Bermuda-born, London-raised producer Blood Trust goes all in for podcast 174, paying homage to Instra:mental & dBridge’s Autonomic Podcast.
One of the most exciting new names in drum & bass, Blood Trust released his first EP in 2021 for CNVX and has since launched his own imprint Digital Red Label. Collaborating with the likes of Basic Rhythm and Kid Drama, Blood Trust’s music mainly sits within the 170bpm territory, however, maintains that how it’s labelled is not important but the overall atmosphere of the track. This is channeled throughout his mix contribution for 909 where he speeds through varying soundscapes across drum & bass, techno, ambient and a touch of indie. An ambitious feat which Blood Trust takes in his stride.
Hi Quinn, how are you doing today? What have you been up to lately?
Hi Chanel, thank you for having me on Untitled 909! I am doing well, thank you.
Today I went to see the Daido Moriyama exhibition at The Photographer’s Gallery. I’m a big fan of his work and this exhibition did not disappoint. There is an eerie, film-noir theme that runs throughout his work which resonates strongly with me.
Let’s start from the very beginning, what was your first introduction to music in general and then more specifically electronic music?
My Parents are huge music fans, especially my Dad, who had a very sizable record collection in the home. I was exposed to many genres of music, but the first artist or band I vividly remember being a fan of were The Smashing Pumpkins. I loved the name of the band, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world, smashing a pumpkin, being rebellious etc lol… It was very appealing for an eight year old boy. I was a young kid when their “Adore” album came out and I remember being struck by the record’s black & white photo artwork. It was scary but at the same time reeled me in a way I didn’t understand at the time. I also loved the drum machine sounds on the album (“Adore” was when the band temporarily parted ways with drummer Jimmy Chamberlain), this balance of the organic with the synthetic was interesting to me, as were the lyrics, which made no sense at the time, but felt creepy and profound.
In terms of electronic music – this would have been the late ‘90’s – there were a few records which stood out from that time, Daft Punk – Homework, Goldie – Inner City Life, Fatboy Slim – You’ve Come A Long Way Baby. I loved all of these records because they each felt like stories to me. Cohesive bodies of work, I would sometimes imagine them as films in my mind, I would put together imaginary images and place them in the music. They were all very well made, engaging, and had a sophisticated level of entertainment and an element of fantasy to them.
Was there a formative moment growing up, whether that’s seeing your favourite band live or an incredible DJ set, that led you to this path?
Yes, definitely. Both events occurred to me around 15 years old. The first was going to The End (RIP) in Central London to Renegade Hardware. On one of my first ever nights out I saw Loxy, Gremlinz, Ink, Spirit, Doc Scott, Storm, Tech Itch and more. I had no idea who they were at the time, but later on these would turn out to be some of my biggest musical inspirations.
The second event which had a profound impact on me was a gig. I went to see the band Converge play at the ULU. I was into punk and hardcore as well as electronic music at the time, and seeing how visceral their performance was had a huge impact on me. There were bodies flying all over the place during the show. It was amazing to me that someone’s live performance could inspire such mayhem. It was intoxicating.
What inspired you to start your own label Digital Red Label?
I have always wanted to have my own imprint for as long as I can remember, but it was Martyn who really encouraged me and gave me the push I needed to go ahead with it. Something I’ll always be grateful for. I think now more than ever, it is vital for an artist to have a way to release music that they own outright and have absolute control over. Starting the imprint has been one of the most rewarding things for me so far in music, and I have big plans for it going forward.
You’re part of Martyn’s 3024 mentoring programme – what has your experience been like having a mentor? How valuable has it been to your artistry?
Along with starting my own imprint, being a part of the 3024 mentoring programme was one of the best decisions I’ve made in music. The programme came along at the perfect time for me (pandemic), and I had been a fan of Martyn’s output and label 3024 for over a decade. It seemed like a perfect fit. I have the utmost respect for Martyn and the humanistic way he approaches mentoring. I think he’s a very wise man, and sharp as a tack, he doesn’t miss a beat. The most valuable aspect of the programme for me was to be able to absorb his insight of the music industry. I think music production is the easy part, there’s an endless amount of YouTube tutorials, articles and resources out there for making music, but there really isn’t anything which helps you navigate the music industry. To me, his insight is priceless.
