October 30, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Konvex aka Tom McShane is a Kent local, based just out of our Thanet locale in Sittingbourne. As a producer his styles traverse dark, brooding Dubstep to inimitable techno vibe outs. Forthcoming releases on Crunch Recordings and N-Type’s Wheel and Deal Records are testament to the work ethic and skill behind the beats…
Where did you start musically and when did you start discovering the worlds of beat making?
I used to be quite into hardcore and the local bands but started to grow bored with it, so around the summer of 2009 I began listening to electronic music. I can’t really remember what exactly I was listening to at that point but I distinctly remember DJ Die’s ‘Skate Or Die’ EP being a staple on my iPod at the time. No one at school was really into stuff like that and no one could show me any decent stuff so I had to take to youtube to find the kind of stuff I liked.
I do remember the first dubstep tune I ever heard though. At the time ‘dubstep’ was this sort of buzzword I’d seen thrown around a lot but I had no idea what it was, and like I said earlier, no one at the school I went to could help. I searched for it on YouTube and clicked randomly on the first tune that sounded cool, Skream’s ‘Oscilatah’. I still play that one now and I’ve never really looked back!
I started going to house parties around the same sorta time and met a few people like Kursa who were into the same sort of stuff, mainly DJing at these house parties and letting me have the odd go. From there I got really into DJing, although I was terrible at it! But after a few months of DJing on my laptop at home and at house parties near me, I caught the production bug. I had no idea what I was doing with a copy of FL Studio at the time, just mucking around for hours and hours every single day on it, learning new things as I went. Luckily, I had people on AIM that I could bug for advice and although Kursa moved, we stayed in touch through the internet and every question I needed the answer to would go to him so I started picking stuff up quite quickly.
As far as your Techno influences go, did your Dad have a large part to play? Like, in terms of showing you the staple ‘go-to’ producers and production tricks?
Absolutely. My Dad has played a massive part in that side of things, he gave me a bunch of old records of his that he thought I might like and through that, found a bunch of tracks that have made their way into my sets (a couple even being in my mix!) as well as showing me artists to listen to and giving me feedback on my productions.
So producer wise, who was the most influential top three for yourself so far? Why is that, what makes you go “oh shit” when you hear their tunes?
Gantz – Every tune he does makes me reconsider why I even bother producing! I always think “Gah, I wish I came up with that idea!” when I hear new bits he puts out.
Ipman – I think Ipman is one of the few producers who I’m constantly excited to do next. HUGELY underrated and insanely creative tunes.
Icicle – I don’t think anyone can deny Icicle’s mixdowns are possibly the best in the game. I’m insanely envious of the technical precision in every single one of his tunes and find that you can listen to his releases a year on without them seeming dated or overplayed or anything. I still listen to the BNC EP regularly.
You’re from pretty much the same ends as myself, Baitface and the other Thanet heads and we’ve often discussed the state of music around here on Facebook and the like. Do you think the “club culture” around here is thriving/non existent or too focused on one thing?
To be honest, I’m disappointed at the Kent scene for dubstep and bass music in general. Considering the sheer amount of talent in the county alone, people like J:Kenzo, Beezy, Content and the whole Seeerious crew all call this place home and yet there’s no home for their talent around here. I think club culture around here is dedicated to listening to the same tunes you heard on BBC Radio 1 the same day, hanging around with people you pretended to like from school and hoping for a ‘guest DJ slot’ from someone from TOWIE. It disappoints me so much!
So lets talk about Crunch, what should we be expecting from you now you’ve been picked up by them?
It’s still definitely early days with Crunch but I feel as though I can trust Ben wholeheartedly to represent my music and push it to a wider audience. I think it’s hugely important to make sure that, with labels, tunes have the right homes and anything I’ve released in the past has always been because I feel that it was the right place to put those tunes out through. With Verse and N-Type, we’re all sort of on the same level and on the same wavelength which allows me to be quite involved with the decisions involved with putting the tracks out and promoting them etc.
What’s set in stone at the moment with Crunch is a single in the next few months with ‘Carrion’ as the A side and a tune I don’t want to reveal too much about at this point on the flip. I’m also in talks about another release later this year but it’s early days yet.
Where do you want to take your music over the next two years or so?
