We are primed and champing at the bit to re-open the club, pending a further announcement / confirmation (fingers Xd), with more details, from Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday 3rd August…..!Categories: Blog, News
In light of the current situation, we have decided it is in the best interests of all our staff, customers and events to close our doors until further notice.
Look after yourselves, each other, your nearest and dearest and, perhaps most importantly, stay safe!
p.s. may come in handy:
We’re stoked to be welcoming Bristol’s mighty Pinch for what will (somewhat astonishingly) be his Bongo debut, courtesy of Overground, this friday night. Well overdue!
If you’re not familiar with his work, Luke Ballance’s interview with him (taken from the Once Upon A Grime website), from the Love Saves The Day festival in 2018, is a pretty good primer. See below.
Pinch. © O. Bailey Photography / Olly Bailey
Rob Ellis, professionally known as Pinch, has been at the forefront of the dubstep scene for well over a decade now, but his music is far from easy to describe. Known for being the mastermind behind Tectonic and Cold Recordings, plus for his innovative instrumentals and DJ sets, he’s long established himself as one of the titans of Bristol bass music.
Well, I think anything that you listen to growing up is a major influence on your direction. My older brother was into dub music and psychedelic rock and all sorts of stuff. He used to make me tapes and compilations. And then in my early teenage years, I was very into what was called the Bristol sound. The trip hop thing: Massive Attack, Portishead, Tricky.
Drum and bass. Jungle. Techno. All these things fed into my tastes. I’ve always liked sitting in between boundaries wherever possible.
I tend to just get sounds and fuck ’em up. That’s more of a general approach. But I have made some field recordings in the past. There’s a holiday I went to in Marrakech years ago and I’ve lived off a few minutes of recordings from there. [laughs] That’s made it into a lot of stuff. But I do use a lot of foley-style sound effects recorded as well. So it could be taken from films, TV… it’s definitely all sample-legitimate stuff, of course, but if it’s pretty obscure, no one knows it.
Not really. I’ve generally been much more inside the box: VSTs. I do have an analog desk and a couple of analog outboard bits; I use a Distressor compressor and some weird shitty guitar pedals. But, mainly, I like the convenience of being able to open up the program and have everything how it was. With analog, you’ve gotta capture it right that first time round.
I do a live set when I’m performing with Adrian Sherwood as Sherwood and Pinch. Adrian runs an analog desk with analog delays, reverbs, effects. I run the digital aspect of it through Ableton and it plugs out of a sound card spread across the desk, so each separate sound’s got its own channels and can be effected differently. We use an SPD drum pad, lots of sound effects, and some processing pedals.
When I’m performing as Pinch… I did do a live show. I literally did it twice: in Montréal for MUTEK and at Fabric for one of their birthday celebrations. I tend to prefer to just DJ when I’m playing as Pinch. So, a different approach.
I make it up as I go along. That’s the truth of the matter. I’m not the most precious about things. Sometimes songs will catch a mood which resonates with a certain label imprint a bit more, or it might just be that I pass some tunes out to people I know—like Loefah—and they’re like ‘can we have this one?’. There are lots of different reasons. I mainly tend to focus on releasing with labels that I have a lot of respect for and that I feel contribute something worthwhile to the scene in general.
Pinch. © O. Bailey Photography / Olly Bailey
You recently celebrated Tectonic’s hundredth release with Riko Dan’s ‘Hard Food’ EP. How did that come about, and how much of a say did you have in the project?
The timing, as we were approaching the hundredth and this whole EP was coming together, it was like ‘this has to be the hundredth release, it makes a lot of sense’. Riko represents an individual who’s been through a lot of the transformative periods in dance music and UK sound system culture. He was there for jungle; he was there for garage; he was there for grime. You know? He’s still around and he’s still bussing lyrics and bussing dancefloors and absolutely fucking breaking down sounds.
There’s a four-track EP from Hugo Massien, on a kind of breaky, techno-y crossover space. Really solid tunes I’m very excited about. Following that, we’ve got the Walton album which is absolutely off the chain. That’s one producer I find myself coming back to more and more. When I’m digging through the record bag, his plates are the ones that come out most often. It’s a really cool album. Following up from that, we’ve got a very exciting remix plate, which I will not give you any more information on for the moment, but around about September time that’ll be a definite big hitter. I’m absolutely confident on that.
We’re buzzing to be welcoming Steve Stamp aka DJ Steves (Kurupt FM) from genius BBC comedy People Just Do Nothing to the building on Thursday 5th March, not least as he’s co-headlining with jungle legend Randall!
Promoters 23 Degrees caught up with him for a quick chat before the gig.
How old were you when you first started learning to mix? Which DJ’s inspired you to start?
