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From Budapest to Bristol and Beyond: In Conversation With Sonic Rain

Trained in classical piano and drums from an early age, Boris Garland burst onto the Budapest drum-and-bass scene in the mid 2010s, graduating from suburban raves to play sets at Budapest’s best venues – Lärm, A38...

By Lucas Arthur, Music Editor

HUBB Record’s roster of artists wouldn’t be complete without a seasoned DJ and Producer. Boris Garland fits the bill.

Trained in classical piano and drums from an early age, he burst onto the Budapest drum-and-bass scene as Sonic Rain in the mid 2010s, graduating from suburban raves to play sets at Budapest’s best venues – Lärm, A38 – before moving to study in Bristol in 2017. ‘I was a crazy teenage kid…’ he confesses. ‘At the age of 16 I’d be going to raves with dreadlocks, wearing a skirt, high as a kite and having the time of my life - I must’ve looked ridiculous.’

We discuss the parallels between the two cities. ‘Budapest is where I grew up and started going out – Drum and bass isn’t as central as in Bristol, but it’s a healthy scene. Some - namely Akvárium and A38 - have better sound than I’ve found here, though they’re never as energetic.’ ‘I've spent so much time in clubs there. You're likely to find a D&B night every weekend, but It's nowhere near as saturated as it is in Bristol: There’s so much more support for the genre, from promoters and DJs alike, and it's pretty crazy how you could find a club playing Drum & Bass with big line-ups even during the week!’

Studying music production at BIMM Bristol was the natural choice for an aspiring producer. He cites a long list of influences, of famous names within the genre – ‘Total Science, Break, DLR, Randall, Bryan Gee… Om Unit was my tutor at BIMM Bristol and Dazee also teaches there. It was pretty crazy for me to be surrounded by people I’d been a fan of for years.’ ‘I listened to a lot of trip-hop growing up. When I first moved here, I was surprised to see a road sign saying Portishead. I never realised the group had named themselves after a place nearby!’

It still a tough time for performing artists, but it seems that DJs and producers held it together better than most. ‘Generally, I feel the electronic music community is sticking together a lot more: Social media interaction has spiked, and people are helping each other out – A lot more music is being made.’ At the beginning of lockdown this year I was living in Bristol – I’d recently moved from Redland to live with my mate Jean (aka En:vy) in the city centre. We’d produce together, teach each other – I found that pretty inspiring.’

Fortunately, he relishes the creative side of his work; it’s interesting to hear how the successive lockdowns were a time of heightened productivity for some. ‘I'm using this time to get as good as possible at music production. In fact, I’ve been making music pretty much all day, every day for the last 8 months. When it comes to practising on my own, I prefer making music to DJing - it's more creative, more challenging, more rewarding - when I write something good I get so euphoric, it's a real rush!’

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Boris describes how he’s earnt cash on the side through tutoring in music production, a practice adopted by many professionals since revenues from live performances dried up. ‘Patreon is an online platform that allows you to share videos, samples and feedback in exchange for a fee. It’s gained a lot of popularity over the lockdown period.’ Livestreaming, too, has been a recurent feature. There's no shortage of past streams on the Sonic Rain Facebook page - why mix alone when you can get a virtual audience involved?

'It's different when it comes to playing live,' he laments. 'If I have a set booked for the weekend, I'll spend most of the week practising for it to make sure I'm feeling warmed up. When a set goes well, it’s the best feeling.' I ask who he’s most looking forward to getting back on the decks with: 'It would have to be Gábor (AKA Incident) because we have a similar taste in music and we've been collaborating a lot in recent months. He’s an all-round lovely guy, talented producer and sick DJ - I'm sure the set would go down nicely.'

Featured Image: Courtesy of HUBB Records

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