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SPL Talks Touring, the Colorado Music Scene, & Champagne Drip

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SPL is coming to The Black Box on June 29th. We sat down with the artist to talk to him about bass music has changed over the last decade; plans for his new project, Champagne Drip; and his favorite sets of tours past.

 

Q: You started your own label Hollow Point Records around 2009. How have you seen your label grow since that time? How has it evolved as the bass music scene has vastly expanded in the last decade?

Hollow Point Recordings was actually founded a bit earlier; our first release was in 2008 with the vinyl 12″ of “Gangster” with Babylon System and “Lust” by myself. It was my second record label. I started Lost Soul Recordings to release Drum ‘n’ Bass in 2006.

With Hollow Point, I worked closely with friends on several releases but things really started to slow down in 2012. The time demands as an artist with my SPL project made it increasingly difficult to keep pushing and developing the label. I also found that working with other labels, like SMOG, worked out a lot better since they had a dedicated team, more resources, and afforded me complete creative control.

Q: Can you tell me about a few of your favorite sets you’ve ever played, and what makes them stand out for you?

There are a few sets in recent history, and some great sets in the past that have really stuck with me. My set last week at Respect in LA was a lot of fun. I played a lot of my old favorite DnB tunes that got me into music production in the first place. Some of the tunes dated back to 2000. The crowd represented really well too. Everything was on point.

Last year, I had an amazing performance as Champagne Drip at What the Festival in my home state of Oregon. The vibe was right and I really think I had finally grown into the project and found my sound.

Before that, notable gigs include Bass Camp at Burning Man 2010, this one huge Therapy Sessions in Ukraine in 2009, and Therapy Sessions London on my Birthday in 2005 b2b with Limewax. I had a recent gig in my hometown Bend, OR last November that was really special. There were lots of old friends and really high energy vibes at that one.

The desert parties that I played in Central Oregon 12-15 years ago really hold a place in my heart too; those were formative years.

Q: How did you come to the decision to start your new project, Champagne Drip?

I was starting to get bored and I was losing interest in what was happening around me musically with SPL. I was becoming uninspired and I couldn’t seem to get what I was doing to stick.

I started brainstorming to see what I could do next. I thought a fresh start was in order. I also wanted to start a new project having learned everything I did in nearly a decade of growth as SPL.

Q: Will you still be touring as SPL or is this one of your last shows (Black Box on June 29)?

I’m always open to play shows as SPL. This is definitely not the last show; the previous six months have included more SPL shows that I have played in a year or two.

What are the challenges that come with releasing a new name/project, after you’ve spent so much time with certain moniker and style of music for so many years? How have your fans reacted to the change?

At first my fans didn’t actually know about the change since I kept Champagne Drip as a hidden identity. I let things grow a bit before I felt like I needed to attach myself socially to the project. So far it’s been great and I seem to be getting a lot of support from old fans of SPL. Coming up with a new project has been helpful with the music changes too.

With my SPL project, when I started writing Dubstep ten years ago, I received lots of backlash from my old DnB fans. It turned out to be toxic and I completely stepped away from DnB for a few years. In retrospect I wonder what would have happened if I had started a different alias for Dubstep. Either way, I’m happy with where things are at now.

Q: Have you played at the Black Box before? What are your thoughts on the Colorado music scene as a whole?

I played at the Black Box in January as Champagne Drip. The show was a lot of fun! I’ve loved the Colorado scene since I first started touring over a decade ago. I’ve had many firsts in the state.

One of my first U.S. DnB shows outside of places I had lived was in Denver with the Recon crew in 2006. My first Dubstep show booked outside of home was in Denver with Sub.Mission. That must have been somewhere between 2007 and 2009.

My first festival gig was at Sonic Bloom in 2010 and I also did Hollow Point label parties with Sub.Mission and quite a few Denver and a couple of Boulder shows outside of what I just mentioned. Because of this frequency, I’ve made many friends in the local scene over the years. I have great memories associated with Colorado.

Q: What’s coming up next for Champagne Drip (new albums, tour dates, etc)?

I have a few shows coming up with Deadbeats & Zeds Dead, as well as some releases with the label. My Millennia EP drops on July 14th on Deadbeats and there are more things in the works. I also have a track forthcoming on a Saturate Records compilation.

I’m also doing a Champagne Drip remix of 12th Planet & SP’s “Lootin’ 92” which is forthcoming on SMOG Records. It’s “remixception” in a way.

I’m playing as SPL at the Black Box on Thursday and I’m doing a production workshop at the venue on Saturday (in the early evening) which I’m stoked about. If you buy a ticket to the SPL show, you get in the workshop for free; otherwise it’s $10.

Some forthcoming Champagne Drip dates include:

  • July 2nd at the Ogden Theater in Denver
  • July 20th, Stilldream Fest in California (doing a Champagne Drip set, an SPL set and maybe even a Sam Pool Techno set as well.)
  • August 18th at UpNorth Music Festival in Copemish, MI
  • August 31st at Coda in Philadelphia
  • September 15th at Nocturnal Wonderland in Southern California.

There are more shows in the works but we aren’t ready to announce yet.

Q: Tell me about some of your favorite collaborations with other artists.

I’ve never been too keen on collaborations with other beat-makers. I prefer working with singers or songwriters as opposed to other producers. I have had some great moments with Eye-D, Limewax, 12th Planet, and some others though.

Q: You’ve toured a LOT in your career. What are some of your tour tricks or must-have items to get through the long hauls?

A backup battery for your phone is essential. Pack light and do laundry on the road if it’s a long haul and you can find the time to do it. Bring a book and some podcasts and music. I recently got a Nintendo Switch, that’s pretty entertaining when you are in transit.

Also, try to grab window seats ASAP when booking a flight and sleep as much as you can in the air, it makes it feel like time travel and less like tedious confinement.

Q: Is there a certain city, festival, or venue you haven’t had the chance to play yet that’s on your bucket list?

I really want to play at Shambhala Music Festival. Outlook Fest looks amazing too. I’d also love to play Techno in Ibiza at one point in my life.

 

Grab tix to SPL’s show at The Black Box for only $10 and get free entry into his production class with your ticket!

In the meantime, check out his recently released DnB mix: “The Apocrypha.”

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