The enigmatic Aerobiz (previously L.W.H.) debuted back in 2011 on Main Attrakionz’s “Chandelier” alongside Julian Wass. Filled with synths that would make an Albert Pyun film proud and mixed by current Canadian prince Ryan Hemsworth, the release was a bit of a departure from the typically lo-fi sound Main Attrakionz had been known for. The tape just scratched the surface of the largely dystopic and abrasive sound Aerobiz has been doing since. He would go on to release “The Tape Hiss Hooligan” the same year and his album the following year, “CIA TV.” He’s also produced tracks for Cities Aviv, specifically for last year’s “Black Pleasure”, and more recently created the visuals for Suicideyear’s “Interest”. We spoke to Aerobiz on his versatile background and endeavours yet to come and are thrilled to share with you this codeine-powered tape that he’s crafted into our seventy-eighth Truancy Volume.
So start things off Aerobiz, how are you? “I’m great. Working on what feels like a million projects at once, but really they’re only a few: “Aero-World”, my third LP featuring all of Green Ova and many affiliates, me and Squadda’s album together “Chapter 1 Party”, and a couple of one-off singles.”
You recently relocated to The Bay area, bringing yourself closer to Green Ova and other artists like FRIENDZONE. Would you say that has had a positive influence on your work and ethic, if there’s any marked gain in influence at all? “Yes, certainly. I can’t emphasize enough how much being around what I consider to be artistic geniuses all the time impacts my own creativity. FRIENDZONE, Main Attrakionz, Shady and all them are all great artists and musicians so it’s an honor to work with all of them.”
Where do you hail from originally? “East Texas. Next to Arkansas and Louisiana. Very critical, but it’s very critical out here too. I only live in critical environments as it turns out [laughs]. I lived in Yonkers, in New York for a little while too. That’s actually the most critical place I’ve ever lived. I was working on a shoot with my filmmaking partner Gunnar Stansson.”
What about DJing aside to your production work? What’s your live show like? “I just played one last week actually. I played five songs. I try to give all the songs I perform live the kind of emotional drive you need as a vocalist to do them well. All my songs, even though the vocals are mixed low, get an opportunity to come alive differently in a live setting. I guess by singing louder over them. [laughs]. But in general I like things to be a bit obscured on the records so you can go into another world when you listen to them. I don’t like the vocals to be too clear. My live shows are rougher; CIA TV is glamorized. “Figurehead” is a little more screamy and I’m kicking shit [laughs]. A lot more emotion.
On another note, someone got shot right down the block from where I was gonna play a DJ set in downtown Oakland about 2 months back. It was horrible. Police trying to ask me questions and all that. Saw the dude who got shot lying on the ground and someone riding off on a bicycle. Like I said, critical environment. But it’s only had a positive influence on my music, which is only getting tougher.”
Stream: L.W.H. ft. Friendzone – MEDUS6SA
Jumping back for a bit, you’ve said before that you didn’t listened to very little if at all rap during the making of CIA TV. There’s definitely some industrial and hard rock/metal sounding influence in there. What colored the album a for you as far as influence goes? “More like power violence and depressive black metal is more the shit I listen to. Industrial though, I like Big Black a lot if that counts. Felt like the industrial influences were really glamorized and covered up on CIA TV.”
Mentioned industrial because your music can feel a bit abrasive at times, how do you see yourself? “I think keeping some of the ugliness in it kinda helps to leave a lasting impression on people. Part of the creation is ugly. If it’s any good there’s definitely a lot of ugliness involved in making it. A lot of bad times go into anything that’s good. Honestly, I made CIA TV during one of the lowest points of my life, and I can remember very little about it’s creation other than the day it was finished and came out. Much respect to Dylan from FRIENDZONE for helping me so much in the final stages. Without them I’m not sure how it would’ve turned out.”
How’s “Chapter One Party” coming along? “Great so far. Right now it’s looking like the whole thing will be produced by me and Squadda. It’s been through a few iterations but that’s where it’s at now. We’ll be knocking it out in a few short weeks once all the beats are together. Right now the focus from the Green Ova camp is on this BDE mixtape, 808s 3 and “Aero-World”. “Chapter 1 Party” will follow all of that.”
