We had a great chat with Virtue about many a strange thing…oh and his album!!! A great read, always nice to speak to a likeminded down to earth person. Humour is always appreciated as well, so have a butchers at what he has to say…
Can you tell our readers about yourself?
Hi! My real name’s James, I’m from Gloucester (yeah, the same place Harry Potter was filmed, and Fred & Rose West are from. No I didn’t know them) I don’t particularly like long windy walks on the beach, there’s far too much sand. My favourite food is Pizza, but I’m pretty sure I’m lactose intolerant because it makes me fart. Mmmmmm.
How did you get into D&B production?
To be honest it kinda just happened, I went round to one of my friend’s house from primary school when I was about 10. Remember that eJay thing? Yeah so I messed around on that for a bit. We’re talking when Darude – Sandstorm wasn’t just an internet meme here.
Got my first decks when I was 13, a pair of limit belt drives! In hindsight, they were pretty awful, but they got me started into ‘that world’. It’s a pretty classic story from there to be honest, moved from DJing to Production naturally. I’ve always dabbled through my teenage years but never really started doing it seriously till about 2010 and didn’t get to any sort of play-out-able standard till about 2013.
We have just got a hold of your LP on John B’s Beta Recordings. It has some lovely deeper tracks on it. What is your personal favourite? How long have you been working on it? Tell our readers what to expect from it.
Thank you! Umm… My favourite. See you’re kinda putting me on the spot here as there’s quite a few with featuring artists on haha! As not to offend anyone else that had some input on there I’m gonna be really boring and say they’re all my favourite, as they all do their part as importantly as the next.
I worked on it for about 10 n a half months all in all, till it got to a standard where I was happy to send John the pre-masters and it was a massive learning curve on every track. The annoying thing was I kept learning new things on each track and having to go back and apply it to early projects I thought I’d finished.
As to what you can expect… It’s a concept album. Yeah! A story written in drum & bass (as horribly pretentious as that sounds) which I don’t think many people have done before. If any. Soul Method who features on the album said The Upbeats did something a while ago, that came with a book or something? I can’t remember but yeah, it’s a pretty easy story to get, standard boy meets girl stuff, it was more doing an idea that could be easily related to with most people, rather than some big, convoluted epic. Just kinda got sick of albums being a collection of works as opposed to something a bit deeper. Drum & Bass seems to mean so much to so many people yet so much of the music lacks meaning. So I thought f**k it, I’ll do it. What have I got to lose.
The LP comprises of the lighter D&B styles, uplifting with vocals, deeper rollers and those kind of vibes. Having followed your Career thus far with releases on E-Motion etc, it does appear to be your style. Would you agree?
Yeah I guess it does, I’ve kinda always ran with the liquid thing. There’s a few tunes in the back catalogue and indeed the album that have a bit more bite to them, like ‘The Secret’ for example, but yeah. I suppose it comes down to that ‘music with meaning’ thing again.
That being said, I get it, sometimes you gotta run music that makes you wanna kick a door down or “throw a shoe” (that’s the new thing right? Shoe throwing?)
I hope I don’t slot too much into a category, I always said I just kinda made what I wanted to make. I think if everything I wrote was floaty cloud music, I’d just be being a bit lazy. It’s always good to switch it sometimes.
Your tracks have been supported by the likes of Crissy Criss. What do you have planned now the LP is finished? Any sneak peaks of things to come?
Well the release party is on the same day as the actual release, in my hometown. Stilla Audio, a brand I’m affiliated with and is part ran by Impact MC is putting it on and it should be amazing, we’ve got Cyantific coming down & IC3 plus Voltage & Carasel and a good few other great artists too so to be quite honest the plan is to get completely out of my box and fall over (after my set) haha.
No sneak peaks at the moment, well, none I’m allowed to say anyway. I’ve been hit up by a few well known labels to write some tunes for which I’m currently doing, there’s gonna be another single out after the LP drops. An absolutely disgusting collab with Callide which he’s promised he’s gonna get out real soon on System Shock. Benny L is dropping a remix of a tune I did for Coppa’s album called ‘Rhythms of Life’ which is absolutely incredible too. Other than just writing more music right now.
Having a released LP is a great start to 2016. What do you want to achieve going forward?
I’ve kinda done things backwards, in the regard that, most people generally do the big exclusive signing and then put out the debut album.
I’ve put out the album to get that foot in the door kinda as bit of jumping and screaming “HEY I’M OVER HERE!”. Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t. Maybe there’s a reason for all these formulas in D&B. I just hope that I’m right haha.
Finally anything to add?
For sure, there’s a few thank you’s to give out. Firstly John B for being what I’d consider, the perfect label manager. He’s given advice, done promo, but most importantly he has been vocal and informative at every step throughout the process. Communication is key and you hear so many horror stories in D&B, about so many arseholes you kinda get jittery. I’ve been very fortunate with John and Beta.
Secondly, Soul Method for getting me into DnB in the first place back in 2002. By letting me borrow a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme Jungle remix. (That’s still badass)
Thirdly, Callide & Voltage for basically telling me I was shit until I wasn’t. Haha. They were so helpful in the early days and I think honest advice from people who you should damn well know knew better at the time is invaluable. Listen to them.
Lastly, the single “Take Me Higher” is out today (11th March) and it’s got an exclusive House remix by John B under his alias ‘Part Time Models’ on it that won’t be on the album release. Go cop it!
Shouts to everyone who took part in the album, Brink, Colossus, Coppa, Deviation, Hannah Eve, Impact MC & Soul Method.
Hope you enjoy the album on the 25th, a lot of blood sweat and tears (mostly tears) went into it. Big up!
WAV & MP3: http://www.beta-store.com