Hybris & DLR: Meeting of Minds
What do you get when you lock two technical wizards away in a studio? Magic, obviously…
We’d been waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the genius minds of Hybris & DLR to meet in spectacular fashion, and our prayers were recently answered… Their ‘A New Tomorrow’ EP on Dispatch is everything we’d hoped for and more, with a mind-bending collab, 2 solo tracks, as well as a remix each. We caught up with the guys to find out more about the release, and what else is in the pipeline…
Ok so this EP is a bit of a monster…. What inspired you guys to work on a project together?
Hybris – Thanks! For me I saw Jay coming up as a serious production beast, and when I listened through his first album “Seeing Sounds” I knew we had to do something together. We had already known each other for a while and had had a few good laughs, and I thought actually trying something together would be fun. From the conception of the idea, to the execution of the EP it took a while, but I think it turned out pretty alright!
DLR – I usually work with people because I like them… I like to take this sort of approach because I think in music sometimes people can be quite scheming, trying to suss out who they want to collab with so that they can further their career, or at least make the right career decision instead of following their heart. So for me my heart was telling me that I have a deep ever-growing love for Evan and I wanted to express this to him by making him put up with me in the studio for 3-4 days, and then another year or 2 trying to round the whole project off…. Haha I do feel sorry for him, but it was excellent training for becoming a father!
Funny story behind Every Day Is A New Tomorrow with you guys smashing it out over a night and then deciding it was a “festering pile of shit” (in Hybris’ words) the next day … How did you go from being so enthusiastic about the tune to deciding it wasn’t good enough?
Hybris – I think the vibes the first day were good, and we were just having a good time and not worrying about the fact that we had to keep the doors open in the studio to breathe, and that that would affect the sound, and we ignored the fact that we had started the tune in E for no reason, which really made the sub bass difficult to hear on my setup.
Just rolling on vibes and not being technical can sometimes be great, but in this case we just started something that would be very difficult to finish. I think the next day Jay just decided to be a picky bastard and got cold feet on all of the ballsy ideas we had enthusiastically concocted, and that made the whole thing come tumbling down. But I think what we ended up finishing is much better than what we created the first day, so I’m good with it.
DLR – ‘Festering pile of shit’ is a little strong, however you are correct the first version turned out to be utter shite.. for many reasons including the bass being too low. We enjoyed just working in the studio and hearing new sounds. Sometimes these new sounds and ideas can almost distract your ear from the critical listening that has to be done. However enjoying the vibe and letting it take you wherever it’s going is crucial, so these days I have just tried to accept that often the first version is just not good enough.
These days I’m keen on making sure the tune is as good as it can be, sometimes this can be done in the first few versions, and when I use hardware it can force me into accepting that the version I have is the one, but if it’s just not good enough but the idea and tune is really good then I’ll replace drums, bass, whatever has to be done to rescue and idea. Ideas are precious and not to be thrown away easily, it’s always what I struggle with which is why i’m always keen to make them work if they are good!
The tune then took a year to complete, is that right? How did you tackle the task of getting it where you wanted it?
Hybris – We traded stems a couple of times and really mangled the idea. Jay got that stuttery, stabby riff going, then on the last trade I just slapped a completely different bassline in there and that seemed to tie it together pretty well. After that it was just a question of getting the mix right, which took a few versions. I think the key was not being too attached to anything about the original idea and just rolling with the flow of where the other person took it. Once you get attached and defensive of your own ideas it’s easy to get a tune stuck in the mud.
DLR – I think it’s a little easy for people reading to think that we sat there for a year and finally finished the tune, but realistically you dip in and out of the project, we both have and have had so much going on with our work, and lives. We’re both pretty mature (believe it or not) and experienced, so we understand that good things come to those who wait, you have to operate with a lot of patience in the world of arts, things just don’t happen like you’d expect them to, or at least expect the unexpected and always be ready to put the time in to get the result you need or want.
Quite the poetic title too. Was it inspired by anything in particular?