You do a lot of video work as well, any comments on that? “That comes naturally to me, man. It takes me about a day to make a video. I don’t really put that much thought into it. She/Color did all my videos for CIA TV though. He’s amazing. I’ve actually been directly inspired by him in my new videos. I learned a lot from him. Did a Keyboard Kid video and a FRIENDZONE video recently. Then one for Suicideyear’s “Interest.” Now I’m collaborating with She/Color for the next FRIENDZONE video for their album “DX”. It’s a 2-part epic, which I couldn’t be more excited for.”
How do you approach producing for other artists versus yourself? “It’s pretty clear from the beginning. I usually know what I’m getting into. It’s kind of the same thing like, I don’t spend a lot of time on music. I usually collaborate with people and they help with mix and mastering. I used to do everything on my own but now I have people around me who are so gifted why should I do it? It just happens naturally, I’ve been doing it since I was fourteen.”
Anything else we might have missed? “I’ve actually been working on a single on my phone, it’s called “It Could Be Love.” Meant to talk about it. Been messing around on my phone with this auto tune program called Improvox. I put it on the highest reverb. Been making this really quiet shit, walking around on the street. Shutting gates, tapping on trees [laughs]. I finally made a song though, after a week that I think is good enough to release on it’s own.”
Great talking to you! Any parting words for people? What’s your favorite tv show? “I’m still trying to find the way myself. It’s been a long journey and I’m still on it. And one more thing, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and a lot of art and shit. Fuck around and make something good eventually. Shout to all of Green Ova, Julian Wass, Western Tink, and everybody else, fans and artists, who fuck with our music. The Wire, the original Office and The Larry Sanders Show. Shout to Truants blog for the love and I hope y’all enjoy Green Ova’s 2013 as much as we will. Respect!”
Words by Donny Marks, 22 August 2013. Leave a comment
Brooklyn’s Fifth Wall, run by Hound Scales and Divvorce, have taken it upon themselves to release the debut EP from Unklone, an alias for a somewhat mysterious Leeds-based producer who’s been very busy in the studio recently. “Designated #41” is just under half an hour of techno productions, lead by the wonderful “Tetsuo”, which rightfully earned itself a coveted spot on Surgeon’s Rinse show this week. Named after the the central character of cult Japanese film Akira, “Tetsuo” is a fittingly dystopic exploration. It opens with the kind of merciless kick you’d expect from a big room track, but its unnervingly persistent bells, sampled from the film itself, aren’t about to let themselves get bossed around. A track which takes you by the hand and then squeezes, hard, “Tetsuo” is a mesmerizingly nightmarish, but decidedly danceable groove which coordinates moody echoes and choppy percussion into one tight composition. Careful to give each element the space it needs, for all its layers this is a cleverly restrained production, assured in its own pervasiveness.
Atmospherically “Tetsuo” calls to mind Skull Disco‘s totemic releases, an influence that’s even more palpable on the EP’s second track, “Sleep”. Aiming its punches more squarely than “Tetsuo”, “Sleep” perhaps takes less risks but remains a sharply made piece. Unklone is a young producer coming into his own, as evidenced by the level of discipline shown on this release. “Sleep” is another deftly controlled track, which locks its kick in tight the better to allow the rest of its dub laden components to stormily swirl around it. Clouds stepping in to remix “Grit 555” is a shrewd alliance: the original is a booming, industrial size headnodder, juxtaposing concrete percussion and monstrous vocal samples with the same efficiency witnessed on the “Tannhauser Acid Works Pt. 1” EP. The remix is fuller but takes its time to build up to its true might, ending “Designated #41” with the same depth and darkness that it opened with. Fresh stuff from young blood – colour us very impressed indeed.
Stream: Unklone – Designated #41 [Fifth Wall]
“Designated #41″ is out now on Fifth Wall, digital and vinyl available.
