Over the past few years, Austrian duo Fourward has gone from local DJs to internationally recognized artists, with releases on some of the best labels in Drum & Bass. None, perhaps, have been as instrumental to their rise as Elevate Records, where the duo released their Hope EP which received support from Annie Mac and BBC Radio 1. The duo is now back on Elevate with a follow-up release to the EP, in the form of their full-length album Lose Control.
We have had the album on repeat for a while now, so it was only fair to invite them for the next installment of The Director's Cut, and below, they give us the cliff notes and inspirations for each of the tracks.
How to listen: There are a couple of ways to proceed. First, you can listen to the whole album, which you will find below, and then read the notes. Or, read the notes as you listen to each track. This will completely change your perspective on the whole release itself and bring you closer to the artist and their work.
Words by Fourward
ALL 4 MYSELF
All 4 myself was the first album track produced. Having had a lot of fun producing and releasing our tune ‘Hope’ 1 year earlier, we knew that this was the right direction for us stylistically. Melodic, anthemic dance floor tunes with that extra "bite" to it. The rave anthem vocal was the basis and all the harmonies, chords, and melodies were created around it. This was the time that we started writing the actual music before we were thinking about basslines, sound design, or drums. In the past, we always started to write the main riff for the drop first. This fresh approach has been used throughout the whole album.
This album title track went through many different stages. Initially, it started off as a liquid tune, then it became a Neurofunk tune and after probably 70 versions of rearranging it, we arrived at the final mix. This version combines all the best elements of the previous stages of a Fourward production but at the same time represents the vibe of the new album really well. It goes off on the dancefloor but you can also listen to it at home. We love the emotions and sound design of the tune but also the "ravey" character that is triggered by the vocal.
This track was heavily inspired by the classics of Bad Company UK or tunes like Fresh - Dalicks and Bad Company UK - Mass Hysteria (Hive Remix). We tried to make a classic Neurofunk tune with that futuristic, outer-worldly flavour but with modern production-standards. Tearing leads, dark and heavy basslines, punchy drums, weird sound design, and a sci-fi vocal-sample combined. The sounds in ascension are created with a mix of softsynths but also analog hardware synths that blend well together. The drums are made in XLN Addictive Drummer and we also recorded some kitchenware that worked well as percussion-layers. The vocal sample comes from a strange, mysterious sample we found.
This tune has been smashing dancefloors for over 2 years now and we are happy that it's finally out. For the intro sounds, we used 2 of our hardware synths, the Behringer Poly D and the Boomstar 4075 but also some software emulations of old vintage synths from Arturia. We invested a lot of time into sound design for this tune and it took ages to get it right, mixdown wise. Deep Inside drops with a heavy midrange-bassline- funk that consists of a variety of different soft-synth layers. This project tried to fry our CPU many times so we are very happy it's finished but also proud of the sound design we managed to pull off.
This track is the more experimental one from the album... Even though this track might not be for everyone, we really like its progressive character, the uplifting intro, the swing beat, the cheesy synth-leads, and the techy bassline. It involved lots of processing and sound design work using software synthesizers (Serum, PoliSix Emulation, Moog Emulations). There is also some self-recorded vocals that were turned into pads and atmospheres. There are so many layers to this track, almost too many! Even though many of them are very subtle in nature, they are still very important to the overall mix.
We borrowed a prophet 12 synth from a friend of ours and even though we had it for almost 2 weeks without managing to come up with an innovative new sound or idea - it came together on the last day! Knowing, that our friend will pick up his synth the next day, we had to finish the composition and sound design within one session. It was a LONG session that lasted until 4 in the morning. It was exhausting but also taught us a lot about working fast and under pressure.
This was actually the last tune we produced for the album. We were happy with all the vocal tracks so far but felt the need for a song with a vocal that is a bit wilder than ‘How’ and ‘Let Me Down’. We’d been working on a song idea that was written by a vocalist-friend at the time, so we thought that this was the track that will complete the album. Even though we had the whole production done, the arrangement and structure of the vocal didn't translate well into a dancefloor track. We then ended up discarding the whole song idea and wrote a new track with all the existing sounds. As the album delivery deadline loomed closer and closer - we kept it as an instrumental and we’re super happy with it.
LET ME DOWN FEAT. CHARLOTTE HAINING
Again, this was a rather old tune collecting dust on our harddrive. We knew it had a great vibe and would fit the album perfectly but it was only after getting Charlotte to do the vocal that it really came together as full-fledged track. It’s always great to see such old projects/ideas blossoming again and it’s amazing to work with such a great vocalist. The vibe of the tune is on the deeper side of the spectrum and even though the arrangement and instrumentation are fairly simple, the vocals and the sound design have a lot of depth.
HOW FEAT DAKOTA SIXX
We were playing around with some new distortion plugins, heating up some simple saw chords, and ending up with a nice and crunchy chord progression/riff, which is the basis of the track. We really enjoy making liquid DNB that has still got a little edge to it. The vocals from Dakota fit the track so perfectly and even though she is a relatively new artist she managed to pull this off like a pro! The initial chords and melodies for the tune came together really quickly while the engineering and mixdown aspect of it was quite a journey. After many, MANY different versions we are now extremely happy with the end result. There will be an in-depth tutorial on this project soon. Stay tuned!
WHAT IS IT FEAT. JAKES
This started as an old hip hop beat that we found in some of our very old project folders. We started working on it again in 2019 and knew that this could be an important tune for our album. We sent it to Jakes and added a drum and bass part. He was really hyped about it and told us that he has some old bars he never used because he didn't have the right beat for it. We still remember his face from the Instagram message he sent us when he first heard it. His eyes lit up! There are only drum and bass tunes on the album but we think that this hip hop part complements it very well and - it's always a nice to have talented artists like Jakes on your album.
Grab your copy of Lose Control by Fourward here.