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Dieselboy feature


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Interview by Jules Mari

As one of the founding fathers of American drum and bass, Dieselboy still continues to rate as one of America's favorite DJs in BPM Magazine's annual reader's poll. Dieselboy's label, HUMAN Imprint, was crafted to release his own material, promote domestic drum and bass, and as a tool to convey Dieselboy's vision. Its latest release, The Human Resource, is an anthology impressively representing the finest HUMAN Imprint releases to date. Welcoming an opportunity for an e-interview, we were able to find out more details about such things as some of the kicking gear that Dieselboy's got in his studio, what it was like to be the first drum and bass artist to chart on Billboard, and what he's got coming up in the next few months. Read on to find out more about Dieselboy's busy life!

Jules: Are you musically trained and/or what is your musical background? Along the same lines, does your family have a strong musical background?

Dieselboy: Back when I was in elementary school and junior high I used to play drums and would occasionally march with the high school band in parades. Other than that, I have had no formal musical training. My father is a singer/songwriter who has played the drums and guitar himself over the years. My younger brother Aaron used to play drums in a punk rock band. So, yeah, I guess you could say that music does run in our veins a bit.

What influenced you to produce drum and bass?

Well, my decision to produce drum and bass is solely based on my career as a drum and bass DJ. It is always exciting to produce music that you can actually utilize in your sets as a DJ. I think my interest in percussion growing up really drew me to the sounds of drum and bass.

Where did the desire to always improve/reinvent yourself come from? And how much influence does technology have on the desire?

I think that my desire to improve/reinvent just comes from within me. I have always been competitive my entire life and I guess you can say I have always been competitive with myself as well. Life is more interesting when you push yourself. Bigger, stronger, faster? As technology accelerates, it opens up new doors and possibilities for reinvention as well. I usually try to take advantage of anything technology has to offer.

What was the most monumental milestone in your career and would you please describe for us its cause and effect?

Wow... it is hard to choose just one. I would have to go with either my first booking for Ultraworld Productions in Baltimore in the early ‘90s or my first CD release on Moonshine. The booking really promoted my name on the east coast back then in the rave golden age. The CD pushed it to the next level and promoted my name to people all over the US and to an extent, the world. Each of these moments pushed my DJing profile to the next level.

Would you please describe the impact of being the first Drum ‘n' Bass artist to chart on Billboard?

Mostly a bragging point if you will, but not much more. It was cool, though, to be recognized.

Tell us a little about your studio setup. Such as, is it a conventional studio with a console and vocal booth? Is it located in your home? What are some of your favorite pieces of gear in terms of software and hardware [e.g. mics, mixers, nearfields, preamps, compressors, audio interfaces, Mastering gear, etc.]?

Currently my studio is residing in my old apartment in Philadelphia. I moved to Brooklyn a year ago and haven't really used my studio since then. In the next month or so I need to relocate all of my gear and I'm still thinking about what I am going to do with it. The studio is based around my Mac and Logic Platinum software. I have a gigantic DDA DMR-12 desk that I run everything through as well as Apogee d/a and a/d converters. There are a few other pieces of outboard gear as well including a Manley massive passive EQ and a bus compressor. My speakers are Mackie HR-824 monitors with a 15" powered sub. It gets real real loud. There is no vocal booth. I also utilize bass traps to help contain the sound a bit and deaden the studio space.

Do you mix and master your own material?

Not alone, no.

What are you DJing with these days?

My rider requests a decent mixer (preferably the new Pioneer DJM-800 or any of the Allen & Heath), two Technics 1200 turntables and 2 Pioneer DJM-1000s.

What were some of the key new ideas/techniques that you used on your latest release Human Resources?

In essence The Human Resource is a label anthology put together with the sensibility of one of my mix CD projects. There is an aesthetic theme/concept that overrides the entire thing (in this case, it would be 'Frankenstein'). I brought the DJ/Producer superteam of Evol Intent in to mix the HUMAN catalog for the 2nd disc. I worked with them on the intro to make sure it had the proper vibe.

In the past you've mentioned that tracks with sampled heavy metal got the most response. Is that still the case, or has that trend moved on?

It is still the case. Every time I play a well-made tune with heavy metal samples, it goes off. Problem is, there aren't that many good tunes like that being made. Also, those style of tunes usually don't do much when I play them in the UK.

What's in store for you next? Are there any particular collaborations, musical changes, changes to your current home-base location of Brooklyn, etc. that you've got going on in the immediate future?

Currently I have lined up the next eight releases for my HUMAN Imprint label which will all see release by the end of 2006. I have recently started up the 8th Planet of the Drums tour with AK1200, Dara and Messinian which is gonna wrap after 30 shows in early July. I have been spending a lot of my spare time brainstorming t-shirt concepts for the HUMAN Imprint t-shirt line that I do with my friend Joel Savitzky. I have been thinking about a potential new Dieselboy mix CD that would be started sometime in late summer. I might be doing a tour of the UK in the fall with Pendulum. Lastly, I am thinking about a potential HUMAN Imprint tour early next year with some of the new artists on my label. If there is free time in there somewhere I would love start working on some new music again. Busy, busy, busy!

Thank you Dieselboy!

Also thanks to Justin Kleinfeld of for coordinating the interview.

For more information on Dieselboy, check out or


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