DJ Hybrid: Mixed Origins

DJ Hybrid: Mixed Origins

1-DJ Hybrid - Hi Res

Hybrid‘s come in with a new album where the ‘D’ and the ‘B’ could in part stand for ‘Drop like a ton of Bricks’. It’s all about different styles and keeping an open mind… so with that mindset we went in.

Hybrid. Now your DJ name and this ep title sort of implies something similar to me, of fusion and many influences, so can you tell us about the inspiration of the title?

The definition of ‘Hybrid’ in the dictionary is ‘a composite of mixed origins’ when it comes to music I’ve had so many mixed influences over the the years ‘Mixed Origins’ seemed like a perfect title for my debut album. I wanted to try and create a concept for this album not just a collection of singles and dance floor tunes but something that you can sit and listen to from start to finish. It’s a concept that I thought of a while ago which will show people my origin of how I got into the music and how I’ve adapted my other mixed influences into this genre.

I hope people can appreciate what I have tried to do with it and can understand the concept as a lot of the tracks are more about the vibe or a specific era and how that sound represents this music for me personally.

Picking up the lovely arpeggio – if that’s what it is – and the amens of ‘Midgar’, well we’re in classic D&B territory here, in fact it reminds me of the time when ‘D&B’ got really known by that term as was more ‘linear’… so what got you into D&B?

I wasn’t someone who grew up listening to tape packs from the age of 13 instead I had a very eclectic taste is music, I was mainly a big fan of Hip Hop and Electronica in my teen years and even before that I was really into Rock, Punk and Ska music. By the time I got into Jungle and Drum & Bass music I was already in the process of trying to be Hip Hop DJ and Turntablist so I already had a set of decks and was DJing at house parties.

The first thing that appealed to me about Jungle and Drum & Bass was the energy, it just seem to stand out for me against all other music at the time. By the time I had bought my first load of D&B vinyl I was hooked!

I wasn’t just interested in what was going on currently in D&B I wanted to go right back through the history of the music and educate myself on how it all started, I’d say that’s where my love for the old skool Jungle sound came from.

… and tell us about the creation of the tune? Must’ve sounded amazing in the studio when it arose!

It was actually a tune I made a couple of years ago that was going to be used as demo for a vocalist, at that point it was more just pads and atmosphere sort of like a backing track. Earlier this year when I was starting to think about working on an album I was going back through old projects and found it, straight away the idea hit me of this could be great intro track to an album so I developed the intro, drums and a bassline that would sit under the main pads and enhance the atmosphere of the whole track.

As soon as I had all those elements in place I knew that it would be the first track of the album, when I had originally made it for a vocalist I didn’t have a name for the track, I think it was just called ‘Untitled Roller’ in the project.

The title?

The title ‘Midgar’ some people might recognize from the classic RPG game ‘Final Fantasy 7’ I was always a bit of a computer game geek growing up and originally had wanted to be a computer game developer as a career. The arpeggio in the tune reminded me of the theme tune to this game so I thought it would be a perfect title for the into track as its something that was personal to me growing up.

Big fan of ‘You First’ and that big strontium step! The big tech vibe, the gentle soundtracky things… so when did the tune come about?

As the title of the album is ‘Mixed Origins’ I was on a mission to include all styles of Drum & Bass that have influenced me over the years. A big influence for me when I first started mixing was Hazard as I was a bit of a jump up head at first.

I always loved how he incorporated film samples and soundtracks into his tunes, especially Kung Fu movies as I’ve been mad on those films since I was a teenager. I wanted to make a jump up steppy vibe but also incorporate a big heavy tech reese bass in there something that would hopefully appeal to a wide audience across Drum & Bass.

Do you switch styles in your live set?

Yeah sure! in fact that’s the main reason I was called ‘Hybrid’ as Ive never just stuck to one style of D&B in my sets and have always loved the halftime steppy and experimental tunes too, anything that keeps things interesting.

I love all styles of Jungle and Drum & Bass but I get bored listening to a set that is just jump up or just tech or jungle, I like to mix it all up together! Some of the best crowd reactions I have had in the past is when I’ve dropped a classic jungle tune with a vocal everyone knows and then double dropped it with a heavy rolling techy tune over the top.

What’s a great recollection of a live night in D&B? Maybe as a fan, or behind decks… I don’t mind. There simply is nothing and will be nothing like when you step from the street into a D&B club and it’s on fire. Your music makes me think of that!

Thanks I appreciate that as a lot of the time that’s the vibe I’m going for.

I would have to say earlier this year I went to play in Liege, Belgium and the rave was basically in a cave! the setting and the atmosphere was crazy in there and was something I was not expecting. The room that I played in was basically like a long tunnel with quite a low ceiling, it was dark and dingy in there and all you could see was just shadows and figures of people moving about.

It was just one of those sets were everything comes together and mixes bang on, I was just dropping tune after tune and the crowd was going mental. It was even going off that much the MC from the main room left and decided to come and MC on my set instead.

