JDNB Interview - Climpo

JDNB Interview - Climpo
Full Send is a dnb label set up in the East of the UK headed up by Climpo and Circle Red. It's the parent company for 3 drum & bass labels based in the UK, USA and Australia. Reaching an audience worldwide, they are pushing the boundaries wanting to be known as the world's most experimental drum and bass label. From being launched in 2020 they have now reached over 80 releases in the catalogue and have a huge roster of around 40 international artists on rotation releasing regularly. The aim was always help undiscovered talent to break into the music scene, and now it has evolved to become the home of more experimental drum and bass. Climpo decided he needed to role model this experimental style in his new album. 

Not only managing director but an accomplished DJ. Climpo has performed alongside legends such as Brandon Block, Slipmatt and Jayline.

Today is the release of an exciting array of music, Climpo's third album - Open Your Mind.

We have a chat to find out a little more!
Thanks for having a chat to us, how is 2022 treating you so far?
Yeah good thanks, its been an interesting time for me trying to juggle work with a 2 year old daughter and still trying to find the headspace to produce some tunes

And enjoying the heatwave?
To be honest I’ve not been too badly affected as I work from home, just had to have all the windows open. I do feel sorry for people having to commute around London on the tube, must be horrific!

So let's talk about humble beginnings, how did you get into dnb and what is your musical history growing up?
I found a love for music in 95, still think to this day that it was a special time for dance music. I really got into Happy Hardcore (Bomber jacket and record bags were very on trend at school), along with jungle and groups such as the Prodigy and Chemical Brothers. In my teenage years, drum & bass was beginning to take off; I’d head into Our Price record shop each weekend to find some new music and discovered some gems from Roni Size, LTJ Bukem and an amazing label called Moving Shadow. I went and joined the Army at 16 and always followed drum and bass but couldn’t be as heavily involved in the scene as I would have liked. Over the years I enjoyed the Garage, Trance, Big Room and Electro House scenes and when I started learning to DJ in 2018 I played around with loads of different genres, but found I most naturally able to spin dnb. That's when I really started to get back into dnb again; I was instantly addicted and have thrown my all into becoming part of the scene especially taking the bold move to launch my own label Full Send dnb in 2020 which has been an amazing journey.

What do you produce on, DAW and VSTs?
I use logic to as my base DAW and then rely heavily on Serum and ANA2 for sound creation. I also found a great VST from a company called Slate Digital who give you some amazing plugins which has increased the quality of mixing substantially, I then use Ozone Izotope to finish things off and to get ready for mastering. 

What inspires you to make music and why?
There’s 2 real answers here. From a personal perspective, I’ve really found making music and DJing as a great way to give me focus and keep me in a balanced headspace. At the same time I make music for the fans! I love the power it has over people to change their emotions and the way that it is intrinsically linked to society and culture. Being someone that could potentially influence this, is quite a powerful motivator for me

So tell us about the first and second album, why were they named what they were and what influenced you?
After coming back from the war in Afghanistan I was really in a bad place mentally and never really got any better; it cost me my marriage, my career and almost went bankrupt, so when I started producing in 2019 it found it a great outlet to share my emotions and story (even if it was just to myself). My first Album was called The Darker Skies which was a blend of electro / neuro style of sounds. It was heavily influenced by what I had gone through so I donated all proceeds from it’s release to mental health charities in order to help others. To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing when I wrote it - I just started putting some samples and loops together and then my good friend Alec Soren did the best he could to help me mix and master them so they were just about good enough to release on his label Captum Records. It was a funny time because I imagined instant success, a Beatport number 1 etc so felt really dejected for a while after when I had about 60 streams for the album in the first wee. The seed was planted but I quickly realised I needed to make my own sounds, vastly improve the quality and understand better the structure of dnb tracks so they had some wider appeal. After a huge number of failed projects and a lot of production lessons, I began to start feeling happier with my tracks but was also enjoying playing around with a range of styles so came up with the concept of a two disc album The Shadow of my Light which catered for both a commercial feel but also the harder styles of dnb. While I am immensely proud to have released my first album altogether (as many producers don’t get that far) I was even prouder with the second album as it was of a much higher standard and gave me some credibility as an artist. 

