Dan Harwood (better known as Bare Up) is a 24-year-old producer from Devon, UK and is the face behind Rampage’s newest signing. He was a longtime bedroom producer relatively unheard of, until his tracks were spontaneously discovered earlier this year on the off chance through the power of modern-day networking, social media. Murdock offered him an unforeseen deal with Rampage which changed his life…
Things very quickly escalated by large proportions when only his first official single, ‘Pull Up’ which was released on the Rampage 2019 compilation, started getting dropped here there and everywhere by some very well-respected artists, which is hardly surprising considering his very distinctive technical and slick jump up sound that is somewhat reminiscent of Upgrade.
He seemingly came out of nowhere and yet he is now appearing at Tomorrowland, one of the world’s biggest electronic dance music festivals among others, as well as his tracks still being continuously smashed by D&B heavyweights like Roni Size and Hazard. He’s currently 1 single and 1 EP deep since his signing all of which has been very well received, with more on the horizon…
I recently had an in-depth chat with him to get some insight into his background and how he miraculously smashed his way onto the scene with mighty force, here’s what he had to say.
First things first, you’re relatively new to the scene and have climbed the ladder phenomenally quickly compared to a lot of other producers. Could you tell us a bit of background info on what got you hooked on music and how you got into producing?
I think like many EDM producers around my age (24), it all started out with a love for dubstep and trying recreate our favorite artists. It began with Skrillex (obviously) and all the other big UKF related names of that time, later discovering Koan Sound which definitely inspired me to strive for a higher quality production and interesting sound. I’ve just been addicted to creating sounds/songs of any genre for nearly 9 years now, but Drum & Bass was something I always came back to after every genre phase.
How I came around to producing was so random, it almost became an addiction. I think I became curious as to how Dubstep was made, so after a little googling and YouTube, I downloaded a FL Studio demo and tried to make something. I quickly gave up and didn’t touch it again for about 6 months, until my friend asked how Dubstep was made too. I showed him FL, as I remembered I still had it downloaded, then I got a little carried away that evening and I’m pretty sure I left him playing on my Xbox for 3 hours while I was trying to perfect a drum beat. From there it spiraled out of control…
UKF Dubstep golden days, fond memories indeed. Are you self-taught or did you pursue music though an educational path?
My approach to anything musical has always been trial and error and finding stuff out for myself, instead of just researching it so I’m very self-taught. But bit by bit, year after year, I was constantly improving the sounds I was making.
I say I’m self-taught as there was very little that I studied at Uni that I feel directly applied to what I produced at home, everything at Uni at was focused on band based recording or industry business elements but working with other musicians and learning other industry elements has contributed a hell of a lot to my mindset and approach to anything I do musically now as well, even from a production point of view. I think it’s super important to get involved in all areas of the music industry, it allows you to get a bigger understanding of how the whole system works, and understanding more about the system will help you to get into the system.
9 years is obviously quite a length of time to be producing without exposing yourself. How did you come to get discovered for your talents and what led to the Rampage signing?
For a long time, I was torn between being content with making music for myself and not wanting recognition…and wanting recognition. I never really promoted myself though, I frequently told myself to just keep producing and if my music was good enough that someone would want to do something with it, fortunately for me that someone was Hans Michaels (Murdock) after he spotted a bootleg I posted in a Facebook group called DnB Talk. I owe an old child hood friend of mine Jacob Sörensen – Parkes (Spotted Festivals Manager/Founder) a massive thank you for introducing me to that, if he wasn’t that way inclined and interested in networking and helping people then I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity I have now. That’s really a testament to how networking and encouraging others really goes along way! Following on from Hans spotting my bootleg on DnB talk, he messaged me asking for a copy in addition to anything else I produced, so I sent him everything. Around 2 weeks later he asked if we could have a phone call for some feedback on my tracks but it actually turned into a record deal offer, which I was not expecting. Now here I am doing this insane stuff.
Insane certainly being an understatement. I guess your story really is a perfect testament to how social media can be massive aid to an upcoming artists career, one minute you’re an unknown bedroom producer then suddenly out of nowhere DJ Craze, Hazard & Macky Gee to name are few are smashing your tunes and you’re playing big time festivals like Tomorrowland & Rampage Open Air. Madness.
The Rampage weekend earlier this year was such a weird 2 days. It started off with me getting a message from a fan saying that Harriet Jaxxon had just dropped Pull Up. What really got me going was the crowd reaction, it was insane hearing that roar to my track. Then every few hours after that I was getting another message, “Murdock just dropped it!!”, then “MACKY GEE JUST DROPPED IT! Then “DUDE, DJ HAZARD JUST DROPPED IT!!” I was on a night out when I found out Hazard dropped it… I went straight to the bar and bought everyone Tequila.
I can imagine that being a pretty surreal feeling to have such high calibre & prestigious artists like Hazard dropping your productions, especially so early on in your career!
You’ve also just come back from playing We Are Electric in the Netherlands, considering you came from a production background with minimal DJ experience, playing a show of that size must have felt like a pretty big leap into the deep end?
We are Electric was crazy! When I was first trying to find the stage I was playing at, I didn’t know what was what, so every big stage I saw I was like, “wtf, really?” getting ridiculously excited. This happened about 4 times, until finally it was confirmed I was playing at the Snare stage, from that point forward, I was experiencing waves of nerves and excitement within the space of a minute. It really was chucking me in at the deep end having only done 2 low-key events before this. One was in Plymouth, opening set to about 5 people who had just turned up towards the last 10 mins of my set and the second was a 10-11:30 set at Glas-Denbury Festival in Devon, which was actually really good. It was a small tent but it filled out with about max 150 people. This was about 5 years ago. The only DJ’ing I’ve done since then was for family & friends’ weddings. Now I’m being shipped out all over Europe to perform at these big festivals and I’m so glad and overwhelmed that Hans has the confidence in me to give me incredible opportunities like this. He was right to though, ‘cause the We Are Electric set was amazing!
Sounds mental. I guess having those big artists drop your tracks is one thing but being able to stand there yourself after all those years graft in the studio must feel pretty surreal. So, what’s next for Bare Up release wise and DJ bookings? Surely the only way is up for you from here onwards…
It was awesome to be able to drop my tracks in front of a crowd at last, especially one that size, I’m still yet to look back at the live stream and see how the crowd were actually reacting, ‘cause my eyes were glued to the decks 90% of the time!
I have a 4 track EP coming out on Rampage Records soon, no date for sure yet though. Plus 2 remixes that are getting a big official release I’m led to believe, but that’s being arranged as we speak…one them might be a while. In terms of bookings, it’s gone from 0-60 in no time at all. I’ve just had the fortune to play at We Are Electric and Tomorrowland, next up is Rampage Open Air! I have a few UK sets that are yet to be confirmed but, the only way from here is definitely looking up.