Hybris – You know I think that one was mostly on Jay. Someone on my Facebook page commented that the title of the tune was amazing because it was about how that first day was so productive and the next day was completely different, but honestly we had named the project on the first day, so unfortunately that wasn’t really the idea. Though I agree, that would be a pretty cool meaning. So actually, yes, that was the idea.
DLR – Im always one for a sample or tune title to spark a bit of thought… the essence for me is that everyday is a new day, in a positive and negative way, things can switch up, attitudes and mentalities can change for the better or worse.. In reality life never stays the same it’s always surprising you and should keep you on your toes… Just a statement about how I see life really without reading a huge amount into it.
What was the best and worst part of working together?
Hybris – The best part of working together is we both get along pretty well and can communicate what we want without getting too finicky and bitchy with each other. That’s a huge benefit and just doesn’t happen with everyone. Jay also has a ridiculous amount of totally badass sounds he’s made on him at all times, so throwing things together from some of those pieces was pretty convenient. Also we’ve got a lot of mutual respect, and it’s always great working with someone who you trust to do good things.
I guess the worst part is when Jay’s inner monologue somehow becomes external, and you’re subjected to a barrage of stream of consciousness commentary on every mouse click. That’s when you have to take deep breaths and selectively pay attention to the things you want to hear…
DLR – Wow, I’m hurt… Ouch! Haha, well basically I believe in the studio too much is better than too little, it frustrates me a lot when someone comes into the studio, and you know they are full of ideas and ability and end up sitting quiet as a mouse. I understand it can be a strange experience outside of your comfort zone, I usually balance this out by doing and saying too much. I love to work with people that are a little over the top as you can always tell someone to relax a little whilst you finish your mission on the computer, but it’s very very hard to bring someone out of their shell.
Evan is a very forward thinking, experienced producer who has an interesting way of working and relies heavily on sound design to achieve his goals. You won’t find anyone better than him at what he does. He is very strong-minded and has solid opinions and is strong with them, always willing to inject his feelings and ideas into a project. This is a great mix for collaboration as you end up with a track which really feels like the result of 2 people working together, plus you never actually really know what you’ll end up with!
What about each other’s approach to production impresses you, and which elements did you both bring to this release?
Hybris – I think drum and bass pumps through Jay’s veins, and he just can’t help but make completely sick and vibey sounds, whether it be drums or bass, or synths or sound effects. I have always been blown away by how thick, grimy and classy his sounds are. Not to mention his ridiculous engineering and overall aesthetic. For the collab, it was definitely very 50/50 as far as making sounds and ideas, I ended up hammering out the final tune and doing the mixdown, as it was finished in my studio, and Jay did the mastering for everything.
DLR – Got ahead of myself and already answered a lot of this question above and Evan has summed up the rest of it nicely. It was definitely a collaborative project, which made it a lot of fun!
How did you tackle the solo tracks on the EP? Was there a specific vision/ idea behind the EP as a whole?
Hybris – “Lately” was a tune I had originally started for my album Emergence a few years ago. It never came together in time for the album, but later I dug it up and improved it and finished it properly, and ended up dropping it as my last tune in Vienna when Ant was playing after me. He loved it, I offered it to him, he took it. Some time after that, while the EP with Jay was in the works, I thought it might be a good idea to put this on there, as it had a more experimental vibe to it, and could complement what is otherwise a very rolling EP.
DLR – Panoramic View was something that I did for my Dreamland LP.. haha seems to be a bit of a theme going on here. I think Ant is incredibly experienced and realistic and he knows he needs to keep things behind because collaboration projects can be, and are fucking longgggggg, and to have material ready to go and introduce to a project is very very handy to be able to complete the project. Often when I work on bigger projects like this they just start taking shape and as an artist you can see the direction they are going in and try and move in the same direction.
How long did the EP take to piece together then?
Hybris – All in all, I couldn’t say for sure, but a couple of years. Look out for our next EP, set for release in 2026!
