Insomniac’s Metronome series features mixes from some of today’s fastest-rising electronic stars, as well as championed legends. It takes listeners deep across a wide range of genres, movements, cultures, producers, artists and sounds that make up the diverse world of electronic music.
There’s no denying that with each and every release, the mighty RAM Records continues to elevate the game with its unrivaled roster of top-tier drum & bass artists from around the globe. Even more impressive than its ability to attract top talent from all corners is its commitment and ability to nurture the next generation of heavy-hitters who will no doubt be carrying the torch for the genre in years to come.
One such crew is the US-based trio known as Legion & Logam. Having earned their stripes on RAM’s sister imprint, Program, the crew has recently leveled up to the main imprint with an epic pair of tunes that represent their very best work to date.
The lead single on the release, “Coming Home,” showcases the trio’s ability to build a hypnotic ever-evolving groove around a vocal hook—and in this case, voiced by the ever-impressive Adam Wright. “When Stars Fall” on the flip is the one you turn to for a little more of that dark, atmospheric journeying, which the crew is able to craft so well. With Wendy Johnson’s vocals bringing on the heartache, these cuts are the perfect segue into a Legion & Logam sound aimed not only at the dancefloor, but the heart and soul, as well.
With all that in mind, let’s lock it in and hold tight, as we work our way through an in-depth conversation with the crew to complement their equally astounding Metronome mix.
It’s been amazing to watch you guys move from strength to strength. Now that you’re moving from Program to RAM, is it all caviar and private jets? Seriously, though, if there wasn’t a grand “knighting” ceremony, there should be!
Hunter (Legion): We are just super grateful to be releasing this record on the RAM platform. If there is a grand knighting ceremony for this release, I believe we may have missed it, but truly, this is just the beginning, and there’s still so much work to do. No time to rest on laurels!
Lee (Legion): I believe that comes shortly after the first or second album, actually. But short of that, it has been very exciting for all of us! We’ve really just been glad to have the record out and keep the momentum moving forward. Everyone has been really supportive of the release, and vibes at RAM have been really “warm and fuzzy.”
Thomas (Logam): I don’t know what these fools are talking about. I already got TWO jets! And thanks, man!
You guys have all been hammering away in the trenches and representing the Stateside masses to the fullest. Talk a bit about how you each see what you do as part of both a global and a local community. As the boundaries between the international community (at least on the D&B tip) continue to blur, do you consider yourself Stateside artists first and foremost, or is your allegiance to the almighty genre of drum & bass?
Hunter: Personally, I think we are just artists or musicians that happen to really enjoy the sweet sound of 170+ BPM breaks and bass. Logam really is a musician in the classical sense, as he is technically advanced at playing many instruments. But I’ve been studying theory and playing instruments since grade school, and Lee has, too.
Lee: On a global scale, it’s great to hear our music played on [British television] shows like Match of the Day, as well as on BBC Radio. Knowing that people in different parts of the world are digging our sound is dope. Drum & bass doesn’t get radio play in the States, so we’re always grateful when DJs like Mistajam [in the UK] give it a spin.
With that said, we love our Stateside drum & bass family. They’ve been supportive long before Playaz or RAM were in the picture, and we’re grateful for that. I don’t think it matters where you’re from, to be honest. The love for this music is universal.
A lingering stereotype about US drum & bass is that it doesn’t live up to the production values of the UK. How have you overcome this bias, and was it a conscious concern on your part as you continue to perfect your craft?
Hunter: Man, Sinthetix, Hive, Gridlok, Kaos, Karl K, and Jae Kennedy all proved them wrong years ago!
Lee: I’ve never really understood that stereotype. It’s not accurate, and as time goes on, more UK labels are reaching out to US artists. There are loads of talented producers from America that are making waves right now. It was great to see so many US artists on Viper’s recent Bassrush 2.0 compilation. I think you’ll see more emerging American artists in the coming years.
What is it that separates an “amateur” song from one that’s ready for an international audience? Is it the mixdown, originality, something in the water you drink?
Thomas: It’s the whole package: writing and mixdowns. The standards today have never been higher, so for a track to stand out, it has to REALLY stand out. It’s really disappointing when you have a well-written track that just doesn’t hold up with anything else when you play it out, but it’s equally as disappointing to have a poorly written track with an excellent mixdown. The two go hand-in-hand. Both have to be on point.
As for our own sound, there’s always room for us to improve our production quality, which is something we consciously think of when writing material. We’ve come a long way, but it seems the bar keeps getting raised higher and higher every year. I make a point to A/B with an already released, similar-sounding tune on RAM, but that doesn’t mean we’ve quite matched it yet. When you have guys like Wilkinson, Teddy Killerz, Calyx & Teebee, etc. on the roster, keeping up is no easy task—but we’re getting there.
Before we jump into the mix, here are a few rapid-fire questions for everyone:
What’s the last tune you dropped that had the crowd calling out for a rewind?
Thomas: Loadstar “Guerilla”—love that one! Absolute banger.
Lee: I’m not the best at rewinds. At our last gig, someone called for one, and I totally missed it. However, the last tune I wheeled was Skynet “Underground” (one of my favorite tunes of 2017).
What’s the first drum & bass tune you remember listening to?
Hunter: Future Cut “The Specialist,” Trace “32 Degrees From Vertical,” and Hardware’s Armageddon LP with Konflict’s “Messiah” on it. That was what made me finally get hooked on the real deal.
Lee: Agent Babylon “Desert Planet” (DJ Ecco & Sabotage Remix). I remember raving to this one.
Thomas: Nightbreed “Pack of Wolves” (Pendulum Remix). Prior to 2005, I was strictly a metal-head who had been dabbling with Reason and Vegas Video for a few years. I remember walking into my friend Scott’s basement and hearing my buddy Aireon playing that record. It was fate. Fast tempo, heavy guitars, catchy riffs, new sounds I’ve never heard before—instantly sold. Had me head-banging like it was a metal tune. How could I not like drum & bass after that?
Favorite new-school artist, and why?
Hunter: I can’t get enough of Wilkinson at the moment. He’s on fire with the EDM crossover and vocal tracks. Loadstar’s album is amazing, as well.
Lee: I have to agree with Hunter. The new Loadstar album is incredible. Artificial Intelligence, Frankee, and 1991 have also been in my rotation a lot lately.
Thomas: Mean Teeth. They’re neurofunk that remembers the funk part. The writing is brilliant—always developing, changing, keeping you interested. Riffs are catchy as hell, melodies and atmospheres are usually of epic proportions, and the drums are always tight and funky. Always excited to see what they’re doing next. Plus, Marius makes some tasty-looking bread that he said he’ll make for me when I visit, so that’s a selling point. I really like bread. No, like a lot.
When are we going to get a Legion & Logam album?
Lee: Sooner rather than later.