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40
IntervIew wIth
the vampIre
Considering he’s a massive fan of horror films who once produced a single for the Blade
soundtrack as one half of Source Direct, deciding to call his label Vampire Records was a
no-brainer for Phil Aslett. Back from the drum & bass wilderness after several years out of
the game, he tells Knowledge why he was so keen to sink his teeth into his new project.
It’s almost ten years since Phil aka Phil Source “I’ve been approached by a lot of producers in- needed to help bring me up to date. I was lucky to
and his long-time buddy Jim Baker released teresting in appearing on the label,” says Phil. find someone out of nowhere who could help me
their last track as Source Direct, having produced “It took a while to start off with when I came back get back into it.”
more than 50 singles and two albums for Virgin to find out who’s doing what but I’ve tried to tap
Records. Having originated as Sounds of Life in into every genre of drum & bass. I hate the way Also producing as Phil Source, it doesn’t seem to
1992 and then spent five years touring the world it is all spilt up into different styles so I’ve tried have taken him long to get back involved with the
with the likes of LTJ Bukem and Photek on the to bring it all together in one place. The list of scene. A remix with Outrage is about to hit the
crest of drum & bass-shaped wave, Phil had de- artists is extremely varied and I think it helps to streets and a new track with TeeBee is also in the
cided he needed a break. create a unique collection of music. Once you get pipeline. There are now plans for a regular club
into the Vampire Sound there’s no turning back night to coincide with the release of the album on
“I was only 19 when we signed with Virgin and from the bite! The music on there is pretty deep April 1st, while a world tour later this year will in-
we’d hit the big time already,” he remembers. so it grips you – this isn’t like a dancefloor album, clude guest appearances from Goldie, Fabio and
“Everything progressed really quickly and we end- it’s an album of music to listen to. It takes you on Randall among others. He’s even in negotiations
ed up signing the deal - things went very fast and a whole journey from start to finish.” with horror films about producing more sound-
there was a lot of money involved. There was also tracks so did Phil ever truly believe he would never
a lot of pressure from the record company to keep The album comprises 24 different tracks from return to making music?
producing music so it was hard to keep that going artists as varied as TeeBee, Soul Intent, Gremlinz
and we started to fall out as a result. I just needed and System split into two parts – ‘Once Bitten’ “I love it so much that I think I always going to
a break from it all because it just got too intense. and ‘Twice High’. The list of collaborators also come back,” he admits.
I felt that I still needed to learn something about includes Dejaru from Finland, American Method “I’ve followed the whole progression from acid
myself because I didn’t know much about the real One, Strago from Spain and Singapore’s Kiat, house through to today and I really missed be-
world.” evidence that drum & bass is now truly a world- ing involved in it. My job was paying me enough
wide phenomenon. to not have to worry about music but I wanted to
After ‘ducking and diving’ for a year or two, Phil get involved again with all the fun of the scene.
set up a lucrative car import business with his “It’s hard to believe how it has all developed – we There’s a big creative buzz in my head that was
brother and the world of drum & bass seemed used to go abroad a lot with Photek and I think stifled for a long time so I had to do something
a distant memory. Then a chance meeting with that really helped spread the word in the early about it. I also wanted to give new artists the op-
a relation of the man who composed ‘The Pink days. The scene has got a niche element to it still portunity to come through – it can all be quite
Panther’ soundtrack finally rekindled his pas- but the core is still very strong. You occasionally controlled and closed to outsiders. I know how
sion. have a few tracks that escape to the bigger market hard it was for me to break into so it’s important
but the core is what keeps it all going. Wherever to help others do the same for the progression of
“I met an old friend of mine who had started you go in the world it’s the same.” the scene.”
working in a record shop and was going out
with a guy who was Mr C’s engineer from the Not to be outdone, Phil’s link up with System So with his Vampire’s lair well established in the
Watershed,” he explains. “She introduced me to for ‘Fearless’ and as Grand Masterz on ‘The drum & bass kingdom, there’s no looking back
Danny Mancini and he encouraged me to come Dreamer’ shows that he has lost none of the magic for Phil. He plans to launch offshoot label Diablo
in the studio with him and start making some that helped to make his name first time around. in the next few months to carry future single re-
tunes again. I sent a few samples of what we man- Although he does admit it took him a while to get leases, with Vampire to concentrate on producing
aged to produce out to some of my old contacts in used to some of technological advances. longer players.
drum & bass and they went down well with people
like Goldie and Friction. That encouraged me to “The difference between the way people were “This is just the start,” he concludes. “I’ve done
get seriously involved again.” making music then and now was pretty mind- so many singles over the years but with Vampire I
blowing to be honest. Before, you needed loads want to mainly concentrate on producing albums.
That was 2006 and, less than three years later, his of outboard equipment and racks of effects units You can make much more of a statement with an
new creation Vampire Records already has ten re- but when I linked up with Danny, everything was album and really develop your own sound. It’s not
leases under its belt, with Phil having teamed up done on his laptop! The whole transitional pe- been easy coming back into it all because we’re
with Mancini as Grand Masterz. He’s also busy riod to computers passed me by so it was a bit of not following any trends with what we’re putting
planning the release of an album entitled ‘Once a shock having to use one. It’s made everything a out so it’s a lot of hard work. There’s a big di-
Bitten, Twice High’, a collection of previously re- lot easier because we used to spend a day trying to vide between some parts of the scene which is a lot
leased tracks and exclusive appearances by some of split breaks properly but there’s no need to nowa- different from back in the day. I’m a big believer
the freshest new talent in drum & bass. days. It’s a good combination – Danny is techni- that it’s important to include lots of different
cally brilliant in the studio and was exactly what I styles because that’s my outlook in music.”
www.kmag.co.uk
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