Words by Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura, 21 August 2013. Leave a comment
With an inauspicious start as one of a multitude of 808 sample pack wielders, not many people would have tipped Visionist to emerge as one of the singular talents of 2013. Despite this, after a couple of Swamp 81-esque releases and minor infamy as a Boiler Room backing dancer something special happened. Reconnecting with an earlier love of grime, some exceptional dubs started circulating on Rinse, culminating in an astounding all Visionist production mix for Dusk & Blackdown’s radio show at the end of 2012. Ten months later, the centre piece of that mix arrives via all encompassing Berghain partymongers Leisure System with the musical terrain looking extremely favourable. As we’ve begun to showcase a new wave of adventurous grime indebted producers have carved out a space for themselves: some augmenting the experimentation of the original scene into new global dance styles; others equally fruitfully continuing the sound in much the same vein as the originators.
How does Visionist fit in with all this? In terms of compositional ethos releases like “Snakes” unquestionably fit on the same continuum as the best of 03, from the sonic exploration in the convulsing synth lines to the maximal-minimalism at work in constructing monumental edifices from so few parts. You might recognise the kick drum nod to “Ice Rink” in “Snakes” opening bars and only someone totally uninitiated could fail to recognise the gun cocks put to use as propulsive skipping percussion. Despite this, drawing direct lines of continuity with classic era grime is a mistake. It should be clear that whatever his relationship with the old era Visionist is more than anything pushing outwards, not content to simply rehash past glories to unfamiliar audiences.
Thus instead of square waves and Wiley snares, on the title track Visionist opts for bizarre frequency modulated chimes and declarative chants. “Snakebite” ups the ante on camera clicks and gun shots to a disorienting level, with Silencer-style apocalyptic horns threatening to emerge only for a left turn into a reverb drenched denouement briefly flipping the script before increasing the intensity. What is most impressive about these tracks isn’t just their uniqueness relative to a given scene, but more importantly their cohesiveness in demonstrating what has become a pronounced and well defined signature sound for Visionist. Although earlier forays with ghostly sampled choirs threatened to drown out not only vocals but also all of his tracks into indistinguishable reverb mush, on this and forthcoming Lit City Trax EP “I’m Fine” the same impulses are executed with restraint and aplomb. It’s beginning to make sense to talk about the Visionist sound, and as the last bars of the Zomby-esque “Poison” run out it should be apparent that it’s a special one.
Visionist’s “Snakes” EP is out now on Leisure System Records.
Words by Simon Docherty, 19 August 2013. Leave a comment
Welcome to another edition of Sunday’s Best! Today we’ll be discussing some of our favourite downloads from this year so far. Light a candle. Enjoy your stay. Cassie’s eponymous debut positioned her as r&b’s ingénue –barely twenty years old at the time, her voice trembled across slow jams like “Kiss Me” and “Not with You” with a vulnerability that, although compelling, left a lot to be desired technically. Since then she’s racked up three or four albums’ worth of unreleased material , a treasure chest which lays claim to some of her finest work. But with only a patchy string of singles adding weight to her official discography (most of which failed to chart), even the most ardent Cassie fans began to give up hope of a successful follow-up. Comeback mixtape “RockaByeBaby”, which dropped in April, puts those doubts to rest and serves as her ‘I’m still here, your patience will be rewarded’ letter to fans. Her first major effort in seven years, Cassie embraces the time that has passed instead of trying to pick up where “Cassie” left off. The tape reflects her growth as an artist and as a person; she’s swapped the saccharine-sweet Ryan Leslie pop for street anthems from a production roster that includes Rob Holladay, Young Chop and Da Internz. She’s also hung up her breathy quiver in favour of an icy hard-edged staccato – as on “Take Care of Me Baby” where she trades bars with Pusha T over a Mike Will beat. Yep, Cassie’s got flow! “RockaByeBaby”’s title track sees her spitting in double-time either side of a chorus which boasts ‘we be shining like a diamond that your money can’t buy’, whereas the way she drawls on lead single “Numb” is so laid-back it would make Roc Marciano look twice. A naivety marked the lyrics on “Cassie”, but there’s nothing passive or submissive about what she’s singing now (‘you fuck me?/fuck me like you mean it’ – “I Love It”). It feels like she’s clawing back ownership of her musical and personal identity, confronting the gaze that has framed her career since “Me & U” and bending it to her will. As she told the Fader in an interview about the tape: “I finally got to deliver myself to people in the way that I want them to see me.”
