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Juan Presents: Substantial Audio x Reaction [SA008 Review + Interview + Premiere]


You may have felt tremors from the East over the last couple of years. That, my friend, would probably be Nottingham. There’s an awful lot of producers doing mad things at 140bpm in the city at the moment, and Reaction is amongst their ranks. With an already impressive back catalogue on labels such as Walsh’s Biscuit Factory records and Cardiff’s Abyssal Audio, his jump to Mr Mud’s Substantial Audio imprint comes as no surprise to us over at Juan HQ.

If you’ve been following us closely, you may remember we ran a review of Substantial’s ‘The Cosmos EP’ back in May, highlighting Mr Mud’s ability to curate some seriously heavy 4-trackers that really show off the versatility of the artists he signs. Unsurprisingly, this release is no exception to the rule. Whilst harnessing those signature Reaction sounds, each track is distinct in its own way.

Opening the release with one of Juan’s favourites, ‘Cactus Dub’, the EP immediately catapults you into the sub-laden world of Reaction’s mind. Deliciously steppy and powered along by its relentless sub, ‘Cactus Dub’ is Reaction in his element without a doubt. From there, we’re taken through the slightly more aggressive side of Reaction with ‘Spooky’, featuring distorted 808s and industrial samples spread throughout.

‘Drone’ really highlights Reaction’s knowledge of the square wave and melodies, giving the listener an introduction to a sound that sits somewhere between glacial grime and seriously deep dubstep. The closing track ‘Ascending’ has everything I love in a track. The percussion is pretty damn crazy, lots of little one hitters bringing the perfect amount of variety into the track. When you couple that with haunting spacey pads, you know you’re on to a winner.

The ‘Reaction EP’ tells you an awful lot about Reaction the producer. But what can we tell you about Reaction the man? In an effort to find out, we had a little sit down with him to find out about his musical background, which producers he’s currently rating and how he linked up with the Substantial crew. So, without further ado, here’s Reaction!


J: Reaction my man, how’s it going? R: Easy bro! Yeah I'm all good mate!

J: So how long have you been in the production game now?

R: I've been messing around with production since I was about 14. I studied Music Technology when at school and college. I’ve only been taken production seriously for the last 3 or 4 years now.

J: Nice man! So what are you predominantly listening to and where do you draw your influences from?

R: To be honest, the music I listen to day to day varies so quite a lot. Everything from metal all to classical and I find that that this variety feeds itself into my influences as well!. Within the 140/Sound-system scene the main people I look up to production style and technique wise would be people like Kloudmen, Egoless, Bukez Finezt and Congi to name just a few.

J: I can definitely feel that man! Your productions have such a nice amount of variety to them, it makes sense that you draw from such a wide range! So, how did you link up with Mr Mud and the Substantial team?

R: So, Mr Mud and I linked up over social media. Basically just sending tunes to each other and chatting general shit. Over time Mr Mud started to hype a lot of the bits I was sending over to him, so we decided to make something happen get this release sorted. To be honest, I’m super happy with how this has all panned out! I was really happy to be part of the team! All the artists and gang were super supportive and the label is like a family- So it was sick to be introduced to them all.

J: Always about those family vibes man! Substantial are definitely killing it at the moment, so I imagine they were excited to welcome you into the fold as well! So how did this specific release come to fruition?

R: Well some of the tracks were dubs for a while and some of them weren't. As I say, I was sending Mr Mud tunes and vice-versa and I had just spent the whole weekend in the studio finishing a few bits and tweaking the odd tune. From what I remember, I sent Mr Mud "Cactus Dub" and "Spooky" the release just spawned from there. Then after the addition of "Drone" - which had been getting love off AxH, Beezy amongst others - and "Ascending" the release was done.

J: Sick man! Always interesting to find out what happens behind the scenes! Finally, who are you rating at the moment? R: Artists I'm rating at the moment in 140... It's a such a hard question to be honest because there's so many artists smashing it at the moment! The main artists currently killing in my opinion would have to be MAJOR OAK, AXH, AETHER, WHEELTON, ARTA, THE COSMOS, THE MAKER, RUFUS, RAMSEZ, REPULSION, GRUNDY, DALEK ONE and SEPIA! I could go on all day to be honest, but that's a small selection for you.

J: That’s a fine selection indeed! Big up for sitting down with us man!


The 'Reaction EP' drops on 03/08/18 and will be available from all major internet outlets! Reaction:

Substantial Audio:

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