Creatively I’d like to keep branching out, incorporating elements from other genres and bringing them to my 140 stuff. The last few months I’ve been really feeling a lot of techno, the big-room, Berlin style stuff and where I’m listening to a lot of that, I’ve been trying out new production tricks I’ve learnt from that end of the spectrum and incorporating them into my dubstep tunes.
I’d like to just keep pushing my production in general, get my track’s tighter and tighter, something I constantly strive for when I’m mixing down.
Mixwise, why did you choose the tunes you did? Is there a linear progression through the mix, or not?
With this mix, I sort of kept the theme of the previous features and made it more of a mixtape than a mix per se, spanning across different genres and the key tunes that led me to the sound I push now. There’s a few classics in there as well as stuff that’s comparitvely recent.
Any shouts or thanks?
Big up to N-Type, Ben Verse and Hatcha for supporting and pushing my tunes hard, out to Format, Wayfarer, Kanjira, Taiko, Subject and Slaven for being general badmen and big up Baitface, yourself and the rest of the Seeerious gang for pushing dubstep in this corner of the UK we call home!
“Black Hole” forthcoming on Wheel & Deal for Wheelers & Dealers Vol 2, should be out November/Early December
“Ware EP”on Decarhythm late November
“Carrion” with Ben Verse’s “One More Time” on the flip for Crunch Recordings out before the year’s over
“Antimatter/Parallax/Antimatter (Wayfarer Remix)” on Wheel & Deal early next year
September 20, 2013 § Leave a Comment
This EP is a synthesised take on hip hop, but not in the sense of machine gun rattling hats and 808′s made famous with the recent rise of ‘trap’. There are moments of Vangelis like neon flair and towards the end of the release the tradional sample heavy UKHH elements creep in with fantastic style.
Track by track the release doesn’t get boring upon multiple listens which is something that can’t often be said for releases in all genres of recent times. Margin sounds like something Kode9 would play down FWD back in the day. Those 8 bit synths inducing a nostalgic necksnap which breaks away into floaty, pad heavy territory. Mute begins with synthesised guitar chords and organic, fuzz heavy percussion. String samples take over and the track finally folds in on itself around the three minute mark.
Tay.Ay is the standout track on the release. Immediately upon listening I was taken back to the times me and my friends used to bump the Lowlife Records samplers in his beaten up Mini. This sounds like something Jehst would destroy with his defintively introspective and calculated flow.
The Senses EP is available now from iTunes and on limited edition vinyl from HERE
September 19, 2013 § Leave a Comment
LKD beats has been connected with 45hz for a while thanks to him organising the Seeerious nights that have given many local Kent producers a chance to show their skills off. He started making beats around a year or so ago and since then has gone on to receive regular airplay and support from Keysound don Blackdown.
Hear Other Sounds saw the potential and signed a 4 track free download EP of dark minimal beats straddling Techno, Bassline and Garage. Airstrip One is the most menacing of the EP, rolling out with a chilling sample cut from the film 1984 and with Casio Watch the way the bassline switches from plucked into dark reece territory is perfect.
The EP is available now from the Hear Other Sounds soundcloud account
LKD has also given us a free tune “Clocked” to share with you guys in wav format.
Download Clocked HERE
August 17, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Bristol is an absolutely mesmering city in terms of its musical landscape. From the bright, futuristic almost pop turns of heads like Joker, to the lean up hip hop meanderings of Roots Manuva there really must be something in the west country water supply. Boofy and Lemzly Dale are part of the new wave of grime centered around those parts. Self releasing vinyl through their own Sector 7 Sounds label, this release is limited to 300 pieces of white labelled vinyl and in my opinion is the way forward for this ‘industry’ . In an age of digital throwaway music it shows not only the passion and confidence behind the music, but the proper ‘old school’ method of how to get it out there too.
Catch a Body is a sonically hyper “traditional” grime tune. Thinned out menacing strings, that overpowering tar like bubble bass and a high end drum machine clap that would scalp you through the right soundsystem. The way the track is arranged is perfect, it never gets boring and it is guaranteed wheel up in the dance material.
Banshee keeps all the forward movement of the A-Side but things get slightly more frenetic with the synth work and it stays in keeping of the overall style established with Catch a Body.
These are war riddims for the new wave.
The release is available on early release now from Sector 7 Sounds Bandcamp page HERE and is up for general release on the 18th August.
