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Calyx & Teebee – Keeping It Live

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“I’d say it’s more a journey with the music and us letting the tracks breathe a bit. When we’re out and about, especially if we only have a one hour set, it’s quite frantic and it’s quite full on.” The voice at the other end of the line is that of Teebee’s, who with production partner Calyx (also sat in on this three way Skype chat) are discussing their addition to the on going Fabriclive series of mixes, currently at number 76 and heralded by the deadly Ram Records duo. “We play all varieties of drum & bass but obviously there’s only a certain number of tracks you’re allowed to play and put in a mix. A normal Calyx & Teebee set would be about 60 to 70 tracks, including teases. When we were doing this mix we wanted to represent the music, give a statement of where the music is at the moment and show what we’re feeling.” Calyx adds, “It’s not like our live sets although we certainly wanted it to reflect a little bit of what we’re about when we’re playing at Fabric. Our Fabriclive mix is to be listened to like our Essential Mix; it’s for listening to in cars, at home, at work, when you’re out running. We wanted to recreate some of the energy that we love in drum & bass whether it’s inside a club or outside it. All sorts of environments really.”

Fabric’s compilation CD’s play a hugely pivotal role in showcasing the breadth of DJing talent that has passed, and continues to pass, through its hallowed doors down in EC1. Most of your favourite drum & bass DJ’s and producers have contributed to the series: going back to the early days of Andy C & DJ Hype, Grooverider and High Contrast to more recent inductees like Calibre and Friction. To be able to etch their names on the club’s ever expanding Fabriclive cast list was, as expected, a moment of pride for Calyx & Teebee, if a little long awaited. “It felt fantastic to be asked. For about two or three years me and Teebee would wonder when are Fabric gonna ask us to do mix!” laughs Calyx. “It had become a bit of a goal of ours so we were chuffed to bits when they asked us earlier this year.” All in all it took the pair around three months to get everything finished and submitted, although the licensing of tracks took up the main bulk of it. As Teebee explains, “We gathered loads of names of our favourite producers, stuff we’d been playing so we took some time out to think about that. Then there’s the lengthy process of getting all the licences. It’s quite a big task in getting a Fabric mix ready and everything that takes place in doing it.”

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Coming in at an impressive 34 tracks, the pair do reveal they requested more than double that number during the early preparation stages. “We submitted a lot more music than we actually needed,” says Teebee. “Around about 70 tracks in total I think. At the end of it we were left with a pile of tracks that were cleared and that’s what we selected the mix from.” Fabriclive 76 showcases numerous Calyx & Teebee productions in the mix: set favourites such as Skank, Strung Out VIP and the sublime Elevate This Sound sit beside some of their remix work for the likes of Friction & Skream (Kingpin), Michael Woods (We’ve Only Just Begun) and Syron (Here). It blends contemporary beats from artists like Gridlok & Prolix (Revenge), The Prototypes (Pale Blue Dot) and Ulterior Motive (2098) with a bunch of exclusives, including some tasty upfront submissions from Break. “Charlie’s a really good friend of ours and we’re very lucky that we get to play lots of Break tunes from their birth,” states Calyx about their relationship with the elusive producer. “We’d been playing those tunes in sets in clubs for a while so we were half way there in Charlie letting us have them.” It’s not all about the new either. The mix is bookended by classics including Fierce & Optiv’s Surface Noise and Kemal & Rob Data’s Star Trails. Including these in the mix was just as vital as all the fresh material featured within Fabriclive 76. “We’re all about past, present and future.” says Calyx. “Timeless tunes like those still sound great, still go off in a club and stand the test of time. The Shining remix for example is an amazing track from a period of time that was incredibly influential for us.” It’s at this moment Teebee jumps in. “The whole dubplate culture and always being upfront limits you. We have a history of 20 years of music so why would you, when asked to do something like this, get just the newest stuff that no one’s heard and play 16 bars of each one of them?”

As we wrap it up I enquire as to what lies in store next for Calyx & Teebee. It’s approaching a couple of years since their All Or Nothing LP was released on Ram but I’m informed there is new stuff on the way. “We’ve definitely nailed the first single, in our opinion anyway,” says Teebee. “Hopefully within two months we’ve nailed another two singles; we’ve got plenty to pick and choose from. It’s just a matter of putting in the hours really, us being perfectionists shit takes forever.” he laughs. “Thats part of the beauty of making an album: if an album nearly doesn’t kill you, you haven’t tried your hardest!” “There are some new twists and turns and we’ve definitely evolved,” elaborates Calyx. “There will be a few surprises and some different vibes in there, but it’s still going to be a testimony to our love of drum & bass.”

FABRICLIVE 76 is out now

Words: Wayne Mackenzie

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