Around 15 I think. I had some basic belt drives and me and Beats would go back to back after school. We were inspired by the West London pirate radio DJs. A lot of the time I didn’t really know who they were but I remember people like Oxide were playing the darker stuff that I was most into. I also had one tape with Deekline where he was scratching over garage, that was the maddest thing I’d ever heard. Blew my tiny mind.
Your sets are on ode to the Garage sound, what are your top 3 Garage slammers?
It’s hard to pick but there’s a few that have stood the test of time. Stuff like Roy Davis Jr ft Peven Everett – Gabriel, Active Minds – Hobsons Choice, Groove Chronicles – ‘Hold On’. They always existed on the classier end of the garage spectrum, very sexy production. They’re not tracks you’ll normally hear in a rave though, what I hope I can do with my sets is introduce some of the less obvious party tunes and show people some classics that they might not have heard before.
With Garage fully back on the map right now, which of the new school producers are you feeling?
Ah there’s loads of people making good beats. Conductah, Murlo… In terms of new stuff I’m more into grime: Sir Spyro, Swifta, Rudekid, Spooky. What I love about the scene is that a lot of these guys are selectors and their music emerges out of the radio and rave culture. It’s all connected and that’s what keeps it so authentic.
You’ve played in Edinburgh before with the rest of Kurupt FM, how was it? Are you excited to return?
Scotland is always messy. Weird shit seems to happen every time I’m there. DJs ending up in ambulances, McDonalds lock-ins. I blame the Buckfast. Need to add that to my rider actually…
We had Danny Rankin aka Decoy perform back in 2019, he had some serious Jungle music up his sleeve, do you ever sneak in some Jungle/DnB into your sets?
I’ll leave that to the pros. We’ve got Randall on the lineup with me and he’s told me that I’m not allowed to go beyond 140bpm. I mean he hasn’t actually said that, but he’s a legend and I know my place.
Any dubplates/suprises up your sleeve?
At some point during the set I sometimes like to surprise the audience by going briefly into character as Steves and doing a bad mix. So if you hear that then that’s why. And you’re welcome.
Finally, taps on or taps aff?
Taps aff. Trousers down. Red Stripe in each hand. Eyes closed.Categories: Blog, News
Flexout Audio boss Tom Bassi (DJ/producer/A&R/label mgr) and Charli Brix (DJ/producer/vox) make a formidable duo, with a smooth, polished sound that combines deep, dark moods and techy production. It’s a style of drum ‘n’ bass with a broad appeal just now and has unsurprisingly been peppering the sets of countless DJs in the scene.
So, we’re well pleased to be welcoming them to Scotland, as they make their combined Scottish debut for Midnight Bass, and excited to hear what they’ve gone in store for the Bongo on Tuesday 11th Feb. The Midnight Bass crew had a wee chat with them, to see what’s what in their world…
How does it feel to be debuting in Scotland? Have you been before?
Bassi: Amazing. We’ve both never been to Scotland and are so happy to be asked to perform at The Bongo Club. I’ve always loved all the Scottish people I’ve ever met so I’m sure it’s going to be wicked vibes.
Charli: I’m so excited, I’ve never been to Scotland! I have a friend studying in Edinburgh who I haven’t seen in ages so she’s gonna roll through so that’ll be lush. I’ve had a few punters hit me up on insta telling me they’re excited to see us perform which is always lovely. I can’t wait!
What/who would you say is a key influence in getting you started with your musical journey?
Bassi: For me, it was going to Fabric nightclub for the first time when I turned 18, I knew from then on all I wanted to do was be a DJ
Charli: Watching Sister Act when I was 11 and developing a passion for singing and then again on stage at Fabric in 2015 during the ‘Rituals’ Album launch – I realised then I was never going back to a 9-5!
Best party you experienced / performed at in 2019?
Bassi: That’s a tough one for me but I’d have to say our Boat party at Outlook festival as it was so intimate and the energy was just unreal.
Charli: I agree with Tom, either the Flexout Outlook Boat Party or my Kintsugi EP Launch – both were utterly outrageous.
At the turn of a decade, what can we expect from you in the (20)20s?
Bassi: A lot of my focus is on Charli’s album at the moment but as well as that we have exciting projects from the Flexout gang including an LP from Arkaik which is going to be very special.
Charli: So I’m pretty much on lock for the album this year. I have a few releases coming with some regular collaborators, and my Kintsugi EP has been flipped so that’s coming out over the next six months or so. It’s all incredibly positive and moving fluidly which i’m happy with, I feel like 2020 is going to be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
We’re excited to see you DJ and of course showcase your vocals with a live PA set. We’ve read that you’ve been DJing just a few years. Do you enjoy DJing as much as performing vocals?
Thank you! I’m hyped to perform. So I’ve only been DJing 18 months, which is mad when you think about it! DJing & performing give me a very different high. When I write or sing it’s for me, and it’s a bonus if the crowd is vibing and can relate, but when I DJ it’s for the crowd, and my happiness or love of a mix is secondary – does that make sense?
