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Get To Know AJ Mutated......

Updated: Jun 24, 2019

This weeks 'Get To Know' series features Artjom Vlassov aka ...... AJ Mutated.....

Welcome and thank you for taking the time to speak with us about your new releases and new direction in Drum and Bass.

So I know that up until recently you were known solely for Mutated Forms, having received recognition from a host of well established labels and artists, but that was then and this is now, so last year you joined the Empire Booking Agency which I guess is where the first step towards pursuing a solo direction, so for dnb heads everywhere why the change of direction and what can dnb fans worldwide expect from you for the future?

Actually I joined Empire in August 2018. The first step was probably my track Catastrafox that came out on Lifestyle Music earlier this year. I have indeed released as part of a trio-turned-duo Mutated Forms for the last 15 years. My Mutated Forms music partner Zub has moved to Australia and has other interests and commitments in life currently. I don’t think drum & bass is on that list for him right now. He is responsible for at least half the work that got Mutated Forms to where it was, so I’ve decided that the most sensible thing would be to let that legacy live on and for me to have my own little baby to grow with a clean slate. See what happens, I guess.

Around circa 2009-2011, when we made tracks like Ready When You Are, Doubts, Wastegash, Galloping Elephants remix to name a few, that was probably the most “me” era. A big part of me wishes I never deviated from that direction, especially since that kind of sound blew up in the last few years, as I predicted.

As AJ Mutated, I kind of wanted to carry on where we’ve left off back then, but more advanced production-wise (that is probably until I get bored of it again and jump on something entirely different lol). Right now, I feel like making something predominantly gritty, rolling and dark and it seems to be working quite well.

As a solo producer what influences your production?

Anything can be an influence for me, from the people I spend time with to any music I might come across or some random noise in the street I end up sampling. Any trick I might pick up from a fellow producer or some tutorial I stumble upon.

The most backwards thing about me as a producer is the amount of tracks I have written because I hear someone say a word or saying and think it would make a great title for a track, then somehow I have a bit of a groove in my head associated with that and I build a tune around it – my recently released tracks ‘Bleak’, ‘Catch 22’ and ‘Playbite’ are all prime examples of that. This makes very little sense to me, yet somehow it works!

What style or DNB can fans expect to hear from your future releases?

If I’m completely honest, I hate the concept of subgenres as a whole and people’s desperate need to label everything and put in categories. I’ve been told that a lot of stuff we have released as Mutated Forms can be described with adjectives rather than pigeon-holed as a specific genre.

I guess, if we must go down that route, then I’ve been exploring the minimal rolling side of things a fair bit, as well as ‘rollers’ in general, borderline flirting with jump up. Generally, I think subgenres limit you creatively and it’s not something I think about when I sit down to make a tune. Been exploring jungle a fair bit too and I was in talks with DJ Hybrid about doing an AJ Mutated jungle EP for his label Deep In The Jungle. RAM have just snapped up a gritty jungly tune of mine for their upcoming album/compilation.

When is your next release?

AJ Mutated – Move EP on DJ Hybrid’s Innovate Audio is out very soon on 22/07.

Then, as I mentioned earlier, I will have another track out on a ProgRAM album later this year. Was pretty last minute – I have started the track last Friday night, finished it Saturday morning before heading off to Hospitality’s daytime event in Birmingham and by Monday morning they have signed it! Must be the quickest turn around in my career to date.

Got a host of remixes in the works, including some for MC Spyda and DJ Hybrid.

I am in discussion about doing a few other releases for labels that I can’t yet disclose much information about (aside from the potential jungle EP I have mentioned before). On the sound design front, I am also working on another project for Loopmasters. We have done one as Mutated Forms many years ago, but I’m doing this one as AJ Mutated.

Will you be collaborating with other artists?

Oh yes, I have done a few collabs with Exile – we have been meaning to meet up for another studio session soon, but both keep missing each other due to different commitments and work schedules. Got a few on the go with Mean Teeth. Definitely doing more music with MC Busta. I did a track with my good friend Deadcell who features on the Move EP. There’s tons of other collabs that we have either started and unlikely to finish or been meaning to start but never did, haha… you know how it is!

I do enjoy the way you bounce off someone else’s vibe and it’s always a good opportunity to learn and get over the dreaded writer’s block when it happens (knock on wood not any time soon for me).

Quick Fire Questions:

01) Where did the name AJ Mutated come from?

Ever since I moved to the UK in 2007, no one could say my real name Artjom properly and no one would remember it, so I could see people addressing me by mate/dude/bro/bruv/whatever but never by my name. It was during a session in Bristol many moons ago where a dubstep producer called Subzee-D told me to introduce myself as AJ to people and it stuck ever since! I almost feel like with the birth of AJ a new me was born. I am now definitely much more of an AJ than an Artjom haha.

Since everyone knows me as AJ from Mutated Forms, I thought ‘doing a Jamie XX’ would make the most sense as the name seems to be pretty self-explanatory for most people who know me or know of MF.

02) Nightclub or Festival?

Any kind of daytime rave over a night time one – I’m old now, haha. Staying up till 6 am and longer and sleeping through the next day is becoming increasingly difficult on the regular!

03) A thousand tracks per minute or no rush?

Bit of a paradox – I do mix quite fast when I DJ myself, but when I’m out as a punter I like a good selecta who takes you on a bit of a journey switching tunes at exactly the right pace…

04) Top 5 Tracks?

This might make me sound quite basic and obvious. No particular order.

AJ Mutated – Move (dub)

Urban Dawn – Come Together (very obvious, but my God the tune is huge)

Benny L – Vanta Black (same comment as above applies)

DJ Hybrid – Swordplay

Villem – Shake Weight

05) MC on a Set Yes or No?

Yes, definitely a good way to help hype up the crowd, but it needs to be someone familiar to you, so you can have good chemistry. Would love to work with MC Busta more if I get the chance.

06) Favourite Pre show food?

Turkish/Mediterranean food is the one for me. Skewers of grilled stuff!

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