The Dream Thief series has been a way for the UK drum & bass label to show off its wide-ranging roster since 2008. The fourth instalment is no different, featuring new tracks from the likes of Naibu, Need For Mirrors, DLR, Gremlinz and Mako and others, generally specializing in the label's clean and melodic take on the genre.
We checked in with the Horizons label manager to discuss the compilation.
Four volumes in, what's the purpose of the Dream Thief compilations in the Horizons catalogue? Is there any particular theme or concept to Volume 4?
Yeah four volumes in, and we are very proud with that—why? Because the quality is so high. That's the purpose really, gives us something to focus our year on. It's like a statement for where we are as a label and the music we are putting out, [and] the artists that are key to our label. We always do a lot of press around Dream Thief... it's a good introduction—this is Horizons, and this is our sound.
There's no concept for Volume 4. The name itself really is a bit of hint on its sound, a combination of lighter drum & bass and darker cuts, and how we get that mix is important. It takes me a long time to get that balance and to select the cuts that make the final version of the album, but when I was close to compiling the album for Volume 4 I was bouncing around the room and shouting about it on our Facebook, because I knew we had a winner. It's definitely the strongest yet—I didn't even do a second CD. I thought this time around the 12 tunes selected deserved to stand alone.
Who are some of the artists on the compilation that you're most excited about?
Now if I said all 12 artists that would be true, but [it] would be a bit of a boring read. So I'll select a few new appearances on Horizons. Invaderz, for one. I've been speaking to them for... over ten years. They have made some killer tunes in the past, and it's a welcome return to drum & bass for them. I know they have some great tracks around the corner, but to have to them on Horizons makes me smile, it's a personal thing. DLR and Mako, those boys are making moves—we're going to hear a lot about them both in 2014. Gremlinz, [another] long relationship... it's about selecting the right tune, and the Gremlinz sound is maturing into one that's right up my street. Finally, Detail is the last newcomer, again a huge talent. His track "Human Trust' shows the imagination and originality which [we look for] when we are selecting tunes for our label.
There's been a lot of talk recently about how drum & bass is shifting beyond the way it has been for the past decade, with people twisting the form around or putting out new takes on it. How does Horizons fit into all this?
We evolve as a label, as I'm sure all labels do as time progresses. You can't be stuck in the past. Sometimes you need to look back to move forward, so influences are important of other genres and periods but the sound always for us feels up-to-date. We don't want to put out music that doesn't have a shelf life, and we want our back catalogue to be of real substance. We've just done our new Horizons website and it was a real job. We had to upload every track from our the catalogue but it was really enjoyable, as it was a flashback of how our sound has evolved till [now]. Honestly, I think what people like about Horizons is that we can have 12-inches from artists of completely varying styles and they will sit side-by-side in our catalogue.
Do you think the drum & bass scene is in a healthy place right now?
Yes, definitely, there's increasing chart success... I don't think thats a barometer completely, but hopefully it will encourage people to find out who artists such as Wilkinson are, and then the knock on to finding other artists within the genre. That's exciting too. The great thing about drum & bass is that there isn't any negativity I feel at the moment, people are very supportive of others' successes and know it's a very insular scene. There's no place for bigheadedness. There's a raft of upcoming artists, which every year there seems to be and some great influences from other genre artists such as Sam Binga, Om Unit, J:Kenzo—of whom i'm big fans of musically—and really happy to have their involvement and encouragement for our label and what we do.
01. Need For Mirrors - Warning SIgns
02. Eveson - Cosmos
03. NickBee & MC Fava - Same Questions
04. Nitri, Release feat. Lyndsey Murray - In Forrest
05. Amoss feat. MCJC - Bleed It
06. Invaderz - Quo Vadis
07. DLR - Trading Places
08. Mako - Hungry For Lies
09. Gremlinz & Rumbleton - The Shield
10. Detail - Human Trust
11. Naibu - Comfort Zone
12. Hydro & Instant - Sanctity
Horizons Music released Dream Thief Volume 4 on October 21st, 2013.