Exclusive Interview: A word with Trends ahead of his & Boylan’s Norman Bates EP
Boylan & Trends (L-R)
Every so often there is an instrumental that makes ears prick and heads turn during a grime set, and the desperation to find out what it’s called and where to get hold of it is overwhelming. One of the more recent examples of this for us is ‘Norman Bates’, a collaboration between Boylan & Trends that samples Ol Dirty Bastard and something out of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, and has been ringing off since the Spring of this year. The wheel-ificent production gets an official EP release this Friday via Oil Gang, and in the run-up to its anticipated arrival – the vinyl pre-order has already sold out – we had a few minutes on the phone with Trends.
The Oxford-based DJ/producer has roots in drum & bass but has been a follower of grime since encountering it in the foundation era and feeling a spark he hadn’t got from dnb in a while. Trends can be heard every month on Radar Radio via his Mean Streets show, so named after his label, which has released some strong EPs this year including Mr Wait, his collab with Mr Dubz & Jammz, and most recently the Rally project with Kwam. Find out more about Trends and what he’s got going on below, but let’s take in ‘Norman Bates’ again first, shall we?…
How often had you worked with Boylan before, and how does the story of ‘Norman Bates’ begin for you?
I’ve done about four tunes before that with Boylan. We’ve both come from drum & bass backgrounds, so we just gel in the studio. It was earlier this year, March/April I think, but when we first made it the first person we sent it to was Slimzee. It was him that championed it, and I believe made it into what it is now. We noticed it when we were making it, we knew it from then that we were on to something, but when I went to a rave with Slimzee in Bristol, when he first played it, that was when I first saw the response and I thought ‘ok, we’re definitely on to something here now’. Slimzee kept battering it and battering it, and it was just getting the sickest response. It didn’t even need a MC.
Basically it did the rounds with Slimzee and Logan, then I did my show at Radar. I had Boylan with me, Oil Gang came up and when the show finished they said outside they had a proposition for us. He just pulled out this piece of paper and he had the [Norman Bates EP] artwork done. It makes sense. He just said ‘look, you’ve got the main track there, I just want one track each off both of you to finish the EP’ and that’s how ‘Shimmy’ and ‘Octopus’ came out. It was definitely a slick move, he knew what we wanted which is fair enough so hats off to Oil Gang man.
Can we expect more from the pair of you soon then?
Me & Boylan have got another EP coming on Mean Streets called the Untouchable EP, and that’s the next one to gear up to.
You mentioned your Mean Streets label there. We see you’ve ben pushing the merch more recently, what else are you looking to do with the brand?
I neglected Mean Streets when I first started it. You have to go through some mistakes to learn by them, but I just took a different approach and thought it’s now or never. Merchandise, releases and I hope to do some Mean Streets nights next year.
We love the Rally EP with Kwam on the label.
Boxed signed the instrumental to ‘Rally’ quite early. Kwam asked if he could lay vocals down, and when he sent it back I thought ‘OK, this sounds really catchy’. Because he’s such a tennis fan I was really liking the content of his lyrics and what he was saying so I said we might as well do an EP. I sent him a couple more riddims and the Rally EP was done.
You’ve been on Radar Radio since quite early on from its inception. What do you make of its progress?
I will be on Radar two years in February, so I’ve been there since quite close from the start. It’s progressed quite a lot in a short space of time. Big up Argue, as he was the one that got me on there. I was scared as hell, but it’s really enjoyable to go radio now, play new music and just go ham for two hours. The one that stands out is a set I did with Capo Lee, Kwam & Nico Lindsay. I believe we shelled for about an hour and a half, and I just remember us all sweating. It was such a good set, that was one of the most powerful sets I’ve done so far. They feed off each other so well and what I like about those MCs as well is they don’t give a shit what beat it is. They come to the show and just wile out, they don’t care what beat it is.
Let’s talk about your progress too. In an interview at the start of the year you said you were aiming to do sets abroad. Where have you been this year?
I did Belgium with Riko. He was doing some live shows and he wanted me to DJ for him. I had a 20 minute slot before to roll out some tunes and it was a really good experience.
What else should everyone be checking from you as well as ‘Norman Bates’?
I’ve got a collaborative tune with Terror Danjah (‘Planet X’) on his LP out now called The Planets. I just dropped a free download with Boxed, when they did their night at the Bussey Building they released a ZIP. Obviously the Rally EP, and the S.N.M. remix I did for JLSXND7RS is out now via Low Riders. That is it for now and forthcoming is [Slimzee’s label] Slimzos bits and loads more off Mean Streets and [Terror Danjah’s] HardDrive.