For our 39th mix in the Vandelay Guest Mix, a very special mix as we return back to our place of birth, Swansea. Home of just two decent venues, enough drum and bass and bassline that you eventually become sick of it and start your own radio station, or eat enough pills that you somehow persuade yourself that you actually like this music. Swansea's the only place where real underground music, is actually underground, underground in the sense that no one listens to it. House, techno and dubstep, all suppressed by the blanket of hefty screeches of strange noises at really fast tempos. We've featured loads of DJs from Swansea, Ulex, FNKD, Teagle, but perhaps none are as multi-genred as our featured artist, Llew. In all manners, a visit to Llew's soundcloud would perhaps have you jumping to conclusions. Yeah, just another dnb head, nothing to see here. A plethora of mixes and tracks that you may not have given the time of day. But the reason we decided to have Llew on is cause one way or another, he's managed to take this genres we've despised and turn it into something wonderful. He's proven to us finally that any tempo 140 or above doesn't have to be shit, which unfortunately had become the norm in Swansea, at least to us anyway. Llew manages to constantly take the best bits of so called dirty music, and create these multi genre productions that will rip your face off, but in a very pleasing and satisfactory manner. Whether it's a ripping bass break, or managing to transform the amen break into a two step format, Llew represents the sound of Swansea in perhaps no other artist can, a true pioneer of his time and scene, and a unique sound in a place where unique sounds have never been encouraged. We caught up with Llew to talk about his mix, his music and Swansea.
Where did the name LLEW come from ?
Llew originates from my surname Llewelyn, it also means Lion in Welsh. Gotta keep the heritage alive.
What inspired you to start producing and then further DJ-ing ?
I fell in love with music production at a young age after looking into how Pendulum & Cookie Monsta produce their tracks. After attending several club nights I then pursued a hobby in DJ-ing which has gone hand in hand with my passion for producing.
Vandelay was started due to the monotony we were seeing in Swansea concerning the underground music scene. Being in Swansea yourself, what’s your take on the current scene in Swansea?
Swansea's music scene is slowly beginning to blossom again after a few years of struggling thanks to the string of new venues that have given a platform for the night to go on. We've lost several historic venues over the past few years however being a promoter myself I'm always doing my best to push the more vibrant styles of bass music at my events. There is Dogruff who have continued to provide regular underground Techno nights for years, a few other semi-regular nights too.
One of our favourite tunes by you is Computer Player. It’s not drum n bass, it’s not bassline, it’s not two step, it seems like a culmination of all three. How were you able to take elements of all these genres and combine them ?
I'm glad you could see what I went for with it! I took samples from a friend of mine's (Colgate) EP, sat down & set off to make a drum n bass track. During the process I began experimenting with the synth & drums, ended up deciding that a genre was no longer relevant. From there I listened to a few different influences to then take elements from each of their songs & stitch them all together in a way that it's not too over the top.
What inspired the mix you’ve curated for us ?
I thoroughly enjoy the deeper spectrum of dub, it's my favorite genre to blend & mix when I'm at home. I rarely get the chance to showcase my dub mixing, so big up for having my mix on the show!
Where do you see LLEW in the next five years? Any major plans in the works we should know about?
In the next 5 years I'm hoping to have taken my production to a high standard & to hopefully have heard my own productions being received well & enjoyed by whoever hears them. I have a Drum & Bass EP coming together slowly, I'm putting a lot of graft in to each track. I've got a good few unreleased tracks that are under wraps for the foreseeable future too, 2 are featured in this mix.
Favourite tune of 2018 so far?
Tune of the year so far has to be Mad Hatter by Hebbe, I highly recommend you listen if you haven't already!
Many many thanks to Llew, check out his soundcloud, as well as his event series, Beats Not Bombs for more!!