Dave NotioN & Rob Verge are making some outstanding new drum and bass at the moment, and as our ears pricked up so has our intrigue to where these two gentlemen are arising from. We question them on their recent adventures!
Can you go back to how it started for you, how you met and why drum and bass?
Sure. We’ve been friends since around the age of 4 or 5 now, as we used to live around the corner from each other. I (Dave) moved to a diferent area at age 7, and as we went to seperate primary schools, we didn’t meet back up until the age of 11 at the start of secondary school.
We both became interested in the genre when we started secondary school. Around 12 – 13 we had manyier friends in and out of school listening to the latest tape packs and local pirate stations, but the main influence on us both was Robs older brother Ian and his friend John. Everytime I (Dave) would go over to Robs, Ian would be in his room mixing and talking about Jungle/Drum & Bass with John, and it grabbed both of our attention. Having close friends and family into the music gave us a lot of inspiration to both start mixing at age 15, and push ourselves more in depth into the genre.
How did the name NotioN come about?
The name intially came about due to us entering a remix competition on Drum & Bass Arena, plus Rob began to play on pirate radio alongside his brother to promote our tracks, so we thought we better come up with a duo alias as soon as possible.
We sat down for quite a few hours thinking, and the word Notion came to mind. We looked through the Oxford Dictionary for the meaning: ‘A concept, idea or understanding’ appeared, which we thought fitted our insentive perfectly. We then checked widely across the internet on manyier search engines to see if anyone else had the name, and no one else had claimed (this was back in 2002). We then added 2 capital N’s to the name to make it ‘NotioN’ to stand out that bit more.
What DAW are you on and what are your favourite VSTs?
Currently using Cubase 5 (as the sequencer) Reason 2.5 (to construct breaks, melody’s etc…) and Cool Edit Pro 2.1.
We don’t tend to use that many VST’s in Cubase (2 to be exact), but I’d have to say the Native Bundle filter and EQ plugins are essential in achieving a warm but clean track for us. We’ve been using them since the very start.
How do you get on in the studio? Do either of you have strengths?
Although Rob has dabbled over the years, the main bulk of production comes from myself Dave. Rob’s always been more of the promoter out of the two of us, by promoting our tracks on long term pirate radio shows over the years. He’s just moved into a new house and has talked about setting up a studio there, so I’m sure a set up of some sort will be implemented in the near future.
If I gave you £1000 to spend on studio gear, what would you get?
We’re definately looking to upgrade in the near future, so spending that £1000 on the newest version of Cubase, Reason and Native Instrument’s Massive would be nice.
And £1000 on anything random?
We like to have a little gamble now and again, so playing Poker or Roulette at the local Casino.
The first track you sent out was “It was always” and it had massive support from Fabio and Grooverider on Radio 1 in 2006. Can you explain how that felt?
It was an inspirational time for us, but completly unexpected. Having support on any track when you’re new and fresh to the industry is always appreciated, but the fact it was the first track we had ever sent out to a big DJ and it was supported on Radio 1, was a huge step forward and such a great feeling.
We heard a few weeks later (from someone via AIM) that Grooverider had then supported the track at club Swerve, and it had received 3 rewinds. It was a shame that we couldn’t have been there, but again we just felt greatful and appreciative in the moment.
Following the success of the track ‘It was always’, we decided to send Grooverider another track ‘9 weeks 5 days’ (being the second track we had ever sent out to any big DJ in the industry) and he also supported that on Radio 1 two weeks later. I think after this support we really felt as if momentum was with us, and we could then go onto bigger things.
I’ve checked out your “Lost Between Time” podcasts, and they are getting a lot of support! How important is the internet to you?
With the support from Grooverider it definately helped with securing our first vinyl release, as Radio 1 reaches such a wide audience. We had quite a few people sending us kind messages of support after that little spell too, which was great.
The internet’s very important to us, as without it we wouldn’t be able to send and recieve files as quick and efficiently as we do now. The Podcasts we put together are typically made up of music from artists abroad, so quite simply they wouldn’t exist.
Do you play on any regular radio or internet shows?
We’ve had various weekly shows on radio stations in the past such as ‘The Lost Between Time show’ which were Saturday afternoons on Bassdrive.com, and Rob ‘Verge’ had a weekly Sunday evening show on London’s RudeFM 88.2, but due to work or shifts in daily life, we decided to stop these and continue spending time concentrating on production and running the label. We also decided to dedicate a bit more time to pushing our Podcasts (which we really do need to do more of lol).
Do you listen to any other genres of music and what?
Honestly, a bit of everything, but I (Dave) really enjoy going back to Old Skool House & Garage tracks, as we were heavily into the genre as kids around the same time we were first listening to Drum & Bass.
