Your sound differs a lot in your releases, tracks and mixes. Are you bored by working in one genre and you experiment, or is it a challenge to yourself?
I like lots of different sounds and styles, I like to draw from many different places. So yeah I guess it is kind of a way to escape boredom, I wouldn’t see the point in restricting myself to one specific genre.
Why D’n’B and not house or dubstep? Have you ever tried other genres?
My roots, in electronic music, are really in Dubstep and the darker side of UK Garage which is what I was first writing in the early days of production. After a while I started to heavily get into Footwork/Juke and began writing that. As we seem to do in the UK I found myself creating hybrids and merging that style with lots of other sounds, most notably Jungle. I just kept developing and building on that sound and eventually ended up where I am now. So ending up as a D&B artist, if you can consider my music to be that, was a bit of a happy accident!
Which subgenres of D’n’B are you fond of more than the others and why?
I’m really into the whole Autonomic thing from your dBridge’s and your Instra:mental’s and there are a lot of exciting artists producing music in that style. I find that sound really appealing, it has a deep meditative vibe I’m into and lots of 80s esque synth sounds going on which is right up my street.
I also really like what the UVB-76 guys are up to. I’ve been going to the Abstractions nights quite a lot for a short while now so I get to hear that stuff out a lot. Artists in particular grabbing me are Ruffhouse, Clarity & Overlook. It’s deep, dark, eyes down… Something that appeals to me.
Your release on 31 Records is hardly 100% D’n’B. We think that it is closer to bass music with the dub influences. Is it your new sound for a long-term perspective or just another experiment?
I agree, I hope you enjoyed it! It was really cool to work with Scott, music is music to him, if he likes it he’ll roll with it so I don’t think he was worried if it was strictly Drum & Bass or not. The Echo Sound EP heavily explored my Reggae/Dub influences. I think that has been present throughout a lot of my music over the years and still is in what I have coming out this year and have been writing lately. However, with material that has come after Echo Sound it is done in a much less literal sense. So, to answer the question, I think it was an experiment that I will be building upon in the long term.
What can we expect from your future releases? Are there any planned ones already? Do you think of making album?
On top of a few little tracks and remixes here and there I have two solo EPs coming out this year, which I’m really looking forward to getting out there. I think the Crypticz sound has really shaped and developed into something I can call my own now and I intend to continue writing and exploring it naturally.
The next EP, Forever, will be coming out on Om Unit’s Cosmic Bridge which is a real honour, plus it’s my first physical release so I’m excited to get it out there. It is, in my opinion, my most honest release so far and it’s been refreshing to fully let go of the boundaries I placed on myself. That’s available to pre-order now over on my bandcamp page, or from online vinyl retailers.
Another EP after that will likely be released later in the year on a label I’ve worked with previously. It explores similar themes and sounds as Forever. I’m also super excited about that one as it reaches into territory many won’t have heard from me before, some collaborations, working with other tempos and working with vocalists.
An album is something that seems natural to me and has been on my mind a bit lately. However I don’t think now is quite the right time… yet. It is something I would definitely like to do at some point.
We think that you have idols in music, that you consider an example. Can you tell us about them? What are you favourite musicians outside of D’n’B?
Three artists/bands whose music changed my life are Nirvana, Burial and Om Unit. So those are artists I look up to massively, although I respect them all for varying reasons.
What hardware and software do you use when making music? How does your day start when you make music?
I primarily use a laptop, which I recently upgraded so I’m in a beautiful place at the minute where I’m still fully enjoying the massive change in performance, its improved my work rate massively. On the laptop I have Cubase for production/writing and Ableton for my live sets. I make use of a lot of third party plugins on top of this. I particularly like software by Native Instruments and Izotope. I also like to take advantage of a lot of the amazing freeware out there.
Hardware I don’t have a whole host of gear. I recently bought a Korg Volca Keys which is a fantastic little budget synth, I’ve been constantly impressed by it and often touch upon new and exciting sounds when coupled with external processing. I also dug out my old guitar pedal lately, which hasn’t seen any action in years. It’s a Boss ME-50, I used to use it in my guitar days, then I had a little ‘IDM’ phase in my first year of uni and rinsed it for the distortion. Now I’m using it for its reverb, delays and modulation fx and I’m finding it incredibly useful. Coupled with the Volca I’ve been creating some really interesting stuff. I also have a Monotron Delay which is good fun, that was all over the Echo Sound EP. I’m looking to get more hardware when I’ve got the cash… Something from the Roland Boutique series would be nice, I’d like a JU-06 but they seem pretty hard to get in the UK now.
