Violet Ice: Dev Pandya (Alaska & Paradox) Talks New Releases, Drum & Bass, and the Future of LPs.

If you're a fan of drum & bass, chances are you're familiar with Dev Pandya (perhaps better known as Alaska or Paradox), the virtuoso craftsman that has been chopping up breaks since the 90s.

The emotion and passion present in Dev's work has rightfully earned him a spot as one of the genre's most revered composers. With decades of experience and projects on some of the most storied labels, it should come as no surprise that the junglist is still churning out quality tracks today.

While his technical forte is quickly audible as a result of his meticulous sampling tactics, it's the filmesque ambience that he creates on some work that is truly something to behold.

I still vividly remember the first time I heard Back from Eternity and the wave of energy that swept over me when the bass dropped. 

With some new singles and projects just around the corner, Dev gives us a head up in this interview.

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Prox: Back from Eternity is one of my favorite songs of all-time and easily is one of the most influential on my preferred sound within the DnB genre. Could you give us a breakdown of it?

Dev: Seba and I wrote Back from Eternity during a hot summer. We wanted to return to the pinnacle Good Looking Records sound so it was quite easy to do that really with the weather playing a part and recreating that energy. Back from Eternity glides for us atmospherically but we made sure the beats were not too coffee-table in order to keep it a bit tough too. We did the track in three days or so. Sometimes the vibe flies and everything falls into place as it should. The flipside Perpetual on the other hand took longer and I think both of us were not totally happy with the final version, but listening to it now I appreciate it more than I did back then.

Prox: I’ve always been a big fan of how you handle the mixing on your drums. Could you describe your process and some of your go to techniques?

Dev: Not really. I don’t like talking about studio techniques or studio equipment or anything computer geeky. Seba could probably go deeper on the subject. I am a geek when it comes to sourcing breaks but that’s just the crate digger in me. My set up is very retro, prehistoric even, but I don’t like talking about equipment really.

Prox: A lot of your tracks have a very interesting cinematic feel. How do you make your pieces sound so “big” and spiritual?

Dev: Sample-etiquette is paramount. This is where I’m pretty careful. That also goes with synthesizer work too but with samples you really need to pay attention. I spend a lot of time on this when I work alone or with Nucleus to create that feel you mention.

Prox: Let’s discuss the new project. Where does it fit into your catalog sonically and what’s the story behind it?

Dev: Venera is a track that I wanted to do that captured the ethos of the 1996 speed-era days of beautiful Jungle. It really was a magical time for me personally and that’s how the Alaska alias was born. Many titles from that Jungle era were extremely emotional in the sense that they were beautiful in their own right even without any drums in the mix. 

Catalogue wise I’m into 22 years of Alaska titles now and I never thought that I’d still be running the artist name alongside Paradox in 2018. 

I don’t write enough Alaska material because of Paradox and vice-versa. I battle with myself on this subject because when I work alone I’m as slow as a snail, yet I’m managing to release 12’’s bi-monthly which is a paradox in itself I guess. Maybe I should have stuck to one artist name like Seba but back in the 90’s it seemed like a good idea to separate the two.

Prox: What's the story on the title for this track? Did you create it first and then title it or structure it around the title?

Dev: The Venera name is based on the soviet Venus space program from the 60’s and it’s a personal thing with a double meaning. I had the title in my head and wrote the track accordingly which helped create the vibe and I’m very happy with it. Venera, Jasheri, Solace, and Zeal with Robert Manos are four widescreen-sounding Alaska titles on Arctic I’m fond of most.

Prox: Can you tell us a bit about the art and vinyl pressing?

Dev: For me the artwork is just as important as the music itself as it’s the second extension of it - the complete package. The physical aspect of vinyl is paramount so I push the boat out making the release desirable. Venera features violet Ice art on the labels and is pressed on transparent blue and violet mixed vinyl. 

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Prox: It’s been quite a while since we’ve gotten a full length Alaska album. Is there one currently in the works? How soon should we expect it?

Dev: For Alaska unfortunately never again but I’ll continue to do Alaska 12’’ releases whilst the vinyl gods let me. I only wanted to do an Alaska vinyl LP trilogy anyway. I won’t go back into hiding for a whole year to do another album. I spent three years on-the-trot making three vinyl albums Isolationist (2009), The Mesozoic Era (2010), Ramifications (2011) and I don’t like the reclusiveness that goes into making an album anymore. I’ve done nine vinyl LP’s and I can’t see myself making a solo-studio one again, but If I did do another then it would only be a Nucleus & Paradox collaboration album for sure, not a solo-mission.

Prox: What’s next for you following this new 12”? Any live sets or other releases we should be on the lookout for?

Dev: The new Paradox 12’’ was just released last week and after Venera will be a guest release by some great artists on Paradox Music, then a Paradox Metalheadz 12’’, then more Nucleus & Paradox bits and another Wax Breaks Drumbreak LP.

I’m also currently working on something for Rupture London and I can reveal that the next Arctic Music 12’’ has just been finalized and will enter manufacturing soon.

You can catch me performing a Live PA this Saturday in Manchester UK for Polarity at the Soup Kitchen

For more information on Dev and his work swing by Arctic Music, Paradox MusicInstagram, Soundcloud, and Twitter.

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