Michael‘s latest interview sees him sit down with two Australian producers who’ve featured separately (in one form or other) many times here on FatKidOnFire – but never together. Which is odd; given they’ve been running a record label together for almost three years…
Metal somehow seems to be a relatively common theme in dubstep; maybe less so in terms of production but a lot of listeners seem to share both passions. Boot’s music is seemingly a fitting example of what Matt refers to as a ‘Hybrid’. Like him, I am curious to find more examples like this in the future.
In my opinion, this label presents a clear benchmark all labels should strive towards. I sat down with the founders to get an in-depth perspective into their mission, one that seemingly resonates strongly with the music they represent…
Who’s would you consider to be the King of Dubstep and why? Droid Sector: Matt-U has to be up there as one of the best dubstep producers ever. Even though his output is staggered, every time I hear something new from him, I’m blown away. His synth work and ability to create amazing grooves are second to none. Having his track ‘Victim‘ on our first vinyl release was an absolute honor and is still one of my favourite dubstep tunes.
Boot: Kryptic Minds; they are always one step ahead. Just when you think they’ve started to hit a rut with their sound, they switch it up. I’ve been a huge fan of them ever since I heard ‘Prejudice & Politics‘ and ‘The King‘ on the Metalheadz MDZ.04 LP.
How did you and Tom meet and decide to work together? B: Tom hit me up in 2008 after hearing some of my early tracks on Myspace. We’ve been mates ever since. I knew he was starting up Requiem and then in early 2010, he asked me to come on board and help run it. It also helps that we have a mutual love for a wide range of musical styles outside of dubstep. We are always showing each other new musical discoveries.
Who does what in the studio? Do you both have specific tasks? DS: This is tough to answer, as we’re hardly ever in the studio together with me living in Melbourne and Tim in New South Wales. On the rare occasion that we do get some studio time together, we don’t get much done – besides listening to other people’s music and drinking beer!
[Boot (L) and Droid Sector (R) at Sydney’s Reload Bass]
What does Requiem Audio stand for? B: What we’re trying to do is give exposure to artists that we personally think aren’t getting the exposure they deserve. There’s so much talent out there that gets overlooked – we try to cut through the hype. We bring you the tunes that we’re hearing and loving; tunes that you may never have heard otherwise.
DS: Tim pretty much hit the nail on the head with his reply. I started Requiem Audio as an outlet for artists and songs that I felt weren’t getting the attention they deserved. And that’s still the ethos we hold today. I asked Tim to come on board because musically we are exactly on the same page, which means we can run the label together without hassles.
What motivated you to start producing music? DS: When I got into electronic music (specifically drum and bass) at the end of the ’90s – I found myself intrigued by how it was made. Having come from a predominantly metal background, I started learning about electronic music production, and from there started playing around with basic tracker programs (anyone remember Toureg?).
What started out as pure curiosity turned into a passion, after I realised I finally had a viable outlet to be creative musically. I never learnt any traditional instruments – hence being able to write a complete song from start to finish on a computer was a revelation. Eventually I switched over to writing dubstep, after the DnB scene went in a direction I wasn’t particularly interested in. After a few low key digi releases, Tech Itch signed two of my tracks to his dubstep label Ascension and my first 12” came out in 2009. After that I got more interest from labels and DJs and it took off from there. To me producing electronic music has always been about creative expression, I’ve always treated it as a hobby more than anything else.
B: I’d been dabbling in production since about 2000 after I got into drum and bass, although until about 2005 I always thought I’d be a guitarist in a band or a composer. It wasn’t until then that I really started taking it seriously. After I bought Noisia’s ‘Monster EP‘, it really made me sit down and think: “this is what I want to do with my life.” At first I just dived straight in, completely eschewing guitar and the extensive composition/theory training I’d had in the past. I concentrated on learning as much as I could about audio engineering, because at the time my knowledge of it was very limited. It’s an ongoing process and I love changing my style of working from tune to tune.
If I had used the same techniques in the studio constantly, I would have gotten tired of it very quickly. It has come full circle now though, as I’ve been playing a lot of guitar lately and it started to find ways into many of my newer tracks. Specifically through interesting harmonic structures, alternative structural ideas and odd time signatures. I guess that where I’m heading with my dubstep, it is a progressive rock territory in a sense.
What are your 3 most favourite VST synths? B: Virus TI Snow (that’s technically a VST right?) I use that on everything, probably a bit too often. U-He Diva for its amazing modelling power, and I’m going to cheat and say Reaktor, because it’s a never ending well of creatively inspiring modules.