There’s a wealth of guest spots on the tape – French Montana, Fabolous, Rick Ross, Too $hort, Ester Dean and Meek Mill all contribute – but only rarely does it feel unnecessary or distracting. Even Wiz scrubs up nicely for his verse on “Paradise”, a searing cocktail of sirens and twinkly synths. Jeremih lays down an impressive vocal on “Sound of Love” – almost too impressive considering Cassie’s shortcomings in that area. Nevertheless, their duet is a highlight and Jeremih’s angelic falsetto complements rather than dominates. But our favourite is “All My Love”, which closes the tape with a playful spring in its step. Clocking in at less than two minutes, our only complaint is that it should be longer (though Kingdom has layered it over “Fogs”, added some extra crunch and doubled it in length here)! As we wrote back in January, ‘any fan of Cassie has already drily accepted [the second album’s] potential to be a complete trainwreck’. This stifling doomed-to-disappoint narrative that comes hand-in-hand with Cassie’s allure is partly what makes it so damn satisfying that “RockaByeBaby” pays dividends. It documents Cassie’s small but confident steps into rap territory, not least on the “m.A.A.d City”-referencing “I Know What You Want”. If it’s indicative of the vibe she’s chasing for the sophomore LP, then maybe the seven years’ worth of reschedules, delays and false starts have been a blessing in disguise.
Stream: Cassie – Sound of Love (feat. Jeremih)
Download:Cassie – RockaByeBaby (via DatPiff)
While it seems like digging 90s era north-east rap seems to be becoming cool again, few of these newcomers mining that era seem to be willing to mine the darker parts of it. Enter Retch’s “Fly Away” with a beat that sounds like it could have been on War Report, it’s timeless paranoid but-still-hustling-rap music. The kind of track that fits right at home on your pound the pavement playlist and is a highlight of Retch’s tape, “Delinquents & Degenerates” which features an excellent array of sounds but Retch sounds a lot better over throwback “classic” sample based beats. He’s not the first rapper to lose himself when they lean a bit more towards a more electronic sound (“Nazareth”, “Newport Music”) but thankfully he does a good job of balancing the tape out soundscape wise. Retch is one to watch going forward and if his appearance alongside Action Bronson (Riff Raff, Sean Price and Meyhem Lauren too!) in the “Strictly 4 My Jeeps” means some secret co-sign or alliance then we’ll definitely be seeing more of him.
Download: Retch – Fly Away (feat. Sha Hef)
Chicago native Sir Michael Rocks of The Cool Kids fame announced at the beginning of the year that both him and partner in crime Chuck Inglish would take an indefinite hiatus to focus on their solo careers. After the success of his previous tape “Lap of Lux”, he’s been plotting his upcoming “Banco” EP is set to consist of ten tracks that feature the likes of Twista, Jeremih and Trinidad James. The EP has been a long time coming, but it seems that we’ll have to wait a little longer as Sir Mikey has decided to wet our appetite with his “While You Wait..” project until the Banco drop. First up from this endeavour is a collaboration with top dawg Ab-Soul who delivers a clean, harsh and effortless verse as we’re used to seeing from Soulo. But perhaps the real star of this four minute spectacle is who’s behind the buttons: Mac Miller hides behind his alias Larry Fisherman as he cooks up a remarkably dark and mystical beat for the two, which is sincerely bound to make even the deepest of Mac Miller cynics give the boy another chance. If “In A Minute” is a steady indication of what’s to come for Mike this year, we’ll happily camp out in the waiting room a little longer.
