We speak to drum’n’bass star ahead of Music Room gig
Notable drum ‘n’ bass talent Optical is winging his way to Dubai next week. As co-founder of the influential Virus Recordings, the man otherwise known as Matt Quinn helped pioneer the techstep and neurofunk subgenres on the four albums he produced in a duo alongside Ed Rush in the late ’90s and early ’00s, including Wormhole, The Creeps and The Original Doctor Shade. He is also known for working with big hitters Grooverider and for supplying music to the wipE'out series of video games. Optical will be backed up by MC Ryme Tyme in Dubai.
What's the state of D‘n’ B at the start of 2013? Where do you see it going? I can only speak for Virus and our artists, but 2012 was amazing and we have some very exciting releases in 2013, including a new Ed Rush and Optical LP. It’s our 15th birthday for the label, which is why we are celebrating with a worldwide tour.
You're on a bill with dubstep producer J:Kenzo. Are you a fan? Have you met? No, I don’t know him personally. I really concentrate on my own music scene, although I do work alongside various dubstep DJs through my work.
What do you make of Dubai? Ever been? I have never been but I know many who have and I'm looking forward to discovering it for myself.
What do you think of the umbrella term 'bass music', as a label? It doesn't offend me, it’s a neat way of grouping all the genres that are based on bass, and if it helps people to discover the music I play then all the better.
So tell us… who's the best drum n' bass producer in the world? [Laughs] Well that's a big question and I think everyone would answer it differently. In my opinion in 2012 it was [Virus Recordings’] Audio, who consistently makes music the rest of the producers envy for its production and direction.
Tell us about how you hooked up with Ed Rush? We grew up in west London, near to each other but we actually met through Nico from No-U-Turn and then made friends after spending many hours together at Music House where all the dubplates were cut for the DJ's of the time, in 1996.
Name your top three dream collaborations? Miles Davis, Dave Grohl, Vangelis
If you weren't a producer and you'd never found music where would you be today? Stacking shelves in Sainsbury's probably. I left school when I was 16.
How long can you keep it up? Do you ever dream of quitting music and doing something different? Over the years I have considered it but the truth is I love my work and I don't think I would give it up unless I had to. If I had another dream job it would be animation and film making, I have been studying 3D and effects software for 12 years now. Optical plays with MC Ryme Tyme, on a double bill with J:Kenzo, at The Music Room, Majestic Hotel Tower, on Friday January 18. Tickets Dhs125. Doors 8pm.