DT Introducing: B3cks
Somewhere in between the abyss of Autumnal tier confusion and 2021’s Winter lockdown, I managed to meet B3cks (or Becks to her friends). B3cks is a 19-year-old emerging talent, Brit School graduate, and dance music producer at a highly sanitised Boxpark Croydon.
Amongst the clamour and enthusiasm of up and coming producers on Instagram, B3cks stood out for her genuine demeanour, driven attitude, and keen plight to network and launch her music into the stratosphere. Well versed and prepared by her prestigious schooling, she still reminded me of her tender years by opting for a chocolate milkshake at our meetup. It is easy to forget her age considering that as a teenager she has achieved things that many wouldn’t in a lifetime. After being accepted onto the sought after music technology course at the Brit School (the establishment of elite alumni FKA Twigs, Katy B and Adele amongst others), she went on to master her natural aptitude for sound design.
Prior to this she played for Crystal Palace under 18’s Women’s Club, moving onto West Ham who she toured with in Europe, then onto Millwall who she toured with internationally in Texas. This all came from 4 years of trialling until she was enlisted as Goalkeeper. This meant rigorous training 5 times a week, weigh-ins and diet plans as part of the football academy regime.
It was all on track until one day she decided to audition for the Brit School amongst 200 other applicants for their in-demand music technology course, having taken to music production in 2017. She was accepted as one of only 25 people onto the course, which teaches everything from video games audio, sound design, and film scores amongst other industry geared projects. She realised at this point that music had eclipsed her love of sports somewhat.
Having always loved electronic music since the tender age of 11, she was inspired by the sampling and meaty beats of her favourite band The Prodigy. Alongside a foundation of drum lessons, she has gone on to produce top quality deep, lo-fi and commercial house, hardcore breaks as well as heavier genres like Drum & Bass. But by far, her favourite genre is techno, which came after a journey of production trial and error. A big fan of the squelchy sounds of acid techno, she counts Regal, Alan Fitzpatrick and Amelie Lens as some of her favourites who she accredits as influences of her song structures and favoured 140bpm tempo. Like a sponge, she absorbs essential information, including a masterclass she watched from progressive electronic rodent Deadmau5 who claimed “You can write a dance track in 8 bars, but it’s the way you arrange and mix it – mastering is the last step.”
“Plugins you can go overboard on. It’s a personal choice at the end of the day, but I like to keep things simple with the Roland 303.” Becks muses as we sit on a windswept park bench a little down the road from East Croydon station. “It’s good for the squelchy acidy sounds and other sound selections. I think Donna Summer’s used some of them on her tracks. You can take a simple melody but you can create your own synthesiser by designing the sound yourself, to change the sound and song completely, but you can easily use what comes on the software itself. I know a lot of techno artists use standard Ableton plugins, it’s a personal choice. But for video games and film sound design, I always try to make my own sounds. I know in Star Wars for example they created the lightsaber sound by recording the sound from the antenna on an old tv when the guy walked past it. It’s the static sound on an old TV basically. I’ll have to check but I’m pretty sure that’s what I heard.” It’s this commitment to the finer details contrasted with a ‘simple but effective’ song structure that gives Becks her highly polished tracks.
With the herculean drive she funnels into her production, it was only natural she turned to DJing (though she admits that her first gig was intimidating). Her last year of Brit School saw commercial appearances for big players Sony and Apple. But with the support of Inturn UK, a techno collective and DJ posse with friend and fellow artist Beau Williams (or ‘Beau’ for short), she has been expanding her performance repertoire. Other DJs and producers have been noticing B3cks‘ material with remixes being released of Saad Ayub and Katrii’s percussive tech house progressor ‘Seduction‘, adding her signature acid tech power behind it, as well as 4X4 club head honcho Ray Sargent showcasing her track ‘Escape to Paradise’. Busy as ever, she’s set up her own music blog @real.musictalks, and over lockdown she buried herself away and produced arguably some of her finest work, culminating in a signed release ‘Forever’ on Insane Industry Recordings, a rip roaring acid stormer which would slot in well at Berlin’s Berghain (B3ck’s dream venue). B3cks is a talented powerhouse of dance music production, and one to watch for 2021.