Hypoxia: Anova and more
‘We think it’s important to give tracks and EPs a story with a decent name’
Hypoxia have dropped a proper clusterfunk in the shape of the Anova ep, and it’s as if the music has been randomly chromeplated in order to conceal a giant, irregular, grotesque body structure underneath. Resulting in a disturbing hulk which functions perfectly, despite being so alien/confounding. And that ep title? From the Analysis Of Variance statistical method. Obviously.
Intrigued? The duo went in about production and got pretty contentious about the local scene too, so read on and check the podcast at the end too.
Hey Hypoxia this is a fantastic ep, it’s full of ideas and I love your style… I know you’re in Antwerp but I don’t know much about you apart from ‘Space Time’…
First of all thanks a lot for loving our style and lots of respect for promoting D&B music.
Hypoxia is a collaboration between Athys – Maxim – and Syntopia – William.
We both had our own solo careers before starting this project. Maxim was part of the producers/DJ duo Athys & Duster and William had a decent name playing out all over Belgium.
Since Maxim was already doing some great stuff in the studio, I started to send him some stuff I did on my own for getting some feedback.
After sending a few bits and sounds he insisted to meet up immediately. So I didn’t hesitate a second. I took my car, drove down to Maxim… and forgot my USB. Ha ha.
And since that day we became good friends and decided to mainly focus on Hypoxia.
To the release can you take us through ‘Profanity’? I love this tune.
‘Profanity’ was all about making a dancefloor smasher with a dark and evil intro. The track was written in a few sessions we did early 2014.
We just couldn’t stop adding more layers to the drums, so it ended up as some raw techno-influenced building up track where we and ravers go nuts on.
Once it was finished we thought it was a bit too much, but we received some really good feedback so decided to keep that version.
And it made me wonder what influences do you have? Can you list a few?
We’re actually influenced by a lot of different music, but when it comes to drum and bass it’s definitely Noisia. Every release they push the boundaries and bring out fresh stuff on a typical Noisia-ish approach.
In general we have big respect for everyone who are pushing the techy and neuro flavored styles, starting with the old Kemal, BCUK, Virus sounds to the new digital generation like Mefjus, Phace…
Besides drum and bass, we get a lot of inspiration from movie scores, experimental stuff or those dark melodic sounds in house or techno music.
Nickbee is really good at giving such a melodic-acid twist to his tracks, we are working with him on a few projects and might do some more stuff together in de future.
It’s also worth mentioning we both grew up with a love for hard-rock and metal. Slipknot is one of those groups who can’t do wrong.
We recently went to Graspop Metal Meeting – Belgium’s biggest Metal festival – to do some teambuilding and go nuts on Slipknot.
Not forgetting Amon Tobin and other Ninja Tune stuff, which ease our minds after long days of sound design.
Where do you work on this ace material: what’s the studio like?
William: Most of our sound design starts in the box, but once we bounce down a few cool sounds we start to process them with some analogue equipment, just to give it that warm, gritty and oldskool feeling.
What’s something about the setup you like?
I guess I would go for my Virus TI. It’s not some kind of magical sound-design box like most of the starting producers think, but you can’t deny it’s really a great and well built piece of hardware with a lot of cool wavetables to mess around.
Maxim: I really love my room and my Event Opal monitors. I spend five months building my studio, the acoustics are not near perfect, but way better than the bedroom-acoustics I started out with.
Mixing is all about knowing your speakers and room and a well trained ear. I also love my own DIY 1176 compressor which I (ab)use on many things.
William: At the end we finish up all stuff in Maxim his studio. Since he has the better-sounding setup, a degree as mix/master engineer and experience with doing mastering for other people, I totally trust him on his post-process workflow.
On to ‘Psychosis’… this is a CRUNCHER, it’s amazing. They all are.
It started out as an experiment doing a lot of resampling with N.I. Kontakt.
I (William) started the groove and had an idea to do some call-answer kind of groove between the bass and the pitching snares.. and it just worked. Max started the intro, breakdown and worked on the mixdown.
After a few versions we both felt the tune needed some epic riser before the drop and give it some techno kind of feel during the track with those acid-influenced plucks.
What with titles like this, and your artist name, the ep name… are you into states of being, modes of consciousness?
We like to browse around, dig deeper in all kinds of random stuff and note down cool concepts we’ve read somewhere.
Searching for a name which makes sense and reflects on how we feel about something is just a matter of seconds.
We think it’s important to give tracks and EPs a story with a decent name.
What about the scene near you? Is the D&B scene big?
The scene is really big in Antwerp, but a lot has changed the past few years. Some of these changes where positive, some negative. One of the positive sides is the growing D&B family in Antwerp. It doesn’t matter who you are, which people you work with or where you come from. We all know and respect each other well.
However Antwerp used to have a a lot of diversity. There were many underground raves, each promoting different aspects of the D&B spectrum, but they disappeared because they couldn’t compete with the bigger players like Antwerp Cityflow, Rampage or Stealth Bombers.
Nowadays jumpup is really big in Antwerp and still growing strong. Sad to hear less and less more minimal and dark subgenres to be honest.
Tell us more
The jumpup thingy is really getting big and starting to influence peoples vision of D&B in a negative way.
I’ve seen a meme once: ‘made a minimal jumpup track, got booked on a festival in Belgium’.
This really sums up how the jump-up scene in Belgium works. Some people new to the music don’t pay attention to talent, even with ‘Andy C’ mixing skills they won’t notice you if you’re from Belgium.
It’s all about getting some anonymous overseas DJs play at your party and let them try to perform some six deck stuff which just sound cheap.
I hope this is going to change soon. A lot of DJ talent in Belgium gave up their dreams and stopped mixing because they don’t get the change to play out.
Promoters prefer to get four free producers from overseas.
I’m not saying there aren’t talented producers in the subgenre but if your only talent is smoking blunts and sampling snares, I guess it’s time to reconsider your career.
So what about you guys, do you DJ out together?
We try to DJ out together as much as possible; we love to play out both and impress each other with new mixes and tracks.
It’s important to keep having fun while playing out, so it’s kind of a game between us which makes us perform better and mix faster. Sometimes we go really competitive… we could argue and have laughs about stuff we did on stage afterwards, while enjoying a fresh beer of course.
What is a tune that’s doing damage live right now?
Max: I’m dying to get my hands on ‘Mouth Breather’, Noisia & The Upbeats, I’ve been waiting for over 1.5 year now. Arghh.
Will: Two Fingers & Noisia ‘Salah’
Even if it’s not D&B, I love to play it somewhere in our sets as an interlude.
What tune is in your head right now?
Will: Amon Tobin ‘Slowly’
Max: Massive Attack ‘Paradise Circus’ (Gui Boratto Remix)
Any shouts Hypoxia?
Shouts to all the ravers, friends, family, AMC, Jade, Noisia, Nickbee, Ed Rush & Optical, June Miller, HYQXYZ, One87, Murdock… Hans started out mid 90s with smaller underground parties, pushed the D&B sound for years and put Antwerp on a map with Rampage, a rave with 15k people!
… Doctrine, Stealth Bombers-crew and everyone who helped and supported us in the past !
Special shouts to the We Love Dubstep & Drum&Bass private FB group and not to forget the Belgian D&B Daddy Hendrik who teaches the new kids the history of D&B with his Ravers Revenge mixtapes.
Also big thanks to the G-Star crew from the Antwerp Store with giving us a lot of styling-advice and stuff to wear!