Monday 18 January 2010

Byte presents B-Mix 002:
'Rave Machine'
(Byte, 2010)

A new year, a new decade...and to celebrate Byte brings you the second installment in our ongoing B-Mix series, showcasing the most creative and exciting DJs around. Following on from our debut mix courtesy of Weasel, we are very excited to be able to bring to you a mix many months in the making! This time it's the turn of the infamous Dekoy - DJ, producer and promoter extraordinaire - who has laid down a incredible mix for your delectation - Rave Machine. Just like Ronseal this does exactly what it says on the tin - a speaker-shredding odyssey through dubstep, drum & bass, breaks, rave and much more besides. Tweaked to perfection the set includes some huge tunes and loads of little suprises to make it much more than the sum of it's parts.

Kicking things off with a salvo of the best in new wave bass producers we get a healthy dollop of Kanji Kinetic, Bombaman and Zomby alongside more seasoned subheads like Skream and Jakes - all mixed with precision and flair before the set starts to pick up even more pace hurtling into a hyperactive middle section of juicy rave action. Dekoy wheels out two of his own awesome tracks - Lazerface and Isolator - before unleashing Squire Of Gothos, MRK1 and Blackfinger tunes to heap more drama onto the dancefloor. The final quarter rolls on at breackneck speed into some serious D&B pressure with a real sense of this mix taking you through several continents of genres and styles, but without feeling piecemeal or lacking in drive.

An assured mix from an artist finding new confidence in his abilities, Rave Machine marks a new chapter in Dekoy's creative progression - and is an essential download for any fan of the cross-pollination of styles that is occuring in the musical underground at the moment.

Byte caught up with Dekoy ahead of the release of Rave Machine to talk about the birth and death of genres, the rise and fall of Rusty Needle, his triumphant return to the British Bass Capital that is Bristol and the genius of Phil Collins.

B: Evening Mr.Dekoy, how are you?

D: Good evening Mr Basic. I'm very well thanks. Just keeping warm in my house after finally convincing my housemates that we're gonna need the heating on so pretty happy at the moment.

B: Whereabouts are you right now?

D: I'm currently residing in the coastal town of Falmouth in South Cornwall. Some of the more astute members of the Bristol community may have noticed I haven't been about much recently, so this will explain why. I moved down here a couple of years ago for a job I got offered (in fact I had a leaving party at the Byte First Birthday as you may remember).

I wasn't doing much at the time so thought it would be a chance to do something a bit different and I've had an incredible time here. The place is beautiful and really peaceful but also has a nice, friendly buzz about it. Falmouth has a big arts college and university specialising in media related courses, so I've met loads of really cool people who are a lot more switched on than I was expecting. Excellent for the ales too!

The first year I moved down I was back and forth to Bristol the whole time but I made the decision that as I was only going to be here for a short period, I’d devote the time I had left to just absorb myself fully. That coupled with concerns over the old carbon footprint from racing up and down the M5 every other week helped me make the decision to stay put for the while. I’m still up every couple of months or so though. Does this make me an away fixture for the B-Mix series?

B: LOL Maybe it does! Thanks for this amazing mix! A real mash-up of styles and sounds here, would you say this is a good representation of what we could expect from a live Dekoy set?

D: Was a pleasure mate. Sorry it took a while! Yeah, I think in some ways this is a decent representation of what I'm playing at the moment. A lot of the tracklisting was put together a few months back and as things seem to be moving so fast in dance music at present, if I did another mix today it would probably be quite different. In terms of styles and vibes that I like to explore in a set though, I think it covers most bases.

On the flipside I'm playing a lot of the "deeper" side of things at the moment too, which I haven't really included in this mix. I'm really digging the dubstep/techno crossover stuff from the likes of Scuba, Ramadanman, 2562 etc plus all the Instra:mental, DBridge, Non Plus style D&B. This side of things is such a polar opposite to the rave side though, so I thought it best to exclude it and to be honest there just wasn't enough time available anyway. There's a few less frantic tunes towards the beginning of the mix plus a slow building, progressive section in the middle which I hope breaks things up a little before continuing the bass onslaught.

B: So who or what is influencing you right now musically beyond that?

D: Along with the aforementioned, loads of people man. It really changes by the week. When I did the mix I was really into the Kanji Kinetic, Squire of Gothos, Coin Operated sound. This week I've been listening to quite a lot of old grime and garage from Slimzee mixes plus the new Target and Magic mixtapes. For next week I feel a D&B resurgence coming on.