Charli, we’ve read that you work for Glastonbury, write for In-reach magazine, play with the female super-group KCDC, all the while laying down vocals for so many tracks AND maintaining a busy gig schedule. How do you fit it all in and manage the creative flow? Any tips for anyone working on multiple projects at once?
In all honesty, I took on too much last year. I had to step back from a few projects and commitments, but all for positive reasons. I essentially didn’t give myself enough credit or realise how much would change in 2018/19 and just assumed I’d have to do the ‘broke musician holding down 5 part time jobs’ life forever to facilitate my music.
I spent a lot of years laying good foundations, professionally and personally, and that has allowed me to work as a freelancer, and be more particular with how I spend my time and who I work for – not only in music but my other creative endeavours.
If you’re flat out all the time, just have common sense. Eat, sleep, drink water, make sure you’re looking after your mental health. Get rid of toxic people who hide under the guise of ‘supportive’ during the highs and add to the lows, and most importantly – learn to say no.
What has been your favourite project to date, with who and why?
Charli: It’s gotta be my ‘Kintgsugi’ EP 🙂 It’s such a trip being able to google it (haha) because it still doesn’t seem real. I’ve been doing collabs for so long and despite adoring all the producers i’ve worked with, it’s just different when you’re the one in control and it’s your ideas and your vision. I couldn’t have done it without Tom and Flexout, and I honestly still don’t think he knows how happy it makes me.
Bassi, along with a solid back catalogue of releases under Flexout, we’ve seen you’ve started producing too (we’re a big fan of Reflections). Is there anything in the pipeline that we might catch a sample of at the upcoming show?
In terms of my own production, it has taken a back seat for the time being but I am actively involved in the writing process with Charli and her new album so you’ll hear some new material from that on Tuesday for sure.
Flexout Audio was founded in 2011 and has since become a highly consistent and widely respected record label. Is there a highlight moment or milestone for you in the rise of Flexout Audio?
Yes and most have happened within the last 12 months to be honest. Having Flexout at Star Warz in Belgium was huge, incredible venue and an amazing drum and bass event that has been going for 20 years. Our boat party at Outlook festival was amazing, I’d always wanted to do that and so glad that it happened before they moved away from Pula. Other than that hosting Room 3 and then more recently Room 2 at Fabric was incredibly special for me as that is the club I went to the most when I first started going clubbing.Categories: Blog, News
We’re excited to be welcoming jungle & drum n bass champs Serial Killaz to the Bongo this weekend. Here’s a wee interview courtesy of the We Love Jungle website where they talk about their love for the sound.
What does Jungle mean to you?
A 20+ year-old sound that encompasses many styles of music due to the history of sampling and borrowing from other genres of music and working it into a different, faster tempo. It is the origin of what is now known as Drum & Bass. It is a vibe. It was always about the samples and vibes already captured in the music. Now all these years on, artists are writing original works with Jungle and the goal is always to capture a vibe that has soul to it, just like all the samples have.
Has your approach to DJing changed since you first started out?
Yes, when I first was DJing many moons ago now, I used to prepare all my sets and want everything to go perfectly. With more experience of different clubs and set-ups, I realized it was far better to freestyle and go with the flow of the club system and crowd. Some systems don’t produce enough bass, so certain tunes just don’t sound the same and my sets are adjusted to the sound system. I also like to be able to play the odd request, especially if it’s one of our own productions being requested, as I feel that gives a great connection to the fans. Ten or so years ago, I was playing out under my solo name, Vital Elements, a lot. When the Serial Killaz bookings came in, I would change the style I usually played, and I really saw a change in the vibe of the dance floor when incorporating more Jungle style and vocal lead tracks. This was a big influence in the sound I wanted to push more, as that certain vibe captured by Jungle really does make the dance floor a nicer place.
Where in the world do you think the best Jungle crowd is?
I’ve played to so many great crowds over the world, it would be unfair and too difficult to choose.
What’s your top Jungle tune to play out at the moment?
Our remix of ‘Professional Ganja Smoker’ has been getting a great reaction for some time, as is our yet-to-be finished collab with Jaguar Skillz (that) we’ve been testing, but I still think the most powerful track has to be Congo Natty’s “Code Red.” in any of its various forms. We’ve been lucky enough to remix it and have recently updated it too, they always go off, as does the original 20 years on.
What up-and-coming DJs and producers are impressing you?
Upgrade and his brother Limited have been very impressive. And of course our young mentees RunTingz, who have come on leaps and bounds since we took them on and got them in the studio for some vital training.
Describe your creative process in the studio?
It depends on what we are working on but it can usually be boiled down to catching that elusive vibe I keep mentioning: you gotta find the hook, be it a vocal, melody, rhythm, or groove.