Download: Sir Michael Rocks – In A Minute (feat. Ab-Soul & Dash) (Prod. by Larry Fisherman)
This trunk-knocker comes from the founder and co-founder of Atlanta collective Two-9, Curtis Williams and his brother Key. It’s a brief joint, laced with a beat that sounds like a polyphonic ringtone accompanied by a bass that bounces true to the ATL music scene. Key alludes to one of Atlanta’s major players in the opening verse with the line “I think I’m Snowman, I’m a go-getta” referencing Young Jeezy and even throws in Jeezy’s signature “Yeeeeeaaaaauuhhhh” adlib. The song has the right mix of catchiness tailored to the summer, even though it was released 6 months ago, while touting money-making as most these songs do. “I’m a hearthrob and she know that” kicks off the hook, and the rest of the song sounds just as good as any Migos (also an ATL crew getting summer buzz) track you’ve heard. Curtis Williams just dropped his mixtape Half Forgotten Daydreams on August 3rd, and Two-9 should be releasing new music soon.
Download: Curtis Williams x Key – Income (Prod. by Key)
SertOne’s been busy making juke, beat-generation-inspired cassettes and playing festivals, and now he’s back on his remix game. RAP (Remixes), his first work with Cosmonostro, was slated to be a four-track release of different remixes, but sadly sample clearance put paid to that. What we’ve got, however, are two sublime remixes of Little Dragon and Med and Blu. “Little Man” is possibly the “poppiest” track Sert has done do date, wrapped in a lush haze of sound, shifting the jerky energy of the original to a bright, lilting pace. At the same time, we’ve got those hip-hop staples, sci-fi sound effects and crisp drum-machine rolls. “Belly Full” on the other hand opens with nervous, upwards shifting scale before heading back towards snarling basslines and winking organs. “Slow it down,” a voice says. As instructed, those scales shift in tempo before. It’s a nice touch, before a series of instrumental flourishes round out the track. It’s a shame the full package, featuring Action Bronson and Freddie Gibbs, didn’t make it to the release, but if you look hard enough it’s floating around out there. It’s worth the hunt, especially for that Bronsolini rework – it features some of SertOne’s best improv to date. The four instrumentals are on the way too, so we’ve that to look forward to as well.
Download: Little Dragon – Little Man (SertOne Remix)
Across an impressive if so-far brief discography comprising of two EPs and a track released as part Long Island Electrical Systems’ American Noise compilation, Brooklyn-based artist Terekke has demonstrated a masterful ability to make dubby, analogue house smothered with tape hiss. While rich in atmospherics and characterised by a languid tempo, his first release ‘Damn / Pf Pf Pass’ was a somewhat more jacking affair compared to his second EP on L.I.E.S. Yyyyyyyyyy, arguably one of the standout releases from the label’s consistently impressive catalogue, tended that little bit more towards the ambient side of things, with the chugging drums being more withdrawn and with even more cosmic atmospherics. This tendency is also reflected (and amplified) in the track ‘atba’ that Terekke had uploaded to his Soundcloud page and recently made available for download. Billowing pads comprise the majority of this hazy ambient piece, with only a slight hint at anything percussive echoing from deep within the mix. Like the rest of Terekke’s music, the result is as beautiful as it is understated.
Download: Terekke – Atba
Words by: Sophie Kindreich, Donny Marks, Sindhuja Shyam, Kyle Brayton, Aidan Hanratty & Eradj Yakubov.
Even though Craig Stennett wishes he spent a little more time picking his artist name, the background of his alias Asusu tells us an interesting story about his bygone days. Asusu is a verb as used in the endangered Bodo language (spoken in the the north east of India among other places) and it translates to feeling unknown and uneasy in a new place, which reflects the mindset Stennett was in after moving around in the United Kingdom for his studies. Today, Stennett seems comfortable and at home in the city of Bristol where he now lives, going back and forth between the studio to produce music and university to finish his master’s degree.
Releasing his records in an unhurried pace, Stennett released five 12″‘s over the last three years. His first two, “Small Hours / Taurean” and “No Kya” (including an F remix), were given a home at Project Squared, and he later collaborated with the the Berlin based techno producer Furesshu on a record that came out on Immense Records. His last two releases (“Sister” and “Velez/Rendering“) came out on the principled Livity Sound label, which Stennett co-runs with Kowton and Peverelist. Other than running the label, Asusu, Kowton and Peverelist frequently collaborate on music and started playing live shows together more recently. As a little taster of what to expect from his sets, Stennett jumped in the mix for our seventy-seventh Truancy Volume and dispatched about an hour of garage, jungle and other styles of music mixed together. Find out yourself and hit the play button while reading our interview with Asusu, where he touches upon topics like his love for sounds, Livity Sound’s forthcoming projects, their live show and of course of the newest instalment of our Truancy Volume series itself.