I will also say it has been fantastic to connect with like-minded and up and coming artists, who are in a similar position as myself. I’ve met a lot of people through the program that I expect to speak to for years to come.
Releasing your first EP in 2021, over the last few years has seen you collaborate with the likes of Kid Drama and Basic Rhythm – how do you approach these collaborations? What do you like the most about collaborating with other artists?
Kid Drama was the first person to release and take a special interest in my music, and to me that was a dream come true because of how much of a fan I am of both Instra:mental and his solo output. We discussed putting an EP together which included a collaboration. It was very simple, he gave me a few samples, I put together a track, then I passed it off to him to finish it. We probably only had to do one or two revisions at most. With Basic Rhythm it was also very straight-forward, with stems only being sent over once. It’s no coincidence that the ease and natural nature of these collaborations also correlate to them being amongst my favourite. My rule of thumb is that if it isn’t seamless, then it probably won’t work.
What I like most about collaborations is that you can distance yourself a little further from the music than if you composed it just by yourself. I believe this gives you clearer insight into the making of the track, and ultimately I’ve found collaborations (the ones which work) to be more effortless and quicker to finish. Having double the brain-power really pays off.
Where do you look for sources of inspiration outside of music?
Art, film and literature. My favourite music and art has a very heavy fantasist and atmospheric quality to it. I believe art should be an escape to one’s inner self. It should bring you to a place of your deepest nature and allow you to sit and observe and harness it to the fullest potential.
Environment also influences me, whether it’s the hulking shadow of a city (London, in my case) ,an eerie forest, or a tranquil seaside. My surroundings impact my state of mind heavily, and I absorb that feeling like a sponge which in turn comes out in my music.
You’ve also contributed a mix for the 909 series, what’s the concept behind this one?
My mix for Untitled 909 is my most ambitious to date. I wanted to record a set that features tracks from across the electronic music spectrum which fit my vibe, while at the same time play music that isn’t club-focused.
I’m also paying homage to Instra:mental & dBridge’s Autonomic Podcast, which influenced me majorly growing up. What I liked most about their series was that they showed their musical influences and background, something which was not typically done at the time. It is still not done much now in my opinion.
I aimed for this listen to be as immersive as possible, with the tempo going from sub-130BPM all the way up to 170BPM, featuring Techno, Drum & Bass, Jungle, Ambient, Indie, and more.
Do you have a different approach to preparation for club sets to online mixes whether that’s for a platform or radio show?
The event, radio show, or podcast generally dictates how I prepare my set, it’s a case by case basis. I’m conceptually and purposefully driven and I like to prepare my set with that mindset. Each one will be slightly different to the other. That said, I will generally pool together say 100 tracks and carefully sift through them, looking at different ways to complement each track with another.
Is there a staple track in your DJ sets at the moment?
Forest Drive West – Creeper
It’s not new, but since this track was released it hasn’t left my virtual bag. Not only does it fit into my vibe and atmosphere perfectly, it is also a very useful DJ tool when I am changing tempo. Particularly from techno to Drum & Bass. It sits at 150BPM, which I call the most “difficult” tempo. There’s simply not much out there like it. A modern classic.
As we come towards the end of the year and start reflecting on 2023, what’s been one of your favourite memories from this year?
Musically, the most rewarding moment this year was to see my first 12 inch, (the Blood Rhythm EP) released into all the physical record shops. The simple things mean the most, and I’ve always wanted to see my music on the shelf and on the wall of my favourite outlets.
I also have to give a shout out to Cash Bailey in Manchester for putting together an incredible 170BPM-led party in an extremely difficult atmosphere with the highest quality lineups. Playing his night CODE with Overlook was a very fun, community-driven night that had the right vibe. It shows what can happen when the grassroots scene is done properly.