How would you describe your sound at the moment?
Modern day Jungle
What’s your musical guilty pleasure?
Classical and differently tuned world music.
If DJing wasn’t your job, what would it be?
A chef, like I used to be.
Any new projects coming up?
Stacks, collaborations, remixes, original works…too many to mention. Just keep an eye out for any release with the name Serial Killaz in it – there will be plenty.Categories: Blog, News
We’re mighty excited to be welcoming (amost) the entire Livity Sound crew, from Bristol, for Headset’s 5th Birthday Party this Friday night. Should be more than a wee bit special, not least as our festive 5am licence kicks in as well!
Peverelist on Livity Sound and Bristol techno
This month we take our label series outside of Scotland and look to Bristol’s Livity Sound ahead of the label’s showcase at The Bongo Club for Headset’s fifth birthday party
Edinburgh club night Headset has long been a champion of the Bristol electronic music scene, with previous guests including Peach Discs’ co-founder Gramrcy, Idle Hands’ boss Chris Farrell and DJ/producer Hodge (pic. above). It feels fitting, then, that for the party’s fifth birthday they would celebrate Bristol’s burgeoning scene with a showcase of one of its pivotal labels.
Livity Sound was launched by Tom Ford, aka Peverelist, in 2011 and over the last eight years has been responsible for releasing music by some of Bristol’s most exciting artists. In its early days, many of the label’s releases came from Ford himself, as well as Joe Cowton, aka Kowton, and Craig Stennett, aka Asusu – both of whom played crucial roles in the label’s formation. “I’d been working at a record shop called Rooted Records for ten years, where I founded a label called Punch Drunk which focused on documenting the music around the Bristol dubstep scene,” says Ford.
“Unfortunately the record shop was forced to close and I decided it was time to do something more focused on my personal interests,” he continues. “I’d been working on music with Joe [Cowton] a bit at the time and he encouraged me to start the label. In those early years I worked closely with Joe and also Craig [Stennett] to create the aesthetic of the label.”
Since then, the label has maintained a focus on releasing music by Bristol-based artists, but its growing success has also seen it attract interest from further afield, with releases from Simo Cell, Toma Kami and Laurel Halo. “I’ve always worked closely with Bristol artists and given support to other Bristol labels when they’ve asked,” says Ford. “It’s a cool city for music, although I’m not quite as involved now as when I was working at the record shop; that really acted as a hub for the scene – I miss it.”
Having previously performed at Headset himself, Ford will be making a return to the night as part of the label’s showcase alongside other returning guests Hodge and Roska, in his Bakongo guise. “Hodge is a label regular and my promotion partner for when we run our parties in Bristol – awesome DJ and producer to boot,” says Ford. “Bakongo has just had a release on the label and is a bit of a legend in my eyes for a decade of killer underground releases under his Roska alias.”
Fast-rising DJ and illustrator Danielle Doobay will also be making a return to Headset, having played three times before. Doobay is one of the co-runners of Mix Nights – a DJ workshop series for women launched with the help of Shanti Celeste and local organisation Bristol Women in Music – with Daisy Moon and Em Williams. Meanwhile, Anina (pic below) will make her Headset debut and is proving to be one to watch through her slot on independent Bristol radio station Noods Radio and releases on labels like Tape Echo.
“Danielle is a good friend of the label and a regular at our parties – amazing DJ who’s been really busy this year playing some of the best parties in the world,” says Ford. “Anina is one of Bristol’s most in-demand DJs – always plays a belter. A lot of people will know her from her blinding set at this year’s Freerotation festival.”
If Bristol isn’t a city currently on your musical radar, then Livity Sound’s showcase is sure to prove exactly why it should be.
Headset’s 5th Birthday: Livity Sound Takeover, The Bongo Club, Edinburgh, 20 Dec
Categories: Blog, News
We’re more than a little bit chuffed to be hosting this one at the Bongo. Hard to believe Axel Boman hasn’t played Edinburgh before. Even more exciting that he will be making his debut here at the Bongo.
He’ll be well known to any seasoned clubber and music fans, due to his work as Talaboman (with John Talabot) and his record label (the wonderful Studio Barnhus, which he runs alongside Kornél Kovács and Petter Nordkvist) but for the uninitiated, this 2015 interview with The Ransom Note’s William Wasteman is a very good place to start…
If you’ve ever been out partying with me, you’ll notice that similar patterns emerge in the way I like to enjoy my after party. Firstly, I’ll buy more tinnys than is humanly manageable to drink, because beer is your friend, forever and ever, amen. Secondly, I’ll change into a pair of tracksuit bottoms, because I need to be comfy when I’m dying from beer overdose. Thirdly; and this is the only relevant bit, I always play ‘Hello’, by Axel Boman. It’s one of the most beautifully soothing tracks I’ve ever heard, with its haunting, catchy vocal sample and bassline deeper than talking to Carl Sagan on acid. It’s basically the musical equivalent of a nice, warm bath, which is good because it’s the closest thing I get to washing (if you notice from after party points one to three, hygiene isn’t on the list).