Stream: Asusu – Velez (Livity Sound)
How are you doing, and what have you been up to lately? Craig Stennett: “I’m very good, thanks, I hope all is well in Amsterdam. The main thing I’ve been up to recently is wrapping up stuff for my next record, which is a collaboration with Peverelist. We’re just trying to sort out the B-side at the moment. Then there’s the Livity Sound CD, which will include that 12″. I’m trying to tie up a few old tracks as well that are nearly done, and I’m working towards the end of a degree.” And of course, thank you for the Truancy Volume. We’ve all been rinsing it! We’re excited to finally share it. “No worries, thanks for hosting it! It’s a bit of a mix up different influences. I buy lots of old records, it’s nice to kind of escape what’s ‘hot’ at the moment. You can make your own judgements about whether a track is good or not, I think other people’s judgements can sway your perception sometimes…”
You used to live in Cheltenham, didn’t you? When did you move to Bristol, and is the degree you’re doing related to music? “Yes, I grew up in Cheltenham then moved to Gloucester a bit later. I studied in Bath and spent a lot of time in Bristol at nights when I first got into dubstep, and started to play my first gigs there. Once I finished university I decided to move to Bristol. It was the logical choice considering what was happening there, and it was a more exciting prospect than going back home. Although I live in Bristol now I went back to do an MA in music technology, mainly related to sound design and processing related stuff.” Does your degree have any impact on the work you do as Asusu at all, and how do you balance the two? “Definitely. I guess I study something I’m passionate about. I can hand in some of my work as Asusu as part of my degree, and quite often the material I’ve generated for university has ended up in tracks that I release. It’s kind of a symbiotic thing, they both feed into one another.”
Do you come from a musical background? What were your formative years in music like before you were old enough to start discovering music yourself? “No, not at all. I’m not really sure what got me interested in music, to be honest. I didn’t learn to play an instrument or read music, which I think is why my focus is on sound design now. I guess it started with hip-hop, though. I saved for turntables and started buying records. I think being new to a form of music is when you’re at your most inquisitive, so it’s the most exciting time because you’re constantly coming across new things.” Do you remember any particular records that inspired you to start producing – maybe by DJ Premier – or was it something that gradually happened? “Premier was definitely someone I spent a lot of time listening to. I think Aim was probably an early influence. I was making beats before that, but they were just kind of loops. This sort of stuff was what I aspired to initially. I loved Braintax and Jehst too, Biro Funk & Premonitions are still some of my favourite records. As far as dubstep went it was the garage and techno stuff that got me. I remember buying “Magnetic City” by Kode9 and the first release on Hessle Audio by TRG, that sort of stuff was where I found my niche early on and I think it was at a time when I was starting to gain a bit of confidence in my own tracks.”
Stream: Asusu – Rendering (Livity Sound)
Can you tell us a little bit more about the upcoming Livity Sound CD? “It’s essentially a compilation of all of the labels output up to now. It is mainly solo stuff, but there are some collaborative tracks on it like Pev & Kowton’s “Beneath Radar” from Livity001 as well as the latest two releases which are collaborations between Pev & Kowton, and Pev & myself. Maybe in the future we’ll look into something that is collaborative in a similar sense as the live show. For now we’ve just kind of reached the point where we felt could tie all this stuff together.”
For the people that haven’t been able to see you live yet, can you tell us a little bit about the process behind the live show? What’s the setup like, and is there a lot of improvisation involved? “I guess improvisation was what drew us to the idea in the first place. If you’re just one person with a laptop though, there’s only so much you can do. With the three of us we are able to gain greater control over the sounds in real-time. I think that’s something that keeps it interesting for us, and hopefully the listener. We each have a role – Tom controls the drum machine, Joe is at the laptop controlling the general direction of the set and I use effects to dub stuff out. All three of us try to keep an eye on the levels, which can be a bit of a challenge sometimes.”
