Serum’s Drum & Bass Heater “Chop House” is a
Beatport Number 1

We catch up with Mark Gaunt (AKA Serum) whose drum & bass track “Chop House” just hit Beatport’s overall top spot. It’s the first time in Beatport’s history that two drum & bass releases (after The Phibes remix of Beat Assassins “Home Grown”) have landed two number 1 slots in a row.

Congratulations on your first Beatport number 1! Did you already have a chance to celebrate the news?

Thank you! This was a big achievement for me so I’ve had a few choice aged Belgian beers from the stash and a nice curry with my family.

You’re been releasing tracks for more than 15 years by now. Did you have the feeling that you’ve got something special with “Chop House”? 

It’s been around a while now and I’d had plenty of demand from DJs and fans so I knew it was the most wanted of the current batch of tracks but I didn’t know it would get as far as it has done. 

How did you make the track? And what came first – the string sounds or the bassline?

It was the bassline and there’s a funny story behind that. I’d wanted to make a sound like it for quite a few years after hearing something similar years ago in a much slower track and eventually cracked it using a Yamaha FM synth after years of messing around. I’ve since learned the original sound was a preset on a VST synth that a ton of people must have scrolled past over the years and not thought to play around with it. Some people think producing is all about the engineering side of things but a lot of it is seeing the potential in sounds that other people don’t.

You’ve been playing “Chop House” for quite a while. Why did you wait until now to put it out?

I always like to road test tracks to give people a chance to warm to them and you have to get around a lot to break a track properly. I also always have a lot of tracks and releases at any given time and each one needs space so it took a while to find a release window given all the other tracks I’d already scheduled.

You’re also part of Kings of the Rollers with Bladerunner and Voltage Unit. Have you been able to work on more tracks lately?

There are a few bits that’ll see a release soon but we’re about to get cracking on the next big batch of tracks. Expect a new sound!

When you put out the Kings of the Rollers album last year you stopped working with samples like you did in the past. Did this new approach also have an impact on your solo productions?

Yes, I learned a hell of a lot making that album. We worked really hard on the musical parts and making it more cinematic as well as working with lots of vocals which was challenging but rewarding. I took a break from that sound immediately after the album to focus on making fun club tracks but lockdown really gave me a chance to put some of the musical ideas into practice again.

Has the current crisis had an effect on your creativity or workflow? What have you lined up until the end of the year?

I really miss DJing but at the same time, I’m not tired all the time from destroying my body clock every weekend and actually feel like I have time to experiment. I’ve written more music since March than I have in any other year of my life and I don’t have the pressure of having to write for clubs so I’ve been trying loads of new things out. I still have a lot of unreleased tracks I was playing in the clubs before lockdown so I’ll be bringing those out but after that you’ll start to hear a different sound from me.

Check out Serum’s favorite August Rollers via his latest Beatport Chart here.



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