Exclusive Free Download: UK Bass Classics DJ Mix From Ursa Major—Plus Interview

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Trouble & Bass duo Ursa Major (Sarah Marshall and Kieran Mulhern) recently put together an exclusive DJ mix for Magnetic filled with some top-shelf UK bass classics.

The Notthingham powerhouse also recently dropped the “Whitecaps” EP via Trouble & Bass. If you’re in the mood for some futuristic garage burners that float along on a wave of first-crushing synths and watery effects then go get it. Definitely cop it if you’re a fan of acts like Addison Groove, Ben UFO, SBTRKT, Distal, Nguzunguzu and Throwing Snow. Also check out May 2011’s tropical and funky “Blacklight” EP and November 2011’s “Low Rises” remix EP. You can listen to both at the bottom of the interview.

Free Download: UK Bass Classics (right click, save as)

Discuss a musician or an era which has influenced you.

Sarah Marshall: I've always listened to some sort of dance music, from earlier house to rave, drum & bass, trance, hard dance, techno, garage and more recently bass music. I think my early clubbing experiences had the most influence over the music I want to make now. This consisted of a lot of garage and house but heavier bass elements come in from the harder styles like drum and bass and techno. I was lucky to make friends at an early clubbing age with like minded people that wanted to find quality dance music, those times were very influential.
Kieran Mulhern: I had the benefit of being able to access my older brother’s music collection. He is 8 years older than me, which meant during the ‘90s, he was heavily into rave music and conversely the madchester sound. I'll always have a fondness for rave as it brings back memories of listening to my brother’s tapes and CDs when he was out. This was an early exposure to one of the most influential periods in dance music of our times.

If you were starting out now, would you do anything differently?

SM: I would probably have jumped in quicker with producing music. I DJd for quite a while before taking the plunge which I sometimes regret. I would encourage people to just go ahead and learn as much as possible while you can.
KM: Similarly it would be the move to producing music at an early time. Producing music changes the way you listen to it and overall has increased my appreciation of it.

What was your favorite toy as a child and why did you stop playing with it?

SM: I had a toy called a Major Morgan, it was like a hand held electronic organ. When I say organ it wasn't like an actual instrument, it was definitely a toy but it did make some crazy noises. You were supposed to follow the card that came with it to play a song e.g. three blind mice but it was more fun to just make up your own. I only stopped playing with it as it broke, I guess my parents had enough by that point and chose not to replace it...
KM: It's hard to think of a single toy or object; most of my childhood was spent playing sports on any patch of grass we could find on our estate. Every day of the school holidays was spent playing football predominantly. This would normally be on a patch of grass in between two houses. The walls of the houses would be the goals, with makeshift goalposts drawn onto the brickwork with stone. This would only last until one of the occupants would come out and complain. It was never meant to be malicious, we were only making the best of the area we had.

Have you ever had a brush with the paranormal or supernatural?

SM: I'm not sure how much I believe in the supernatural. My mother is very much into the spiritual world but I'm still not fully convinced. Having said that, when I was younger I would sometimes feel as though someone was in the room with me when I was alone, sometimes I even felt a tugging on my clothes. I was told that I had a 'spirit child' that was looking out for me. Not sure if that explanation helped me or made me more paranoid!
KM: My family is from a rural part of Ireland. My father and other members of my family have told me stories of paranormal encounters that they have had growing up. My father would cycle home from work at a pub in the countryside, one night he passed the gatepost of a house at which a tall man wearing Victorian clothing was standing, as he passed he said hello. The man followed my father down the country lane, keeping pace as my father cycled faster and faster, before disappearing off down one of the other lanes. None of them were ever menacing, however, I don't think I’d like to experience it.

How will you feel six months after your heart stops beating?

SM: I don't imagine I will feel much. I struggle with the notion of an afterlife. Having said that if such a thing does exist, I guess all I can hope for is to not feel pain or suffering.
KM: Being a Roman Catholic, Heaven is the ultimate afterlife. My views are very moralistic, however, when it comes to the afterlife, is it a state of mind? Or are we dealing with physical/tangible experiences.

Do you have a pet? Tell me a story about it/him/her. If not, what is your ideal pet and what would you want it to do in an ideal world?

SM: I've always wanted to have some type of monkey. It would be amazing to have a monkey around the house, to greet you when you get home, take out to the park etc. Then again I would have to have a huge house and let's face it, end up getting arrested...so I'd also settle for 2 Boston terriers or a Huskey and a Pomeranian. I can't decide which is the best option...
KM: I really want a French bulldog called Franc or a Beagle named Sebastian. Growing up I had a cat called Roger. In a strange way he never really behaved like a cat, he was pretty amazing.

If you could send advice via a fortune cookie to up-and-comers, it would read:

SM: Just do what you want to do. Make yourself known and stand by what you like, don't try and change it.
KM: Never underestimate the importance of family; they're the people who will be with you no matter what.

Which do you prefer, a smoky, low-lit club or a big stage with bright lights and colored gels?

SM: would be a low-lit club each and every time if I had the choice. There's something about a dark smoky club that just feels real. People lose their shit and don't care how they dance or what they are wearing. It’s dark and loud and that's how it should be.
KM: Definitely a low-lit club. There's something about the atmosphere and energy that this space creates. You aren't reliant on pyrotechnics and light shows to influence people. In this space the most important element is the music. Some of the best clubs I have been to have been like this.

What value do you place on environment as a creative springboard?

SM: I'm not really that picky. I do however have to be warm and feel quite awake, there's nothing worse than trying to make music when you're tired. I usually work in my home studio which is relatively basic. It does however have to be clean, I get a bit obsessive if things get messy or the desk gets dirty. Energy drinks also help!
KM: You can’t help but be influenced by your surroundings. I too can't work in a cluttered environment. I need to know where things are and be able to see them, rather than them being hidden under piles of paper or clothes. Geographically, you can see it in music too. Many of the originators of a sound are from the same place and you can see the influence this has upon them. This can also be argued to dilute, when other people recreate the same sound or the originators lose touch with their initial groundings. I guess this is part of the evolution of a sound though.

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