Audeze tops up with beat-making musician Vegas of Bad Company UK

VEGAS is one-quarter of the renowned collective - Bad Company UK, who are responsible for some of the biggest anthems on the Drum&Bass planet. Founding BC Recordings with Fresh, Maldini and dBridge in 1998, releasing The Nine as 001. His work on Inside The Machine, its follow up Book of the Bad and Shot Down On Safari continued their trend for speaker blowing mayhem, while the Digital Nation project saw the talents of like-minded collaborators as a live act.
After Bad Company UK initially parted ways, the rise of their individual projects bloomed. Officially forming the label Bad Taste Recordings in 2007 as Vegas (today's A&R director and label boss) together with his long time BC partner Maldini, opened its doors. Through his personal dedication, he has introduced many new acts including The mighty Upbeats, Urbandawn, Joe Ford, Malux, Teddy Killerz, Neonlight and many more, giving listeners some of their first tastes of legends such as Noisia, Chase & Status and others.
Working with some of the greatest minds in Drum&Bass, as well as behind the scenes co-founding the DATABEATS online store system. In 2010 BLOKHE4D was born as Vegas together with Maldini and Uman, for a short time took over the world but due to unforeseen circumstances in the personal life of Vegas, the project was taken out the back and buried in its prime, scattering its members across the distant planets.
After many twists and turns, 2015 saw him reconnect with the original supergroup through a controversial remix project of the BCUK classics. Catching the attention of the modern scene and inevitably landing them back together in the studio on a track called Equilibrium, leading to a string of singles including a remix of The Prodigy’s, The Day is My Enemy as BCUK signed to Ram Records for the road to their first album in over fifteen years: Ice Station Zero in 2018. Now in 2022, we see release of the latest Fresh & Vegas, Bad Company UK masterpiece - The Exorcist, out on Breakbeat Kaos.

With tracks under various guises since his early ’94 residency in Tokyo Japan, Vegas has ventured to the furthest corners of the globe, DJing in many places including Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Brazil, America, Europe and back for his London hotspot appearances at Fabric, Printworks, and the legendary: The End. Releasing on labels such as Matrix’s Metro Recordings, Ram Records, Metalheads, Renegade Hardware, True Players, Hospital and others including his home BAD TASTE on tracks such as Noisia, Maldini & Vegas - Meditation.

 Vegas and his Audeze LCD-X headphones

"The design quality and comfort is super pro, the stereo width and pure sound quality is just second to none, and to be able to feel bass they are just perfect... I can’t believe these headphones, they are on my head every single day and have become my world." - Vegas
Here's our chat with Vegas:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

Being part of Bad Company UK has come with an amazing life of magical moments in the studio and on the decks. Working mainly with the certified genius known as DJ Fresh, combined with a huge cloud of the finest smoke on the planet created what felt to be some of the most important and deep musical moments ever experienced by any human, anywhere in history. Something I'm pretty mystified by and extremely proud of. If you could only see what I've seen.
It's been an honour to witness those soundscapes in real-time. The hundreds of hours of loops in between what actually gets used can be literally oar inspiring, let alone witnessing a tune form and develop all the way to playing it to the masses of gremlins eagerly awaiting, it's nothing short of magic.

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

In the studio I've always been a bit of a hype master, sometimes I wish I was an mc, rhythm is my thing so with a touch of magic dust in the air, connecting to music through simple dance or bounce is how I lock-in. My energy is always trying to make it go off, sometimes needing to be tamed down a bit into seriousness. Really, I love to work with people...
These days I work from home, like many others I find myself alone in my studio most of the time, exploring the complex sounds of soul synthetics via the fastest computer I have had the pleasure of working on to date. The first time ever that I have had full control in my own space and the Audeze LCD-X headphones took me up a level to the point of studio completion.

How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?

