We sit down with Atlanta DNB producer Logam at the airport in Pittsburgh while waiting on our flight home and chat about music production, Drum & Bass and life.
How long have you been a DJ and producer?
Since about 2006. I started DJ’ing and producing Drum & Bass music at about the same time.
How did you get into music production?
I had a band for a long time, and we all kind of went our separate ways all going to school in different places. I was still playing guitar a lot and writing my own music but wanted a way to record it. I was already introduced to Reason and a program called Vegas Video from a friend of mine back in 2003. I started writing my own drum beats in Reason and then recording everything in Vegas Video. I recorded my guitar and made my own music with that. Because of Reason, I think I really started getting into electronic music because it has all of those synths and pre-made tracks. It’s really geared towards that. The reason I started trying to make drum and bass is because my friends Scott and Aireon were telling me how hard it was. I was like “challenge accepted!” That’s how I got started doing drum and bass.
What are some of your musical influences and what kind of music influences your current production style?
Currently, I’ve been listening to a lot of metal in the car and not as much electronic music as I was before. Before, it was all the time drum and bass just driving to work, driving home from work; it was always drum and bass. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of the old CD’s I used to jam out to growing up. Soilwork, Arch Enemy, At the Gates, Carcass, Emperor, Testament, etc. In regards to electronic music, I recently got Ed Rush & Optical’s Wormhole and Sleepwalk by Matrix per recommendations of fans and peers. You will definitely hear those influences in upcoming tunes.
Yeah, I pulled out an old Pantera album the other day. Are you a fan?
Hell yeah, love me some Pantera. I think a lot of my newer songs will have a guitar or something in them because of how much metal I’ve been listening to these days.
You mentioned that you played in a band. What is your primary instrument?
My main instrument is guitar, then drums, then piano and bass.
Logam is an interesting name. How did you come up with the name? And is it true that you’re thinking of changing it to Logman or maybe Logma? Could you tell us if there is any truth to these rumors (Joking, of course).
Hahaha no I am not changing my name. Even if I did, someone would still get it wrong. There is still a misspelling I haven’t seen yet; I’m sure of it.
As for origins of the name, it comes from a Swedish word that means “a perfect balance.” I heard it while watching Anthony Bourdain’s TV show “No Reservations” with my lady one night. It also has several meanings. One meaning represents the attitude of the people in Sweden, which is something along the lines of “doing something because we love doing it, not because we are trying to prove anything.” That about sums up my attitude with everything that I do, so I felt the name really fit. The Swedes spell it Lagom, though, and I didn’t know that. I just spelled it how it sounded. The way I spell it actually means “metal” in Malay, which is amazing to me since most of my musical background is in metal music. Worked out great.
So, you misspelled it too?
Haha. I guess that’s a good point.
What are your biggest accomplishments with music?
I think definitely the ProgRAM release. It was kind of a pinnacle for me and Legion [sic]. And definitely the stuff with Playaz, having “Blackout” on Flavours and now with the Warehouse EP. Having House of Cards on the RAM Annual 2015 was huge for us as well. But really the fact that anyone wants to sign my music in general is an accomplishment. Celebrating 10 years of Full Force Recordings with Mayhem was another one too: have always loved that label. Oh and Eatbrain too.
You’ve done some work before with Mayhem. How did you two start working together?
We have a mutual friend-Aireon, who goes by the name Ployd. He is a pretty popular DJ in Atlanta and is the one that got me into Drum and bass in the first place. Aireon turned out to be neighbors with my friend Scott, which allowed us to meet at a poker game one night at his house. Scott was spinning house and techno, and I went over there and Aireon was spinning drum and bass. I walked in and remember just being like a deer in headlights. Like “what the hell is this?!” I had never heard it before in my life. I went up to him and asked “What is this music?” He said it was Pendulum. So that started this whole conversation, and I would hang out with him a lot practicing spinning records with him before I owned turntables. The first show I went to was Noisia. I think I met Mayhem there or somewhere else, but I met him through Aireon. Then we became friends. I showed him a demo or two and we decided to work together.
Your first release on ProgRAM was with Legion. How did you two start working together?
Legion was working in Mayhem’s studio space. I work with Mayhem almost every Monday, so naturally I met Legion through that. I really liked the stuff that they were doing just listening to it over there. Then Anthony (Mayhem) let them listen to my stuff, and they were really into it. Then, Legion sent me some parts to an idea that they had started, and that became “House of Cards.” That was our first track. We work pretty well together.
What do you think is your biggest release?
“Big” is a relative term. Some labels aren’t necessarily the biggest labels in the game, but to me, they’re something that I’m honored to be a part of. From the very first release I had under your old project Nerve Agent Recordings and even Trust in Music back in the day, which I considered to be a pretty good label, I am very honored to be a part of any release, in general. So, putting out my first vinyl release with Wreckage Machinery, that was pretty cool. Eatbrain is great, and I also had a release on Subhuman with Mayhem. It’s all subjective as to what people view as a “big” release.
How did you get on with ProgRAM?
