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UBB Interview: A Quick Conversation with Blacklab

Brothers Kashim and Kariem, aka Blacklab have been steadily building a name for themselves in the worldwide drum and bass scene over the last  10 years. Based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, these two have created an incredible dynamic that has landed them releases on some of the largest labels in DnB.
For their most recent release, the boys have crafted 4 beautifully produced liquid tracks for one of our favorite labels at United By Bass, Soulvent Records. UBB editor Emily sat down with Blacklab ahead of the release on Friday, August 7th to chat about how 2020 has been treating them so far, which tracks they had the most fun making, their inspirations, and advice for visiting Las Vegas.

Tell us about the scene in Vegas in 5 words

Both: Skip the clubs; go downtown!

What has been the best part of 2020 so far?

Kariem: Starting 2020 with releasing new material after being quiet in the studio for the last year has been pretty neat. In the same regard, 2020 has been rough for a lot of people around the world. Seeing the collective efforts to overcome the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic has been heartfelt for sure. Big up to the creatives who are pulling together to help keep the music scene going.

What or who do you listen to for inspiration?

Kariem: Our Spotify playlist has a lot of our favorites when it comes to drum & bass inspiration in the studio. Artificial Intelligence, Keeno, Calibre, Camo & Krooked, GLXY, Icicle all come to mind.
Kashim:  We also enjoy classical, jazz, and some RnB for anything outside of drum & bass. We like to listen to movie and TV scores, as well.

Which DAW do you use? Favorite plugins and VSTs?

Kariem: We both use Ableton. Our libraries are completely mirrored as well so we can juggle our Live projects between separate computers pretty easily. I’ll try to use the stock plugins whenever possible – Ableton’s sampler is in just about every project. We’ve been utilizing the Valhalla suite recently, super easy to create great atmospheric stuff without much fuss. For drum sound design, Addictive Drummer 2 is really versatile and intuitive. Serum and Absynth are also top choices for handling the bass and ambient stuff. We also have a Model D clone for getting some analog sound design done in the studio.

Kashim: I really like Arturia’s V Collection. Guitar Rig 5 is also a go-to.

If you could collab with any artist, drum and bass or otherwise, who would it be?

Pola & Bryson, GLXY, Halogenix, Mitekiss, Charlotte Haining, Visionobi

Which of the four tracks on the EP was your favorite to work on?

Kashim: Violet

Kariem: Hard to choose. It was fun designing the various elements for Unreal. Violet was also pretty catchy from early on. Overall, each track has some sentiment behind it for sure.

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