Currently the average day writing music I treat like a 9-5 kind of thing, sometimes I’ll finish earlier if it’s not fully working or other times I’ll go on all through the night if I’m in a good head space creatively. I will steadily work on tracks over time, some pieces require more from me than others. Assuming I don’t have any tasks to complete, mixdown work or remixing for example, a day writing new music can begin with either an idea in my head, some samples I’ve been wanting to use or just a completely blank mind. From there I just jam really, I think thats important to just ride the vibe and see where you go. Its a system that works for me.
How hard is it for you to make music, is it hard and you write one track for months, or is it fast? How much time did the release for 31 Records take?
It varies really, I take a little longer than some others to write music it seems. I can sketch out ideas and work quite fast but I like to sit on pieces for quite a while to really enjoy them and work the little details in to get them to a stage I feel they have reached their end. To counter that I do sometimes have those moments where a track will come from nothing into it’s final form in a week or under, but those times are rare.
I don’t think I’d describe writing music as easy. I suppose it is easy in the sense it feels right, I never find the idea of writing hard or challenging at all, its easy to get deep into and lose myself in fast.
The EP for 31 came together over a year or so I think. Some of the tracks were kind of there before Scott approached me to do the project and some were written especially for it. I wrote lots of other tracks in that time also… But I didn’t just want to throw together the first four pieces I wrote as quickly as possible, you know?
We suppose that you do not listen to D’n’B 24/7. What music do you listen to except D’n’B and what can you advise? How do you rest, how do you relax?
Correct! I like Drum & Bass music but it actually doesn’t take up much of my listening time if I’m honest. I’m often quite behind on what’s happening, who’s releasing what, etc.
I listen to a lot of Reggae/Dub. I enjoy using YouTube as a source of finding new music quickly and easily. I have to take my hat off to all the people out there in the world sharing the music for us all to enjoy online. There are channels on YouTube that for me are like a treasure chest, I regularly find amazing Reggae, Dub & Dancehall records which I love to give a good blast when I’m driving.
I’m also a big fan of Dubstep, particularly the more ‘old school’ stuff that happened in London and Bristol. I love a lot of Rock & Punk music, thats the sort of stuff I grew up on. These days I still find myself listening to a lot of 1980s electronic pop.
To unwind I just like to take it easy and enjoy myself with friends, have a drink and that. Music is often on the mind in someway or another but its nice to almost completely disconnect at times. I enjoy watching series and films, on occasion I get deep in that and like to be challenged but at other times I like real mind numbing entertainment you know? Nothing too watered down but adult cartoons or more casual comedy series can be quite nice to chill out with.
What mistakes can you warn the beginner musicians of?
I don’t think I’d advise against mistakes because making them is how you learn and progress. Additionally sometimes the mistakes lead you down interesting creative paths that can prove more engaging than your original intention, which I still find happens to me now.
I think if I had to offer advice I’d say, in the early days, limit your tools and really get to know them well. Explore different sounds, ideas and techniques… Make whatever you feel like making. Just keep creating! I hear people say to make sure you keep finishing tracks to make sure you keep improving, I’m not sure on that one personally… I think in the first few years it’s all about getting that time in interacting with your tools, being creative and learning. If you finish the odd track here or there that’s a positive. It’s normal to not like the music you’re writing after a short while, eventually that wears off and you start to become more confident and happy with your material. When you get to a point where you’re in full control of what you’re doing and fully believe in what you’re writing it’s an amazing feeling so all those hours pay off.
On top of that I would say to take feedback with a pinch of salt. Sure, technical stuff listen to people and take stuff on board but when it comes to the creative process ultimately this is your art so do what you do. Finally, and most importantly, enjoy yourself and the journey.
Please name five best tracks you listened to lately, not necessarily D’n’B.
1. Hatman – Hornpipe / Hornpipe Dub – Heavy vibes from Hatman, an artist I’ve only just recently come across. Wicked release this one, Tonka on the A side and Hornpipe on the flip. The dub is wicked too!
2. Major King – Never Done No Wrong – Strong reggae/dancehall vibes from the late eighties. I dig stuff with this flavour.
3. Gorillaz – Saturnz Barz – I’ve heard mixed feedback on this one but personally I’m all over it. Wicked hook and very refreshing to hear a beat like this from an act that has such worldwide reach. I’ve not listened to the rest of the new album yet but its on the to do list.
4. Chris Inperspective – Hard Lip Kiss – I’m quite behind here but I just found this track the other day which came out on Cylon in 2015. Really interesting and unique track, I’ve never heard anything quite like it.
5. Margari’s Kid – Lost Brightness – From Margari’s Kid ‘Init 1 EP’ on Cosmic Bridge. Excellent EP, really like all the tracks, couldn’t really choose one but went with this. I hadn’t been really excited by an artist working in the uptempo world for a long time until I heard his music. Special mention for his track ‘We Are Ghosts Now’ which really turned my head.