1 More Mix 022: Melinki (100% Four Corners Dub Mix)
3 hours of exclusive Four Corners futurism
Exclusive + dubs = Two highly rinsed words in the drum & bass vernacular. But in the case of the latest edition for the 1 More Mix series, they’re more than accurate.
On mission to tighten up his label craft and get as organised, on-it and A&R-focused as he can possibly be, Melinki has spent the last year grafting extra hard on Four Corners Music, its team and extended community of artists and its repertoire. The result is an exciting situation where he can lay down a three hour mix comprising entirely of forthcoming, unreleased music.
All quarters covered from deep jazz and soulful to heavyweight tech and laid out in a way that weaves, builds and teases, the mix explores almost the entire 170+ spectrum through the Melinki’s widescreen Four Corners lens. It takes us deep into the label’s release schedule, waist deep into 2024. Dub after dub after dub, no tracklisting, just a rollcall of talented artists…
Hailing from Russia, Brazil, South Africa, America, Austria, France, Serbia, UK and beyond and ranging from debutant freshmen to longstanding players, the collective of artists provide a sense of consistency as Melinki showcases what he has in store in a refreshing and exciting way.
As rife as dubs and exclusives are in this game, how many labels reveal their hand in such a cool, unhurried and confident way?
For Melinki it’s a nod to his roots and the labels that inspired him. For the artists involved, it’s a unique showcase that will remain fresh for many months to come and be constant source of revelations as each release drops. For the rest of us, it’s a three hour delight that taps into some of the coolest corners, quarters, sectors and pastures of drum & bass, going right across the board in a timeless and dynamic way. And unless you’ve come back for a reload, we can guarantee you’ve not heard this music anywhere else.
Altogether now… “Exclusive!”
Your start-of-year mixes are a bit of a tradition aren’t they?
Well mixes are a huge part of what I do anyway. I love mixing, I love sharing music. But this type of mix is actually a first and something I’m proud of. What I usually do is a recap / best-of style mix which looks back over the previous year. But with this one, doing a mix that only looks forward, all fully made of unreleased music that’s coming on my label is a first.
I hope it starts a tradition! The fact it’s ended up three hours long and every single tune is something I’m really proud to release… That blows my mind a bit to be honest. Never thought I’d be able to do this.
Wow. So the Four Corners release schedule is tightly wrapped up, then?
It’s extremely regimented. It’s the culmination of the last six months of me being very militant and OCD with everyone and rounding up the troops and getting everything ready and organised. As it stands we’re into 2024 with masters and artwork all done and ready to go.
So some of the tunes on this mix might not come out for over a year?
Yeah man. Some of them have been in the making for a long time, too. For example some tracks by R4NSOM who’s a producer over in the US, we’ve been working towards that release for two years.
There you go. Great guy. He was introduced to me by Philth and over the last few years he’s got better and better with his submissions so we’ve been working on that to get the best EP we can possibly do. So there are elements of this mix that we’ve been working towards for a very long time. This is how I want to move forward and it means I’m being incredibly selective over what I’m signing.
That means this mix is futureproofed for such a long time and means anyone submitting will either understand that any potential release with you would be in well over a year. You’ve got this mix as a benchmark so people know what’s coming up.
Exactly what you just said. Plus I want to put more time into promotion and making the artists feel valued. I’ve given this everything. Now I’m this organised I can put even more time into promoting each release and make sure I get the music to the right people and do the artists justice. I’ve got some people working on the label with me doing social media things and promotion and that’s made a huge difference and given me more time to talk to the artists, do the A&R, curate the EPs and albums and doing the things I love.
That’s the craft of the label right there.
Yeah. I love doing the artwork, talking with the artists, organising the release, negotiating deals and all of that. And it is a statement. I grew up listening to the likes of Bryan Gee and Grooverider and getting the tape and waiting for two years until I can get the tune. I want to pay respect to that tradition and say that not every release is going to come out straight away.
Totally. Some releases feel like the track goes up online the week before release and it’s dead one week after. Never to be heard again. That’s not me putting down any labels. It’s how things are.
Yeah, it’s like we’ve had the last 20 years of going turbo charged like brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Now people are more of the mind of, ‘Woah, okay how can we slow down certain things, but keep the best things about the internet?’
Haha yeah exactly. And there are loads of benefits of the internet – how we can connect with each other around the world and how it breaks down a lot of barriers – but the instant nature of it and the speed of how art is consumed is definitely a down side and it’s nice to put some value back into music. Let things marinating and get the music to the right people, talk to each other about the approach and the craft of it. Why rush?
Like you said about working on an EP for two years, as you mentioned. That time you’re spending transcends any trend or style. It means that the music is built to last.
Yeah. Not everyone takes two years to release on the label, though! That’s just an example. On the flip, there’s a duo who sent me tunes recently which fit things really well and their release is landing in a few months time. But with R4NSOM, it’s his debut EP so he wanted to take the time on it and we’ve been developing it. That time is important and I can relate to that completely. I recently dropped an EP on V Recordings and the title track Bad Trip was signed in 2018.
That’s how long it takes sometimes.
Yeah. I’d spent the previous two years sending Bryan demos. He didn’t reply but I knew he was listening because Soundcloud gives you that information. But yeah he got back to me saying he liked it and that we should build an EP. So it does take time. Bryan knows exactly what he wants and he won’t rush things but it makes the release so much more worthwhile when it finally comes out.
That’s wicked. V is a huge influence for Four Corners isn’t it? You mention them in many interviews we’ve done over the years
Hugely. But I’d say Four Corners is a melting pot of a lot of influences and labels I loved growing up. Some are a nod to Renegade Hardware, some are a nod to Virus or Full Cycle. All those classic labels. I’d go to a night where you’d see Mampi Swift, Roni Size, Die, Calibre, all on one night. That’s what I’ve always loved and what I want the label to be and hopefully this mix showcases that. Having such a wide range of sounds can be a hinderance and confuse people. I love all music because there’s a time and a place for it all.
The best DJs play across the board. Look at Marky. Hype drops bits of liquid. Hybrid Minds drop jump-up. Only narrow minded DJs get confused in my opinion. But you’re right about this mix being a statement in that way. Can I have a tracklist or is it IDb2bID?
Oh man I’ve thought so much about this and I’m talking to the artists about it right now to make sure I do them right. That’s such an important thing for me; they are the label. Without these artists creating this incredible music that I’m so happy to play then it’s nothing. I feel very privileged.
I think communicating with artists is so important. A lot of artists have bad experiences and it puts them off releasing music.
Yeah I totally agree. I want to give something back to this scene. People have asked about signing exclusively but I wouldn’t want to do that because they make something sick which attracts the attention of a bigger label like Hospital or Critical or something then I wouldn’t want to hold them back. I want Four Corners Music to be a stepping stone and help artists plan and develop that path towards goals of theirs. That’s what I want to do personally as an artist, so if I can help others reach their goals then I’m a very happy man.