So from that track I became a fan and have been listening to his unique brand of ephemerally melodic house ever since. Then when I heard of his new project ‘Talaboman’; with top producer John Talabot, I was intrigued to see how the tracks would sound. On hearing their first single ‘Sideral’, I wasn’t disappointed. So, ahead of their headline sets at Corsica Studios on the 27th and 28th of this month I sat down with the Swedish born producer to talk about the creative process, his label Studio Barnhus and his favourite purple drank:
Axel Boman: Hey! I’m good man! Really good.
AB: Just working on a remix at the moment, for a band Hunter & Game a bit like Darkside so like really synth heavy, kinda darkish pop stuff.
AB: Most of the time, its people just asking me, and offering money! But I do also feel like the tune has to be something I relate to as an artist, I can’t just take any ‘trap’ song off the radio and do it, it has to be something I can work with.
AB: Yeah I feel like sometimes I can’t just strip back a track to just the basskick and hand it back to them and say “Here is what I thought was good of your tune”. Like there was that amazing story of Aphex Twin doing a remix for Bjork in 20 minutes, where he had obviously just done nothing with the original track but just sent over something he had already done, but I don’t think I could do something like that. I think DJ Koze is a remix genius and makes everything better, like “What the fuck was the original? This is shit compared to the Koze remix”, but I do feel more responsible over someone else’s tunes than I would do my own because you have a responsibility toward the original song. I feel that I owe it to the original track to use parts of it in the remix that you can hear, to pay my respect that way.
AB: It was the one I did a while ago for Agaric, called ‘No way I Know I Feel’. I felt I got the melodies really well placed with the original song and it just worked. I added a sample from a completely different track that worked surprisingly well with the original I think. That’s my favourite remix for sure.
AB: Yeah we have parties in the woods like, every weekend. You just get a text from a friend saying “there’s a party in the woods”, then you get there and just follow the sound of the kick drum, but people can’t last too long cos they drink so much. Like obviously everyone is on drugs but we just drink so much we usually don’t last past the next day.
AB: No, not at all. Berlin doesn’t have the same drinking culture, they are sipping on water and stuff, whereas we just get really hammered. We have a natural drinking affinity with the English, for example last night I was drinking 6 or 7 pints of beer, which is quite a lot of beer when you think about it.
And if it was Italians they would be like *puts on Italian accent* “What is this giant beer?”
AB: Oh really I didn’t know that. Well it’s got to be the diet. I’ve seen the full English breakfasts and stuff like that you eat whereas we have rye bread and a lot of fish…
AB: Yeah but then everywhere is these days, like in Stockholm it’s just getting Starbucks after Starbucks.
AB: Well I actually think it all sounds quite similar, which is like this playful house that has pop melodies throughout. I tried to keep a theme running all the way through the album which I think I managed to achieve. Now there is some distance from when I first released it so it’s easier to look back and think about it more objectively.
AB: Well I always have a synth melody in my head for days, and I’ll try and build it around that. I’ll also have about five or six samples that I want to fit in, so it’s a mixture of both.
AB: Well I’m not a classically trained artist so I don’t always look for a melody and a harmony. I think it works to my advantage because whereas some people are always looking for the hook that fits a track I can just experiment with different samples and ideas until something clicks.
AB: Well I think that some people can be comfortable to put a bassline together and a sample and just think “that’s fine” but for me it’s almost never fine. Whenever I first put something together I never accept the first edit, because I know that if I add different things to it, it can make it into something much more than it originally was. So I keep going at it with different samples or different angles until it becomes something more that I like. Like I love Moodymann and the way he’ll have samples that just don’t quite fit together, y’know? You can hear that they don’t fit but it still works. I love that whole Detroit sound.
AB: Oh absolutely, although I’m not just a house-head, I’m just as much of a fan of ABBA as any of the Detroit house guys too.
AB: Three chairs not so much but individually much more. I feel like the expectation of those three together can never live up to anything they produce by themselves.
AB: Inspiration is for amateurs!
No well I do a lot of smoking weed and drinking wine. I also go for runs. Also we like to laugh and joke around in the Studio so it can come naturally, but it’s just as likely to pop into my head on a run than when I’ve been smoking or drinking. I just think it’s a matter of persistence. Like, I will just keep going at a track until something comes to me most of the time. But then some of the time I can be really lazy and if something doesn’t instantly come at me I’ll just forget about it but then other times you just have to keep going at it over and over until it works. I know there are some people who are just perfect like Roman Flugel, who just make one perfect track every day, but that’s not me; I have to work at it. It SEEMS that Roman does this.
