journey. I love the quickfire tunes vibe but I love those mixes when you’re go through different vibes. Like when you’re in the roller section and when you’re in the jump-up section. But you can’t plan those bits as a DJ – they just come when you’re vibing off the mix.
Ben: to be fair we never plan a mix do we?
Marco: Yeah I think we did it once and got a folder together but the chemistry wasn’t there so we just vibe off each other. No pre planning, no over-thinking.
You bounce off each other, like you would in the studio. Vibes thing!
Ben: Literally. It’s got tougher because we’re producing so much more now and not mixing anywhere near as much. Back when we were just mixing we’d know every tune by name.
Marco: Just play me a four second intro and I could name the tune! But when you get deeper into production there’s not enough time to go into as much detail.
Totally. So what comes now after Bunnerz & Friends?
Marco: We got a few free downloads so keep an eye on our socials. We’ll be showcasing some mixing and we’re in the process of setting up our own outlet just to have some extra control with our music. We like getting involved in the artwork and the process so we’re trying it out. Its exciting. Some releases can get lost in translation with other labels so to be able to put something out exactly how we want it will be great. Although we’ve never had a problem with any of the labels we’ve worked with, they’ve all been sick.
It’s about having the flexibility isn’t it? If you’ve got something you want to drop there and then, and not wait on release schedules, then you can…
Marco: That’s exactly it. We’re looking forward to putting out some cool wacky stuff we’ve made.
Amazing. Anything else the world needs to know about Bunnerz right about now?
Marco: You need to know we’re not slowing down, we’re keeping the pace up…
Ben: Just don’t sleep on Bunnerz. We’re constantly evolving and trying different ideas. Pay attention. And listen to our mix for 1 More Thing!