As a kid I had a fascination with War Of the Worlds, which was a great way to use my imagination building space camps in my living room from sheets and old sofa cushions, truly feeling the depths and themes of classical music at an early age. My mum was a classically trained ballet dancer, so I heard a lot of emotional classical music growing up and loved many of the huge orchestral and synthesised soundtracks from movies like The Long Good Friday and The Equalizer series. I've always got goosebumps when something sounds amazing. It's how I tell it's good. Sound effects me and I've always used this.
I found Kiss 100FM just as the station went legal in 1990 and saw this huge Acid House movement happening around London which turned me into the crazy electronic sound of Acid and Techno at the age of 12. Colin Dale with The Abstract Dance and the Colin Favor radio shows were my new world, that crossed with a bit of Soul 2 Soul and whatever else was good in the charts at the time. Always open to music as a whole and never just listening to only one genre. At around the same time my friends mum brought back from Jamaica a handful of cassette tapes which found their way to me by tape to tape recording and got worn thin from overplaying. Reggae hits vol 9/10 and a bunch of other sick Ragga tunes from people like Buju Banton, Capleton, Cutty Ranks and Shabba just amazed me, superbad lyrics and disgusting basslines.
Then suddenly it was 1992 and a friend played me a recording from a pirate radio station that weekend - The Brain Killerz - Rush 92.3 FM
There it was, I'd found my perfect blend - Hardcore Jungle Techno and all the madness that would unfold.
Everything I'd loved, wrapped into one.
Hooked.

Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

I got into this Jungle Techno / Drum & Bass or whatever you want to call it at the age of 14 back then in 92 and like all of us lost the plot over 31 Seconds that year, eagerly awaiting its release on record as I had just got into mixing and had a handful of records in the same vein.
Together with a friend, we acquired a pair of brand new, in the box, Technics 1210 mk2 (turntables). This was an epic moment to say the least, as we were far from rich and they were far too expensive. The quest to get this turntable was such a hard one, it taught me how to hustle. There was no way I wasn't going to have one and I guess this pushed me to step it up and go get it. My friends mum saw what this meant to us and added some money and surprised us at Christmas.
My eldest sister's boyfriend around this time was into computers, he luckily bought Future Music Vol.1 and suggested I had a flick through. The free CD that was stuck to the cover went straight in the player and to my amazement, the samples from 31 Seconds came pouring out of my old crusty Aiwa speakers one by one. The penny dropped. This was the moment I realised this mad music I was fully into was made from separate samples via a computer... somehow.
It wasn't just burnt to wax by the Godz, as I had thought until then.
It's quite a weird one as I've been lucky enough to work with and be around my musical heroes, don't tell them I said this but in all honesty Fresh is more epic to my ears than Quincy or anyone else, Optical is the core and Andy C is the best DJ I've ever seen! Thanks, life!

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

Energy can be both good and bad, happy and sad. I like the pain of music as well as the pleasures. In all honesty, I feel a lot deeper and more connected to the universe with a melancholy tune..... It's not all good, it's not all easy... It's life.
Black Keys, Jack White, Pink Floyd, The Smashing Pumpkins, Tchaikovsky.
Music to make you cry!
As far as music-making is concerned; if it's making you frustrated then do something else for a bit. It should be a pleasure puzzle, waiting to be solved.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favourite tools/instruments recently?

I was lucky enough to get for Christmas from my wonderful wife, a Native Instrument - Komplete Kontrol S49 keyboard. This is the best keyboard I've ever had, just perfect with the Complete Ultimate 13 package. A mega synth and more. It's been a pleasure going into 2022 with this.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

Enjoy the journey and treat people well along the way. Omm : )

How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?

This is a new thing for me, I have used them in a few studio sessions with Filip Motovunski who swears by them, and with DJ Fresh in his superlab. I couldn't wait to get my own pair as they are literally the best way of hearing every single detail and full stereo width of your mix. Many times I've heard them referred to as the most important part of a studio today.

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?

I can’t believe these headphones, they are on my head every single day and have become my world.
At home in my studio I have a pair of Adam A7X speakers which now because of these headphones need to be upgraded and hardly get turned on. I had heard that they ‘only’ go down to 50hz which in all honesty I wasn’t bothered by until now!
Now that I am using these headphones I actually realise what that truly means. F bass is at 40hz and I need new the new A77H speakers! With these headphones I can reference all the way down to a C note clearly and a F is no problem at all. My speakers seem to only be able to play G at 50hz and when the F note plays it’s as if there is no bass at all! It wasn’t that apparent before, only until I had these on my head did it all become clear!
They are absolutely amazing! The design quality and comfort is super pro, the stereo width and pure sound quality is just second to none, and to be able to feel bass they are just perfect. For a home studio I can now play things loud and not disturb anyone, working whatever hours god sends. Thank you Audeze, you’ve become a part of me.

I’ve been working on a load of different tracks simultaneously for the past couple of months as a result of getting these headphones. I went fully into studio mode because of them.
I’ve done a few remixes including Audio’s "Control Freak" and Todd Terry’s "Black Out", and monitored the masters of our new Fresh & Vegas "Exorcist" track. These and many more gems that now I can actually hear properly!

Vegas' Audeze LCD-X headphones