Burr Oak is the new collaborative project from The Clamps and Opsen (formally known for his part in the production outfit Signs). With both parties having already made their mark within the roster of Trendkill, the imprint created by drum & bass figurehead Prolix, their names will be familiar with many veteran fans of the genre. But their joint prowess, alongside the massive body of tracks they’ve already got prepared for release, proves that their output is set to be a turning point for Trendkill. And this is from a label which has had a groundbreaking discography since its inception.
Hi Burr Oak! How are you doing?
We both are fine, as the summer was good even if the year was fucked.
Take us back to the beginning, how did you found your passion into producing electronic music?
Julien: I started to have an interest in electronic music in the middle of the 90’s. I was in boarding school, and I remember a friend asked me to exchange an audio tape. I was very into Punk and Metal music at this time, and she gave me a mixtape of “Spiral Tribe”. It was a new musical awakening for me, discovering how looped music could make me travel in my mind.
I remember like it was yesterday, I listened to this tape everyday, then I started to go to illegal raves in South East of France and quickly I wanted to learn how to mix and how to compose this music, and we started with my friends to have a sound system. The journey began.
Nicolas: The story of my encounter with electronic music is almost the same. I was in Tignes in a summer snowboard camp at the beginning of the 2000s and some friends that I made during the camp made me listen to my first Techno CDs. I could not say exactly which artist was on this compilation but coming from Metal/Rock me too, it was a real revolution.
A few weeks later I was at my first Free Party in the south east of France, and when I landed in this new world, I felt a communion that I had never experienced with any style of music.
The experience was so powerful that very quickly I bought my first drum machines and synthesizer to write in my turn my own vision of this music.
Where comes the name Burr Oak and where did you met each other?
We know each other since I arrived in Toulouse 10 years ago. We both have common friends, and we got in touch through the Kosenprod label managed by Céline. So we started to support each other in our respective projects (Julien as “The Clamps” and Nicolas was involved in “Signs” with “Le Lutin” et “ Primal Therapy” and in solo as “Opsen”). For years we talked about doing something together, as a collab or more, but we didn’t find the time to do it as we were very busy with all our projects. Since Signs was splitted, we thought it was time to do something and after several tracks done together, “Burr Oak” was born.
The name comes from our love for Western movies and Native American Culture. We searched for months without finding something that we really liked but one evening while working on a song we both heard the same hearing illusion with a bass we were working on, that said something like “Walnut Grove” in rehearsal.
It made us laugh a lot because it’s the main village of “The Little House on the Prairie” series broadcasted when we were kids. So we documented ourselves on the story about the series and the Ingalls family and a name jumped at our eyes “Burr Oak”.
We found that this type of Oak is often sacred for Native Americans and we are here to plant a seed and to grow it for years, so the Oak appeared to us as obvious. And the name sounds so good for any kind of music, so it’s perfect for what we’re doing.
How have you been staying productive during the quarantine period?
Julien: We both stayed in our respective homes and studios, each doing their own stuff. I worked a lot on “Third Colony” Album and on some of my solo stuff as The Clamps in DNB and Hardcore. And we both started several projects for Burr Oak, doing renders to send previews, having long phone calls each day to speak about music, life and everything.
It was not so hard to be in quarantine for me tbh. It was how I used to live daily, the weird things were to not see your friends when you can, and to see the world change in an uncontrollable movement.
Nicolas: As Julien said, we stayed in our respective studios during this Lockdown. I worked a lot on “Cecil Hotel”, a project I have with my friend “Le Lutin” who was part of the Signs crew with Primal Therapy and me. I also worked on my solo project “Opsen” and of course we each started on our side new projects for Burr Oak during this period.
You released an EP called “Roots Of Evil” through EATBRAIN. Could you share the creative process behind about this EP?
We composed this one right after having finished the Hawkeye EP. We composed several songs, as the idea to continue our story in the wild nature. All the songs spoke about the Burr Oak tales.
We spent a lot of time in the studio (in Julien studio most of the time as it’s easier to work there), one of us started an idea with a drum line, or a melody and the other took the commands to continue to develop the track. We find a good way to work together, everything is going easy, we each take the commands for 2 hours then it’s time for the other to do his things. We trust a lot in each of us, so we don’t need to talk so much about where to go. We have more funny talks and laughs than speaking seriously about what we’re doing. The thing is we already spoke a lot about the story of “Burr Oak” so we know where to go to complete the journey.
What is your favorite song from the EP?
Julien: Def “Roots Of Evil” for me 🙂
Nicolas: With no doubt “ Roots Of Evil “ for me too
This quarantine period has been hard for music industry so now it’s time to support and support, any interesting new producers you would recommend to follow?
Julien: Tbh i didn’t listen to a lot of dnb during this period, I was more into Downtempo and IDM stuff, so I don’t know who the new producers are. I could say “Gyrofield” for her unique style, “PRFCT Mandem” for the massive vibes, “Kocky” for the sick sound design and “Meph” for banging tunes to name a fews.
Nicolas: Don’t really know, a lot of new producers are on top now, but I really like Particle, Buunshin, Forum, Missin, Skantia and Tom Finster to name a few.
Would you like to share something with the followers of Let the Bass Get You?
Thank you very much for reading the interview, hope you like our music as much as we love to tell our musical stories. We have a lot of new stuff to come so keep an ear on our media. We hope everything will be better soon for everyone and we keep continuing to share the love to everybody. World needs more love.