Do you find writing music easy or time consuming and how disciplined are you getting into the studio to write?
I’m awful when it comes to production! I’m either completely against doing any or I am utterly consumed by it; once I get going on a track everything else in life gets thrown out the window until I’m finished. Producing 15 tracks for my second album in under a year nearly killed me especially as I was still learning, but it took this level of dedication to get where I am today. 

Alleviate (produced with Alec Soren) had been selected for airplay on Radio 1 Dance with Jaguar, Career highlight?
Absolutely. When I first started out, one of my absolute goals was to get a track on Radio 1. I had heard about BBC introducing and uploaded a load of tracks and got no response. Then one day completely out of the blue I got an email saying a track had been selected and was going out that day on Jaguar’s show, as you can imagine Alec and I sank a few pints that night to celebrate. The funny thing was we almost didn’t release Alleviate at all; we had been collaborating on a number of tracks and I just wanted more filler track for my album, so we dug around some of our unfinished projects, mixed it down and chucked it in for release - must have been fate.

So if that's not big, tell us what your best moment so far in music has been for you?
Away from production, my biggest moment has been performing a B2B set with Brandon Block at Winterland Festival in Milton Keynes in 2019. He was an idol of mine growing up so it was great to meet him and hear some of the hilarious stories he had to tell.

So about this exciting new 3rd album ‘Open Your Mind’ which lands on 5th August 2022. Why that name?
I lacked confidence over my music and spent a long time trying to produce to the standard of AMC or Turno or that I had to make something suitable for RAM or Hospital to be taken seriously. But actually so many artists don’t make an album and even less make it onto Radio 1, so began to find a greater level of self belief that I don’t have to copy a blueprint for a track and must be comfortable releasing my own style. I continually hear people copying each other’s sounds; a few years ago it was minimal foghorns, now its catchy jump up - I want to move away from being the same as others and be unique in my own right. I continue to experiment with different styles and bring in influences from other genres and actually that’s ok, so I came up with the concept of the album being called Open Your Mind as a way to inspire other artists to showcase their own unique sounds and to produce anthems that keep the fans guessing what might come next from me. I’m keen to be known for being different and for influencing new styles of drum and bass within the scene, but in order to do this I need to open people’s minds towards something new. 

A number of the tracks have featured on Radio 1, BBC Introducing and BBC 3 Counties Radio already? You must be stoked?      
Yeah It’s been brilliant, and we’re building a great relationship with the BBC Introducing team who are giving some massive support and showcasing the tracks along with getting me in for guest mixes. The dedication and persistence is beginning to pay off. Massive shout out to Jaguar, Ed Adoo, Danny Fullbrook and Honor Morrison for your belief in me!
Climpo & Alec Soren on Radio 1 - Listen Here On Instagram
So you have some of your own radio shows too, I've checked some out you are really talented! Tell us about those.
When I started to learn to DJ in 2018, I thought I could run before I could walk! Within about 4 weeks of starting, I reached out to loads of promoters, managers, radio stations and got no response. Only one person came back to me, a guy called Marc Dicks who runs a house station called Platinum Radio London who wanted to have a dnb night each Wednesday. He asked me if I could start the following week, so spent two whole days preparing for a 1 hour show, I was so nervous and had never done any mic work before, but it was an amazing way to practice DJing and I’ve done a weekly show pretty much every week since. I managed to bag a residency with a community station in Bedford called In2Beats 106.5FM which was a big move up for me to be on an FM station and started presenting the Darker Skies show, focussing on dark and heavier side of dnb. During COVID I then moved onto presenting a live stream for the label called the Full Send dnb show which focusses on playing underground and upcoming dnb. We’ve just now turned the show into a weekly podcast which also broadcasts on Platinum Radio and Hot Radio 102.8 FM which is the biggest community station in Dorset and Wiltshire - the show goes out just before Paul Van Dyk’s VONYC sessions which is pretty sweet. 

On top of work, music and everything else, you the founder of a charity cause called "DJ2CombatStress" which raises money for veterans charities PTSD Resolution and Combat Stress.
That really is something! I guess it's close to your heart from your armed forces work? It would be interesting to read about all of your experiences I always find these things sad but fascinating on how we can all help, I guess it helps to raise awareness?
Aside from my own personal aspirations in the music scene, I really wanted to give back. So I set up the cause DJ2CombatStress as a way for promoting awareness around ex-forces mental health. We have a team of DJs who perform around the country to raise donations for the charities and have played at some great community events. We also donate 5% of all revenue generated by Full Send dnb to the cause. For every £550 we raise that directly pays to help a veteran suffering from PTSD to go into a rehab programme to help them cope with trauma from war. Suicide rates for ex-forces is really high so we know that our work directly contributes to saving people’s lives. We have a Just Giving page set up so for any of the readers out there if you could even just donate a fiver, it would help massively. 

