It’s been a fantastic week as far as new content goes here on FatKidOnFire – with a new MakeItGood mix/ interview with the awesome Subreachers duo, a brand new mix from Birmingham/ Manchester’s Blynk and a recap from adidas Original’s latest collection.
Tonight, we sit down with Seattle’s TZR – one of the finest (proper) dubstep producer/ DJs we’ve come across from the US. We’ve been following Tom’s progress over the past few months and have been really, really impressed with what we’ve seen and heard. TZR’s upcoming collabs with a few of our Southern Pacific brothers did nothing but grab our attention more so we hit him up and got him down for a feature. Follow TZR on Facebook and Twitter and peep his stupidly good mix below…
Who is TZR? TZR (pronounced Tizzer) is a nickname I picked up when I was a kid from some friends of mine around the time I started to DJ. I needed a name, and I felt like nothing else really fit so I just used that.
What got you into mixing and producing dubstep? What’s your style – big, dark basslines or as filthy as possible? Actually, my good friend and production partner, Press was very influential in initially getting me into dubstep.
I would definitely say that my style is more oriented towards the large, spacious sound and deep dark basslines. I am heavily influenced by classic Neurofunk dnb and try to incorporate a similar feel where I can.
What software do you use to produce your tracks? I use Logic Pro 8, and sometimes I will use a bit of Ableton, or Reason for certain effects or sounds via rewire.
Turntables or CDJs? I started on 1200s when I first started DJing – and that was my standard for years – but when I started producing I switched to CDJs, as it was way cheaper to burn a disk to test a new tune at a show than to cut dubs every time. Especially in the early days of producing, when it took a while to get the songs sounding right (though I feel I’m still improving and have along way from being quite where I would like to be).
How long have you producing and DJing? I started DJing DnB back in 1999, I started producing in 2005 and wrote my first dubstep tunes in 2007 and have sort of gravitated towards that sound more steadily ever since.
What’s been your best gig and if you could DJ alongside anyone, who would it be? One of my favorite shows was in Nov 2010 when Press and I played our release party for the ‘Like Minds‘ LP; the venue was packed, we played all original tunes and people were really feeling the music. It was a refreshing thing in the ‘States for crowds to really get down to the deeper sound.
As for playing alongside someone, I’d love to play alongside DJ Madd, that guy’s tunes are absolutely nuts.
Who are your top 5 dubstep producers at the moment; and why? That’s a tough one to say, there really is so much great stuff coming out right now, but I suppose in no real order:
- Seven – His tunes are all very unique yet tied together with a specific sound that is altogether his own. I also got to open for him when he came through Seattle, and he was a real down to earth nice guy.
- Boot – This dude is about to blow up big time. His new batch of work is really top notch and he always has these super clean mixdowns. He’s a big influence on me personally, and we have a few collabs currently being finalised [you’ll find a clip in TZR’s mix]. Again, an all around nice guy as well.
- Dcult – Just ended up talking with him recently and it turns out we’re both into each other’s tunes. Really into the feel of his work a ton. His tune ‘Inner Peace‘ is absolutely massive, a real stormer.
- J:Kenzo – We wrote a tune together when he came out to Seattle in ’09 called ‘Dark Circles‘ that went on the TZR & Press LP, but that song in particular really changed the way I saw writing dubstep and put me off in another direction. I’m very grateful to Jay for that, it really opened my eyes to a different way of working. All his new stuff is thick with vibes, and solid dancefloor material as well.
- Icicle – I’ve been a fan of his tunes since he was making exclusively DnB, and his dubstep is excellent. Felling all of his material.
What’s the future of dubstep – where do you see the genre going? In a word, growth. Living in the ‘States, the brostep sound is obviously the predominant sound, though I see people starting to really feel the deeper stuff.
The only problem is with the DJs. No one ever exposes the people here to the deeper side of dubstep for fear of losing the crowd. I find when I play the deeper side of dubstep out, that most people react extremely well to it and I constantly get people telling me they hate the predominant “dubstep” sound (brostep), but are really into the deep stuff. I think the more people on this side of the world that get exposed to the other[/real] side of dubstep the more you will see it expand as a whole. The Skrillex style stuff is running on a short lived fad in my opinion and really is just playing against the clock, so to speak.
With all the great tunes and superb producers working on tunes on the deeper side of dubstep, there’s still a long way to go yet in terms of exploring the sound as a whole.
Any forthcoming releases we can look forward to? Yeah, I’ve got a number of projects I’m currently working on. Hopefully this month will see the release of the next TZR & Press single, Deity and Not Human, on Shift. Then I have an EP, I’m currently in the process of finalizing for Sub Pressure, and another EP for Ylem’s Australian label, WattHz. Then I’ll be working on a whole batch of material that’s going to be kept under wraps for a bit.
Have you got any advice to upcoming DJs/ Producers? I would still consider myself coming up really, but for the most part, keep writing tunes and following the sound you are really feeling!
Personally, I went to school for audio engineering before I started writing tunes and I feel it helped immensely. It instilled a lot of good habits – like reading some books on the matter or a even manual. The information on writing music is out there for the taking in so many places, you just have to start looking.
Any shoutouts? Shouts out to Press, Grym, Dubtek, Boot, Droid Sector, Sook, J:Kenzo, Dcult, Perverse, The SubDivision, Mouch, Kial, Nyx, B1t Crunch3r, Phonetic System, Killeralien, the whole Onset and Shift crews and all my Seattle people, my label affiliations for all their continued support, Paradise Lost, Requiem Audio, Gamma Audio, Sub Pressure, Gradient Audio, and WattHz. Sorry if there’s anyone I left out!
Tom’s mix for FatKidOnFire and MakeItGood is awesome. There’s not many other ways to describe it. The US needs more talented producers like Tom pushing the deep and dark sounds of real dubstep.
We’ll see the back of brostep one day! Download the mix, spread the word and support artists like TZR. Hit him up on Twitter if you’re feeling his dubs and the other releases that feature in the mix!
Click to DOWNLOAD
- TZR – Fedaykin [WattHz dub]
- Dcult – Particle [M.U.D.]
- Press & Dubtek – Cages [Gamma Audio dub]
- Boot – Dark Things [dub]
- TZR – Terminus [dub]
- TZR & Press – Deity [Shift dub]
- Perverse – Genocide [dub]
- Droid Sector – Lifesigns [dub]
- TZR – Forgotten Worlds [dub]
- Boot – Dagobah [dub]
- Boot & TZR – Untitled [dub]
- Dcult – End of Days [M.U.D.]
- Perverse – Cerberus [dub]
- TZR & Press – Not Human [Shift dub]
- TZR – Headhunter – [WattHz dub]
- J:Kenzo – Voyager – [dub]
- TZR – Secrets (Feat. Nyx) [Sub Pressure dub]
If you have any thoughts on what TZR has had to say, or anything else you’ve seen – maybe you’ve got someone to recommend to FKOF or seen something you think we’d like? Get in touch via email, Twitter, Facebook or the FKOF TakesQuestions page.