DyAD are a two man-strong production and DJ alias making sounds that seem to represent an entire army. Danny and Matt’s winning entry in the Pressed Records/ Matt-U competition brought them to our attention, but they’ve set the bar and then raised it with the music that followed the Danger remix.
Their productions are of immense quality, and their collaborations – with some of the most underrated producers in the scene – are some of the most sought after dubs we’ve come across from the new guns in bass music. We think it’s about time we shone some much deserved light on the duo…
Hi DyAD, how are you guys? Danny & Matt: Really well thank you…2013 was a crazy year…can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!
If you can remember, when was your first encounter with electronic music? How has it impacted you since? M: Ooosh… I guess looking back my first encounter with electronic music was being introduced to drum and bass in 2002 by a friend. He had a space out in an industrial estate where we would go to hang until the early hours. There was a set of 1210s in the corner and I had no idea what to do with them, people around me were spinning this incredible music that I’d never heard before so I had to get involved! In terms of impact it’s been pretty heavy since then. I wanted to know how this music worked, how it was made and how I could do it. From that point I would say I made the study of electronic music a priority, from taking a course at college to playing it at parties, sound engineering for bands, anything I could get my hands on! My best friend for the past 10 years has probably been my haha!
D: 1994 was the year for me (long time ago now). A friend lent me a tape pack from a dreamscape rave. All I can say is that I was completely blown away by this sound. I’d never heard anything like it before. The energy, the vibes, the crazy things these producers were doing with the early technology really shaped the foundation of my love of electronic music ever since.
How would you describe your signature sound? D: A tough one. I get influences from a wide variety of places. Hip-hop, reggae – even classical music – they all play a part in how the sound has developed for me. I never considered electronic music as strictly for the rave (because I listen to it everywhere), so I’ve always tried to make music that can be enjoyed on a massive rig or on your headphones. A theme to the music is important, it always needs to convey something to the listener or it simply doesn’t resonate with me.
M: Hard question… Difficult to say without sounding cheesy! Galactic dwarbstep? Ominous euphoria?! Heheh, nah just joking. Uplifting darkness… I’d say we try and strike a balance between the light side of our music, and at the same time adding a feeling that somethings not quite right. I feel like I should be in a mental asylum, so I try and put people there with me! Also, weight. Lots of weight and bass. We wear our influences on our sleeves, but I’d like to think if you hear a DyAD track, you know it’s us. Sometimes it’s difficult to say how your music impacts you, when you spend hours, days, even weeks making a track… But I think if I can sit back in the studio and feel happy with a track or drop it at a rave and see people enjoying themselves then all is good!
What are your goals for the future? If there’s one artist you could collaborate with, who would it be? D: I would love to be able to do music full time, it’s my number one passion. I’d rather be doing music than anything else, so being able to pull on all my previous experiences in events promotion, studio work and distribution would be awesome. I take a keen interest in many aspects of the music industry, so helping to bring great artists and music to the forefront would be amazing.
M: World domination! Pinky and the Brain style. On a serious note, I just want to make as much music as I can. I want to do this full time, all the time! I’d love to play gigs across the world, do sound engineering work, write reviews about artists and promotions, the list goes on… Also, one day I want to make a documentary about global bass music. First and foremost though I want to keep writing and pushing DyAD forwards as much as possible.
Both: In terms of one artist… That’s difficult! Aside from all the great producers and artists we’re currently networking with, I think first and foremost I would like to head across the seas and play with Tristan & Dre from Truth. Next down the list (in no specific order) would be the Uprise Audio gang, Biome, then the guys from M.U.D, specifically Demon. Then Distance, Leon Switch….it’s too hard to pin one down!
Of the places you’ve played out, what’s been your favourite venue? What about favourite systems? M: For me it was Get Darker! Was great fun to play there and a wicked atmosphere – even if it wasn’t necessarily a rave. Venue wise, anything with a Funktion One or a Nexo system in!
D: Back when I used to run events, I got the opportunity to play at quite a few great venues. I tend to like the more serious venues that care about sound and hire a good engineer who knows their stuff. I’m a big fan of venues that have that old school warehouse vibe. Funktion One, Nexo and Turbosound are by far the best systems for electronic music in my opinion, they just represent.
?How do your productions come about? Is there a specific work flow you apply when you build a beat? M: Over the years the flow has changed a fair bit. Nowadays, I normally start with melodies and atmospheres. I build up huge layers of effects, different melody parts, different pads, drones, lead lines, etc. Then I’ll generally use a combination of my own ideas and referencing to place and initially mix all the various parts,check phase, add sends and effects to it all and get it sounding as big as I can. Then I’ll start adding drums, tuning them to my chord sequence and get a vibe going that way. It might sound a bit boring but I’m finding more and more that this way produces consistent results for me! Once this is done, it’s all about the vibes, baselines, getting arrangements down, expanding, automating, refining the track until it’s ready to stem and mix fully.
D: I try not to have a set plan on how to go about things because I feel it’s important to get the main idea down first. It could start with a melody I have stuck in my head or a cool sample that provides a certain type of vibe or message. It depends on the idea at the time; it may be a heavy rhythm-based track, so I’d start with the drums in that instance. Sometimes inspiration can come from messing around with a new synth or hearing a sound totally out of its original context.