July 2, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Max Parker is from the West Midlands area of the UK and is propriertor extroardinaire of the Deep Dark Dungeon Dubstep (4D) blog. Besides his website based commitments, he manages to find time to make warm melodic dubstep beats under the MAKZ moniker. He first came to my attention by sending beats to me and a few others privately on Soundcloud and the fact you’re reading this is testament that if you make good tunes and use selective processes when sending them out to people, good things happen.
Easy Max, some of our readers won’t be familiar with you or the web portal you run, so could you give us a little introduction to yourself and the website?
Easy Ryan, thanks for having me on! My name is Max and I’m from the West Midlands kind of area in the UK, I produce under the alias ‘M.A.K.Z.’ and have done for a little while now. I’d describe my current sound as a blend of sexy chords and sub-driven drum grooves. I run the 4D Blog, which mainly specializes in supporting the underground bass music sounds and pushing the artists too.
What was it that made you want to start making beats? Are your motivations still pretty much the same these days?
I started making beats back in my first year of college when I was about 17. However I’ve only more recently got into it properly. I liked the thought of having ideas in my head for tunes then putting them into action via Cubase (DAW I still swear by now), and I guess it’s just progressed since then and I like to think I’ve progressed as a musician too, even though I still have a lot to learn. I wouldn’t say my motivations are the same at the moment; when I started out, I got into the darker kind of sounds (like what I was hearing Youngsta play on Rinse all the time), and there are a lot of guys out there doing big things on the darker scale, but after a few attempts I realized it wasn’t really my cup of tea and since late last year I’ve been working on a lot more melodic material which has become my main focus as of late, and I think it’s being perceived quite well (I hope haha).
Besides your own musical direction, would you say that the darker end of the scene in general is becoming quite saturated at the moment?
To be quite honest I believe the whole thing is a bit controversial; there are a lot of guys out there doing their own thing on the darker end which I’m really feeling, some of whom are now receiving a really good response to their music and getting out there a lot more. I think it’s more down to personal preference, and in my opinion the general darker 140 music is becoming quite saturated and overdone – a lot of it seems to be the same thing repeated over and over again with not much thought put into it, however the production quality is generally quite exceptional, but with the creative aspect it’s just not there for me anymore.
It used to be exciting when a big name had an EP forthcoming on a big label and you didn’t really know what to expect from them, whereas now it seems you can predict what it’s all going to sound like and the excitement is gone in that sense for me.
With the more underground, darker 140 artists it’s a different story completely; Piezo, Juss B, Mesck, Mishva, Drooka, Echomaker, Darj and Christopher Yikes have all been killing it lately, and also bring something different to the table as well.
Forthcoming Gradient Audio
(19th July exclusive to Juno and 1st August everywhere else)
Who do you draw your inspiration from in terms of melody?
There are a lot of guys I draw inspiration from melody wise, but I think the main person would have to be Jafu. He usually sends new music through on a weekly basis and his work rate is quite incredible, which kind of drives me to keep bashing out more and more new tunes haha. Other than that burly Canadian beardmaster, I’d have to say people like Arkist, Congi, Kahn, Swindle and Phaeleh are big inspirations, as well as the more mainstream artists like The Weeknd (some of the production techniques used in his music have been helpful in my own), and the general 1990-2002 RnB/soul sound which I’ve been trying to re-create in some of my tunes lately
With those soulful RNB vibes in mind, who in your opinion should we be watching for over the next twelve months?
On the more soulful/melodic tip, I think it would be criminal not to mention the whole Chord Marauders gang; their first compilation a few weeks back was absolutely huge and I’m excited to hear what get’s signed up to ‘Groove Booty #002’. Swindle as well, going to be interesting to see what he comes out with after his latest LP – hopefully he gets back in the studio within the next year haha. Would also have to say to watch out for Duckem, Gerkle, Hiloxam, iNTRiKeT, Lamont, Muttley, Panda, Prism, Aiko, Trashbat, N Dread, Versa and Inkarv – all of whom bring those soulful flavours within their own production style.
Outside of the 140, what do you rate musically? Bands, installation artists, etc?