Ultimately though I'm just into people who do things differently, that stand out against other producers and don't try to conform to genres. Two people who instantly spring to mind are Reso and Starkey. The former especially just seems to make this incredibly produced music that just slams it every single time and can’t be placed in a genre. This doesn't necessarily mean I play loads of these guys’ tracks but this approach to things definitely inspires me.

Other than music, the environment around me and living by the sea I guess has some influence on me. Having said that I'm not quite sure how tranquil nature and lapping shores translates into noisy rave music!

B: Originally you came to Byte's attention through the fledgling hardcore breaks / nu-rave scene. Back then HCB had a real hype behind it, but that seems to have died off somewhat. What's your feelings on HCB right now and the direction that's taken?

D: Hmm. Difficult one... My thoughts on it now are that the sound is still about and there's quite a buzzing little community over at Things have changed quite a lot over the last year or so though. A lot of the original producers have moved on to other things and there seems to be no real events taking place anymore, and somewhere along the way the momentum just seemed to get lost. It's a shame, as there was a period when things were looking really positive and a lot of producers from other scenes were getting involved and making sick tunes and as you say, the sound was on the up.

HCB started out pretty much the same time as dubstep and had a lot in common with it. My vision was always that the two would sit side by side as the new hardcore and jungle and I would have loved to see how a rave could've worked with the two sounds properly merged. For whatever reason this never really happened though. I think one problem was that whilst dubstep was coming straight off the back of the remnants of the garage scene, HCB had it's roots in music that was being made 15 years earlier and as a result of that a lot of the people involved in it were mid-30s with kids etc, so not in a position to be out pushing the music and putting on parties.

Another reason is simply that the production in many cases wasn't good enough to stand up next to 21st century productions. People who’d only been producing a short time were getting tunes released that were just badly rehashed old skool tunes basically. I was guilty of this myself, and having only been producing a few months was sending out tunes and getting them played on radio and at raves. There was the other side too with wicked producers making new and exiting stuff. The politics of the two camps kind of held everything back though. There’s still some wicked tunes coming out though from producers such as Running Man, Simon Holmes and Rob Malfunktion plus a new wave of producers who weren't about a couple of years back. I think finally the scene is trying to merge with other scenes too instead of isolating itself so we'll see how it progresses this year.

In terms of my personal involvement, I support all that I can but I've always felt a bit as though my musical tastes weren't always that in tune with what the majority of people in the scene seemed to be into. I think for this reason, and taking into account the cross genre raves that are happening at the moment, plus the success of people such as Redlight, I have more confidence in just doing my own thing really and hoping people are into it. About 50% of my output could definitely be described as hardcore influenced still and whenever I've had a period of making alternative styles, I always come back to my roots!

B: A lot of your style incorporates the old skool elements of rave music with newer genres like dubstep. Do you feel this is a conscious reflection of your own musical past? Was rave culture a big part of your youth?

D: Yeah definitely man. I grew up on a strict diet of happy hardcore and jungle. I was like 12 or something when I started listening to this stuff. My parents must have thought I was crazy. Around 95/96 a load of us would listen to a London pirate called Dream FM every weekend and this was my first real introduction to music (bar a dodgy phase of being into Genesis - Phil Collins still murks it!). In this way, 90s rave culture was a massive part of my youth. At the time obviously I had no idea what went on a rave and found the adverts for Dreamscapes and Helter Skelters fascinating. I’ve still got bags of tapes I sometimes dig out and get nostalgic with.

This definitely impacts on my productions and can be a good thing. It can really frustrate me though as I'm quite naturally drawn to these massive hands in the air riffs. For this reason, I have to be quite militant with myself and scrap anything I see as too "cheesy". A sick piano line is still something that gets me going more than anything though. The truth is I think this is the same for pretty much everyone as we all love a good bit of happiness. I love trying to fuse the light with the darkness too. I’m really annoyed that guy’s made that Sweet Shop tune as I think I was pretty much put on this planet to write a tune like that! Oh well...

B: You operate best in the blurring of genre boundaries. This mix really takes it everywhere, an all-terrain throwdown!! What's your general feeling on the cross-pollination of genres right now?

D: I think it’s amazing! In quite a short space of time there’s been a complete shift in how line-ups are put together, and it’s so good to see. The idea of going out to one style of music seems incredibly dated now and no doubt this has been directly responsible for the merging and bleeding of genres we’re currently seeing.

