Meet CLB the Shapeshifting Bass Music Producer
Self-asserted dubplate dealer and graphic designer Max Foley is a rising producer and DJ in the realm of American drum and bass music. Foley’s artist name, CLB, is a play on the word club and it’s apt—his latest high-intensity, heavy bass-driven releases are perfect cuts for a club or rave.
The young producer began DJing in 2014 when he was still in high school. His sets primarily consisted of hip hop and edits of popular top 40 songs. The Chicago native began producing music of his own once he started college, he said. After DJing parties with other people’s music weekend after weekend, the broke college student grew tired of it and eventually taught himself to edit and mix music on a bootlegged version of FL Studio.
Seven years later, his releases are consistently featured on BBC Radio1, Beats 1, and Rinse FM and supported by the likes of Diplo, Dillon Francis, Anna Lunoe, Baauer, GTA, and Wuki.
CLB’s sound is eclectic, though UK garage, breaks, bass house, and D&B are a few consistent genres in the Dallas-based artist’s discography. For the majority of his musical career, CLB has ricocheted from one genre to another.
“I go through phases...every two to three years I get comfortable with what I’m making and I don’t like getting comfortable,” he said. “Feeling comfortable is boring to me and I can’t stand it...I like pushing the envelope.”
As a life-long fan of bass and dance music, he’s currently learning everything about making bass music to find subgenres to branch off into and experiment with.
“The way I work is, I’ll make a track and then the next track I release is completely different. I get bored with the same ideas, I like trying new sounds out.”
CLB founded Sine Clash last year and has released five singles on the label so far this year.
“I got sick of sending demos out and waiting for labels to get back to me, so I said fuck it—I’ll do it myself,” he said.
The ambitious artist, armed with a degree in graphic design, musical prowess, and well-versed in industry workings, shared his excitement in running the label sans the support of a team.
“I do everything—all of the art design, the back end stuff, and I’m A&R too,” he said. “I don’t mind doing it all because it’s been nice having full control of everything...it feels like my baby.”
As for the direction he envisions the label heading, CLB said his main inspiration for Sine Clash stems from following Alix Perez’s project, 1985—a music label with releases spanning several genres but mainly based in Grime, Dubstep, and drum and bass music.
“I wanted to make this UK bass-centric imprint over here based on what 1985 is doing, though [Perez’s label] has a darker sound and it’s not genre-specific,” he said. “Similarly, I want to do a lot more dubstep, D&B, and UKG releases on Sine Clash… but generally, more forward-thinking, dark, and accessible dance music.”
Recently, CLB spent the last few months touring all over the US—playing sets of original D&B music interspersed with grime and dubstep cuts.
The producer opened for experimental bass and D&B artists all summer and said he enjoyed testing out songs from his growing back catalog and getting the opportunity to experiment “on the fly, in different settings and environments.”
Coming out of the pandemic, the DJ said he thought he knew what direction he wanted to take the CLB project, but then it developed into something he hadn’t predicted. “Being on the road and playing all these shows in different states, to different crowds... it blew up what I wanted to do with [CLB],” he said.
“I had a ‘streamlined’ idea of where I wanted to take CLB and mostly, I wanted to play it safe. Then, like four shows into playing this summer, I realized I couldn’t do that. I thought, oh fuck, no—I can’t do that! I’m going to experiment and absolutely have fun with these sets.”
The rising artist found himself playing mostly D&B, which he enjoyed playing out to American crowds, who are excited about the genre.
“It’s a very exciting time to see lots of people, especially younger generations of ravers, interested in drum and bass music and ready for it to take off.”
CLB played a full D&B set in July at Respect—the longest-running weekly D&B event in LA since 1999.
“Seeing my face on the [Respect] flyer really validated all the hard work I put in this year during the pandemic,” he said. “I got to play a lot of different sets and meet lots of interesting people whose work I admire—I couldn’t have asked for a better post-pandemic entrance into the bass scene.”
Having played shows almost every weekend until this month, CLB is now taking a break from performing events so frequently. “From May until right now, I had shows almost every weekend,” he said.
His plan for the remainder of this year? To stay home as much as possible, hone his production, and continue to grow his back catalog of unreleased IDs.
“I don’t know what it is about the fall and winter, but I always end up staying cooped in my house...I enjoy this time of year because I get to stay in and just mess around and experiment with sounds.”
CLB will be focusing on pushing “more experimental stuff and thinking outside of the box,” he said.
The artist continues to accrue singles filled with elements of house, dubstep, breakbeat, and drum and bass.
“In a year or so, I hope to put out a 5-6 track EP that’s really honed in sound-wise,” he said. “For now I’m just dropping singles here and there, and experimenting with sounds—it’s all slowly coming together. I want to put out a bigger project by next fall.”
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