What’s your production set up like? What is your favourite piece of gear in your production chain? D: I’ve got a fairly basic set up. A pair of KRKs, a midi keyboard/controller and a half decent computer. I’ve also got a nice Focusrite soundcard that captures audio nicely (which is great because we do record quite a few vocal samples ourselves). I’m always chasing the upgrade, but often looking for the next best thing can really get in the way of creativity. I find some limitations can help me get better, more efficient use out of my gear.
M: A lot of my set up is focused inside my PC. I just upgraded to an i7 extreme CPU with 64GB of RAM, SSDs etc. The thing cost an arm and a leg but there’s pretty much no limit to what I can do in the box now. I’ve got an NI Komplete Audio 6 soundcard, it’s fairly basic but it’s got the buffer and sample rate I need and enough ins and outs. A Rode condenser mic, midi keyboard and a couple of big ass screens complete my setup. For monitoring, I swap between a single ADAM A7, my Sennheiser HD650’s and my Sennheiser HD25 IIs. I prefer headphones for most of my work currently, only because at the moment acoustic treatment isn’t an option where I’m at. My favourite piece of kit is definitely the Rode mic… When I take it to Danny’s place and combine it with his Focusrite pre-amps it makes recording a dream!
Of the synths you use, which is your favourite – and why? M: It’s a recent discovery but at the moment I can’t get enough of Image Line’s Harmor. I’m still finding my way around using it properly, but the opportunities for re-sampling inherent within the synth are crazy. I’d honestly recommend anyone to try it! It’s quite intimidating but if you ever dreamed of churning out gnarly basses in less than 15 minutes this synth can make it happen!
D: Trillian for deep rich bass. It has a great sound and is really easy to navigate. Basically it sounds great and doesn’t get in the way or kill the vibe with loads of ridiculous parameters.
What’s your number one production tip for the bedroom producers out there? M: Invest in the best monitoring and acoustic treatment you can. Never buy cheap if you can afford better and put every hour you can into your music. If you have a solid plan, dedication and an ear for music things WILL happen. Sounds cheesy I know.
D: A/B your tracks and level match your tracks all the time. Stop trying to get things stupid loud and focus on great musical content. Keep challenging yourself to learn more and think about music as a 3D object with width (stereo field), depth (foreground/background) and height (frequency range). Also don’t beat yourself up about it not sounding perfect, there is no such thing as perfect. Instead, just try and make as much music as you can and you’ll develop your own techniques along the way. Sorry more than one point, but I could talk about music production all day!
What can you tell us about the tracks you’ve given away in your FKOF EP? both: When we came around to writing the track Condemned we knew it had to be a deep one that pushes the boundaries. We tried to capture a theme, not just in the sample but in the way all of the parts sounded too. We tried to encapsulate a futuristic place with strange organic life-forms, cool technological advances and ethereal atmospherics and melodies.
Which producers are continually blowing you away with new music? D: There are loads of great producers who continually wow me and really keep pushing the envelope and they’re quite rightly getting recognised for it. In terms of ‘ones to watch’ I’d say Khafu has this way of locking a vibe down and rolling with it. Deafblind is just ridiculously good (I think he’s a machine), Arkwright always keeps you on your toes, never quite know what is gonna be next with him, but it’s always good. Commit makes some infectious tunes. D-Operation Drop really have their own sound. There’s so many more I could mention, but you’ll run out of space.
M: Pretty much similar to Dan’s answers here. Khafu is coming with the vibes, he’s going to be big, I know it! Commit and Outbound are keeping things fresh and musical to me at the moment as well. I’m a big fan of the D-Operation Drop releases too; there’s a whole host of producers that are bubbling below the surface ready to make some serious impact. One who’s smashed the seal is Mesck, recently getting signed to Chestplate. His productions make me cry in envy, go listen if you haven’t heard! Also watch out for Basscatz’ next EP. It’s a killer!
Any final words or shoutouts to finish with? M: I struggle on this bit. First and foremost to anyone who listens to and enjoys our music, thank you! Likewise, a big thanks to everyone who’s helped us along the road so far: Pressed Records (and FKOF) for our Danger remix, Annihilate Audio for our first EP, 140Deep and Deeper Vibrations for their features. Out to Chad Dubz and the Foundation family, CJ Broad, Khafu, Commit, Outbound, Oudjat, Karnage, Syte & Crises from the Mindstep family, as well as Martin and Bozhidar from the lovely Platform Music! Finally, biggest shouts to our best boys Ben & Ollie from LifeSines, our musical brothers from an alternate mother.
D: I’m really pleased to announce that our website went live recently. I’m a nerd so I built it all myself, quite proud of it and looking forward to developing it further as time goes on. I want to make a shout out to Annihilate Audio for putting out our first release, it exceeded all our expectations and went to number 1 on Juno in all Dubstep categories. I can’t thank you all enough for supporting that release.
D: Big shout to Pressed Records for putting our remix of Danger up alongside the District remix and the Matt-U VIP for free download. Thanks to FatKidOnFire for the feature on this too! Shouts to Dusk FM for offering to host a new slot on their station with us on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month. There is some really cool artists on there. We’re really happy to be a part of it. And last but never least, all the people who have been supporting us along this journey. Thank you so much, it really means a lot to us. Oh, and watch this space…!