Lethal was kind enough to provide us with a guest mix for the third episode of our podcast series. To whet your appetite we caught up with the DJ/Producer and got a few words with him to find out a bit more about what drives him, what we can expect from his label Surround Sound Recordings and how he feels about the ever-present MP3 vs. Vinyl argument.
For the people who don’t know much about you, can you introduce yourself and give us a little background on the label?
My names Dan Franklin aka Lethal and I own the label Surround Sound which I run alongside my good friend Mike Rogers who is also one half of Able Danger. The labels been going since June 2009 and we’ve had 26 releases so far. We release predominantly Drum and Bass, but have also branched out into Dubstep with plans to move into other genres too.
What made you want to set up a new label?
Mainly it was to have that creative control over my music and output, although it was always a goal of mine to have my own label and one that I was very happy to achieve. I had been working with Raiden helping to manage Offkey and the connection to ST Holdings got made, so I took the opportunity to put my concept for a label forward. Things went from there and here we are today.
How would you describe the ethos behind Surround Sound? What are you looking for when you sign a track?
It’s hard to say, a well thought out arrangement and balanced production is always good for me. I like tracks that have some substance to them, where you can tell the producer has put some thought into it and not just slapped a bunch of loops from a sample CD together. Surround Sound is about a variety of styles and genres that can all work together in context. Techno is a big influence for me personally; however I don't let it dictate the label.
The MP3 vs. Vinyl argument continues to rumble on. As you run a digital release focused label, do you feel D&B is a little unyielding in its refusal to embrace technology more?
I don’t really feel there’s much of an argument anymore... you can only argue with the numbers so much. The reality is vinyl doesn’t sell like it did, especially not for smaller labels. Many who put out vinyl do it at a loss, which is a real shame. I would love to do some more vinyl releases but the numbers just don’t add up. Who knows what the future holds, but I can’t see things moving back.
What’s up next for you and Surround Sound?
I have a 5 track EP out now on Surround Sound that features some tracks originally scheduled for Position Chrome. Then we have a 3 track EP from Able Danger with more to come. We’re still finalising the schedule but details will be up on the surroundsoundrecordings.co.uk as soon as their ready. Other than that I’m currently working on solo and collab projects, as well as a techno project too.
Can you give us a little insight into the mix you’ve put together for us?
I wish I could say there was some deep thought that went into it, but I'd be lying. I just wanted to pull some old bits and throw them in the pot with some new tracks. It’s very easy to get caught up in the latest tunes all the time so it was good to dig through the old CDs and pull out some old personals.
Any final thoughts you’d like to add?
Follow me on Twitter, @DanLethal and Soundcloud for up to date info on what’s going on with me and keep posted to www.surroundsoundrecordings.co.uk and @SurroundSoundUK on Twitter for all label and associates news. A big thanks to the Blackdub crew for asking for the mix, big ups to you guys. A shout goes out to Mike (MR2) and the Surround Sound family, expanding by the day. Big ups and respect to all those that support what we do.