Halogenix has been dominating drum and bass since entering the scene in 2011. His sound is diverse – with rewind-worthy tracks like ‘Blej’ and ‘Broken’ to the deep and soul-driven ‘Rollcage’ or ‘Would You’, and releases on top labels in Critical, Metalheadz, and 1985.
He’s been making a lot of noise over the summer, with his massive Gaslight EP on Critical Music, and the standard, lengthy circuit of festivals. So what better time than now to reflect on what’s been, and what’s next for the intrepid producer/DJ.
On what felt like our final day of summer in London, Halogenix came through to Hospitality in the Park 2019 to share his tunes with a sellout crowd. After his critical stage-shelling, we caught up with Laurence for a quick chat.
How’s your day been today – how’s the Hospitality in the Park experience?
Good! It’s my second year. I actually live quite close to Finsbury park, so it was very easy to get here. I just played 30 minutes ago – and it was great. It’s always a vibe here, the fact that you’ve got a festival this size in London is awesome. A homegrown, London based, purely drum and bass festival.
I remember your set last year at the Let It Roll stage and it was amazing!
How do you feel your set went compared to last year?
Yeah, last year I played the Let It Roll stage, I think it was around the same time. This year was great too – although I think I had a bit of a clash with Skeptical B2B Break B2B S.P.Y. But it was great fun – I played what I wanted and everyone stuck around.
That’s good to hear! – And how’s summer been overall?
Summer’s been really good, I did a couple of trips over to the US, which is always interesting and fun.
Drum and bass over there is a different beast. The sounds, how people respond to it, the cultures and the ‘clans’ that end up being at parties. It’s totally different then here in the UK or in Europe… Obviously in America, the sonics and styles of EDM and dubstep are really big over there, and that translates to a different sound of D&B to what we have here in the UK.
So as a DJ who plays a slightly deeper sound, it’s interesting for me to go over there because it’s always a lottery in regards to how they’ll respond. The tunes that go off are different – sometimes over here I’ll play a really deep tune, and people will go wild for it, over there I play the same tune, and people just walk out.
But that must keep it exciting right?
Totally! And I’m lucky in that I like to play all over the spectrum. I like to play really hard stuff, as well as really soulful. So I can adapt. But also, who knows what it’s gonna be like in 5 years over there.
So your last EP release was titled Gaslight. Could you walk us through your inspirations for this work?
Well actually the title came from my wife. She’s an amazing source of information and inspiration for me. She’ll just come home sometimes and tell me about fascinating and random stuff.
So one night she came home and said “Do you know what Gaslighting is?” and I said “no”. She tells me it’s this thing where someone ends up convincing you you’ve gone insane. Basically it’s like a… psychological manipulation.
I thought, that’s an awesome word. Very provocative. And so the track I ended up calling Gaslight was very dark and broody, I thought it fit well.
In terms of the overall feel of the EP: I like being diverse, I very much enjoy playing and making hard music, because I enjoy that other people enjoy it. And I like writing deep and soulful tunes because that connects with me, and I get to channel whatever feelings I have at the time. Inspiration-wise, it’s however I wake up in the morning.
Seeing as that release was a while ago, what have you been working on since? What’s coming out next?
I’m writing a lot of drum and bass at the moment, so I expect there’ll be an EP or something maybe larger coming some time soon. Depending on what I end up finishing, most of the stuff I write I end up canning because it never passes my ridiculous standards. I’m working on being a bit more relaxed with that so hopefully we’ll enjoy a prolific year of music next year.
Outside of your own catalogue – what are you feeling at the moment?
So Shyun and Cruk have now formed Fade Black. And they’ve got an EP coming out on Critical very soon which I think is absolutely amazing. For two emerging artists, it is incredible the amount of class and maturity it has. I play every single one of the (four) tracks on the EP, and it’s right up my street as well. You’ve got tracks that are hard as nails in there, and then you’ve got very strained, and classy vocal stuff. So that’s great.
Also Signal, who’s now known as IMANU. He’s got some absolute bangers at the moment. We’ve actually got a tune together which I opened my set with, and it went down very very well. He’s an absolute killer, dude’s 20 years old!
So you’d pick IMANU for your next big time break-out artist?
I’d pick both him and the Fade Black guys. For their own different reasons. For IMANU, in the world of drum and bass, he’s going to destroy it. He’s young, very able to do different styles, hungry, and he’s very proficient.
The Fade Black guys, I think they could end up breaking through drum and bass and just being a very big cross-over act. Given their technical proficiency and musical ability.
They’ve got this track called ‘Sane’ coming out with a guy called Leo Law on the vocals – it’s like if Disclosure made drum and bass. A phenomenal piece of music.
Nice one! We’ll have to be keeping an eye out for them.
Have you got a Hospital Records track that brings back any good memories?
A bit of an obvious choice but ‘If We Ever’ – I was coming up in that era, going to parties and raving when that tune came out. And it just feels like nothing has, and will ever touch that!
A timeless classic, I completely agree.
Ok, so a bit of a big topic here. Hospitality seem to be making a significant push towards including more women in drum and bass – running various workshops and programmes to push for more inclusion. I personally feel like we’re making progress here. What are you thoughts on the progress or potential barriers on this issue?
I think this is a very needed conversion. The fact that it’s becoming more prevalent, and is being championed by Hospital is going to do nothing but good for it. I also think there’s a long way to go though. The thing about equality which I think is often mis-understood—in my opinion anyway— is that equality isn’t about giving everyone the same thing at the same time, it’s about acknowledging that certain demographics or communities have advantage or disadvantage over others, and elevating those that are disadvantaged to the same position of those who currently enjoy the advantage, thus levelling the playing field and having a more equal community.
But women in drum and bass – and music in general – is experiencing a better time. You’ve got lots of people who are enjoying and having lots of success off of music. And I think it’s about time to be honest. I think any shift in culture takes time. It takes time for the conversation in people’s heads to change. And the fact that Hospital are championing it, again, it’s just going to do nothing but wonders for it.
Eventually I have no doubt it’ll be a case where – no matter who’s playing – no one’s going to care about their sexuality, gender, affiliation or whatever. It’s something that needs to happen and I’m all for it.
And how do you think we can continue moving the needle in that space?
When you have girls in music, it inspires other women in music to do it as well. The reason I got into this was because I saw other people doing it. And I was like, I wanna do that shit!
Back then it was basically all guys. So I’m like ‘I’m a guy, I like drum and bass, I wanna write drum and bass’. If I was a young girl I probably would have thought ‘I’m into music and I like raving’. But if I saw Kyrist, or Lens, or whoever up there smashing it, I would be so inspired to go and do that.
So I think that’s what needs to happen more. We need to put people in those top positions so that they can inspire the next wave of people to come through. And I’m sure, in the next 5-10 years, we’re gonna have a lot of very talented female producers coming through the scene, giving the guys a run for their money.