Italian newcomer backjumps from metal to deep dark D&B
Hold tight inside the ride, it’s Xyde. A new Italian producer who made his debuted in recent months on BNCexpress before rolling through to Tyke’s Holographic Audio and, most recently, Phabiaz and RNCBL’s burgeoning imprint Jungle Pride.
Covering major ground in a very short space of time, Xyde – real name Vasco – is no typical newcomer. Having spent the last 17 years touring Europe as the guitarist in metal/crossover band Backjumper, he’s already enjoyed a rich musical career for his whole adult life so far. A fan of D&B on the side, as Backjumper came to a natural end, he’s pressed reset and is ready to play again. This time in a whole new game.
He’s already carving out his own unique, gritty sound on the deep side of D&B so 1 More Thing called him up to say ciao.
You’re new to drum & bass… But not new to music. Tell us all about Backjumper!
Backjumper means a lot to me, I dedicated 17 years of my life to the project. We started in 2003 as a crossover/metal band with the only purpose of making music. Four of us, without compromising our identity. We passed half of our life side-to-side in a reharsal room, in a van full of equipment, sleeping frequently in almost surreal places, but we always did it with a smile on our faces.
It was never just music, we took care of each other, as a family. In 17 years, we reached unbelievable targets, we struggled on our own to give place to our name in the Italian and European underground… And we did it. We released three albums, two EPs and we toured all over the Europe. We also played in one of the most important European metal festivals – the Wacken Open Air.
You must have spent a lot of time on the road and had a lot of fun? Give me a funny tour story..
Life on touring is amazing, especially when you share these moments with friends of a lifetime. You do stupid things on the trip and when the day off comes, it gets even more absurd. The strangest thing i remember was the first time in Amsterdam: five hours of vacuum ahah, you know what i mean! I regained consciousness in a donut shop…
Ha. I can think of many worse places to wake up. How did you make the transition from metal to D&B? Have you always been a fan?
I always loved D&B, but I’ve never gone deeper… I only knew the most important artists in the scene such as Pendulum, Sub Focus and Noisia. In particular Pendulum did a collab with a melodic death/metal band In Flames in 2010. The track name is Self vs. Self.
It was the first time in which i felt the two musical genres merge. Just wow! The energy was incredible, I’ve got strong emotions. Later, while Backjumper broke up, for personal reasons of each of us, I found other names like Metrik, Dimension, Culture Shock, Friction, Muzz and started to gain my first drum & bass demos, taking advantage of my knowledge about production process.
I must say that Metrik has inspired me a lot, not just for his music, but also for his attitude and dedication. Without any doubt he gave me the push for the change. By this time I discovered several subgenres of D&B and honestly at the moment I really love the deep one. But I’ll never be constrained to one subgenre; music is music, you have to listen to it all, unrestricted!
Couldn’t agree more man! In terms of the metal / D&B connection, there are many parallels between the two in my eyes. For me the strongest are energy, and fierce loyalty. A strong culture. How about you? What are the connections for you?
I think you’re right! Lots of artist right now bring heavy distorted guitars on their productions. Look at Metrik, Muzz, Waeys and many others. The musical energy is the common vision of both genres…
But people are also moved by the same passion and attitude. Drop the proper leading heavy riff to the metal audience and they will start to pogos aggressively and it’s quite similar when you release a massive drop to the D&B people, they will start stepping deeply all around. There’s an high involvement!
Yeah man! So creatively, what do you take from metal and put into your D&B?
Honestly I started playing guitar but I’m really passionate for drums and while I handled guitar duties in the band, I learned to produce, too. I recorded, mixed and mastered one LP for a blues/rock band, one EP for Backjumper and produced a bunch of royalty free samples packs for musical theatre and video spots. All these elements are generally included in my D&B tunes.
It is also important to consider my passion for sci-fi related movies. I usually get a lot of inspiration from these, especially for arps and ambients. When I produce something usually I start from a concept, or a bassline, in other cases I prefer to start from a vocal hook.
Your debut was on BNCexpress… Tell me about Superball, it’s quite different to your other releases.
Superball wasn’t the first tune i ever made. Before that I produced a tune named The Amber Light and I sent it to some label but it was not successful. Then I got an idea, a guitar riff that I had in mind, and recorded it. Soon after I reproduced the same riff on Serum and layered together. It worked! Albees checked the tune and, without my knowledge, sent the tune to his friend Promenade at BNCexpress. He reached out to me and told me he wanted to release out the tune and he was really into it!
Currently Promenade is a good friend and a mentor to me, I owe him so much to have believed in me from the beginning. He taught me how to approach dnb production, pushing me higher. I guess the tune sounds quite different from the others I’ve made because in that moment I took a lot of inspiration from Sub focus and Metrik. Soon I discovered other subgenres and I fell in love with deep and techy dnb. In fact currently I’m trying to blend deep sonics and sci-fi inspirated resonances.
Sci-fi and D&B go together even more than metal and D&B! Your next release was on Holographic Audio. Big up Tyke…
Want to talk about Tyke? Crazy! I was working on a bunch of tunes and out of the blue here comes Holographic Audio following me on IG. I took the opportunity to try to contact Tyke personally and he answered, suggesting me to send what I had in the bag.
He fell in love with Dystopia and then with Concentrate (a tune that came from an idea of Albees) Tyke started to play the tunes on his radio show and I thought it would take so long to get released…. But then I found out that the EP would be out in two weeks. That was mindblowing!
Tyke gave me a great opportunity, he has even delivered the tunes to Marky. Marky!! My eyes are still shining. I can say Tyke is a good friend too, he is a great guy, he is the example of the right attitude, someone special to me even as it is Promenade.
You need to big up Ablees right here…
Talking about special dudes, here is Albees. Old school junglist, vinyl dust lover… He shared the decks with a bunch of relevant artists of the genre over the years. Aphrodite, Tantrum Desire, Prolix, Mindscape and many more. He started as a DJ but has recently shifted is focus on producing. In fact for the second time we worked together for the newcomer release on Jungle Pride.
Yes! Tell us about Apes and Astra…
The new EP is out exclusively on Beatport since July 8 and will be available on all major streaming/download platforms on July 22. We worked together on Apes while Astra is written only by me. Jungle Pride is owned by Phabiaz and RNCBL, they’re a newcomer label, only established in 2020, but the duo have organized a lot of dnb events contributing to the movement since 2009.
Apes and Astra are quite different. I really like to diversify the tunes, release after release. It’s a way to continue the Backjumper legacy. Multiple elements that merge together, giving consistency to everything.
Love that! What’s coming next?
I can confirm that I have a release per month until the end of the year. After this last release, I’ll return first on a compilation from an Italian electronic music label – Antistandard Records. Then again on BNCexpress. Both tunes featured by my old friend paCMan on the mic. He is the Backjumper singer and MC. Pure dynamite in my eyes. I love him so much!
Then, after two weeks of vacation, I’m back to work, writing brand new tunes. I want to develop so much and I will try to do it with all my strength. Focus and determination, that’s the plan for the future!