I do listen to a lot of 170 stuff; guys like Alix Perez, Rockwell, Photek, Alaska, Mercy and Prolix are just a few I’ve been into over the past couple of years. But outside the whole electronic spectrum, I’d say I’m big into a lot of Indie music – not the kind that you might come across in NME or something like that, but bands like Tubelord (who I think have recently split up). Before this whole production thing all started up I used to play drums for a few Indie bands around the local area, so I was heavily influenced by that kind of music for a while. I’ve also more recently got into the underground UK Hip-Hop scene – artists like Edward Scissortongue, Fliptrix and Leaf Dog are all doing it for me at the moment. Of course I have to mention The Weeknd too – guy has an amazing voice.
Thanks for taking the time to do this, any shouts and such like?
Was a pleasure man! Haha too many shouts – firstly, out to my good mates Drooka, Echomaker, iNTRiKeT, Gerkle, Jafu, Mishva, Christopher Yikes, Vileside and Hadda, the extended mandem too – Duckem, Vanity, Hiloxam, Ostra, Kong, Karnage, Mentha, Freud, Atnos (they know who they are), shouts to Wil and Olaf from FatKidOnFire for having me as part of the resident DJ family, Qualmsound for all the sick artwork, special thanks to Christian (Mortal Grey) for having that much faith in my music he wants to put it out there, just shouts to everyone who supports my music and the blog really – no long way about it! And of course, safe for having me on the feature mate – 45hz killing it!
-The Weeknd – Gone [XO&co.]
-Jafu – Get On Track [DUB]
-Gerkle – Sativa Steppin’ [DUB]
-Panda – Individuation [DUB]
-iNTRiKeT – Icarus [DUB]
-Sepia – Dreams [DUB]
-M.A.K.Z. – Promise Land ['Going Away EP']
-Sqz Me – My Life [DUB]
-Congi & B9 – Misconception [DUB]
-Freud – Hawaiian Punch [DUB]
-Prism – Poltergeist [DUB]
-M.A.K.Z. – Vitreous [Forthcoming Gradient Audio]
-Duckem – Omoshiroi [DUB]
-M.A.K.Z. – Comedown ['Going Away EP']
-Muttley feat. Alexandra Caddick – Need You [DUB]
-Swindle ft Joel Culpepper,Baby Sol,Preditah & PSM – When I Fly Away [Deep Medi]
-Mentha & M.A.K.Z. feat. Shorty – My Soul [DUB]
-Jafu – Afraid Of You [Forthcoming Solace]
-Piezo – Kaleya [DUB]
-Darj – Can’t Control It [DUB]
-Vileside & Kismet – Life Form [DUB]
-Hadda & Vileside – Apache (Christopher Yikes Remix) [DUB]
-Drooka – Sheik [DUB]
-Echomaker – Rakshasa [DUB]
-Juss B – The Waiting Hour [DUB]
-Ribz – Shot To Get Paid [Pitch Controller]
-Lemzly Dale & Boofy – Catch A Body [DUB]
-Impey – Bangclap (Lamont Remix) [DUB]
-Hiloxam – Miss Mella Dee (You’re Out Of Tune So Slightly) [4D '1000 Likes LP']
May 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Do you ever go out digging, or do you tend to favour the youtube and discogs approach that quite a few people do now?
I don’t really go digging anymore. I used to do quite a lot when I was into Drum and Bass. I also found a spot for old world music and weird proto-electronica, musique concrete stuff when I was really into sampling. After the earthquakes it kind of made it difficult to get around the city, and it just became too much of a mission. There’s only a couple decent record stores left now. To be honest I’m pretty bad with checking for new music, at least in terms of bass music stuff. I try to stay in my own little bubble in that regard and not pay too much attention to it.
Who was the first producer that made you sit there in disbelief at their creative chops?
The absolute first I guess would be RZA.. the vibe of his early stuff is unmatched, he came out of nowhere with his own sonic palette and changed the game. His stuff is just so dark, lo-fi and heavy. ‘Wu-Tang Clan Aint Nuthin to F’ Wit’ is the wake-up alarm on my phone. I still can’t get my head around those beats.
The first electronic producer would have to be Limewax. I’m pretty sure he’s an alien or a reptile or something. ‘Scars on The Horizon’ LP changed everything for me. It was like if the Spiderdemon from Doom wrote a DnB album.
Its funny you say that about the beats, because quite often I get the same vibe from yourself. Like “how the fuck did he even think of that”, especially with Hydraulics. With regards to you staying in your own bubble, did you ever feel overwhelmed when searching for quality new beats?