They heard our “Blackout” tune on Playaz, so they had talked to Legion and asked them about getting some tunes from us. We gave them “House of Cards” and “Solace,” and that was it. Now we have a couple of tunes coming out on the Ram Miami compilation out next month.
Apparently, you have a “sound.” When you write music, what kind of sound are you going for?
Haha yeah, I didn’t realize I have a “sound.” I don’t know what my sound is. I do so many different styles. I’ve done vocal tunes, and I’ve done brostep tunes, hard hitting neurofunk, liquid tunes, and deep dubstep. I’ve even got house tunes, so I’m not sure what my sound is. Also, It depends on my mood or who I’m working with. If people have sent me something to work on, what they’ve sent me greatly affects the outcome. Lately, I’ve been into minimal neurofunk. Quite often when I start something new, I’m aiming for something like that.
What type of programs do you use to produce music now?
I use Cubase 6 as my DAW and a lot of different plug ins, but I usually have a handful that I always go to.
What are your “go to” plugins?
Definitely the FabFilter Pro-Q EQ, Sausage Fattener, Camel Phat, Rob Papen Sub Boom Bass and Predator, and I have hardware too. I use a Roland SH201, the MicroKorg, two Ibanez 7 strings, a 5 string bass. I love to do a lot of foley sounds, so I’ll grab a pie tin or use random noises and turn that into a sound.
Is that part of what makes your sound?
Maybe it is because I do that in every song, use some kind of foley sound. In the “Sombre” remix, there’s a part where it sounds like it’s raining, and I had put popcorn kernels on a sheet tray and moved my hands over them and recorded it with my phone.
Well, that answers a lot of my next question, which is “Where do you get your samples?”
I try to make a lot of my samples, but I definitely have some sample packs that I’ve had for years that I still pick things out of old libraries that you and Dave B gave me. When I do use sample packs though I try not to use anything that will be used for the main sounds, so mostly end up using fx sounds or risers or something.
You have a day job and a family in addition to your music. How do you find a balance between work, family, and music?
I would say it’s not very balanced right now. Haha. I have a wonderful girlfriend and son, so I have to really multitask. I’m also a chef, and I teach baking and pastry at a college. It’s definitely a challenge to do everything.
Do you have any plans for a tour?
I’m a family man, so I can’t just go anywhere anytime. It’s a whole different ball game. I would love to tour if things work out.
Where would you like to go on tour?
Anywhere that wants to hear bad ass drum and bass. I definitely want to play Flex in Austria. That place is amazing.
What are the biggest positive and negative things about drum and bass today?
There’s a lot of good music coming out. A lot of new names, a lot of quality tunes, a lot of older artists making quality tunes. The music is there, that’s for sure.
I’ve seen some people post online that there’s a reemergence or renaissance of drum and bass. What do you think?
It feels like it. A lot more people are talking about it for some reason. I’m not sure why.
Do you think they’re tired of other things?
It could be. Dubstep is still going on, though.
Do you ever see drum and bass being more prominent in the mainstream like house?
I don’t to be honest. Some people may not like that I’m saying that. That’s just my thoughts. That’s my problem with the drum and bass scene is that they’re never happy. I think I’ve said that before on Facebook. People say they’d love to have more drum and bass and then it comes and then they don’t go to the shows. Or they say they’d love to see drum and bass on TV or on the radio, and then people complain that they hear Sigma or whoever it was on the media. Why wasn’t it a Noisia track? There’s always something to complain about. They’re never satisfied, and there’s a lot of negativity and elitist attitudes. Yeah, drum and bass is great music, but there’s a lot of other great music out there too. It doesn’t mean that yours is any better than others necessarily. Although, there’s definitely some music that I can’t stand.
What advice would you give to a new producer that is just getting started?
Don’t have a girlfriend. Haha! Because unless they’re super supportive like mine is, they will hate how much time you spend working on tunes and how little time you spend paying attention to them. In order to progress you have to work on music all the time. Don’t put everything on SoundCloud because if it is really good, labels won’t want to sign it if you’ve already put it out there. If you want a label to consider it, don’t put it out in the public. Take your time, but make sure you finish your songs.
What’s your take on the trend of giving away tracks like the new Spor album, which was put on BitTorrent for free?
I think it’s good. Mayhem has talked about that a lot. It’s a great way to build your fan base if you’re just starting out and actually even if you’re established too. The labels will start hitting you up if you have some really good tunes that get a good response. “Click like to download” has done wonders for the traffic on my FaceBook page.
Should DJ’s produce and/or should producers DJ?
Producers should definitely DJ because that’s where you make your money. That’s how you get your name out too. You can be all over the Internet, but if you have direct contact with all your fans, you tend to get more fans or at least more dedicated ones.
Vinyl or Mp3?
I love vinyl, but mp3/CD is just easier.
Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars for sure!
Look for releases from Logam on Santoku, RAM, Playaz, Eatbrain, DSCI4, Project 51, Full Force, Trust in Music, Subhuman, Gradient Audio, and more.
For more informationn on Logam