How did the three of you meet and when did you decide to team up as Livity Sound? “Tom and Joe had both known each other for a while before I moved to Bristol because they worked together at Rooted Records. I think I had met Tom once or twice and spoken briefly via email before I moved to Bristol. We got talking on AIM and met up a little while after. It was just chance really – I was working on some stuff that Tom liked at the time, so he asked if I’d be interested in releasing it through his new label. I’m not sure that Tom really envisaged Livity as being just the three of us originally. Having run Punch Drunk for a few years, I think he just wanted a different outlet for music that didn’t have to be a reflection of what’s happening in Bristol. After the second 12″ he proposed the idea of bringing a live show together and I think working on that, just the three of us, was what really brought Livity Sound together as a trio.”
You mentioned it usually takes you a fairly long time to finish tracks. Do you actually work on tracks for a really long period of time, or do you sporadically finish a lot in little periods of time, or is it something else? “That’s an understatement, ha. Both I guess, sometimes I just luck out. The two tracks on Livity002 were polar opposites – “Sister” was over a year in the making, whereas the B-side took about two weeks from start to finish. Sometimes I have to work really hard to make things work and other times things just slot into place and you barely have to even touch the mixdown.” What kind of mind state is best for you to make music in? “I like to get stuff done early when I’m clear headed, so I prefer to get up and work on stuff in the morning. As soon as I start to doubt what I’m doing it’s time to do something else or get some food. I try to work quickly now – working with Tom and Joe has taught me the value of laying stuff down and committing to it. I try to combine my usual methods with this and meet halfway so that I actually have something to show for all the time spent in front of the computer.”
Stream: Asusu – No Kya (Project Squared)
Is there any particular pattern as to how you make music, or is it mostly a process of trial and error and finding “the right sound”? “I spend a lot of time just making sounds. Some of them will never see the light of day, but creating sounds is what I gain the most from. Arrangement is almost like a necessary evil. Sometimes I’ll try to make a specific sound or style of music but it inevitably comes out sounding completely different. You have to be inspired, but I think the moments of freedom when you’re working outside of the limitations and conventions of your usual style are when you make your best stuff. As a general rule of thumb the more out of my comfort zone I am the better the results. I don’t really pay much heed to people who say you need to limit your palette, that’s just personal preference.” What would you say your comfort zone is? ”My comfort zone is very generally the sum of everything I’ve done up to this point, so to get out of it I need to try something new – a new process or plug-in, a bit of hardware or a different style of music. Anything that helps me look at what I’m doing in a fresh light. Quite often I’ll do something that sounds okay, but unless it’s new to me it’s not really interesting.”
On the topic of making “sounds” – over the last few years of making music, you must have put together a considerable sound library. When producing, do you use sounds that you have perviously created, or do you make new ones with a certain current project in mind? “I still have most of the sounds I started off using. There are some things from years ago that I still use, but I’ll process them differently. I used to just sample stuff but now a sample is just the beginning for a more complex process or chain of processes.” What are some of your favourite sounds you’ve created and why? “I like taking sounds that have some sort of meaning to me. Maybe a sample from a film I like or a bit of speech. If I can twist it into something completely different that sounds good I’m happy with it. It’s quite nice having these hidden meanings in your tracks. A lot of “Velez” and “Rendering” was made in this way, the last Livity Sound thing too. “Sister” is one of my proudest achievements because I think it’s the closest I’ll get to capturing that euphoric feeling you get in old jungle and hardcore. I don’t know if I have a single favourite sound, but there’s a track I made awhile back from timpani and bell sounds that bears little resemblance to either. It was more an exercise in process but it still generates some sort of emotional response at the same time as keeping it’s sources hidden.”
Is there anything you’d like to add to your studio or a skill you’d like to learn? “There’s always something. I’m looking for a sampling drum machine at the moment, something that has the ease of use of current digital models but with the character and rawness of older samplers. A nice valve channel strip or compressor and a really wild analogue filter wouldn’t go amiss either. I’m alway trying out new bits of software anyway. As far as skills go my current thing is microsound. I’ve been working with granular synthesis recently and I’m really interested in modulating sounds to make them sound natural but it’s difficult. I feel guilty if I talk too much about this kind of stuff, but it’s the reason I make music!”
