By Amanda Chavez
Leonardo de Jesus Silva isn’t the typical drum-n-bass artist. Known professionally as L-Side, the Brazil-based producer makes music that can lean toward the smoother, more fluid side of drum-n-bass. But he can also drop aggressive, funky dancefloor tunes within the genre.
Working from his home studio in São Paulo, L-Side forged a relationship with London’s beloved imprint V Recordings back in 2014, then put out a handful of singles and EPs, including 2017’s well-received Love Vibration. Fast-forward a year and L-Side brings us Carnal Mind, his first-ever, full-length album – and it’s a massive one.
Carnal Mind weighs in with a hefty 15 tracks, and includes the added touch of 12 vocal features from the likes of Jeru The Damaja, MC DRS, Lady Chann, MC Fats, MC Conrad, and Inja to name a few. Between finishing his album and working his DJ commitments, DJ Times linked up with L-Side to discover more about the making of this record.
DJ Times: What’s in your home studio?
L-Side: Many times, when I talk about my set-up, people don’t believe me [laughs]. My studio set-up is as basic as possible – I use a Macbook Pro, M-Audio Fast Track interface and headphones. Sometimes I use a Micro-System Aiwa to test the tunes and have a better reference.
DJ Times: What were the challenges in making a large, vocal-heavy album like this?
L-Side: One of the biggest challenges was certainly getting all the collabs organized. It was not easy, and it took a lot of time, I’ve been working on the album for almost three years. It took time, but I’m happy with the result and I feel honored to have such heavy vocalists/MCs together in the same project.
DJ Times: What are some of your favorite amen-heavy tracks of all time?
L-Side: So hard to tell because there are many! [laughs] I will share three that I like very much: Spirit’s “Re-Dial” on the Metalheadz label; Trinity’s “30 Hertz” on Chronic; and PFM’s “The Western” on Good Looking Records.
DJ Times: How do you go about creating the sounds for your tracks?
L-Side: I really enjoy using old hardcore and jungle samples and cutting ’70s funk breaks. On top of that, I work until I get a result that pleases me. I really like distortion, too.
DJ Times:Do you have a method when it comes to editing vocals?
L-Side: When I’m editing vocals, I always like to duplicate them and work the background effects on the second channel, sometimes pitch-down, reverb, and echoes. When it comes to remixes, I really like cutting out vocals and changing the sequence of phrases, creating a different groove from the original track.
DJ Times:Which track off the album do you think best represents your current sound?
L-Side: In my album, I put a little bit of everything I like to produce. If I could choose a signature sound, I would currently select “Night Prowler” featuring Inja. I really like the vibe of this song, the tense atmosphere and the aggressive vocals.
DJ Times:How did you approach the mastering process?
L-Side: I think it is necessary to have a balanced sound in the mixdown, so that in the process of mastering you can have room to work and get a good result. For me, the principle of everything is mixing down.
DJ Times:What’s your current DJ set-up?
L-Side: I started out as a hip-hop DJ and always used turntables. Now I’m enjoying working with Pioneer CDJ2000NXS or CDJ-2000NXS2 players and Pioneer DJ DJM‑800 DJ mixer or the NXS2 mixer.
DJ Times:What was it like first learning how to spin drum-n-bass?
L-Side: It was difficult. When I started playing, drum-n-bass in Brazil stood firm – we had Marky, Patife, Andy and a lot of DJs playing the style. There were a lot of DJs for few parties. It was very difficult to play at a party. I was able to play parties just after I started to produce.
DJ Times:Who were some of the producers you looked up to when you first started making music?
L-Side: My main influence has always been Marcus Intalex. I also became curious when I heard Mutt’s productions. He did a lot of music with samples of hip-hop, and this caught my attention because, when I first started to produce, I did hip-hop beats.
DJ Times:Who are some of your favorite up-and-coming producers now?
L-Side: Today we have a lot of people doing good music. I really like the work of my friends Level 2 & DJ Chap aka ALIBI who are working hard on their first album. I also love the songs from SATL, Macca and Andrezz.
DJ Times: When looking back on your earlier work, where do you see the most growth?
L-Side: I see a more mature sound, a smarter production. I don’t see much evolution in terms of mixdowns, because I’ve always liked to use old samples. I often like the dirty sound, but I think my sound has matured.