AB: No Roman Flugel is just one of those perfect people that does Ashtanga yoga, eats well, looks healthy and im sure he’s a fantastic lover. Every tune he makes is perfect, no matter what. He is just one of those sexy, perfect people.
AB: No I am not perfect enough for him. He’s probably think I was too fat or something like that, plus I think he is into girls.
AB: No it’s not really about anything that happened in real life or any family vacation I’ve been on, I just like the way it sounds, like some kind of tragic sounding event,
AB: Yeah, like some eerie tragic story.
AB: No it’s the name of a Per Gessle album, the master mind behind swedish pop sensation Roxette
AB: Well they are really famous in Sweden, I just stole it off one of their album titles so I wasn’t actually a son of a plumber or anything like that.
AB: Well he is a friend with (Barnhus label mate) Petters, and I always really liked his stuff and when we met we got on really well. I think the Spanish and Swedish have like, this natural affinity so we instantly connected.
AB: Yeah we are actually working on an album right now. We have about eight tracks, not really sure if I should be talking about it as an album because it isn’t really that yet, it’s just a collection of tracks, but most of them are finished but like in a raw state.
AB: Early next year, I think John has an album he is working on to release later on in 2016 so we want to get something early next year because I don’t want to get in the way of his album launch and stuff like that.
AB: It will be a lot bigger, it will still have the emotional element that Sidereal has but we have been working a lot with synths so we have been trying to make bigger…
AB: Yeah! Like stuff that is more expansive than some of the stuff I have done before.
AB: I hope so!
AB: Yeah of course! It is the perfect place to do it, I love Corsica and I love the system there and it’s very intimate too which I like so I can’t wait for the shows.
AB: Well I am not really used to play in these bigger gigs like John is so he has been giving me advice on it. But I have also been getting advice from DJ Koze, he gives me these classic one liners about handling it; like the best one he gave me was “play songs with less information”. Which I think is so perfect because it’s totally true in those situations where you have thousands of people to play to.
AB: Yeah, exactly.
AB: Well I was one of the last people to do the five year degree at the Uni, where they just gave us a studio for five years and let us get on with it, and check in every six months to see if we were OK. Now they only allow three year courses so I was one of the last people to do it.
AB: Well it was everything from painting, to sound, to film. By the end it was purely conceptual, like if I had an idea I would just build around this idea whether it was sound or film.
AB: Hold on a sec…*checks computer for a while* No I don’t think I have any stuff. I think it may be somewhere on my dad’s computer. If I have any bit of advice it’s keep a hold of everything you used to do, keep every scrap book, every file on your computer.
AB: Yeah I had to start completely again. It was kind of like losing your phone though, with all the numbers of everyone you love.
AB: Well we have been living together and working in a studio space, so we just naturally became friends and started making music together. So we moved into this studio which is on Orphanage Street (Barnhusgaten) in Stockholm, and the Swedish for orphanage is actually Barnhus.
AB: Really? I never knew that. In Swedish it’s less negative than orphanage though, like it’s a fun thing to do with youth, because I know orphanage is more a negative thing in English but in Swedish when a place is fun it can be described as a Barnhus. I’m actually releasing a lot of stuff under my own sub label Barn-Barn which means grandson in Swedish which is funny because that’s kind of how it is to me and the label.
AB: At the moment I really like ‘Sanalepsi’, which is like Swiss anti-histamin drops. But there’s also another American drink I like, it’s kind of like this powder shit…
*asks his mates in Swedish*
Kool Aid! Yeah we got a lot of Kool Aid going on at the moment.
AB: What is Streets of Rage?
AB: Let me Google it…Oh yeah this game kicks ass!!! I used to love this game. That guy is called Axel?
AB: Well I’d have to say even though he is a woman beating psycho crazy motherfucker Axel Rose is still my favourite. But if I have to choose they are all number one!
AB: Axel Rose first, then Axel Foley from Beverly hills cop then Axel from Streets of Rage because I don’t know him as well.
Drum n bass duo Hybrid Minds play a sold out show for Electrikal tonight and have just been confirmed to headline the promoter’s Woodland Festival event in May ’20. NB Tickets are non transferable and there will be no tickets available on the door.
For a bit of insight, here’s an interview the drum and bass duo did with the native website, “where they talk production, inspo, and nurseries”:
“Two of the most innovative liquid drum and bass producers on the scene – We caught up with the pair to get a look into the inner workings of Hybrid Minds:
So to start off, what have you guys been up to today? What’s a day in the life of Hybrid Minds?
Matt: It’s nothing very producer-like for me, it’s been more of viewing nurseries – maybe let’s leave that one out. It’s been rock’n’roll really, y’know just trashing rooms, just smashin’ it.
