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60 seconds with… High Contrast

Welsh wonder Lincoln Barrett, aka High Contrast, is one of the most exciting talents to emerge from the realm of drum & bass.

With a singular style, his trio of albums for Hospital Records - 'True Colours', 'High Society' and 'Tough Guys Don't Dance' - have redefined the parameters of the music, drawing from hip-hop, Blaxploitation soundtracks and psychedelic rock for inspiration.
The DJ/producer plays Creamfields at Daresbury, Halton, Cheshire, on Saturday 23rd August. We snagged him for some words on festivals, old skool beats and psyche rocking…

You're playing at Creamfields in August. Are you looking forward to the event?
"I've not played at Creamfields before so it's a good one to strike off the list. And a lot of people rate it highly so I'm really looking forward to it, I've always liked festivals."

What kind of vibe can people expect from your festival set?
"It's interesting at festivals because you get a cross section of people. Some are there specifically to see you, some are wandering around and checking things out. So you have to get the balance right, win people over a bit. Still, I only play tunes I like, but it'll be more of an upbeat and party vibe."

On your album 'Tough Guys Don't Dance' one track was called 'Ghost of Jungle Past'. Do you miss old skool drum & bass?
"I wouldn't say I miss it because I wasn't there the first time around. I didn't get into it until '97. It was all tech-step, which I didn't like at all then. I was into '93/'94 jungle, that's my biggest inspiration. I'm kind of pining for a time that I wasn't a part of! I don't know if it's rose-tinted glasses.
"The main thing is that the music should be called jungle because drum & bass is a limiting phrase. Jungle to me doesn't suggest any rules; it's a more open form. In my tracks I've tried to make something beyond the generic term drum & bass."

There's also a cover of Iron Butterfly's psyche rock classic 'In a Gadda Da Vida' on the album. What inspired you to version this unlikely track?
"The first time I ever heard it was in Manhunter, the first Hannibal Lecter film by Michael Mann. It was used in the climatic showdown of the movie. It stuck in my mind, so one day I sat down at the keyboard, I thought I could do it, so I said, 'Yeah!' It's a fun party track. I thought that people hadn't done a rock cover version in d&b before so I went with it."

What have you got coming up DJ and production-wise?
"I've just finished a new tune, which doesn't sound like anything I've made before, and I've just started playing it out. People will say that it's like dubstep, but that wasn't on my mind particularly. It came out that way because of the nature of the music - orchestral dubstep drum & bass!"