Let's get back to music, something a bit more light hearted. Tell us your favourite:
Pubs or clubs? Amnesia Ibiza - Saw Chases and Status and Sigma there a few years ago - banging atmosphere. 
Beer or spirits? Leffe Beer - Got a real taste for Belgium Larger
Liquid or tech? Can I say neuro??? Ok I’ll go for liquid - love a catchy vocal
Mcs or no Mcs? No MC for liquid or melodic as there is no need, but definitely an MC to ramp up the crowd for a banger

Above - JDNB Shadow Boxers #032 Mix
Tracklist : 

limpo & Alec Soren - Far From Home - Original - Full Send dnb
Climpo - Open Your Mind - Original - Full Send dnb
Climpo & Alec Soren - It Was You - Original - Send dnb
Climpo & Alec Soren - Kaleidoscope - Original - Full Send dnb
MAG - Absorbed - Original - Full Send dnb
Circle Red - WUMP - Radio Edit - Full Send dnb
Jack Paladin - Drifted - Original - Full Send dnb
Climpo & Circle Red - You Lied to Me - Original - Full Send dnb
Climpo - Is it Just a Dream - Circle Red Remix - Full Send dnb
So-Low - Refuse You - Original - Full Send dnb
Scott Devotion - Ready For Them - Original - Full Send dnb
DJ KRPT - Don't get it Wrong - Original - Full Send dnb
Climpo - Lay Me Down - Hypershell Remix - Full Send dnb
Climpo - Valkyries Revenge - Original - Captum Records
Climpo - Jekyll - Original - Full Send dnb
Neuralink - Before the Sun Sets - Original Full - Send dnb
Danny Darksol - Forget Me Not - Original - Full Send dnb
Climpo Feat. Davide 'Hi-Def' Tuscher - The Shadow of my Light - Original - Full Send dnb
Mix is wicked! Big up! So, top 5 tunes in your ammo for the dancefloors right now?
I’ll get slaughtered if I don’t give some of the guys from the label a shout!

Tell us about your 12 top 10 tracks in the Hypeddit drum & bass chart.
When I was starting out I used Hypeddit to market my music and build a bit of a following and managed to get 12 tracks within the top 10 dnb chart which was amazing and I’d fully recommend it for producers at the beginning of their journey. Here’s a couple for you to enjoy

Djing and Climpo! You have headlined a couple of sick events, tell us about the trail pursuit in 2021?
I’ve actually had more success at multi-genre commercial events that I have with underground dnb clubs and got a call asking if I could drive to the Brecon Beacons to headline a running festival. I was a bit sceptical but when I turned up they had a stage in the middle of the mountains and 1000 runners ready to get raving. The promoter had asked me to play commercial dance floor dnb but actually the crowd went wild when I dropped some proper weapons and ended up doing a 3 hour set; I threw in a bit of trance and garage for good measure. Once of the best moments of my career by far. 
You're at Bedford River Festival in Jul 22, which attracts around 250k visitors across the weekend, bet you are buzzin' for that one? 
What kind of set can we expect to hear? 
Oh yes, this is definitely going to be my biggest crowd so far and I’ll be joined by Alec Soren on the Main Stage. We’ve got a 1 hour Sunday lunchtime slot so it’s going to have to be a bit more of a commercial / anthems set for this one, but a great opportunity to drop some of the new album tracks for some crowd reaction. There’s 5 stages around the town with some legends like Judge Jules, Set Fontaine and Spoony playing so its going to be a big one.

You pioneer euphoric drum and bass, something you love? Can you give us your top 5 euphoric dnb tunes please?
One day I sat down and thought in order to really make it, I need to be known for creating a sub-genre, so played around with loads of styles and found that actually combining trance synths, strings and vocals, with dnb and halftime worked really well. Euphoric dnb was born as a way to get drum & bass out to a wider commercial audience, something you could listen to at a bar in ibiza. It’s still early days but it's coming, here’s a flavour. 
Climpo - Is it Just a Dream                                    
Netsky - Rise and Shine                                         
What do you like to do in your spare time to chill? 
Ain't got time to chill. My life’s pretty full on running 2 businesses, producing, DJing, a young daughter etc but I’m a person that likes to be busy. Ibiza is my spiritual home, so a trip there once a year keeps me sane.

