In Depth: DJ Hybrid Talks ‘Mixed Origins’
What did you listen to as research for this project?
I tried to go back and listen to early influences I had in music such as Hip Hop and Electronica and think about how I could incorporate those influences into my tracks, as I said before I originally intended to feature some Hip Hop tracks but wasn’t able to get them finalized for my deadline so that’s maybe something I will focus more on for my next album. I actually watched a lot of documentaries about music, record labels and of course Jungle music whilst working on this album which influenced me a lot. I also tried to listen to a lot of radio shows and live sets from all different eras of Jungle and D&B so that my influences would be based on the genre in its entirety instead of just its current sound.
I’m a big fan of the different tonalities that are present throughout – all the tracks have their own special flavours and idiosyncrasies, they aren’t all homogenous and samey – was this a happy accident or did you purposefully try and make some tunes as raw as you could?
It definitely wasn’t a happy accident, in fact I would say you have summed up the main concept of the album in your question as I wanted there to be noticeable contrast between all the tunes whether it being the production techniques used or whether it’s a heavy raw distorted track or soft smooth rolling track, an old style track or a new style track, hence ‘Mixed Origins’. I very much like themes and concepts for tracks and a lot of thought has gone into each and every track on the album so I’m really glad you have noticed that.
Did you go as far as picking up some of the original hardware the pioneers used back in the day at all – your emu/akai samplers and the like? Did you sample any old records? Where did that pirate radio broadcast from Bloom in 93 come from- it sounds like the sample on the first Special Request single…
I would have loved to get my hands on some of the original synths and samplers used back in the day whilst working on my album but unfortunately they are all quite expensive and I was on quite a tight budget with the album as I choose to release it through my own label Audio Addict. I love sampling though whether its old records, films, documentaries or even video games I have always tried to keep a notepad and pen handy in case I hear anything that could be a potential cool sample to use in a track. The samples used in Boom in 93 are a mixture of samples recorded either from old documentaries about pirate radio and Jungle music or from old tape packs and radio recordings. It’s an idea I had in my head for quite a while so it was one that I really wanted to make especially to feature on the album, sort of a homage to the days of pirate radio and the 90’s Jungle scene.
How did a typical track from this album get made – how did you start? With a firm idea or did you wing it and experiment?
I would have to say it was a mixture, some were ideas that I had in my head or had already written down but some were just me sitting down with no preconception of what I was making and seeing what I ended up with, the track ‘Katie’s Song’ is a good example of that as I just tried to make something musical and atmospheric with pads and pianos, the drums weren’t added till later. I would say overall though the main thing I tried to do with this album was to be as creative as possible and not use the same formula for all the tracks.
What do you think of the jungle revival in the mid-tempo’s from the last few years – what do you make of the likes of Special Request, Etch, Sully and Tessela?
I really like them! Anything that uses breaks and takes influence from Jungle and innovates in new ways I think helps expand people’s minds to how diverse Jungle music can be. Whether or not it’s the so called ‘revival’ of Jungle music I have to put down to a matter of opinion as I think it’s just more of a new direction. Jungle has always been going strong thanks to people like Ray Keith, Bladerunner, Break, Serial Killaz, DJ Vapour I could go on… One new producer to watch out for though is My Selecta as he has been coming up with some really interesting new vibes which also incorporates Jungle vibes similar to Tessela, Special Request and Sully but around the 130bpm tempo.
I saw you mention Sam Binga in an interview… what do you think of the half time stuff…? Dem Try is a monster tune that seemingly crosses grime with half step/drumstep type stuff… how did that tune come about?
I think what producers like Sam Binga and Fracture are doing is really interesting and it has influenced me a lot in my own productions especially with the track Dem Try. It came about when I was working on a more authentic old skool sounding Jungle track where I was using well known cuts from breaks and vocal snippets to recreate that 90’s Jungle sound. The track took a different turn when I starting experimenting with the main vocal by playing it through a sampler in different keys to change the pitch and rhythm of it. I used a more dancehall style kick drum to make a breakdown and when I added it over the top of the breaks it seemed to give the track a new found rhythm and sounded fresh so I just carried on with that vibe and even then scaled back some of the breaks I was originally using.
What do you think of drum and bass’ more modern iterations? The techy stuff like Mefjus or Maztek…
If I’m honest I’ve never just considered myself as just a Jungle DJ or Producer, it’s all Jungle Drum & Bass to me and I genuinely love all of it. Some of the best crowd reactions I get when I’m DJing is when I drop a heavy tech tune over the top of a Jungle classic, so yes I very much fuck with D&B! I have always loved to mix up different styles in my sets and in the studio, I have never really liked all this segregation of sub-genres within the music either as when I first got into it I listened to all of it.
Do you still see yourself as a primarily a DJ?
It’s funny because I was just a DJ for about 5 years before I started producing and I even started producing in order to get more DJ bookings, since I’ve learnt how to produce music though I would say I enjoy this a lot more then DJing now as the finished product is a lot more rewarding. So no, I don’t see myself primarily as a DJ anymore but I used to.
DJing or producing, which is more cathartic?
I think DJing is really fun and impressive to watch live but producing for me is so much deeper and personal, you can mix two tunes together as a DJ to make a combination of sounds but with producing it really feels like you can transfer what’s in your head into a piece of music whether it’s a current mood you’re in or a statement your trying to make or even just trying to make something that people will dance to there’s a lot of thought process and heart that goes into any piece of music.