DLR – In Ant’s eyes I’d definitely say ‘toooooo longgggg’ but as I said above, good things come to those who wait… sometimes, anyways.. haha
How did you each approach the remix tracks for each other – did you have a concept in mind before you even got in the studio?
Hybris – Not really, we just both chose tunes we liked, and went for it.
DLR – haha, Evan came with the short version, you can see by the name of my remix ‘3rd time around’ and also if you listen around the net I’m sure you can hear a previous version or two of my remix… so judging by that you can understand it took me a long time, and eventually I got my ear in and came up with something I’m actually really really happy with…
You’re both renowned for your forward-thinking approach to production – constantly thinking outside the box and delivering intriguing arrangements … How do you both feel about the state of the scene at the moment, and the level of originality throughout the genre?
Hybris – I always think that there are interesting things going on in D&B, you just have to look in the right places. The state of many dance floors in Europe are now in full-on mandatory neuro or jump-up mode, and for me that’s kinda boring. On the other hand, there’s a ton of really interesting music creeping up, and if you go to the right night at the right club, you can have your mind blown. There’s just so much music these days that spending a lot of time complaining about the music you don’t like or don’t think is original is kind of silly. I just try and ignore what doesn’t tickle my pickle, and listen to the stuff I do like.
DLR – Hands down, no way round it, this is the most creative and forward-thinking the D&B scene has been since the mid 90s. You can see this by the rise and takeover of a lot of new artist-run labels which will shortly become the main labels in the scene taking the crown from the ones which are sleeping… also out of D&B has sprung some of the most forward-thinking new styles of music which have been born from the mentality and amalgamation of drum and bass production and song writing. Plus the authentic sound to Jungle or D&B is something that is loved far and wide and a lot of producers are really looking back to move forward, keeping that mentality and sound that we love alive! Of course there is loads of shit and lots of stuff that I don’t like, but the scene is impressively huge and you have to take the rough with the smooth…
What was the last release that gave you goosebumps?
Hybris – Not sure if it was the last time, but Camo and Krooked’s ‘Ember’ definitely gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it.
What have you both got in store for the rest of the year?
Hybris – I’ve got a single coming out on a legendary D&B label, a remix for some homies, and in the next few months i’ll be unveiling something I’ve been working very hard on. I’ve been trying to figure out how to really enjoy production again, and have been working on lots of D&B and other stuff at different tempos, and will be taking control of all aspects of the operation.
DLR – I’m launching my own label, Sofa Sound, which is going to be for solo and collaborative works. First single will be in September, on vinyl… I’m really excited about it, the tunes have got a shit-load of love across the scene and are getting played all the time, so it’s great to be able to do something off my own back after the amazing support of labels like Dispatch, amongst many others. I also have a release with Safire and DRS coming (which took even longer to write, haha!) and some other bits that i’m really proud of on other labels like Utopia.
Oooft, looking forward to it all! Any plans to get back in the studio together or have you had enough of each other?
Hybris – We’ve got another thing in the works, we’ll see how it comes together, I think if we work hard we can have it out in less than 10 years.
DLR – Yeah, I need to get back in the studio with Evan and bash my head against his until our brains turn into a gooey sludge, mix together into some sort of divine inspiration which we can then inject into our Macbooks/ iMacs /PCs / Hacks / MPCs / Electribes, etc. etc. and then press ‘go’ and watch the machine do all the work for us… sweeeeeeeet.
Final words of wisdom / shout outs?
Hybris – Massive hi-five to everyone at Dispatch for putting this out!
DLR – Drink the cool-aid… or is it don’t drink the cool-aid?? Fuck, I’m not sure… Ok, well I’ll go for irradiate the ‘hate’… Yeah you can get upset with someone and not like them, and live side-by-side, co-existing… but to absolutely hate someone for the colour of their skin, sexuality, the way they look, or speak etc. is absolutely, fundamentally not acceptable. PEACE!
Oh, and big ups Dispatch of course!
Big ups to you fellas!
A New Tomorrow is out now on Dispatch, get it here.