Thomas Numprasong known better to us in dnb land as Logam has been a name that has popped up through 2017 and a name that will be cemented in dnb for 2018. He works hard within the scene of Atlanta USA and now has releases on Ram, Playaz, New Playaz, Hospital, Eatbrain, Subhuman, Project 51, DSC14 and is successfully running his own imprint Santoku Records. He's teamed up with Legion and Mayhem but we grab him for a moment to talk about his past, present and future....
Q1) Thank you, firstly for being patient while I got round to your interview with the mayhem of Christmas and New Year - but mostly for talking to us! How was 2017 for you?
A) Hey thanks for having me on. 2017 was an interesting year as it was a bit of a transitional time for me going from working a M - F gig to starting my own business but it's’ been a good change overall. I get to spend more time with my family now which is great. Legion and I also graduated from Program to RAM with our “Coming Home” single so definitely no complaints there.
Q2) So you started off in a musical world of metal, then dubstep? What music did you listen to growing up and how did the transition to dnb occur?
A) Yeah I’m definitely a metal head at heart. I listened to a variety of stuff though when I was real young, back in the 80’s and early 90’s. Stuff like Dj Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, the Fat Boys, LL Cool all the way to Def Lepard, Stevie Wonder, or even The Beach Boys but when I heard Guns N’ Roses for the first time it was all rock and metal after that. I had a death metal band from about 1995 - 2000. Heavily influenced by bands like At the Gates, Sepultura, Pantera, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, etc. I actually didn’t find out about Drum & Bass until 2005 which to me is a bit late in the game. I was at my buddies place who spun house music and I walked in to a friend of ours spinning Drum & Bass instead. He was in the middle of bringing in the Pendulum remix of Pack of Wolves when i walked in and I was instantly hooked. I actually didn’t know about Dubstep until about 2007 I think. I remember Mayhem was all about it and I thought it was alright but a bit slow and boring. Eventually I discovered some artists and songs that i liked and started writing some as well.
Q3) So you also play the piano, guitar, bass guitar and drums? (Talk about how well you play, how long, any grades, any bands, incorporated into your music?
A) Yeah I mainly play guitar. I've been playing since I was 12 but at around the same time I became friends with this kid who’s entire family played instruments. So every time I went over there, which was all the time, there was his drum set plus his dads guitars and his brothers basses lying around so I just kind dabbled with all of it. I took guitar lessons for about 3 months but then my parents couldn’t afford it anymore so I was on my own after that. I used to listen to a few seconds of a song on my Walkman and then hit stop, pick up my guitar, and do my best to locate the notes. This is how i trained myself to play by ear. I actually can’t read sheet music at all but if you give me a little time I can generally play whatever I hear on whatever instruments are around. As long as it’s within my abilities of course. My grandfather also played piano ridiculously well. I’m not nearly as good as he was but I think his passion for music definitely transferred over to me. I can play small pieces of classical style music but not an entire song like he could. I can hold my own on drums but i wouldn’t necessarily call myself a drummer. My form isn’t all that great but I’m probably an intermediate player who doesn’t play enough these days to warrant the title. I play bass like a guitarist who can play bass if that makes sense lol. I’m no Les Claypool but I could keep up in a band if need be.
Q4) What was your first production set up and what DAW and tools are you using now?
A) So my very first production set up was on an 8 Track Tascam with a damn Zip drive lol. It wasn’t until around 2003 that a buddy of mine gave me copies of Reason and Vegas Video. I would make sounds, mostly drum beats, in Reason and then export the audio and re import into Vegas Video to add live guitars since you couldn’t do that in Reason at the time. Nowadays I’m on Cubase and have been since about 2005 I think. I have a Roland SH 201 and Korg Micro as hardware synths. Line 6 Pod Pros for my guitar and bass guitar work and a Rode NT1A Microphone. All of that runs through a Presonus Digimax 96K which goes into my RME Hammerall sound card on my PC. I use Mackie 824 MK2 Monitors, a single Avantone for referencing, and Seinhesser HD25 II Headphones For DJing and mix downs.
Q5) Do you have a preferred DJ set up?