I’m sure everyone has good things to say about Belgium now but I couldn’t speak highly enough of the promoters and ravers out there and I will be out there again next year.

1-hybrid large

Take us behind the 4/4 stomp of It’s ‘Murder’? Needs to be played on a big system with letters ‘VLV’ in the title.

Yeah exactly! I would expect any real fan of D&B to know the influence of this tune straight away! Dillinja is by far one of my all time favorite producers and easily one of the most innovative and talented producers in the D&B scene.

Again with the concept of the album being ‘Mixed Origins’ I have tried to incorporate my love for Hip Hop into the intro and with the vocal sample which is used throughout the tune. For me you can never have enough 808’s and reeses in this music and that’s exactly what this tune is: big catchy reese bass and big distorted 808s!

The original of this tune was released as a single earlier in the year but I found it wasn’t very enjoyable to mix in my sets so with the VIP I just wanted to simplify it and make sure it could cause maximum damage on the dance floor!

What’s a production tip for someone starting out and swamped by too much cheap info, like ‘VSTs are great!’ ‘Reason/Traktor is amazing!’ ‘You won’t replace samplers and synths’ ‘You must sample your own breaks’ ‘you must use Ableton’ ‘You can’t use online vids or sample packs’. I mean wtf does someone do, of any level of expertise with no cash?

When I first started producing I spent all my time trying to learn how to make all the really complicated basses in vst’s, or how to make the biggest sounding snare drum which is good but the only problem was that I spent all my time doing that, watching online tutorials and learning about the latest plugins it actually got in the way of making music!

I would say the most important thing while making music for me now is the vibe and enjoying that vibe while your working on it too, you can spend all day trying to make the most complex tune out there but if the vibe isn’t right or your not enjoying the process of making it then you most probably won’t even finish that tune.

I quite enjoy now just getting the basics right like cutting up breaks and laying a simple bass line down in a sampler, you can buy sample packs but obviously people still made this music originally before all these loopmasters artist sample packs were out there.

You can find any of the original funk breaks to download for free on the net and pitch them up and process them to make authentic Jungle tunes or I’ve even made my own breaks by using hip hop beat machines which came free with magazines and then speeding them up to D&B tempo; it’s just about what you find inspiring and fun while you’re in the studio and you don’t have to spend lots of money on all the latest sample packs, vsts and plugins there are plenty of good free ones which you can download too.

Over the years I’ve had a lot of people say to me you should use Ableton or Studio one and so on but I’ve always used Cubase as it’s what I was taught to use at a college course when I first started out, I’ve used Cubase for about seven years now and I have always thought switching DAWs at this point would be more counterproductive than anything.

Again I would say it’s all about what your most comfortable using, there is no right or wrong way just they way you feel most creative and for me creativity is something you can’t teach.

What’s another tune here you’d take us into, that you are particularly proud of?

There’s two tunes which I’d like to talk about, first is ‘Boom in 93’ which pretty much sums up the concept of the album to me. Its a tune where I have tried to recreate the vibe of old pirate radio shows and flicking between the frequencies.

Again I hope people can understand the concept of it as its not supposed to necessarily be an original piece of music but more of a homage to that entire era and culture, I even thought of how old jungle tunes sampled reggae soundclashes so why can’t I do that with old tape packs or jungle documentaries as they are now over 20 years old themselves; it was more about getting a authentic vibe more than anything like if I didn’t tell someone when the tune was made they might mistake it for an authentic 90’s jungle tune.

The other tune?

The second tune I’d like to talk about is one of the tunes I’m most proud of on the album and that’s ‘Dem Try’ again it represents my concept of the album well as it pretty much combines the old skool with the new.

The main rhythm is like a half beat dancehall tune but I have been heavily influenced by producers like Fracture and what he has been doing recently and that’s using Jungle breaks in more unconventional ways.

Although the tune has a very modern edge to it breaks connoisseurs will be able to spot little nods to the old breaks which I have cut up and used in various parts of the track.

Any shouts?

First off I’ve got to say a huge thanks to Dan Callide, Al Kennedy and everyone at Cygnus Music that has been helping me get this album out there and basically bringing it to attention of people like yourself, if it wasn’t for them I probably wouldn’t of had half the exposure I’ve got so far.

I would strongly recommend them to any aspiring artists that want to get their music out there. Other than that I’d just like to say shout to Mike DJ Vapour as he gave me one of my first releases years ago which sort of kicked things off for me in the scene.

Also shouts to Ray Keith, Serial Killaz, Visionary and Billy Daniel Bunter for the continued support with what I’m doing with my own music but also my labels. Shouts to all the artists on my labels Audio Addict & Deep In The Jungle – too many to mention – shouts to my close friends and family and lastly to my fiancee Katie who has supported and believed in me from day one before I could even mix.

Mixed Origins‘ is out November 9

You can follow Damian B on Twitter, @DAMIAN___B
D&B for some time now; studied at institution of Fabio & Grooverider.