Josh: We did a little bit of work on a new track today didn’t we, we’re trying to get some vocals done for a couple tracks.
Who are you turning to for the vocals?
Matt: Well a bunch of different people really, we’re sort of deciding who we’re gonna send things to – we’ve sort of got an idea in mind but nothing concrete yet. We tend to just send tracks around to different people and if we’re feeling it we roll with it and if it’s not quite right we’ll send it to someone else – we’ve just worked like that for a long time.
I read in one of your previous interviews that vocals aren’t really your area, you give it to other people and maybe have a little bit of input.
Josh: We sometimes give people a direction, but we really appreciate what vocalists can bring – that’s what they’re good at, so I don’t feel like we should get in the way of their ideas and, they sometimes bring things that we weren’t expecting that can really give a track a new life.
Do you feel if you give them directions you’re somewhat limiting the potential output?
Matt: Exactly. Yeah, we feel like we wouldn’t want to be restricted. They do what they do and we do what we do, and we wouldn’t wanna restrict anyone’s creative ability – just let them crack on. It usually works best that way, we usually find they’ll do a good job and we’ll just roll with it basically.
So I’m going to start my actual questions now! Can you guys talk me through your musical backgrounds and how you met?
Matt: Right, how did we meet Josh? We both ran record labels, god knows how long ago, it’s a long time ago.
Josh: At least 10 odd years ago.
Matt: We met through that and we used to do a little radio station together, it was like a little community and sort of how we started out and met each other. We were both into running record labels at the time and we sorta spoke and got to know each other through that really.
When did you decide to DJ and produce as a duo? That’s quite a big commitment.
Josh: We’d been quite close for a while, and then we did one collab that went really well and just enjoyed the process of doing it.
Matt: Yeah we were both really feeling the same things at the time, a lot of the liquid stuff. We weren’t really setting out to go anywhere with it, it was just more for fun really. It all sort of fell into place when we had our first tune released – it was actually under Sensa and Haste, not Hybrid Minds, it’s essentially to us the first release we ever did.
A lot of people know about it, it went up on UKF and did well. It was from then on out we kept on going and that’s it.
I’m curious to know about the creative process when there’s two of you – do you both have your specialities in terms of who provides what to each project or do you do a bit of everything?
Matt: It’s a bit of everything really isn’t it? We both do the same processes but we also have different areas where we specialise I suppose. Josh is a big details man, with me I like to bang out an idea, I get bored of it and then I wanna start a new idea.
With Josh he wants to go in on all the details, he thrives on these things – when we make a quick idea together Josh will go in on it and it’ll go from my repetitive loop to this thing that really comes together and doesn’t get boring.
Josh: We work over dropbox and share one folder that we have a bunch of tracks in and we can just individually open and work on them.
Matt: For instance, Josh could start an idea and if we’re both feeling it we put it in the dropbox but we might not get to work on it until, well it could be years later really. Like today, we’re just going through an old track, I sent it over to Josh, I didn’t actually know what it was and that’s sort of how these things come to be.
Old tracks that you forget about and you listen to a year or two later and you’re you like “actually, there’s something about that”. That one I sent him earlier, that’ll be going into the backlog of things to do. I tend to go through all the old ideas because we forget – there’s so many of them we just forget and end up working on new things instead. That’s how we work really, straight out of dropbox.
Sometimes you need some time to be able to breathe new life into a track.
Josh: Yeah you can get fed up listening to something again and again, like 8 bars. It’s similar to what vocalists do when they bring something new to a track. One of us might start something and fall out of love and the other person will find it a while later and give it a new lease of life.
Matt: Sometimes one of us isn’t feeling it as much as the other, I could send an idea to Josh that he doesn’t really like but give it a few months and we’ll both come back to it and think “actually there’s something about this”. You can’t usually make decisions on the spot unless it’s a really obvious straight up hit. Some things aren’t so obvious and need a lot more work but we get there in the end.
So presumably you both listen to a lot of the same music, but do either of you make or listen to anything that the other finds a bit questionable?
Josh: As we’ve been making music together for so long, we’re definitely not precious, and we tend to focus on the negatives rather than the positives and we’re quick to say what we don’t like in a track.
Whose the harshest critic?
Matt: I’d say Josh.
Josh: Yeah probably!
So you guys started your own record label, Hybrid Music, in 2016 and I’ve read in one of your previous interviews and you said the label had been even more work than you’d anticipated. Now you’re almost two years in, is it still hectic or do you have more of a handle on it?
Josh: If anything I’d say there’s even more work, we’re branching into doing a small club night, working on music all the time, dealing with distributors and whatnot – it never ends. But, it gives us such a drive to continue working hard and trying to put in enough hours every week to making music so it is, I think, an essential part of us working.