A) Well I usually just prefer whatever is the current standard. So if it’s still the Nexus 2000’s and a DJM 900 then I’d say those. At home I have three XDJ 700’s and a DJM 600 with a broken fx knob so anything equal or better than that is what I prefer lol. For some reason I sometimes have to mention that I need to be able to hear the music I’m spinning so I generally request two monitors at ear level that are actually pointing at my ears. Crazy I know.
Q6) So what was your first ever signed tune and what came in between before you signing exclusively to Ram?
A) So the first tune I technically ever signed was a neurofunk tune called “Sum Times” on Nerve Agent Recordings back in 2008. Then I did a liquid single on Ocean Breeze Digital and another one on Corinthian Recordings. All US labels. There were a few more here and there but I feel like I didn’t really start understanding how to write Drum & Bass until I started working with Mayhem in 2011. We started releasing stuff on my label, Santoku Records, and then did a remix for Gridlok on Project 51, followed by a single on Full Force. During this time we started collaborating on heavy Dubstep as well and I worked on some stuff with him for his “New Blood EP” on Subhuman. I also did a tune with Zombie Cats called “Vintage” on Eatbrain which was super awesome. Those guys were some of my favorite producers during the days of vinyl so to collaborate with them was a dream come true and who doesn’t like eatbrain? I did a tune with Armanni called “Threat Control” which we put out on DSCI4. Then I started working with Legion and we signed a track to Playaz called “Blackout” followed by our “Warehouse EP” on New Playaz. During this time RAM had reached out so we did the “House of Cards” single on Program and from there signed the Exclusive deal.
Q7) How did the link up with Mayhem in 2006 occur?
A) I met him through my friend Arieon who goes by the name Ployd here in Atlanta. He’s the one that introduced me to Drum & Bass in the first place. Anthony (Mayhem) used to have a biweekly DNB show here called Transit which was the first show I ever attended. Noisia actually lol. Talk about an amazing first show! Then he opened up a record shop called 404 Audio. The name was taken from the 404 Audio online forum that he had created years ago. I bought the majority of my records there and over time we became friends. I started sharing some of my tracks with him and asked if he wanted to collab on one and he agreed.
Q8) Tell us 3 things about Mayhem no one would know?
A) Haha oh man okay well I dunno if no one else knows this but he can imitate Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam really well. I have video evidence of this lol. What else. Ummm he has a cat named Flocka that became his cat when it just randomly jumped into his car one day. Yeah for real. Aaaaand he has quite the collection of Nike shoes. Enough to where he could probably have his own Nike store.
Q9) Wreckage Machinery with a track called Repercussions was your first Vinyl release on Trust In Music in 2012. How does it feel to have your music on a physical format and do you have a large vinyl collection?
A) Oh yes that was an amazing moment for sure. There’s just something about having your music pressed to a tangible medium that makes it feel a little more official. I mean I come from the vinyl, cassette, and cd days so I think for people my age it adds a nostalgia value that perhaps the younger generation wouldn’t be able to relate to. But I also think that in the Dnb world having vinyl pressed is the end goal for everyone. It’s how it started, it’s how DJing began, it’s how you make your friends jealous. I do have a pretty decent vinyl collection but not nearly as big as some of my friends who have been spinning it since the 90’s. I started collecting in 2006 I think, and stopped regularly buying probably around 2012.
Q10) How did Legion and Logam form and what have been your biggest releases?
A) I met Hunter (Legion) in 2012 through Mayhem. Hunter had just moved to Atlanta and was sharing a studio space with Anthony. He played their track “Both Sides” for me and I was sold. I loved it. So we started collabing almost right away and wrote “House of Cards” which I would say has definitely been one of our biggest tunes. I know our “Warehouse” EP on New Playaz did pretty well. Our track “Trippin” with NC-17 was included in Friction’s Biggest Bangers of 2014 mix and the title track has been played out quite a bit all over the world. Our Grum remix of “Straight to Your Heart” also did pretty well. That was our first UKF upload and then Hospital picked it up for their Hospitality 2016 LP. We did a couple more singles on Program after that and they did alright. Our latest single, “Coming Home” has done really well in the sports market which Is nothing I would have ever predicted lol.
House of Cards: https://soundcloud.com/
Q11) Your track called Vintage with Zombie Cats was a hit in 2014 with your second vinyl release. Does it have a special place in the house?