The other thing I’ve noticed is the merging of what I call ‘rave’ music (D&B, hardcore etc) with ‘club’ music (house, techno, electro). For me the two were always so far apart. Not just in terms of the actual musical content, but also the whole culture and style they adhered to. Raves would have MCs, rewinds, last ones etc whilst the club stuff was just boom, boom, boom all night long with no interruption to the flow. I have respect for both but the whole dubstep/140/elevator music thing has created this middle ground where suddenly there’s tunes that I’ll be into that friends who like house are also into. This would have never happened for me a couple of years ago. That could just be to do with growing up a bit though and not being able to take 8 hours of 180 bpm anymore.

My main concern is that it’s all just moving so fast and really quite hard to keep up with. There’s sooooo much music that seems to be getting made at the moment with everyone shouting about themselves resulting in this really disposable attitude being found in kids now. I suppose that’s just the times though and a direct consequence of the iPod generation.

B: Nice to see some original Dekoy productions on here too. Catch22 was one of Byte's favourite tracks of the last few years - do you feel you're gaining more confidence as a producer now?

D: Yeah, I’m at the point now where I’m reasonably happy with my standard of technical ability. It’s still got a long way to go but I can translate my ideas into something that sounds alright now so I’m pleased about that.

When I moved down here my PC blew up and as I was still finding my feet in terms of meeting people etc, I didn’t write anything for about 9 months. I then got a Mac and spent a while learning Logic so it’s only really been the last year I’ve been taking it seriously again.

I had to give myself a bit of a kick recently as I suddenly realised I wasn’t as involved in music stuff to the same extent I had been a year or so earlier when I’d being doing tunes like Catch 22. I kind of gave myself an ultimatum around this time that I either had to start putting the time again or just let it slide, and just enjoy going out or whatever I was doing at the time. Luckily the kick worked though and I’m slogging away again!

My main problem is just my frequency of output. Having a 9-5 obviously restricts your time in the studio. It also makes you more appreciative of the time you have though. I have to save any late night sessions for the weekend though so that lack of freedom can by frustrating.

The two tunes in the mix are in a new style I’ve been working on which is just 4/4 bassy stuff at 140 odd bpm. I had another tune I made to use as an intro tune but then I found that Kanji remix and had to abort. Lots more coming in this style though. I have a real love for all the old DJ Narrows type 4/4 dark garage sound, so I’m gonna work on some of that kind of thing next. The Blackfinger tune in the mix is totally on that vibe. Minimal, dark and aggy but rolling at the same time.

B: Your Bristol club night Rusty Needle was a real forerunner for a lot of the mash-up nights that occur now, especially with the harder-edged sounds of dancefloor dubstep. What's your favourite memories from running that night?

D: Umm, I dunno. There’s a few really. The night we did with Malice & Enzyme + Rusko was probably the best, and it felt like a culmination of all the hard work we'd previously put in. For that gig everything just went perfectly and we got the d├ęcor, system, lighting, VJs etc bang on and the Croft really was completely transformed into a proper little rave den of madness. Other than that the Dub Child night we did was sick. Having DJ Luna C (of Kniteforce Records) down was also a spesh for me as he’s pretty much my favourite DJ of all time.

The sets we played as the Bashmenteers (Mulder, Ruttler, Spree, Malfunktion, Ram and myself) were also a lot of fun. One of the best bits about doing the nights was the fact that there were so many people involved, so there was always a proper family vibe. That was a big part of the enjoyment for me, putting on these little parties with my mates and just having jokes. Big up Ruttler for always keeping one eye on health and safety operations!

Unfortunately though it wasn’t all good times, and the last two events we did really didn’t go that well which hit me pretty hard. One was the May Day Bank Holiday event at the Blue Mountain. This was mad as it was off the back of several packed nights and I really was expecting it to do well so was genuinely shocked when we were left with a quarter full club. We did one more back at the Croft after that and again, it didn’t do that well. I think this was largely due to the fact I thought I could run a club night whist living 250 miles away, this wasn’t the case and just proves you have to be on the floor putting posters up or whatever everyday to be successful in promoting. It's all just about continuity.

B: Any plans to bring it back??

