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Calyx & TeeBee: Three Rules Of DJing

Calyx & TeeBee: Three Rules Of DJing

calyx and teebee 27.5.14_081a  (credit Jimmy Mould)

Fabric have made A LOT of drum & bass fans happy this week with the dispatch of Fabriclive 76: Calyx & TeeBee.

Dial A for awesome, the duo have created a dynamic document that showcases everything that’s great about D&B, celebrates their abilities as a partnership and works outside the context of a sweaty night on the dancefloor. No mean feat to accomplish in just over an hour… Especially for an act who is renowned with ‘f%&king shit up’ and tearing floors apart.

“When we’re in a club and we’ve got an hour to do the business then we’ll bang it out,” grins TeeBee. “But this is a different side to us that will transcend the club environment.”

What made that challenge even trickier – we can excitedly confirm – is the fact that Calyx & TeeBee are currently sitting on a whole wealth of brand new material which will eventually create their third album… The highly anticipated follow up to the massively successful 2012 album All Or Nothing!

“We’re sitting on an ever-growing pile of fresh material,” admits Calyx. “But that’s not out for a while so we can’t really represent them right now – even though we’d really like to!”

“Hopefully the new album will see the light of day next year,” TeeBee develops. “We’re about 50 per cent there… But there are a lot of things that need to fall into place first. Making an album is a marathon not a sprint. So we’ve got a lot more work to do!”

Before we let them get back to this work, we thought we’d celebrate their Fabriclive mix with some golden rules on approaching your DJ set.

I’ve listened to a lot of Essential Mixes lately and one that was really innovative was actually Judge Jules. Virtually through the whole set every mix was a key change that was perfectly sync’d up with the tune before. Mad, right? I thoroughly enjoyed the whole two hours!

Rule #1: Create a dynamic

TeeBee: THE most crucial thing about any mix is ebb and flow. You can’t stay at the same pace or stick with the same sound all of the time. Make it some type of journey and have variations; don’t be too linear, your crowd will get tired very quickly if you.

Rule #2: Move between key

TeeBee: It’s getting harder and hard to find tracks that aren’t in G or F. These are the notes that will resonate the best on a system due to the frequency where the bass hits. It’s understandable… You want to have the best impact!

Calyx: There are tracks that are in different keys but generally most things are in G or F#. Producers were sub consciously writing loads of tracks in F before they knew anything about key. I think it’s just a natural thing and they could hear that was the best resonance coming through their studio speakers.

TeeBee: Mixed In Key is a fantastic tool to find tracks in other keys. There is also a lot of really cool information and handy hints online about how to work different keys. Once you know what key a track goes in, which key do you go to next? I’ll tell you something that might surprise you… I’ve listened to a lot of Essential Mixes lately and one that was really innovative was actually Judge Jules. Virtually through the whole set every mix was a key change that was perfectly sync’d up with the tune before. Mad, right? I thoroughly enjoyed the whole two hours!

Rule #3: Respect the context… But be yourself!

Calyx: This is more of a discussion than a rule… As an artist you should be representing what you play. People have paid good money to see you play, not what the venue or crowd apparently want you to play. BUT, always take in to account the atmosphere and vibe. The context. Who else is playing? What music is the night known for? TeeBee and I play A LOT of different styles. So playing Room One at Fabric for RAM will be a different set to Metalheadz in Fabric Room Two. The same for festivals… We wouldn’t play the same set at Global Gathering that we would at a very small headsy underground venue. So a golden rule for me is to take into the context.

TeeBee: BUT… Showing up and reading a crowd? How do you do really do that in the space of a few hours? I don’t think you can do that properly. For me you have to play your best and make the crowd want what you’re playing. That separates a good DJ from a mediocre DJ for me. So yes you do have to adapt, but at the same time if you’re playing it with confidence then people will want more of your choices and selections.

Want to experience them putting these rules in action? Head for Motion, Bristol on August 22 where they’ll be playing at Drum&BassArena’s 18th Birthday party alongside Noisia, Rockwell, DC Breaks, Mampi Swift, D*Minds, Foreign Concept, Neuropol and many more! Get tickets

Fabriclive 76: Calyx & TeeBee is out now.

 

Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.

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