Hyroglifics is an artist that’s becoming ever more prominent primarily in unorthodox and progressive drum and bass circles. With a number of valued releases under his belt, his back-catalogue flawlessly represents his aptitude for crafting innovative and expertly engineered music. ‘Visceral EP’, his latest release, dropped yesterday on Peer Pressure Records (27.01.14) and is without a doubt one of his finest bodies of work yet.
The EP is diverse in its exploration of varying atmospheres. Opener ‘Esseker’ is a gritty, hard-hitting tune whose distorted configurations narrate a belligerent tale. ‘In Your Arms’ is a personal favourite, this may sound conceited (apologies) but I find the mood to some degree resembles the peculiar nature of a David Lynch movie. Dreamy imagery that’s both ethereal and surreal is juxtaposed by a sinister undertone, the disturbing nature of which is perhaps darker than the obviously malevolent in its enactment of innocence. Title track ‘Visceral’ – a truly beautiful tune, both intricate and enthralling has the perfect balance of futurism and organic musicality.
‘Visceral EP’ is Hyroglifics’ second full EP on Peer Pressure. His first release on the label- ‘Senseless EP’, back in 2012, was a deep and melancholic number. Having recently caught up with Hyroglifics, he illustrated how he feels his mentality towards writing music has contributed to the development of his sound overall.
“I feel like I’m always evolving and learning new techniques with my production. I’m starting to treat it more as an art form rather than just making a sound and thinking ‘yehhh’ kind of thing. I think the most important thing I’ve learnt is to keep things interesting by keeping the track evolving for the listener.”
Both releases are undeniably brilliant. His comment regarding ‘keeping the track evolving’ is an element that I feel has particularly come across in his most recent releases. ‘Visceral EP’ is comprised of an omnipresent, intriguing and indefinable depth, entirely captivating in nature.
“The EP is a showcase of the darker sound, not exactly techy – but that kind of style. It also touches on a lighter more nostalgic vibe. I’d hope people would interpret it as being quite dynamic and I think in terms of sounds used it could appeal to listeners outside of drum and bass.”
Having also featured on the Peer Pressure ‘Remixes EP’, it’s clear Hyroglifics has quite a relationship with the label, how did this come about?
“Dispatch did a remix competition, this was 2011 or 2012, and me, Phil and a few others were finalists. This got me and Phil talking to each other. We then started sending each other tunes, he really liked the music I was working on and he knows Alex really well so he sent all the music I was sending to him to Alex. Alex was really interested and wanted me to do an EP, so that’s how my first EP with them came about.”
Hyroglifics is an artist who’s been working on projects outside the realms of strictly 170. He also draws influence from an array of artists from numerous corners of the underground music spectrum. These are both components that he feels have contributed to his approach to making somewhat alternative drum and bass.
“I’m influenced by a lot of music outside drum and bass, so I’ve been working at different tempos, at slower tempos – I get more creative control there and I can bring that into drum and bass or vice versa.”
“In terms of the stuff I’ve been influenced by, I discovered a label called Earnest Endeavours over the summer, I’d never really heard of them before and they’ve just released an EP by this guy called Pomrad (‘This Day’ EP). I thought his EP was really interesting because it’s really happy, bouncy music and the way he brings this across is quite unique. I’m influenced by the stuff that comes out on Lucky Me and I find all of the tracks by Flying Lotus and Rustie really inspirational too. Eprom’s ‘Half Life’ LP a release that came out last year had some great tracks also, I’ve been a big fan of his for a while. His sound is ‘spacey’ if you know what I mean, it’s got a spacey vibe to it I think.”
There have been a number of musical movements but also general cultural shifts that seem to have constituted somewhat of a revival in drum and bass over the past few years. Discussing this, the topic turned to the health of the scene at present.
“Obviously you’ve got people like Om Unit, Sam Binga and Machinedrum who are borrowing elements from drum and bass but are almost kind of surfing the edges of drum and bass if that makes sense. Then you’ve got people like Matrix and Futurebound who are more on the chart side of the genre. I think it’s great to have this kind of variety as it keeps the scene healthy and growing and the amount of drum and bass being made at the moment is definitely a testament to that.”
“I think it’s going well from the point of view also that people go away to do a degree and there are events like Hospitality or jump-up nights etc. regularly on at universities. I feel that’s when a lot of people seem to hear drum and bass for the first time, that’s when they first get interested – or that’s when they first kind of ‘get it’ and I think that’s great as over time they delve deeper into the genre.”
Over the past few years Hyroglifics’ exposure has increased significantly. Primarily down to his releases (‘Soundboy’ doing particularly big things), but perhaps also, to some extent, as a result of his affiliation with radio over this period.
“I moved to Guildford two years ago for uni and I met George Axon. He had a show on Kane FM and at one point somebody that was on the show with him couldn’t make it. He asked me if i’d be up for joining and from then onwards it just became a kind of regular thing, pretty much every Thursday I think it was. My last appearance on Kane was back in June but being part of the radio scene and around people with similar interests as a result of that definitely helped.”
“Late last year I was a guest on a Different Music show on Rinse FM, that was really cool. We were covering for Stamina’s show as he couldn’t get back from a gig in time. It was great to be a part of Rinse, I’ve always looked up to them, their incredibly influential.
There is also an ever greater demand for his DJ skills. With a schedule that’s included Nurtured Beatz and Flexout events to name a couple of recents, he also hit Croatia last summer and played a set in The Dungeon at Outlook Festival.
“Outlook was amazing, it was my first time there and it was also my first time at a festival outside the UK, so it was really interesting. There wasn’t much mischief but there’s certainly a story that stands out. On the last day I found a huge double inflatable mattress, I took it out into the sea and got surrounded by 4 huge jellyfish. I was basically marooned… I had to wait like an hour for them to go away so I could go back to the beach. They were pretty big too, like the size of my arm.”
The jellyfish encounter sounds incredibly traumatic! Our gang also had a slightly distressing experience… He somehow managed to loose his tents front door (his tent was facing the main pathway), he got rather drunk and basically fell asleep naked in it!
Outlook stories aside however, Hyroglifics’ name has certainly been circulating off late. I think it’s fair to say, with each tune he releases he grounds himself more and more as a staple artist for many a drum and bass listener. With this in mind, he gave us an insight to his motivations.
“The mission is to keep progressing and to try to release more music than I did last year. Something that’s important to me is that I’m always happy and excited about the music I make and put out. I always want to try to innovate and do something new. I guess I just want to evolve as much as I can as an artist.”
“2014’s been really busy so far. I’ve got a single coming out on Diffrent Music and lots of things in the works, i’ve also just done a podcast for Peer Pressure. Keep locked on my Soundcloud, Twitter and Facebook for information”.