If you’re into drum n bass, chances are you’ve probably heard of Bou. He’s done sets for Boiler Room, 360 DnB, Brainfreeze by Mixmag and Fireball, and won countless Drum & Bass Awards, including one for Best Producer and Best Track. The Manchester-born DJ first got into drum n bass like most people do – he got invited to a gig by word of mouth and the rest is history. Today we caught up with Bou to talk about his performance rituals, his approach to sampling and his musical evolution.
Hey Bou ! How’s it going? Can you quickly introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Amine Bou, I’m 27 years old, I’m from Manchester and I produce and DJ drum and bass music.
This year, you’ve released a couple of tracks, including Closer that samples Robert Miles’ Children (Dream Version) from 1995. How do you go about sampling? Do you just hear a sound and think “let me put my own spin on it”?
The Robert Miles sample happened quite randomly tbh. I came back from a night out with some friends and we went to the studio and one of my friends said I should sample Children. Whilst I was doing it Slay wrote a quick hook and the rest was history. We didn’t even make it for any reason other than to have fun!
What does your creative process normally look like? How long do you normally spend on a single track?
It all depends really, some tracks take weeks and some I can bang out in a couple of hours and be happy with the result, just depends on how motivated I am on the track usually.
When it comes to an artform like music, it’s hard to define success, but you seem to be going in the right direction, having won plenty of awards including Best Producer at the 2022 Drum & Bass Awards. How do you define success?
To me success was to always just make enough money doing what I love and not having to live a normal 9-5 job like most. As time goes on goals and targets have changed but the ultimate goal for me was to do what I loved for a living and I have accomplished that.
Your sound is a mix of classic Drum n Bass, jungle and overall head-banging sounds. How did you first get into that type of music?
I was introduced to drum and bass through a free party rave in Manchester with my friends, the basslines and groove in the drums ultimately lead me to going home and learning how to produce using YouTube and stuff!
At what point did you decide you wanted to make similar music? Do you remember what your very first track was?
One of my first tracks I remember was called swine flu. I made it in 2014. I still make songs similar to this now, you can probably find a copy of it somewhere online still.
What’s your pre-show ritual? What do you do to hype yourself up before a performance?
I’m usually always really excited before shows, the nerves have kind of gone now after doing it for so many years, just excitement!
On the other hand, how do you wind down? Or do you keep the party going after a set?
Depends what mood I’m in! I’m all up for a party but I love going home and jamming out on some games on my PC!
You’ve talked about not wanting to be boxed in as an artist, specifically as many people refer to the “old Bou sound” with your song Poison. How do you move away from a label like that?
I love making music and I’m always improving and evolving as an artist. I could never stick to one certain sound because I’d be bored of it. I have my traits and style you can hear in most songs but I always try to switch it up as much as I can, I make music for me before anyone else.
The crowd can really be the make-or-break element of a set. Do you have any crazy crowd stories to share with us, when the energy in the room was out of this world?
Playing at Glastonbury this year with my bro Hedex was a fantastic moment. We were opening The Temple stage and people were breaking through the barriers to get to us before we even started, was pretty surreal!
Lastly, is there anything you are currently working on you’d want to tease your fans with?
Bou x Chase & Status song coming very very soon!
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