a word with dilemma

Hailing from Brighton, Dilemma AKA Piper Hewitt-Dudding has been creeping further into the collective consciousness of D&B for a couple of years. One of a few female producers who are steadily righting the wrong of male-dominance in the scene, her music spans the genre with an effortless that is sure to continue putting her onto the radars of all the right people.

A release on Drum and Bass Arena, a follow-up on Skankandbass and now a single right here on Soulvent. Chemical Love and With You make-up her forthcoming single, a spacious two-tracker that fits right in with the easily recognisable Soulvent sound as well as our penchant for breaking new producers. Since she’s still very much an unknown quantity, we wanted to give you guys the chance to find out a bit more about the Brightonian with the blue hair.

How did you get into producing?

There is one track called Melodica by Stimming, a really minimal sort of house tune, really cool. I remember listening to it when I was 16-17 and being like ‘I want to produce that, I want to make that music’. There was just nothing to it but at the same time loads to it and it just really inspired me, so yeah, it took me a few years to actually start producing but it was that tune which got me into it.

I’d already been into music and had known most of my life that I wanted to make music, but I didn’t really know what kind. I loved Radiohead, 9 Inch Nails and all these bands, but I didn’t want to make that sort of music or be in a band, so after I discovered Melodica I was like ‘he made that all by himself’. Then I discovered D&B and it all went downhill from there.

What are some other of the early influences that inspired you?

I don’t know how much I’m willing to admit this, but I was really into deadmau5 and his early stuff, he was really good, then I was into Hospital and heard Second Sun by Calibre for the first time on their podcast. I got into Calibre and from there further into the deeper, minimal stuff.

What is it about D&B that draws you into producing it?

It’s just so eclectic, D&B is so wide, I almost see it as a template. Because all it needs to be is that type of drum beat, that sort of tempo and bass heavy, so you can just throw anything at it and you end up making all these crazy sounds and crazy styles and stuff. So that’s what draws me to it because I love so many different types of music, in fact I try not to listen to D&B on a daily basis and listen to as wide a range of music as I can. I can take every single one of those genres and throw it at D&B, so that’s why I like it more compared to any other type of genre, you can just do absolutely loads with it.

That’s really interesting. No one has ever said that before and it’s true, within the framework of the rhythm and beat signature you can go nuts with loads of combinations.

So like, for Aim Low on DnBA last year, I sampled a grunge band. Snazzball was like a jazz sample, but I’ve got a few releases coming up and in one of them I sampled Rockabilly, and that’s what I love about D&B – you can get inspired by so many different things. Yeah, you’re limited in some aspects but definitely not in others.

How would you describe your sound?

That’s a tough question. I know I’m definitely inspired by early 2000s liquid, that rough, lo-fi sound – I absolutely love that. I’ll send a tune out to my friends and they’ll tell me to tighten up the drums, but I like how crap they are! Back then the production quality wasn’t quite as high as it is now, but I love that old school sound, the roughness of it, so there’s definitely that aspect of what I’m doing.
But yeah, how I put random genres into a D&B context is something that people seem to like about me, obviously everyone does that but as I said, I do it with genres that really are the polar opposite of D&B. I think melodically I can be quite out there, in that sense.
I’m not really limiting myself at the moment. Obviously, I end up making liquid quite a lot of the time, but I don’t see myself as having, and I know a lot of producers think this about themselves, but I feel like I’ve got quite a wide range of approaches to it, I never know where it’s going to end up when you sample something that most people don’t sample. Musically I end up with some interesting things, not necessarily always good.

Do you think your upcoming single is representative of your sound?

No, I wouldn’t say it’s representative of the range of my sound, they’re both quite liquidy and I have been known to make other things. But I think it represents me musically and my musical tastes in terms of the melodies and stuff, so in one sense no, another sense yes.
Does that make sense?

Sort of…tell me about your upcoming Soulvent single. What was it like to make?

Chemical Love is the one that’s inspired by the Rockabilly tune, I sampled my friend’s really crappy recording on soundcloud and you can hear it in the track, it’s not the hook but there’s sounds in there from that Rockabilly tune, so that’s how that one started off.

With You, I think that one came from playing around with Massive, it’s the first time I’ve made a nice sounding, wobbly bassline, so I built it around that. It’s also the first track I’ve released which has me singing in it, the vocal in that is me and it’s more of a sample than a full-blown verse, so that’s going to be interesting.

Where they fun to make?

Yeah, really fun, I think Chemical love especially was really cool just because I was like ‘this has come from Rockabilly…how can I turn this into a D&B tune’. So, trying to overcome that challenge was really cool because it’s just not something you’d ordinarily find in a D&B tune.

Do you have a favourite?

Yeah, I think for a similar reason it’d be Chemical Love. I love the other one as well, I wouldn’t be releasing it if I didn’t and I do think it’s a fun tune, but Chemical Love is close to my heart.

Talk to me about some of your favourite releases from the past.

Ooh. I really like Binary from the Skankandbass release, everyone else loves Circumspect because it’s the heavy one plus it got onto Radio 1 so in theory that should be my favourite, but I do love Binary. Aim Low as well, I think bar Circumspect that’s the angriest tune I’ve ever made, it always puts me in a good mood, it’s very cathartic.

Tell me about some of your favourite Soulvent releases, not from yourself.

The Pola & Bryson album, that was the first time I really discovered Soulvent and that was really good. Small Talk by GLXY is one of my favourites and I like Monika’s stuff a lot. I also like Low:r, Room 2 is wicked. So those are my favourites I’d say.

What are some of your favourite D&B releases of all time?

Still Ain’t Changed by Random Movement, I remember when I found that I was just absolutely jamming out, I had the promo clip on Soundcloud on repeat for like 4 days. This year, the Charli Brix tune on the Klax EP is one of my favourites and then Second Sun by Calibre just because it was the first tune by him I heard. Lurch is also killing it at the moment: Body Language, Weather Change, Rude Boys, Guilt Trip. He has so much musicality to his productions because he plays piano and stuff, he’s definitely one of my favourite producers.

So, what does a dream 2019 look like for you?

I’d like to release from Spearhead, I think that’d be amazing, and it’s unlikely but play Sun and Bass. I don’t plan on being tied down to one particular label, so there’s a few that I woudld’t mind releasing on, Integral would be another one.

I’d also just like to collaborate with more people. I’m definitely collaborating with Random Movement on a release, and he’s one of my favourite producers of all time, so it’s crazy to be working with him. Klax and Bcee both expressed an interest in collaborating but those haven’t happened yet, so just finishing collaborations would be another goal for 2019.
But yeah, Spearheand and Sun and Bass. Those would make my 2019.

Dilemma’s debut single Chemical Love is available to pre-order now (click the buy button below) and drops on Soulvent Records on the 5th of October in all good online stores.

Words by Ben Hunter.

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