Stream: Asusu – Togetherness (Immerse Records)
Would you say the music you listen to influence the music you make or do you get your inspiration from elsewhere – musically or otherwise, something more abstract maybe? “Both. I listen to lots of diverse stuff – drone, classical, folk, pop as well as the stuff you’d expect. Quite often it’s the ideas I get listening to this stuff that inspire me, but similarly I get ideas or images spring to mind when I’m reading or talking to a mate at the pub. Abstract ideas will often lead to something, in the same way that I take samples from films I like. I make lots of notes on my phone and in Word. Anything can act as inspiration really, it just depends on how you interpret it.”
Do you actively seek out new music next to drawing back to older stuff at all? “That’s tricky. I hear bits and pieces that I like but so much of what influences me is not really contemporary – you can probably see that from the mix. I feel like dubstep and it’s offshoots have passed the stage of being full of excitement. I’m too keenly aware of the parameters, and the same is true of house, techno, drum & bass.. I still hear stuff I like and buy a few records, but I prefer to go back and discover all the music that makes me feel that way. There’s so many forgotten tunes. Being so close to new electronic music kind of desensitizes you to it. I’m aware that this is subjective though, I’m not trying to devalue any of this stuff, I just don’t feel the same way about it that I used to.” Is there a big difference between the music you play out and what you would listen to in your down time, or do the two overlap a lot? “Well, there’s plenty of music I listen to that just wouldn’t work in a club, and some that I’m not brave enough to play out. I really like the Something In The Sky series that Jeff Mills does but I’m not sure how a crowd would receive it. I listen to most of the stuff I play out at home, but there’s loads of stuff that I’m not even sure I’d want to put in a mix – some drone stuff, electroacoustic music etc. I think it would just be too eclectic a selection to put in one place.”
Where and how was the mix recorded? “At home, two turntables and a mixer. I’m not particularly bothered about the whole digital/analogue debate because both have their advantages, but a lot of music I like was only ever released on vinyl. It’s also just what I started out with.” Was there any particular vibe you tried to convey with this mix? “There’s a common thread, but I’m not sure what it is; I think the tunes are all rollers in some sense and they have that rough round the edges feel to them. I’d say listen to it anywhere you like, as long as you enjoy it!”
And as our final question, when was the last time you danced? “I mainly sway until I’ve had a few drinks. I can’t really remember the last brilliant night I went to… The Hotline party a few months ago was excellent, I definitely had a few drinks and danced there.”
Dreamer G – I Got That Feelin’ (Original Dub) (Madhouse Records, Inc.)
Slowhouse 003 – A2 (Slowhouse Recordings)
DJ Dozia – Pop Culture #1 (Ovum Recordings)
95 North – Let Yourself Go (Capitol Mix) (Kult Records)
Ordinary People – Keep Your Love (Def Club Mix) (Social Circles)
Groove Chronicles – X Wants You Back (Groove Chronicles)
Underground Solution – Get Happy (Sound Of Underground London Records)
Ordinary People – I’m Missing (Vocal Dubz For Clubz) (Social Circles)
Zed Bias & Principal – All Night Jam (Steve Gurley Remix) (Public Information)
Groove Chronicles – No Body (No Body Beats) (Groove Chronicles)
Dj Bigga G – Mind Body And Soul (Ruff N Ready Records)
R.I.P – The Chant W.E.R. (Ice Cream Records)
Wildcat – Burnin’ Up (Special Request Dub) (Wildcat)
Bluetrain – Untitled (Bluetrain)
Tom & Jerry – Till The Morning feat. Little Red Riding Hood (Tom & Jerry)
Foul Play – The Stepper (Moving Shadow)
Underground Software – The Crickets feat. The Singing Rats (Reinforced Records)
Tom & Jerry – Maxi(Mum) Booty Style – Part III (Tom & Jerry)
Bluetrain – Untitled (Bluetrain)
Words by Soraya Brouwer, 17 August 2013. Leave a comment