You seem really busy! Where do you get the time, and you have kids I feel like i'm under achieving myself haha!
Haha. Yes, I get asked this a lot, especially how have I made 3 albums in 3 years. I used to be quite a talented sprinter so have spent many years being dedicated to a cause; it does take a huge amount of sacrifice in other areas of life so you have to be quite disciplined. I set myself some lofty goals as well…..at some point hopefully I’ll be fulfilled enough to just stop and relax….does Creamfields need a headliner next year?
Well wow big up, Hold that dream! Favourite quotes or life sayings?
‘I know a place where we can be free, where you can be you and I can be me” Armand Van Helden - I heard this track in 2015 dancing round a tent at Creamfields and really summed up what I wanted from my life - it was a point where I really needed to find myself.

And to those growing up in todays world, what are your words of wisdom to help survive and conquer?
That’s a tough one, the world seems to forever be getting more challenging. I’d say try and find yourself and be the person you want to be - you don’t have to just follow the crowd. 

Who would you take on holiday if I gave you £10k?
I’ve got to say my wife and take her to the Maldives. She does a lot to support my crazy ideas and we could do with a break from being parents for a few days. My less sensible idea would be to hire a villa for a week in Ibiza and then fly out AMC, Turno, Nu-Tone, High Contrast etc to form a supergroup and make some crazy assed tunes for an album. 
So Euphoric dnb plays a big part still in your third album, and features a host of collaborations and remixes with rising stars including Circle Red, Alec Soren, Hypershell, Adam M and Stonx to ensure it is one of the standout releases of 2022. 
Who did you enjoy working with the most and dare I ask the least!?
Answer: Circle Red and I get on really well and he’s recently come on board as a director for the label. 'You Lied to Me' is the first track we’ve produced together; we’re not even sure quite how we ended up with the finished song, but it’s wicked. 
As much as I love him, Alec Soren can be difficult for me to work with. He is the self proclaimed ‘Sound Guru’ who taught me how to produce and still masters all my tracks, but he is very artistic and creative and I’m very purposeful so it takes a bit of time for us to find our groove. I remixed his garage track Twisted, two thirds of it is at 87bpm and then I bring in a 175bpm amen to spice it up - we had a lot of fun with this one. 

While I always ask about the good, what would you change in the music industry if you could?
I’d say the level of professionalism. It takes 10 seconds to respond to someone and I couldn’t even tell you how many labels, promoters etc that I’ve contacted that never respond even with a no, DJs not turning up for events or being too pissed to perform. When we launched the label we made a commitment that we would respond to everyone that contacts us, where we can we provide feedback on demo’s, provide support to our artists to progress and share knowledge. It’s this level of professionalism that we pride ourselves in and the reason why we have a very good rep in the music industry. If I look at it on the flip side though, we started the label because of those people so should actually be thanking them!

Great thoughts I totally agree, I've always said this, though wait until you get 600 emails a week and you may change your mind! Any advice to people wanting to write an album and get it out there?
Where to start…there are so many moving parts. I think my biggest realisation is that unless you are a manufactured pop star by a big label, you won’t make it instantly, it takes time. Get your first tracks out of the way (they won’t be great) but use them as a way to promote yourself while you make better tracks and find your own groove. So the advice I’d give someone is try not to worry too much about them all having the same style, giving fans a message, them being perfect etc. Just get on, do it, start again and keep improving. 

Well thank you for taking time out, it's been lovely to find out a bit more about you, your professionalism and life.
Any shouts and thanks?
It’s been a real pleasure and thanks for the support. Yes definitely got a few shout outs for my appreciation. 
Marc (Platinum Radio), Kev (Hot Radio) & Mark (In2Beats) - For having faith and giving me a chance
Graham and Shelley - Giving valueable advice from the very start
Paul, Alec, Brandon, Josh, Micheal, Lauren and all the Full Send dnb family - Being a great team to work with on the label
Jenny & Eloise - My rocks who keep me grounded
Finally and most importantly. All the fans across the world that support us, we do this for you!

Many thanks, and all the best for 2022 and beyond!
Interview by Missrepresent 2022

DJ Climpo
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Full Send