Which location, anywhere in the world, would you most like to play out at – and why? DS: It’s so hard to pick a city. One place I would like to tour is the US, as the majority of my fanbase seems to come from there. I also have a lot of friends in the US that I’ve met through dubstep, I’d love to finally meet them in person. I’ve come close to organising US tours a few times, but unfortunately study got in the way every time.
B: Berlin. Because I have to play in Berlin at some point in my life.
Are there upcoming releases that you would like to talk about? DS: Well, as far as Requiem Audio we have some good stuff lined up for this year. The last few years have been tough for us, as we were plagued by distro problems – with not one, but two of our vinyl distributors going out of business. First Z Audio, then the year after Nu-Urban. Releases got delayed and our output ground to a halt. This year we’ve decided to focus on digital releases, as that seems to be the way the scene is headed anyway. It allows us to have complete control over the release schedule. Expect artist EPs from Twisted and Rakoon, Klax (Riskotheque and Locustlung) and a Boot & TZR collab EP soon. I had one lined up too but the recent death of my studio PC has put my production on hold for a while.
Any shoutouts to conclude the interview? B: My girl Kass and my son Asher, my mum, dad and 2 brothers Matt and James. Sook (my brother from another), Chewie for all the amazing tips and Seth Triage for the incredible mastering. Dan from Directrix Creative for the design. Matt Phaeleh, for all the honest critical feedback that I never seem to get from other people. Geoff and Rob at Paradise Lost for believing in my music, Joel Riskotheque and Seb Aeolho for writing badass tunes and being total legends. Wil and the crew at FKOF for all the support, all my Sydney crew who I don’t get to see as often as I should, Heavy Innit crew in Melbourne – for being absolute champions. And of course all the artists that have wanted to work with us – Matt U, Babylon System, Dubtek, Triage, The Bassist, TZR, Press, 3rdeye, Safire, Matta, Disonata, Unsub, Ghast, Ylem, Twisted and Rakoon. Apologies if I forgot anyone, but I could go on and on!
DS: Tim’s list is comprehensive and covers pretty much everyone I would like to personally thank. Although I have to give shouts to my lovely fiancee Kate – for putting up with the bass while she tries to watch TV. I also have to give a special mention to all the artists on Requiem – for being great people to work with and the inspiration from their ability to write amazing music – in particular Chewie, with whom I spend many hours in the studio these days, and who always teaches me new studio tricks. And finally a big shout to Tim for sharing with me all the ups and downs and for helping me keep Requiem Audio going.
Many know the fable by Aesop about the goose that lays golden eggs; a strory that’s applicable even in this modern day and age. There really is no fast track to success, not with anything that will last anyway. It truly is a fine line, the like walked by labels between artistic expression and financial sustainability. Having a clear purpose and vision from the start are keystones for ongoing quality. I am a strong believer that artistic value should be at the top of the priority list – not only to maintain that important fanbase, but also as a responsibility to the music that has made it all possible. In this Requiem Audio clearly succeeds; making it so these people deserve all the support they can get.
Click to DOWNLOAD
1. The Bassist & Triage – Jonestown [REQ003]
2. Babylon System – Our Moment [REQ001]
3. Chewie & Dubtek – Discipline [REQ004]
4. Sook – Wargasm [REQ003]
5. Ghast – Angel’s Share [REQ007]
6. Safire – Searching [REQ006]
7. Unsub – Hassan [REQ008]
8. Matt-U – Victim [REQ001]
9. Dubtek – Bonecrusher [REQ005]
10. Boot – Vision Quest [REQ009]
11. Twisted & Rakoon – Never [REQ010]
12. Disonata – Overlord [REQ007]
13. Boot – Sengoku Sound System [REQ003]
14. The Bassist & Triage – Sleeper [REQ002]
15. Twisted & Rakoon – Visitors [REQ010]
16. Dubtek & 3rdeye – Expressions [REQ005]
17. TZR & Press – The Black Gate [REQ006]
18. Sounds Of Solidarity – Breaking Point [REQ006]
19. Twisted & Rakoon – Odium [REQ010]
20. Boot – Beyond The Heliosphere [REQ009]
21. Droid Sector – Fortress [REQ003]
22. Chewie – Hammeredhead [REQ006]
23. Twisted & Rakoon – Fire [REQ010]
24. Serious Beak – Anhrefn [Art As Catharsis]