I try to surprise people I guess. I don’t like predictable tunes.. Most of the time they aren’t half as weird as I want them to be though! Hydraulics came together really well. Was hyped when we were writing that and Wen is just a badman so that is that. Well not really, underwhelmed if anything. When it comes to just listening I don’t really draw for the bass music stuff to be honest, I’d rather put on an album of something different.. saying that I really enjoyed LV and Cooly G’s LPs recently.
The mix is slightly all over the place. There was no way it was not going to be, to be honest. It’s not really in any specific chronological order. There were definitely certain sounds that I had to get in there though – that hardcore 90s NY hip hop sound, the gritty mid 00s dubstep, a bit of grime, through to the weird indie Coco Rosie sort of stuff and some Sizzla and Burial for good measure.
I did try to keep it to tunes that have actually influenced me (sonically and also vibe-wise) instead of just stuff I enjoy listening to. I put it together in FL studio, there isn’t really any actual mixing, but got the tunes I wanted in there. It’s more of a mixtape if anything.
What would you like to hear more of in the rest of the year?
More new artists releasing on vinyl.. Gantz, Wen, Etch, Rabit etc. And more remixes and collabs!
What would you like to see less of?
Less producers staying in their comfort zones.
Finally, where can we expect Egyptian Avenue to go?
Well my tunes Bodywash and Gun Talk are out on digital on the 24th, I really want to get a 12″ out on EAR before the end of year. Still hoping to get Rabit and Gantz involved at some point. Things will come together!
Thanks for taking the time to do this, any shouts?
For sure, I enjoyed it. Yer, out to all the Keysound, Glacial, Soundman Chronicles and EAR mandem. You know who you are. Big up.
EGPTVN003 is available now exclusively from Juno, clips below.
May 11, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Thanet has always been quite creative in its endeavours. We have a long history of literary and painting greats that have called this fair isle home and we now have a new generation coming through. A generation of 20 somethings raised on a musical diet of grime, garage and drum and bass and a bleak outlook on life similar to that of the concrete sarcophagus encasing Arlington House. Over the past two or three years, there has been something important brewing underneath the surface around here. From the humble beginnings of the Skank Nasti Sound System boys down on the beaches in and around Cliftonville, to the latest up and coming events from the Seeerious boys with this, their 2nd Birthday.
The main proponents of this new scene are the ones they call Wen and J-One. Hailing from Broadstairs and Ramsgate respectively, they both share a love for dubstep, grime and garage and took those influences and just fucking ran with them. This isn’t anything different from what producers around the country do over and over again, but when they got to their personal boundaries, they carried on going and never looked back. J-One releasing his debut album on the Urban Scrumping label by Phaeleh a few years back brought a breath of positivity to what was happening around here.
Wen released a four track EP through seminal and highly lauded LDN centric label Keysound Recordings earlier this year to critical acclaim across the globe. He put Thanet on the map in a way that none of us ever thought possible. For those around here that still haven’t taken notice, this is a call to you. Go out and buy his new release on Baitface’s Badimup label.
Baitface and Konvex come from the depths of Sittingbourne. Baitface runs the Badimup label pushing both his own tunes and those of his friends. Konvex has recently signed with seminal Dj Hatcha’s “Hatched music” label, Wheel and Deal Records (N-Type’s label) and Crunch Recordings (Ben Verse’s label) so expect big things to come from these two over the next twelve to eighteen months.
As for the rest of the DJ’s we have Parris representing his label Soundman Chronicles and London based record store BM SoHo with his vinyl and dubplate treats. Wlf brings the upfront house flavours with plenty of bounce, soul and feeling. LKD and K-Loh are the brains behind the operation and you can see them going b2b with Konvex and J-One respectively. Jim Jam and Dave Over come from Sheppey and bring the vinyl only flavours from grime, to garage to dubstep and everything inbetween.
Room 2 will be hosted by Pleasant DNB aka Skank Nasti related crewdem. Expect all styles of DNB to be covered.
Set times are as follows…
8 – 845 – TOBY P
845 – 930 – LKD v KONVEX
930 – 1015 – WLF v ARCANE
1015 -1100 – JIMJAM v OVER
1100 – 1145 – BAITFACE v ARKTRIX
1145 – 1230 – J-ONE v K-LOH
1230 – 115 – WEN
115 – 215 – DUSK + BLACKDOWN
215 – 300 – PARRIS