The Veteran Speaks: Nucleus Discusses Drum & Bass and Delivers a Killer Set.

"I think the scene is really healthy at the moment. There’s quality in whatever style you're into. I hear lots of good stuff with breaks and classic sounds but I'm also always looking for something different." -Nucleus

Drum & Bass veteran Dave "Nucleus" Sims has been on the scene for over two decades and hasn't slowed down one single bit.

Cutting his teeth in the 80's as a DJ and influenced by the classic stylings of hip hop progenitors like Marley Marl and Ultramagnetic Mc's, Nucleus began crafting heavy breakbeat tunes in the mid 90's.

Since his introduction to the genre, he was instrumental in the formation of Esoteric Music with Dev "Paradox" Pandya and has been consistently featured on the iconic Metalheadz label.

Aside from sharing an exclusive set with us, he has also decided to give us a glimpse into his artistry and the culture of Drum & Bass.

Sennheiser

Prox: I read that you’re a fan of old school hip hop. Are there any elements from the genre that you consciously inject into your tracks?

Nucleus: My whole passion for music came from Hip Hop. I started breaking when I was 11, did a bit of graffiti as well but gravitated to the music and bought some turntables.

It was Electro at first, then around 86 as more breakbeats were being sampled in tunes by Marley Marl, Ultramagnetic Mc's, etc. I started finding out about the original breakbeats and Funk records that were the backbone of Hip Hop.

Breakbeats were also the backbone of Hardcore/Jungle which evolved into DnB so I've always tried to find breaks that were more obscure and haven't been used.

I used to get bored of hearing the same breaks all the time, Amen, Think, etc. The whole crate digging thing led to finding loads of samples as well from Funk, Jazz, soundtracks and other genres.

The Hip Hop mentality is always there. Most producers in the early 90's were into 80's Hip Hop. I always thought Hardcore/Jungle/DnB was like an extension of Hip Hop for the UK.

Prox: You’ve been on the scene for a while now and have witnessed many changes within the genre. What are some elements in contemporary Drum & Bass that you really enjoy?

Nucleus: I’ve really got back into it the last few years, its much more open to different ideas now and there's a lot of variation. I've gone through phases of hardly listening to any DnB, sometimes I felt I just couldn't relate to it, although there's always been good stuff around if you look for it.

Maybe Dubstep slowed things down a bit and opened things up for more experimentation.

Prox: Your catalog is quite sprawling now since you’ve been on the scene for the better part of two decades. Is there a particular project or track that you would say best incapsulates the overall sound and vibe would like to relay to your listeners?

Nucleus: Esoteric Funk is one of my all time favourites, our first release on the massively influential Reinforced Records. There's echoes of the whole vibe and groove of that track in some of our later work. 

Love Her is one of our biggest tracks and a bit of a classic, I still play it out a lot. 

Our latest release on Metalheadz the Wrath EP is some of our best work and would say really incapsulates our sound, the BBoy connection with breaks and the artwork as well.

Nucleus & Paradox.

Prox: You have collaborated with Paradox on many tracks throughout the years. What are some elements that you each like to incorporate from your respective styles into your tracks?

Nucleus: We grew up together and were into the same music. We both came from Hip Hop so we're both on the same page in the studio, it always works out.

Prox: With indie labels like Monochrome Recordings, Offworld Recordings, and Omni Music and the mainstream legends like Metalheadz holding it down, would you say that we could be in the middle of a revival?

Nucleus: I think the scene is really healthy at the moment. There’s quality in whatever style you're into. I hear lots of good stuff with breaks and classic sounds but I'm also always looking for something different.

Prox: After all these years, what keeps you coming back to the genre? Why do you think so many people are still in love with breakbeat, jungle, and DnB?

Nucleus: It’s been going for a long time now and I'm always amazed by the energy when I'm out. The passion people have for the music is incredible, for example at the Rupture nights.

Also there's also always a younger generation coming up that does their thing. It goes through phases and I might not always be into it but I think its always been like that, everyone’s got their own idea of what it is and that keeps it evolving which is a good thing. I feel now I can make and play exactly what I want and it fits in better than say around 10-15 years ago.

Prox: Tips on aspiring artists? 

Nucleus: Do your own thing.

Prox: Information on upcoming projects and releases?

Nucleus: Wrath EP on Metalheadz is out now

Esoteric 018/019 are in the pipeline.

Nucleus is on Facebook and Soundcloud and be sure to Swing by Esoteric's Facebook page. 

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