Drumtrip Sessions #09 – Serum

I feel like a broken record, but it’s been a long time since the last Drumtrip Session. Quality over quantity is very much the mantra here, and this session was well worth waiting for. 

Serum of Dread and V Recordings (among many others) speaks to us about his love for jungle, before laying down a serious selection for his  Drumtrip Session mix.

drumtipsessions-SERUM009Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born in Lincoln but moved around a lot with my parents when I was young. I’ve lived in London for the last 8 years or so.

When did you first fall in love with Jungle? Am I right to say your first vinyl release was 2004? I imagine it goes way back before then?
I got into jungle around 1994-5. I’d heard rave music before and quite liked it but I was more into hip hop and heavy metal and didn’t really respect music that didn’t have that element of live performance. Things changed when I came across a program called Protracker on the Amiga which was a basic sample based sequencer. Through messing with production, I realised that dance music was actually a lot more complicated than I thought.

I started going to nightclubs with a bunch of slightly older kids and it all fell into place. I pretty much fell in love with all forms of dance music around that time and there was a lot of good stuff out there. I started buying records and got a set of cheap decks but I had very little money so I’m still catching up on tunes I missed out on from back then.

There weren’t any decent raves where I lived (either that or I didn’t know where to find them) so I listened to a lot of tapes from The Edge and Helter Skelter. I’d also listen to Pete Tong, John Peel and One In the Jungle on the radio.

Your tunes always have that rugged 90s jungle sound but with more contemporary production styles. How do you get that across in your tracks?
Up until a few years ago my setup was software based but I’ve bought quite a lot of hardware lately and that features in my newer material. When I used software I still tried to do the same things people did with hardware back in the day. I used to set the channels up so each track had similar features to a channel on an old mixing desk.

The main rules I live by are to keep things simple and sample anything I can get my hands on.

Before you arrived on the scene, and others like Vapour and Bladerunner, did you feel dancefloor D&B was missing the breaks and bass and general feeling from a lot of the stuff from back in the day? What is it you like about that sound?
There have been times where I’ve felt that but I’ve also made a lot more modern sounding stuff too. It just depends on what I’m interested in at the time. I never really have much of a plan.

You have remixed some huge tracks like Papa Lover (a personal favourite remix of mine), The Way and The Execution – But which producer from back in they day would you like to remix one of your tunes?
I’d like to have Dillinja have a crack at something of mine. I’m surprised Ray Keith hasn’t had a go yet either to be honest, that would be good to hear.

What else is new for Serum? What have you got forthcoming?
I’ve got 12s and individual tracks coming on V, Playaz, Dread, Co-Lab, Chronic and Drum & Bass Arena. There are also a few bigger scale things I’m doing like a mix album for Philly Blunt album which is going to have a combination of oldies, remixes and new material.

I’m working on a collection of more soulful vocal tracks but that’s in the early stages. It’s a new thing for me though so I’m really enjoying it.

The oldskool / jungle sound seems to be making a bit of a comeback again, have you got any big remixes in the pipeline? I did hear a remix of Gangsta about a while ago, any chance of a release there?
Gangsta will be on the Philly Blunt album sampler along with my remix of Bass Switch that’s been floating around for a while. There will be a few more remixes from me and a bunch of other artists. I also just put the finishing touches to a remix for Ruffneck Ting which just relaunched and I’m really happy with that.

Tell us a bit about your mix for Drumtrip, the idea behind the selection?
With this mix I’ve tried to dig a lot deeper and avoid the usual stompers. There’s not really any jump up on there which is fairly rare for me. There are some real classics in there but also a few lesser known bits that featured on some of the sets that got me into the music in the early years. Hopefully this mix will get people hunting on discogs.

Any big ups / shouts?
Anyone bought my music, came to see me play or booked me for a show, and all the DJs and labels that have supported me. Also my girlfriend and daughter for putting up with the constant noise.

And finally…  On your Twitter profile you state you are a “DJ, Producer and Pie maker”; what is your favourite pie?
Chilli beef pie from Goddards in Greenwich with a good serving of liquor and chilli vinegar.

Catch Serum online at..

Drumtrip Sessions #09 – Serum

01. Adam F – Circles – Section 5
02. Daz – Identity – Splash
03. Lemon D – Manhattan Melody – Conqueror
04. Timebase – Funky – Tearin Vinyl
05. Swift – Gang Related – Intalektive
06. Ed Rush & Nico – What’s Up – No U Turn
07. DJ Biggs – Sunrize – Back 2 Basics
08. Adam F – Aromatherapy – Section 5
09. Basic Influence – Still Waters – Hardleaders
10. Trace – Haze – Emotif
11. Roni Size – Step Up – V
12. Tango – Understanding – Creative Wax
13. Renegade – Eastern Promise – Dread
14. Chris Energy – Zalongo – Reinforced
15. Roni Size – Daylight – Full Cycle
16. Andy C – Roll On – Ram
17. Lemon D – This is LA – Metalheadz
18. Gappa G & Hyper Hyper – River Nijer (Nookie Remix) – Ruff Kut
19. Hidden Agenda – Get Carter – Metalheadz
20. Dillinja – Sovereign Melody – Deadly Vinyl

Huge thanks for Serum for the interview and a great mix, much appreciated!

About Law

Main author and creator of Drumtrip. I have been listening to and mixing drum and bass in its various forms since 1998. Drumtrip was designed to celebrate the glory years between 1991 and 1997.