Matt: It’s a positive thing, you’ve got no restrictions. On other labels you’re gonna be working to their demands, what they want, what they expect from you. We can just put out anything, even if we don’t think it’s going to sell particularly well, we can still do that if we wanted to. We’ve got a good creative output to do whatever we want. It’s definitely more work but a lot better.
A labour of love.
Are there any record labels that you draw inspiration from in terms of both the music they put out and the way they operate?
Josh: When it comes to promotional approaches, I suppose we’ll constantly be inspired by what we see. We do keep our eye on what other people are doing and what we think are good ideas.
Matt: I think early on we had a lot of inspiration from labels but since it’s got busier we don’t listen to much music really. Well I know that’s the case for me anyway, if I’m doing a set I’ll go through my emails and pick the best sort of thing and most of the time I don’t know what the label is, sometimes I don’t know what the artist is!
So it’s hard to say where we draw inspiration from creatively as producers, but Josh especially listens to a lot of music outside drum and bass and links that to me, so I think a lot of inspiration really comes from outside.
Josh: Yeah, and just individual artists rather than labels, because we’re the only artists on our label, so we don’t want to be some big factory churning out loads of music, it’s not our aim. So I suppose we look up to individual artists rather than labels.
So you guys are playing at Volks on April 20th. Have you been to Brighton before? What’s been your experience in our great city?
Josh: Yeah, we play Brighton at least a few times a year and it’s always awesome. It’s a really nice place to visit, to go out for dinner before a show, grab a couple beers. We usually tend to get a hotel so we can chill out. Crowd-wise it’s always full of smiles which is good and people know our music down there which is definitely always a bonus.
That’s got to be the most important thing.
Josh: Yeah it is, sometimes you can play club shows and crowds can be enjoying themselves but when they actually sing your songs back to you it’s a whole new level, and that’s the sort of thing we get in Brighton.
Couple more questions for you. What other projects are both you working on right now? Music or otherwise.
Matt: We’ve got a few things in the works at the minute haven’t we? We’ve got a collab project with InsideInfo in the pipes.
We’ve been fans of for a while and, even though he’s in a completely different world to us, he understands our world and he brings that into the tunes. With this project we’ve been working on with him, it’s something different, I can’t put it in any category which is always good. Well, it could be bad I suppose, but I like the fact you can’t pigeonhole it and its not really a particular sort of style, it’s just a new thing.
But aside from that we’re just working on finishing a bunch of singles at the minute. We’re just trying to finish all the backlog of music we’ve got, which there’s quite a lot of, get that out to vocalists and hopefully be able to deliver some new music very soon. So the next single is actually going to be with Charlotte Haining, called ‘Paint By Numbers’, so that’s going to be the next thing out that people can expect from us. Then following from that we’re not sure ourselves, we’re just gonna finish the music and schedule it accordingly I suppose.
Josh: And we’ve also got our club night in London. The last one sold out way in advance so we’re quite excited to see where that goes and branching out to different cities and bigger venues hopefully next year, so that’s quite exciting.
So last question, what are you guys listening to right now?
Matt: You’ll be better for this Josh, I’ve been listening to nothing.
Josh: When I’m travelling or sat at my laptop working not on music, I’ve been listening to the album Dawn by RYX because it keeps me calm and not want to shout at people which is good!
Hybrid Minds – Solitude feat. Alexa Harley
AI – True Colours
Hybrid Minds – Never Change feat. Grimm (GLXY Remix)
Dualistic – Station Six
Hybrid Minds – Skin & Bones feat. Grimm & Laurence Baker (Mitekiss Remix)
LSB – Rolling Sideways (Spectrasoul Remix)
Jome – Cinnamon (Hybrid Minds Remix)
BCee – Little Bird
Dawn Wall – Shy
Monrroe – Dawning feat. Emily Jones (Technimatic Remix)
Camo & Krooked – Ember (Hybrid Minds Remix)
Halogenix – Blej Alix
Perez – Forsaken
Dawn Wall – Never Say
Eastcolours – Keys
DRS – I Will feat. Patife & Vangeliez
Hybrid Minds – Skeletons feat. Grimm
BCee – Lost & Found feat. Rocky Nti (Hybrid Minds Remix)
D Kay – Thinner Edge
Indiana – Mess Around (Etherwood Remix)
Jakwob – Blinding feat. Rocky Nti (Hybrid Minds Remix)
Mitekiss – Some People
Artic Lake – Heal Me (Spectrasoul Remix)
Tokyo Prose – Dawn Chorus
Spectrasoul – Remember Me
Hybrid Minds – Pretend feat. Rocky Nti
Mohican Sun – Fixation
Alix Perez – Number feat. Benabu
Tokyo Prose – Saving Grace VIP
Feint – Take It In feat. Koven (Hybrid Minds Remix)