What was your first club booking and where?
It was quite a few years back now so the name escapes us, but it was a nice smaller club located in Bristol.
Which club would you love to play at?
The End and Fabric, mainly because we’ve been to those clubs manyier times over the years. I’m sure we’ll get to in the near future.
How did Clear Conceptions come about and what made you choose the name?
The idea of the label was initially to release our own tracks due to the volume we wrote/write, but because of the amount of tracks were began to receive from other artists (due to the success of our ‘Lost Between Time Podcast’ on SoundCloud) we decided to open the door and create a stepping stone for up coming artists and DJ’s that were looking for their first release and wanting more recognition.
The name ‘Clear Conceptions’ was chosen due to it’s similarity to the meaning of the NotioN name (a concept, idea or understanding).
You love to support new and upcoming music. What artists are making you sit up at the moment?
We’ve really enjoyed the artists tracks that have been featured on our label, so we’d have to say any of those guys.
Running your own label, which labels do you look up to and why?
There’s no particular label as such, but we enjoy seeing any label that is consistantly releasing good music, and receiving rewards for doing so.
Loxy and D Bridge have also been quite supportive, with rewinding ‘Sawshark’. How important is it for you to get your music in the right hands?
It’s the most important thing. There’s no point having a masterful track sitting on your P.C etc… and no one hearing it, although I’m sure that still happens now and again even with so many social platforms to reach people on. We’d advise just taking that first inital step and sending your tracks or DJ mixes to people you really enjoy listening to, or take inspiration from. We did just that with our first track support with Grooverider on Radio 1 all those years ago. Rob and his brother were on their way to a club when they heard Grooverider give his AIM screen name out over the radio. They wrote it down on paper, and the next day we sent over the track to him, which put us in a great position, all from a little effort.
If you could work with one person who would it be?
I’m not sure about Rob, but I would like to work with someone within the gaming or film industry, creating sound FX’s or even writting theme tracks. I’ve seen some footage on YouTube of sound designers creating FX’s live in time with film footage and it looks like a lot of fun, very inventive aswell.
What are your goals for the next 5 years?
Our main goal in the music industry is to keep striving to write better music, and to reach a higher volume of people with the label, whilst still providing a platform for unsigned artists and DJ’s.
What 10 tracks are in your record bag right now?
Picking 10 would be difficult, but there’s a lot of our own and label artists tracks. Old classics from the late 90’s, early 2000’s, any personal favourite tracks, or anything to our taste that we’ve been receiving from James @ Example Media, as he’s been sending us quite a few nice tracks of recent (the Quadrant, Iris & Kid Hops L.P was great).
Overall favourite piece of music?
‘Requiem for a dream’ (before it was used on every advertisement that is lol.)
If I saw you at the bar, what are you both drinking?
(Rob) Guinness as I’ve been on a recent holiday trip to Ireland with my girlfriend, and that’s mainly what I drunk. (Dave) I’m not too fussed, but i’ll usually end up with a pint or two of Becks.
If I could fly you to a holiday destination right now, where would you go?
Nowhere specific, but somewhere hot with a relaxed atmosphere.
Which Mc’s do you rate?
I (Dave) actually started out MC’ing at friends partys when I was younger around 11 – 17, so I tend to check in now and again on various MC’s in various genres, but I wouldn’t say I listen on a regular basis.
Is there anything in the music industry that you’re not fond of?
A few things, but it’s pointless complaining about something you have no control over. We just concentrate on doing what we do best.
What do you like to do to relax?
Exercise, writting down life goals, listening to ambient or relaxing music, Poker and even just taking time out to sit quietly somewhere without being disturbed (to name but a few).
Can you tell us anything interesting about your lives that may not be asked in an interview?
There’s really nothing more to say than we’re positive people who take action on what we enjoy doing in life.
What tracks are you working on right now? Which tracks have just been released?
We’ve had actually taken a break from production for while (few months) to concentrate on other things in life, but we’re back writting a few bits here and there again. As you know we’ve just released the 5 year compilation on the label, so we’re letting that breath until the start of next year, where we can begin thinking about what to release and from who (maybe a few releases from ourselves).
We’ve got quite a few projects lined up for release on other labels, including an L.P and a single 12” for Loxy & Reza’s CX:Digital, a track for a Demand Records project, and a single 12” for Cymbalism Recordings (which has been reposted on our SoundCloud page).
Any shout outs or thanks?
Just a big thanks to anyone that has supported ourselves and the label from the very start to it’s current positive state. Also a shout to all the artists that have featured on the label with great tracks. And thanks to yourself Aliina for the interview, appreciated!
Dave NotioN & Rob Verge aka ‘NotioN’.
Interview by Aliina Atkinson (Missrepresent)
16th Dec 2015