Soul Intent goes full sci-fi with new album Atmospherics

Ready for takeoff?

📷: Chelone Wolf

This week sees the full release of Soul Intent’s fourth artist album Atmospherics.

Already out in the Bandcamp solar system since March 1 for all direct supporters, from Friday March 15 it will be floating freely in the wider musical universe. Whenever you align orbits with it, you’re likely to agree that it lives up to its name in every way imaginable.

Forever a deepsmith since his earliest endeavours in the late 2000s, for Atmospherics Soul Intent has taken his sense of cosmic grandeur to rather remarkable new narrative levels. Heavily inspired by composers such as Max Richter and scores to movies such The Arrival and The Fountain, Alex Soul Intent has purposefully set out to take you on a classical album style journey.


Wearing his sci-fi heart on his sleeve so hard it might drip down his hand and mess his trousers, Alex sculpts and maintains a powerful sense of a celestial aesthetic throughout Atmospherics. With it comes a hard-to-define-yet-impossible-to-ignore emotional poignancy and slight melancholy that sits somewhere between totally lost in space and the perennial frustration of being stuck on this planet.

Moody, pregnant in hope, tension and drama, there’s a strong case to suggest this is Soul Intent’s best body of work so far. Considering three of the four of his albums have all come about in the last four three years, there’s also a strong case to pick up the phone and ring him. So we did…

This is a proper album. You’re telling a story here!

Nice one! Yeah I am, definitely. Rather than it being a collection of tracks that kinda work together I want it to be a much more of a classic journey experience. I was influenced by Biosphere’s Patashnik and Global Communications’ 76:14 albums that were constructed to be a journey, essentially.

So that was the intention I had with this and some of the tracks have been waiting for a body of work like this for many years. One particular track, Dark Robotic Orchestra, dates back to 2008. It was originally earmarked for a label called Darkestral. That didn’t happen but it’s sat there on my hard drive over the years and it worked really nicely as part of this project.


So there are tracks like that and there’s a lot of sci-fi score influenced pieces on there which have been inspired by composers like Max Richter and Ólafur Arnalds. So the ambient tracks that are first and last on the album came about through those influences. I’m really into those tracks but whether the D&B crew will be is to be seen.

The album crew will love them! Those opening and closing tracks sound like they reflect each other, maybe in terms of the chords you use?

Haha, not intentionally. I’m not that clever! They’re both separate tracks but are made in the same spirit. The whole idea is to ease you into the album and bring you back down again at the end with the outro. I’ve definitely focused on the flow of the experience and feel I’ve achieved that with this one.

You definitely have. This is your fourth album now but interestingly three of them have all come about since lockdown times.

Yeah you’re right. I took a long time building up to being ready for an album. Delusions Of Grandeur, my debut, came out in 2017. I’d had a few offers to release albums with other labels before then, but didn’t feel I was ready or the timing was right. In 2017 it marked me releasing solo for 10 years and it was nice to mark that milestone.

Following that both Everything & Nothing and The Feels came out fairly quickly after each other because we had that chunk of time when we were all still at home. For me lockdown wasn’t too bad – it gave me the perfect opportunity to be very nerdy in the studio. I used that time to do as much writing and be as productive as I could be. As I know many others did.


It went one of two ways didn’t it? Some lost inspiration entirely and others went IN. I think DJs who are most dancefloor focused, and tour regularly, faced particular challenges as there was less purpose for those tracks. But deeper escapades which weren’t entirely made for big dancefloor business still had more place.

Yeah I’d agree. I really felt for everyone who makes music full time around that time, it must have been pretty scary for a lot of people. I’ve always kept my day job and seen music as a hobby with the occasional perk. I’ve done some travelling off the back of it and had some great experiences from it but when lockdown came I was grateful for not being full time. It can get hard, especially around festival season when social media is full of videos of people playing these amazing looking scenes and beach parties, when you’re not out gigging as much. It’s easy to get those envious eyes.

