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Interview: Droptek On Bridging Old & New For A "New Style"

We chat with Droptek about creating a new style, his love for drum and bass and more.
Droptek Press Shot provided by the Mother Lode

London-based producer Droptek has been turning heads in the scene for quite some time with his mind-blowing sound design and unique arrangements, releasing primarily with electronic music giant Monstercat before dropping his debut full-length album earlier this year. Each release has offered something different while still being recognizable under the Droptek moniker. Exploring bass music outside of the typical constrains of any specific genre, Droptek is now starting another chapter in an already impressive book with his first ever NCS release, the aptly titled "New Style." Thought there isn't anything concrete planned between NCS and Droptek, the relationship poised to continue into the future.

Described as a "personal rebellion," Droptek took the opportunity of releasing with a new label to combine his old style of writing music with the insane new production techniques he's since mastered, resulting in somewhat ironic title "New Style." Energetic, eclectic, and entirely genius, "New Style" is such an exciting release that we felt it was high time to have a chat with the esteemed producer. 

Hey Lewis! Great to have you with us today - how have you been?

I’m great thank you! It’s been a crazy year for sure but a good one. I’ve released my debut LP, two singles and I have another two releases this month so I’m excited to see how they go down.

You’re releasing your first ever single on NCS after an impressive track record with Monstercat - how did that come about? Was the track written with NCS specifically in mind?

Yeah so this will be my first release with them. I actually wrote this track with no one in mind. I just wanted to see what it would sound like if I merged the way I used to write my music back in 2012 with my sound from today. "New Style" is the result of that experiment.

The track’s title is “New Style” - can you tell us a bit about what this new style is?

So it’s ironic because it combines my style from when I first started Droptek and merges it with my production style of today. Both my old style and new style. It also adds in some influences from all kinds of different genres. I guess it was just the result of me breaking down all my mental barriers of what is expected of me as an artist and specifically a "dnb" artist. I guess it was a personal rebellion in a way.

How would you summarize your old style versus this new direction?

So when I started Droptek I was very much planted in the EDM (for lack of a better term) thing. It was at the time the whole Skrillex brostep thing was taking off and I was making dubstep, electro-house, glitch-hop etc. My direction since about 2014 has been very drum and bass focused and that has dictated tempo and style largely.

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What brought about the change?

In 2013 I moved to Bristol and naturally ended up being inspired by the DnB scene happening there. I would attend club nights at places like Motion and Lakota and decided “yeah, that’s where I want to be.” Since then I’ve tried to stay within the DnB space, but every now and again my old sound still slips through much like with "New Style." I guess it’s just a part of me as an artist I can’t shake.

Droptek Press Shot

Droptek Press Shot

And what were some of the biggest inspirations behind the single?

There weren’t any artists or tracks specifically but I took inspiration from what the dubstep guys are doing right now. Also trap, drumstep, halftime and DnB. It really was a free for all.

Artists often struggle to explore new sounds while still staying true to their brand (but you absolutely smashed it!) - are there any examples that come to mind of artists or bands who have succeeded in reinventing their sound over the years? Or bands that have consistently gotten better with age?

I don’t think I’ve been particularly good at staying true to my brand. I do think there’s something about the way I write my music that makes it identifiable and I guess that helps fans hold on to a sense of brand identity but I really do enjoy a lot of different genres and I’ve always tried to keep pre-conceived ideas out of the creative process. I’d rather constantly be exploring and experimenting than doing what’s expected of me. It’s the only way to grow as an artist in my opinion. I think Noisia is an obvious example of keeping a distinct identity while exploring new sonic spaces without alienating their fan base.

Have you got more lined up with NCS in the future?

I think we’re definitely both open to the idea and I think once we see how this track works out we’ll have a clearer understanding of how to proceed. I’m excited to see how the NCS crowd reacts to a Droptek track.

And what else is in store for the future of Droptek?

I have a few tracks in the works for my next EP but when the year’s out I will have released 22 tracks, so I’m taking a chance to reflect, assess what’s worked, what hasn’t and then go from there. I’m in that exciting space where I’m free to experiment with sounds for a while and I’ve just sunk my teeth into Bitwig’s new modular system so I’ll be nerding out for a while then coming back even bigger and better.

"New Style" is available to buy/stream here.

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