D: Unfortunately I think it’s unlikely. When we started doing parties, the main objective was just to push hardcore breaks in Bristol. For this reason we had a real niche of our own that no one else was providing. This ethos changed over time and we started incorporating other genres that I thought would fit well with the HCB stuff like the Storming Productions style breakstep (I think we had Caspa to do his last ever set as Quiet Storm coincidently, unfortunately Storming doesn't really seem to be putting stuff out anymore). As hardcore breaks quietened down, we undertook a bit of a rebranding exercise and were booking people like Reso and Baobinga. This wasn’t really doing anything that fresh though, and I think we kind of lost our place within the events market.

For this reason, coupled with the stress of it all (for often very little reward and a slightly lighter back pocket), I think my promoting days are probably behind me unless some little niche pops up that I don’t think is being represented again. The productions where I’ve always wanted to focus my time, so I think this is where it will stay for a while. I’m never one to say never though.

B: What's new for Dekoy in 2010?

D: Well, I’m gonna be moving back to Bristol soon which I’m really excited about. I was only meant to be in Cornwall for two years, so have already outstayed my welcome so am going to have to peel myself away and come back to reality. I should hopefully be back by the early summer. I’m gonna take a gamble and just work on music full time for a bit I think. No idea where this will take me, but I feel I need to give it a proper chance before more serious things come along so expect to see me back on the block soon!

Release wise I’ve got a tune called Freedonia coming out on Sharkfin Records soon. I’m also working on a remix for Simon Holmes which will hopefully accompany this on the release. I’m still running my own little digi label called One Three Recordings. The third release should be out soon which will be the two tunes in this mix. 004 should follow shortly after which is a remix package I think you might be into!

Other than that, I’m gonna start sending tunes out to labels outside of my comfort zone (i.e. not HCB/nu rave related) with a view to hopefully getting some stuff released later in the year. I’ve been holding back recently, as I wanted to wait until I was happy with things before sending tunes out again. Think I’m nearly there now.

Outside of music I’m getting quite into photography at the moment. Falmouth locals will regularly see me trying to be deep taking photos of clouds and paper bags blowing in the wind. My culinary skills are coming along nicely too. My Mum even gave me a badboy apron for Christmas so there’s no holding me back now!

B: DJ, Producer, Promoter and now celebrity chef...there's nothing you can't do! Thanks for taking the time to chat!

Byte presents B-Mix 002:
'Rave Machine'
(Byte, 2010)

01. Egyptrixx – Reconnect (Kanji Kinetic Remix) (Electrostimulation)
02. Skream – What Did He Say? (Rinse)
03. Bombaman – Episode (Electrostimulation)
04. Jakes – Rock the Bells (Hench)
05. Zomby – The Lie (Ramp)
06. Skream – Trapped in a Dark Bubble (Tectonic)
07. TRG – You Know (Berlin Wall Mix) (Immerse)
08. Emalkay – A.G.S (Dub Police)
09. Relocate – Dot Dot Dash (Buraka Som Sistema Remix) (Iberian)
10. Pachecko – Lockdown (6Blocc Remix) (Seclusiasis)
11. Syntonics – Material (Bombaman Remix) (Lo Dubs)
>>> Zinc – 140 Trek (Bingo Bass)
12. Dekoy – Lazerface (One Three Recordings)
13. Dekoy – Isolator (One Three Recordings)
14. Rob Malfunktion – Vibration (Sharkfin)
15. Squire of Gothos – Triple Drop (Coin Operated)
16. MRK1 – Kill Zone (Contagious)
17. Blackfinger – UMF (Trouble & Bass)
18. Luck and Shy Cookie – Troublesome (Remix) (Lush)
19. Deville – Quente Damais (Kanji Kinetic Remix) (Senseless)
20. AC Slater – Hello (Trouble & Bass)
21. The Others – Bazooka (Dub Police)
22. Kyza – Go (Bar 9 MIx) (Dented)
23. Running Man – Living in a Dub (Firewall)
24. Running Man – E.T.A (Nu Basement)
25. Donny – Symptomless Coma (Current Value Mix) (Barcode)
26. Kemal & Rob Data – The Calling (Evol Intent and Ewan Remix)
>>> Logistics – Murderation (Hospital)
27. Ed Rush & Optical – G Force Jesus (Virus)
28. Subfocus – Could This Be Real? (Ram)

DOWNLOAD : B-Mix 002 : Dekoy - Rave Machine
DOWNLOAD : B-Mix 002 : Dekoy - Rave Machine (Mix & Artwork Zip Pack)

FFI : Dekoy Myspace
FFI : Dekoy Soundcloud
FFI : One Three Music