TFword In Conversation With Bugwell

The London-based drum & bass DJ and producer had a chat with us about his latest single on RAM Records, the progression of his sound, and plans for next year.

What realm of drum & bass do you wish to dive deep into? Trust Bugwell to take you there. Traversing through the expansive routes of the genre, Bugwell has the ability to play with different styles at the flick of a switch.

Making his debut on Futurebound’s Viper Recordings, Bugwell didn’t look back and continued his adventures with subsequent releases on ProgRAM, on T & Sugah’s High Tea Music, with his last release on RAM ‘Dystopia’ gaining extensive support from Andy C. Along with making straight-down-the-plate drum & bass bangers, Bugwell is also a member of the UK’s leading queer drum & bass collective, Unorthodox, contributing as a resident DJ and musical consultant.

Making his return to RAM Records with his latest release, Bugwell has teamed up with drum & bass legend and one-half of the revered Mind Vortex duo. Out now on the legendary imprint, ‘Stronger’ is an amalgamation of Junk Mail’s penchant for going for the jugular and Bugwell’s love for the measured dancefloor sound.

Following the release, we caught up with Bugwell to learn more about how the collaboration came along, and here is what he had to say:

TFword: How has 2023 been for Bugwell so far?
Bugwell: 2023 has been great thanks! Had a few wicked gigs and festivals so really been feeding off the vibes from my shows! Also been in the studio quite a bit so excited by all the new bits I’ve been working on.

TF: A collaboration with one of the legends of the scene and it’s a belting one. How did it come about?
Bugwell: Ah yeah, pretty mad to be honest! I met Stef at a RAM event at Printworks last year where he was playing. We got chatting about snare synthesis and pitching of hi hats… Haha. So we exchanged numbers and tunes, got chatting a bit more and one of the tunes I sent Stef was a very early version of Stronger. He was really into it and wanted to jump on, so we went from there! Was a great experience overall.

TF: There’s a beautiful amalgamation of Junk Mail’s and your trademark sound. What was it like working with him on the tune?
Bugwell: Definitely well balanced and inspiring – I feel that he really put a different spin on my ideas, but in a way that really sat with my style and sensibilities. I remember when he sent me the first version, having heard my own version so many times, I really got that ‘shock’ factor of hearing something fresh for the first time, in a really good way. It was quite a cool experience, hearing the iconic Junk Mail sound coming through.

TF: You have released your music on some of the biggest imprints in drum & bass. How do you think your sound has progressed or evolved since your debut?
Bugwell: Definitely I feel I have become more bold with my choices. As I have been working on improving my production and mixdowns, I feel more at liberty to try new things and more confident that I can execute them successfully. I would say also I have not been afraid to go a little harder with some of my tunes – I do love playing tunes that really go off in the rave, so gigging more has inspired me to lean more towards that approach to production.

TF: Who were your biggest inspirations when you started making music?
Bugwell: Ooh quite a few! I’ve been inspired by many different people at various stages of my life, but probably the biggest/earliest were David Bowie and Elton John. Coming from a singer-songwriter/pianist background, a lot of those types of artists were big driving forces behind my initial creativity. I also got heavily into Arctic Monkeys and Arcade fire.

Dnb was of course always there too – the likes of Sub Focus, Chase & Status and Culture Shock were real pillars of inspiration for me, both in terms of sound/style and production/mixdowns.

TF: What can we expect from Bugwell in 2024?
Bugwell: I have more releases on the horizon which I’m super excited about, as well as more shows. I will be looking at building more live elements into my sets so watch this space!

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