Critical Music’s Rising Star, Particle, Delivers an Atomic
Drum & Bass Mix
A youngblood with a promising career ahead of him, Particle’s productions are rip-roaring slammers with a modern edge. He keeps the “badman” vibe of drum & bass beating proudly at 170 BPMs. His impressive remixes for acts like Hybrid Minds’ “Higher Love,” Sam Binga’s “Vandilero,” and Barrington Levy’s classic “Under Mi Sensi” have picked up significant steam over the past year.
Particle’s blaring brand of drum & bass has earned him plenty of support from the genre’s kingpins, including Andy C, Randall, and Critical Music boss, Kasra, who has taken a keen interest in making sure his burgeoning career takes flight. The UK artists’ first EP on the label, Critical Presents: Binary Vol. 18, was a 2019 release that showed someone hungry for a sound that will make crowds grimace with joy and throw their gun fingers in the air. His two follow-up releases, Empires EP and Eskimode/Airforce, are further demonstrations that Particle knows how to melt the minds of his genre’s passionate population.
Now fully tied in with the Critical Music crew (Beatport’s Label Of The Month), Particle recently embarked on his first-ever tour outside of the UK, traveling to Australia and New Zealand to show the Aussies and the Kiwis some wild and proper drum & bass showcases. As we wait for the dancefloors all over the world to open back up again, Particle has provided a delectable hour-long mix to accompany an interview about his career thus far and where he hopes it will head next.
Where are you from? When and where did you first start raving?
I’ve lived in London for the past six years, but I’m originally from West Sussex, pretty much halfway between London and Brighton. I started raving when I was about 17, there was a couple of 16+ nights in London at that time, it was jump-up all night, but that’s what I was into at the time. When I first moved to London, my lot were constantly going to fabric. That was back when Playaz were doing the last Friday of every month, so I’d probably have to say that Hype and Hazard were the first DJs that made a significant impact on me.
What were some of the earliest records that sparked your love for the genre?
My first taste of drum & bass would probably have to be the Chase & Status album More Than A Lot, I would have been around 12 years old at the time it dropped. I doubt I even thought about what genre I was listening to at the time, but I still play a handful of those tracks in my sets now after all this time — what an album.
Tell us about your introduction to DJing and production.
A mate I went to uni with had a cracked copy of Ableton on his laptop, we messed about on it for a bit then I grabbed it for myself and started rolling from there. I’m 100% self-taught, I just grabbed a few free sample packs and dived in — I think that’s the best (most fun) way to attack it. Everything you need to know is on YouTube, no matter what level you’re at, I’m still learning new stuff every day!
What is your process like when it comes to making a remix? What do you look for in a track before deciding to remix it? Of the ones you’ve created, do you have any favorites?
The original has to have a strong element like an excellent vocal or really catchy lead, that’s definitely the most important thing. I like to use my own drums, so I have more control over the layout. Usually, I’ll take a few cool percussion hits from the original then get rid of the rest. My favourite would have to be my “Vandilero” remix, that’s the only track I’ve actually asked to remix. Sam Binga gave the nod, and I got to work. Redders is such a strong vocalist, and it was one of those weird ones that writes itself in about half an hour. I remember emailing Kas (Kasra), saying I think I’ve finished it already! Plus, that was my first ever number one, so I have a real soft spot for it.
How did you get linked up with Critical Music?
I remember sending Kas a few bits when I was starting, then one day I get an email from him out the blue asking if I’d like to work on a Critical release, I thought it was mad because I wouldn’t have even been confident enough to submit stuff for Critical at the time and I was pretty fresh, I think I’d only had one or two releases. We worked on my Binary EP, then him and Badger invited me in for a chat, then things just kept moving from there. It’s all gone so fast. It only feels like yesterday.
Tell us about your recent Empires EP and Eskimode / Air Force release. What are some ways you would describe the methodology behind the conception of these two records, and how would you categorize their sound of each?
Empires was the first project I worked on for the main label. I was writing loads of music at the time, and the best were cherry-picked for the EP. I was still finding my feet, so style-wise, it’s quite varied, although there’s nothing too wrong with that as it means there’s something for everybody. After the “Vandilero” remix, I knew I wanted to get on an original with Redders, I’d already written a rough sketch of the instrumental, so I sent it over to see what he thought of it, and he rated it. It’s quite experimental, so I knew I needed a b-side for it, I had a two-show weekend around the time, and I wrote “Air Force” on the train from one to the other — another one that wrote itself!
How have you managed to stay creative and motivated during this current global pandemic? What would you say is the biggest challenge for you, personally?
I’m trying to see the silver lining in it — this is the freest time we’ll ever have in our lifetime, so I’m knuckling down trying to write as much music as possible. I’m not struggling with it too much as I usually spend a large chunk of my week sat writing regardless, but I’m finding it hard when it hits Friday, and I know I’d typically be off to a show, plus I can no longer road test my new music!
Tell us about the mix that you made for us.
I’ve put together an hour-long mix containing loads of heat from the Critical camp, a taste of what I’ve been writing in lockdown, a few of my favourite classics, and there’s also a few things of mine that will be dropping soon on my next Critical EP.
1. DUB PHIZIX & STRATEGY – DEH
2. DLR – BUSY
3. SERUM & KASRA – BLAZE HEAT
4. PARTICLE – EROTICA
5. MYTH – SABOTAGE
6. LEVELZ – REACH FOR THE SKY (BIOME REMIX)
7. SKEPTICAL & ALIX PEREZ – ELEPHANT DREAMS
8. CESCO – ANGRY WAVES
9. HALOGENIX – DRAGONFORCE
10. ENEI – RECOIL
11. MYTH – NO LIMITS
12. TOTAL SCIENCE, DIGITAL & SPIRIT – RUMBLE
13. WORKFORCE – CHEAP LOVE FT. DRS
14. SERUM & KASRA – NOODLES
15. THE SAUCE – KISS THE RING
16. ENEI – ROLLIN MACHINE
17. HALOGENIX – INDEPENDANT
18. DUB PHIZIX – DRAGNET
19. MYTH – PATHOLOGICAL
20. ENEI & PARTICLE – FAME FT. JAKES
21. LEWIS JAMES – YOUR LOVE IS A POWER FT. DANDANSK
22. BREAKAGE – OLD SKOOL TING
23. PARTICLE – BUSINESS TECHNO
24. MONTY & ALIX PEREZ – CURSIVE
25. SKYLARK – SINK
26. SPECIAL REQUEST – STAIRFOOT LANE BUNKER (MINOR
27. STEVE SPACEK – FOLLOW ME (SKEPTICAL REMIX)
28. KASRA & PARTICLE – PSYCHOACTIVE
29. PARTICLE – GLOCK 19
30. HALOGENIX – SOMETHING SOMETHING
31. LSB – SPACE STEPPER
32. MORESOUNDS – PURE NICENESS
33. WORKFORCE – TAKE YOUR TIME
34. BREAKAGE – LIFF UP
35. DJ DIE – SPECIAL TREAT
36. FIXATE – ONE FOR THE FLOOR
37. PARTICLE – THERMAL
38. BUNGLE – ASTRAL TRAVEL
39. PARTICLE & SUSTANCE – SHADOW PROJECT
40. SKEPTICAL – PLAYGROUND CHAT BACK
41. SULLY – RUN
42. KOFFEE – TOAST (CLIPZ BOOTLEG)
43. DBRIDGE – TRUE ROMANCE (FEAT. VEGAS)
44. PARTICLE – CAMBERWELL
Cameron Holbrook is a staff writer for Beatportal. Find him on Twitter.