But during lockdown it was a point I was very grateful for my situation. I just concentrated on writing and it was the most productive period I’ve ever had. I have a folder of ideas and unfinished projects dating back 20 years and had the time to go back over so many different things. I save everything because something can always be salvaged or recycled or developed and Everything & Nothing came from a lot of those projects.

I wondered if Atmospherics had too because it’s so cosmic. It’s not until track five that we’re hit with a proper D&B beat.

What I like to do, if possible, is keep the tempo around 170. Besides Dying Star, even the ambient stuff, the project bpm is all around 170. I like sticking to the tempo and seeing what I can get away with. Things sound a lot slower but they’re just variations on halftime. I love the space that you can play within that tempo and seeing what you can get away with.


Yeah! You don’t have to drop the tempo to flex the speed

That’s it. It’s almost showing how versatile D&B can be.  Even the ambient tracks are 170 bpm. And that’s a cool thought that maybe some people who are into D&B and might not have really checked for ambient before might be exposed to it.

Or the other way around; it gets picked up by wider listeners of electronic music who might have dismissed D&B before. I love seeing comments on Soundcloud like, ‘I don’t usually listen to D&B but I came across this and I love it.’ That’s always satisfying and I love joining the dots between genres within the framework of drum & bass.

Yeah, that’s a massive win. I’m noticing a lot of sick deep jungle around. Nine Windows last year, labels like Codename RCRDS and Deep Jungle, artists like Nonrev. You! Would you say the deeper side is being appreciated a lot right now?

There’s definitely been a big revival in recent years and within that there were little sub movements like the Bukem and Good Looking style which was a huge influence on me. A group of friends and I would travel to Ministry Of Sound to see him play and follow him around the south east.

On my first Dope Plates release there’s a track called Deeper which is my ode to that time. And that sound has always been around thanks to guys like ASC. I’ve always been a sucker for it, especially the sci-fi aesthetics. It’s why I’ve made a lot of this music in the past. I do worry about some of the reissues and wondering how much of it is faithful and how much is exploitative and profiteering but as long as it’s opening doors to new generations of heads and inspiring new productions then it’s a good thing.

Yeah the balance of classic records and contemporary takes on the deep jungle style is what keeps things moving

Hopefully but I’d be interested to know what the demographic is of those buying the classics. Is it just aging ravers who can remember the first time round and don’t want to pay the mad Discogs price? Or are there younger heads digging those old ones? I’d be interested to know.

I’ve met many young ravers and promoters who definitely do dig them! I think people are a lot more open minded now and not so blinkered by genre or subgenre.

That’s great. I guess the genre is so established, it’s not going anywhere. So it can be that confident to try new things. Remember when Zinc got loads of grief for making garage years ago? But now it does seem like people can try a lot of things or that fans are more open minded. Although I’d say I’d quite like to see the jungle revival move on to another revival. Tech step would be nice.

Happy hardcore!

Haha yeah all those periods of time will get another moment in the spot light eventually. I just gave away a little piano hardcore thing actually. Just something nice and fun to make. It’ll be interesting to see which sounds will be revived again, some days it feels a bit predictable so I hope we move on and look forward a bit more.

Talking about looking forward… What’s up next?

Okay so I’ve got some techstep style drum & bassy stuff finished up. There’s another label who I started talking to when I was making Atmospherics where something might happen. I’m always working on different things and have different goals. I’d love to release on Overshadow one day or Metalheadz. But otherwise I have my own labels as my own outlets; Dope Plates, Excursions and Lossless give me as much freedom as I like. I’m in a really nice position where I can make what I want and as long as it’s good enough then I can get it out there!

Soul Intent – Atmospherics is out now

Support Soul Intent: InstagramSoundcloud > Facebook

Power your creative ideas with pixel-perfect design and cutting-edge technology. Create your beautiful website with Zeen now.