Drum & Bass is a genre where making an impact requires a great deal of perseverance. But when you catch the attention of the scene like MEL has done, you know that you are special.
Starting her career as a producer in 2021 with her debut release, ‘Protagonist’, on UKF, MEL wobbled heads across the Drum & Bass scene with her explosive single. The tune then lead to a series of accolades for the producer which included three nominations at the Drum&BassArena Awards and being the first female artist to break in to the best track category.
Her production prowess is matched equally by her monstrous ability behind the decks and her busy DJ schedule also includes her insanely entertaining radio residencies at Data Transmission and Rough Tempo. After her success with ‘Protagonist’ which received heavy support from the likes of Andy C, A.M.C and Koven to name a few, MEL has now released another hard hitting banger on Viper Recordings.
Following the release of her tune, we sat down with the one of the genre’s rising stars for a chat about her track, her journey so far, her dream collaboration and lots more.
First ever female to break into the “Best Track’ Category and now a multi-award nominee. How would like you describe your journey so far?
MEL: My journey so far has been a slow burner of a path that has entailed a lot of building, grafting and learning. I’ve been DJing for about 10 years and finally set the time aside to plunge into producing about 3 years ago and I’ve enjoyed every step of the way so far.
I think my first real waves of success as a DJ only really came about around 4 years ago when I got my residency at Data Transmission and of course when I started to DJ for RAM Records. I put off learning how to produce for a long time as I found it quite daunting and doubted myself but I soon enough just threw myself in a lot of lessons at London Sound Academy.
I started making bootlegs before I made my own tracks and there’s a bunch of tracks that sounded like absolute pants that will never make the cut before I got to Protagonist etc. but that’s all a part of the learning process. To be the first female to break into the ‘Best Track’ category at the Drum & Bass Arena Awards just makes me feel immensely proud of my journey so far and I feel like my hard work is finally paying off. So far my journey has taught me patience, resilience and to trust the process.
We lose ourselves every time we listen to ‘Protagonist’ and now you have delivered another absolute humdinger. What are your thoughts on ‘Live Wire’?
MEL: Thanks! The reception and feedback from other artists and fans for Protagonist was way beyond my expectations, I really wasn’t expecting people to go so wild for it, but of course, I’m so grateful and happy they did.
With that in mind I feel like I set the bar and expectation so high for myself when I decided that Protagonist would be the debut track, it only made sense to follow that up with another stomper of a track that is Live Wire. I’m really pleased with how Live Wire ended up, I pushed myself with being a bit more creative in terms of sound manipulation and I had a lot of fun with distorting synths and creating punchy stop-start hats.
After two years of abrupt cancellations and shutdowns, how does it feel to be back regularly behind the decks?
MEL: As much as lockdown and Covid was undeniably a tragic time for not only music and events but pretty much the entire world, I did use this time wisely and really knuckled down with not only making tracks but making sure I was live streaming and pushing myself out there.
I came out of lockdown a better DJ and producer, so although time away from raves and live shows was awful, it ended up being such a positive in the end for me as an artist. Coming back to the decks feels amazing now, although I went straight into the deep end when it was time to come back to normality – after 2 years of DJing to nobody my first gig back was Rampage, nerve-racking but wicked!
We’ve seen you ply your trade into the dancefloor side of things, but do you see yourself diving into the lighter trenches of the genre in the future?
MEL: When it comes to DJing, although I am quite heavy Dance floor and Neurofunk centric I do weave in and out of a lot of other different sub genres of Drum & Bass, I always drop a few minimal tracks in a mix, sometimes jungle and break beat and I occasionally do 100% liquid mixes as well – it really all depends on the mood, the vibe and the crowd!
As a producer a lot of my inspirations and influences are producers such as Loadstar and Ed Rush & Optical who are quite heavy – The tracks I’ve got in the pipe line to be released show no sign of getting lighter but never say never.
What would be your dream collaboration?
MEL: Pendulum, Junk Mail, A.M.C, Mob Tactics, Sound in Noise – I can’t decide!
What are the genres that you like to listen to or would like to make other than Drum & Bass?
MEL: My music taste is really broad, when I take time outside of Drum & Bass I like to listen to anything from really chill vibes such as Massive attack, Ross From Friends, Jamie XX to Rock music like Foo Fighters, Korn, Pink Floyd and even 70s Ska and Classic House – It really depends what mood I’m in!
What are MEL’s plans for the rest of the year?
MEL: Release more bangers and tear up more dancefloors!
5 tunes you are feeling at the moment?
1. Back Bolt – Skantia
2. Crystal Math – Rafiki Dubs
3. Game Over – Erb n Dub & Ton Piper
4. Banish – Ekko & Sidetrack
5. Jealousy – Redpill [Pythius Remix]
Listen to ‘Live Wire’ by MEL here: