How apt that the casually immortal Logistics has a track on his new Polyphony album called ‘Transcending’. As Polyphony does tend to be transcendent. I couldn’t wait: I immediately had to ask about the tune of the same name… it’s at the end of the interview.
‘Transcending’ was written after a long weekend at Glastonbury festival, I’d heard an incredible set there by Sbtrkt that had really inspired me and the result of that was ‘Transcending’. The long drawn out intro in the track was inspired by a section of his set that kept on threatening to drop but kept on teasing until eventually after about ten minutes the track kicked in and the place erupted.
Polyphony‘s great. And makes me feel great. What was the overall focus on the intention, the vibe of the album.
Thank you! With this album I was really keen to go back to my roots to an extent. With it being slated for a July release date I felt it was good time to write a really relaxed summer album. I think this mostly came off the back of working on the Nu:Logic album with Nu:Tone and also from playing DJ sets together too. Last year we played a lot of festivals and we were really trying to get away with playing deep and musical sets in those situations, often to pretty big crowds which we found got a great response.
Sometimes the temptation in those situations is to play dance floor music that you think works for big crowds but we were finding the more relaxed and soulful music was getting a great response. Playing those sets really gave me the confidence to follow that path for my own production.
There’s some excellent twists on Polyphony. Like ‘Homeward Bound’. I could live in this vibe all day. Can you talk us through this tune?
It’s maybe a little surprising for people to hear that track in the middle of the album but I make a lot of that kind of music just for fun and also to give myself a break from writing just D&B.
That track was really inspired by people like Cyril Hahn and also Purity Ring whose production I adore. It was one of those tunes I’d started and before I knew it, it’d kind of written itself. There’s not a huge amount going on but I think the space in the song is what makes it work for me. I’d written it specifically for the project mainly with the intention of emphasising the relaxed vibe of the album.
You talked about going back to your roots, so overall how do you think your style has changed over time, the last decade or so?
I’m bad at answering questions like this but I guess the main thing is that hopefully my production and songwriting has improved. I still love uplifting, soulful and bass-heavy music and I think that’s still a constant in my music.
‘Polyphony’ (without googling) sounds like an ability to multitask, to sort of ‘explode’ your functionality… to blossom, to bloom, but it’s also sort of lovely and retro too…
I think my sound has always had quite a retro feel to it, most of my influences are from 70s and 80s music even if that maybe doesn’t immediately seem apparent. The name was actually given to the track I wrote with Sonic first before settling on it for the album title. We decided to name that track ‘Polyphony’ because it has layers of melodies running through it. I then sat back and thought that this is one thing that’s really common in my own productions.
Related, can D&B be a little too perfect and polished sometimes? There was something to be said for f*cked up sounds and imperfections.
A lot of my favourite D&B and actually music in general has a certain grit to it that gives it some edge. I think lots of electronic music in general these days is sounding overly-polished to the point of it all sounding the same and that’s why people like Todd Edwards and Calibre really appeal to me. Their music has a real charm and for me, a lot of that comes from it not being glossy and over-produced.
… so do you yourself like lo-fi sounds? Are there some on the album we can hear?
I love lo-fi sounds. I’m sure there are some on the album although it’s hard to remember where they are. I think ‘Sparks’ has a kind of old, lo-fi sound to the beats. I
deliberately made the drums sound a bit gritty just because the guitar loop has such a retro feel to it that I felt it needed to be backed up by classic sounding drums.
Can I ask who Will Robert is, and how did ‘Forevergreen’ come about? It’s a hazy, sandy, delicious tune.
He’s a friend of mine who I’d talking about doing some sessions with for a while. We’ve actually written quite a few tracks that are nearing completion but ‘Forevergreen’ is the one we pushed through with for the album. He came to my studio one day and wrote that vocal in an afternoon, it was quite a quick process. He then recorded the vocal in one take which is so satisfying as a producer.
Speaking of delicious, guitar pops up here a few times: ‘Wanderlust’ and in ‘Sparks’ and in both a different character is imparted. I say it as guitar CAN sound a bit average – depending – in D&B… so how does the choice of instrumentation come to you?
The guitar in ‘Sparks’ was originally a sample that I’d found from an old library record. I’d had the sample for a few years but had never managed to get it to work previously.
I re-pitched and re-programmed the sample and then remade it by playing it back in myself. It took quite a while to get the tone of the recreated guitar close to the original but I’m happy with how it turned out. ‘Wanderlust’ was a track that I’d had the idea for for quite a while, I’d been listening to bands like Daughter and Hammock a lot and was really drawn to their spacey and heavily reverberated guitars in their music.
I once asked you about albums and their physical recording process… are there any albums in your collections you’re losing yourself in?
I’m into quite a wide range of music but I rarely find albums that I want to listen to the entire way through. I still absolutely love Cinematic Orchestra’s Everyday album though and I always go back to that album. For me, it’s just has a really coherent vibe to it whilst having enough diversity to keep your attention. The arrangement on the tracks are all incredible too.
Last, what D&B is floating your boat? Any choices, any killers in the box?
I really like Rockwell’s latest single, that’s an incredible piece of music and it’s pretty rare to hear D&B that sounds totally fresh these days. The new Metrik single ‘Want My Love’ is also a fantastic piece of music that I see standing the test of time. Ivy Lab are also putting out quality releases lately and I find pretty much everything they do lately is going into my sets.