A) Oh yes. It’s framed and up on the wall in the studio with the others. I cherish all the vinyl releases. :)
Q12) Friction, Trace and Calyx and Teebee have been huge supporters of your music. How important do you think it is to the progression of your music to have some big players supporting you?
A) Well I think in regards to having clout in the scene it’s actually really important. The fan base will often listen to big name mixes and discover new names through those mixes. So having your tracks included only helps promote you and your music. It’s basically an endorsement by someone the fan base really looks up to which definitely helps.
Q13) Coming Home is now a soundbyte in the BBC Match Of The Day ads - as well as several other sports outlets. Have you had the TV on in the UK and heard it, or have people sent it to you over in the US? It must be surreal that is pretty huge?
A) Yeah that has been quite the WTF moment but in a good way lol. RAM has sent us video clips to check out which has been AWESOME but unfortunately none of us have been able to witness it in real time since we all live in the states.
Q14) Your own Santoku roster is a big achievement as you have some really good producers on there like Amoss, Nickbee, Jade, Quadrant & Iris, Mayhem, Gridlok, A-Cray, Zero T, Trei and Agressor Bunx. What's the plans for 2018 and what's scheduled for the next release?
A) Yeah there is a fair amount lined up at the moment. Up next will be an EP by some newcomers from Australia called Dead Zodiac and Profane, formerly known as VLTRN. There will be a remix by Tobax on that one as well. Then an EP by Instinkt and another by Kodin. I’ve discussed the idea of an LP for Diode too. That guy is a neurofunk pez dispenser and it's time for the world to hear all that he's capable of. Also an EP by dLo which I know will be on point. Aside from this I would like to do some all American releases to showcase the talent of the US DNB scene because there are quite a few ppl here with mad skills that not enough people are familiar with. Will def have some big names included on several of these releases too.
Q15) You have shared the stage many times with Netsky, Subfocus, Calyx & Teebee and Dimension, and played at Respect in LA in 2015 which was awesome. What would be your dream gig and dream line up?
A) I would really like to play at Flex in Austria. Mostly because I went there quite a few times back in 2009 and was just blown away by the club design and fan base. I have a lot of fond memories of those events with my buddy Chris aka Wreckage Machinery and Alex, formerly known as The Square. As far as the line up, I’d love to have my buddy Armanni Reign as MC without a doubt, would do a live show with Legion where I could play guitar live again. We did that once in Atlanta and it was AWESOME! I personally would love to see Amoss, Spectrasoul, Loadstar, Audio, and Erb N Dub is a madman on the decks. Need to witness that in person.
Q16) What are your top 5 favourite tracks right now?
A) dLo - Clapback, Kursiva - Hydra, Loadstar - Guerilla, Mean Teeth - Time Shift, aaaand Belle Humble & GLXY - Lonley (FD’s Rollout Remix).
Q17) If you could take one track on a desert island, and only listen to that track over and over forever, what would it be and why?
A) Ahhhhh that’s a tough one. So many genres to pick from. Perhaps “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N Roses since it was the track that inspired me to play guitar in the first place. Nostalgia doesn’t seem to ever get old.
Q18) If I gave you $40k what would you do with it?
A) Well the responsible me would pay off my student loans and credit card debt lol. The irresponsible me would probably spend the remaining $11 going out to eat.
Q19) What gigs have you coming up over the next few months, and any planned podcasts or mixes we can look out for?
A) Yes I believe there is talk of me heading out to Denver this year to play Language again. Super dope night my buddies Lee and Beau throw out there. Lee is half of Legion. Might be doing a local show here in Feb as well and some others that are awaiting confirmation. There is actually a mix that was supposed to be done for Chords already but with the holiday season we didn’t quite get to it yet. I am planning on doing another for “The Best Drum & Bass” Podcast this year too. My buddy Dorian aka Bad Syntax runs that one.
Q20) Thank you for your time. Lastly, any shouts and thanks?
A) Yeah thanks again for reaching out and having me on. Shout out to Hunter and Lee of Legion, Anthony Mayhem, Jim and the crew at RAM, all the fans, and to Stephanie for putting up with me and allowing me to pursue my dreams.