Thelem’s sound has always been a favourite here at FKOF. We’ve known Matty since the early days – back when we were wet behind the years and just getting started. For us, it all started with his appearance alongside Kryptic Minds at a gig in Reading in the early days of Orientis Records – followed soon after by his inaugural 12” release on Loft Party Records back in 2011.
The producer and DJ has remained one of the nicest – not to mention talented – members of the dubstep/ bass(/ whatever its called) sound. We’ve all seen and heard the ridiculous progression in Thelem’s sound, exploring boundaries we didn’t even know exist – and, like he has been since 2011, we’ve still firm believers Thelem is one of the leading musicians in the genre.
While each of Matty’s releases are equally as big as the next, some really seem to stand out. The Bring Me Down/ False Imprint EP with InnaMind and the stellar Haunted Harmonics EP via J:Kenzo’s Artikal Music are prime examples.
With his vinyl releases increasingly hard to get hold of, and a new EP appearing via Artikal, we figured it was high time to sit down with Thelem and catch up. So sit tight, play a Thelem track and enjoy:
Easy Matty. It’s been a minute! How you doing? Hey man! Yeah, it’s been a while. I’m very well cheers.
We’ve had a few new bits here and there from you. What have you been up to musically over the last few months? I’ve been busy working on beats as usual, trying not to focus on any particular BPMs and just write music really. Trying not to get bogged down with one particular thing. The last couple months have also been a great learning curve; been teaching myself some new production techniques and getting to learn some new synths.
You’ve done a decent bit of touring recently. What’s been your best experience on the road? It’s been a great year for tours and shows, which I’m extremely grateful for! Still for me the greatest experience so far was the whole of the Artikal North American tour last October/November. It’s great doing shows and touring on your own, but getting to travel and tour with mates was a great laugh, definitely something I won’t forget. It was great to experience a full on tour schedule like that (15 shows in 17 days or something). It really made me realise how intense it can be. Although I’m not sure how some DJs/bands manage it solid for months on end.
What direction do you see yourself taking in the next few years? Continuing to do what I do, but instead just write music I like with my kind of sound and not worry so much about genres or BPMs. I’ve come to realise I would ideally love to be recognised for more than just my dubstep/140. This no way means I’m stopping dubstep/140, I just want to be more well rounded as an artist and for that to come across in my music. Personally for me it’s about learning and progressing, I think expanding out of the box in both my productions and DJ sets is the best way for me to do that.
Your latest releases sees a return to the Artikal Music imprint. Tell us about the EP. As far as the EP goes, I’m quite happy with the release as a whole. It’s pretty dancefloor-orientated but I think that suits the energy of the lead track, it lets that energy continue through the whole EP and keeps the pace up. I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% happy with anything I make or release, that’s just me though.
I always find something to nitpick on in my own tunes, like most producers do I’m sure. I’m also really stoked and appreciative to have the opportunity of the double pack vinyl, it’s my first release like this so it means a lot. Massive shouts to Jay for taking the risk in that!
We Ain’t The Same is a welcome return to T-Man on one of your tunes. What’s it like working with him? Working with T-Man is awesome, we get along well and there’s never any pressure, the tunes just seem to happen. I think our styles work well together and I’m hoping we can get on more tracks together in the future.
How did the Gremlinz collab come about? Any more surprise collabs coming our way?! The collab came around quite naturally. Gabriel is a good guy, we got talking online and exchanged some tunes. I was a fan of his music and he was a fan of mine, so we decided to jump on a tune. I sent the beat to T-Man and he was feeling it, so it all kind of clicked into place as a whole.
If you had a chance to take your productions to a higher level, what equipment would you add to the collection to do so? Oh man haha, if money weren’t an issue the list would be never ending, I wouldn’t know where to start. I guess just more hardware stuff overall to be honest. Hardware processing, hardware FX and synths etc. I know its not a necessity but there’s something about hardware I love (apart form the prices). I like the hands on approach with it all. For some reason I get allot more inspiration out of a hardware synth than say a software synth that’s in the box. I know they are not needed, but hardware shit is just something I love and can geek over for hours.
Besides your hugely respected Artikal catalogue, are there any other imprints you’re keen on releasing with? Hmmm there’s always those dream labels I think most producers have, but I know for me it won’t ever happen so I’ve stopped worrying about that. At the moment I’m concentrating on getting my head down, focusing on tunes and doing my own thing.
What’s lining up for Thelem in 2016? Anything to look out for? More music, fresh material and more releases!
Which 3 producers are you rating at the moment? Damn this is a tough one, I don’t think I can narrow it down to 3. Any chance I can do a few more? (No Particular order)
We had the chance to put pen to paper for ARTKL018 – working our way through the truly awesome release. You can read our thoughts below and grab the release via the links at the end. Enjoy…
The FKOF Review
A year after the release of Thelem’s highly successful Haunted Harmonics EP on Artikal Music, both producer and imprint have joined forces again to create the long-awaited We Ain’t The Same EP.
After their previous outing together with Bring Me Down, the latest collaboration sees Thelem and T-Man appear together on the release’s title track We Ain’t The Same. It’s a murky affair, full of toxic vocals that zigzag around with the track’s grime-esque stabs, juggernaut basslines and stamina-filled kicks. As far as EP openers go, they don’t get much better than this.
Get A Grip is a quality production – the type we’ve come to expect from the producer. Its depth undergoes roller coaster advancements ranging from a repetitive, percussive structure to constant changes in acrid dynamics. Growls rage through the mix from a broken angle, making this swish track one of Thelem’s freshest concoctions to date.
Equippin is loaded with heavy bassline artillery and samples coming straight from the battlefield. Messy 808s combine with the producer’s depths and dynamics, while the track rumbles, oscillates and phases in frenetic fashion. It’s another perfect fit for Artikal Music. Its contagious flow, choice of sample implementations and attention-to-detail reveal ingenious sound design.
Latched renews Thelem’s artistic credentials, filling every corner of its stereo image with sturdy waves of 808 goodness, striking atrocities and a rude synth we’ve all come to recognise. The second drop is unforgettable, revisiting the producer’s Haunted Harmonics atmospheres. Such intelligently placed twists and turns fuel the fire, opening a portal to unlimited audial experiences.
Alongside T-Man and Toronto’s Gremlinz, Mind Games is a half-step 170bpm roller that grooves on a higher tempo. The production recycles existing patterns with razor-sharp precision, staying true to the trio’s musicianship. T-Man’s vocals add a nasty edge to the sound to create a confident yet chaotic striker that’ll only improve with age. The collaboration also marks Artikal Music’s shift in tempos, giving the label’s fans an indication of what to expect from future material.
Cascading closes the release, and is brilliant material from one of UK’s leading bass scientists. The track ends the EP with a marvellous blowout. The producer’s renowned growl craftsmanship returns to the mix. The weight and beat on this massively constructed tune is utterly brilliant – this is another superb release from both Thelem and the Artikal Music imprint.
Buy ARTKL018 here