With "Raya" about to drop on Dispatch Recordings and a strong handful of 2012 releases already under his belt, we catch up with Halogenix to chat bass and beats.
Arguably, you've been one of 2012's most notable breakthrough producers with tunes coming out on labels diverse as Horizons, Dispatch and Critical in recent months. How has it been for you to have made such a sudden impact in such a short space of time?
I think it’s definitely been a lot of hard work in the making, the fact that I’ve had a flurry of releases in a few months is purely coincidental but definitely something I’m pleased about. It’s still an odd sensation to see my name come up in the charts and to see my name on an actual record as it’s been something I’ve been dreaming of for a long time.
To label you a breakthrough or "newcomer" artist following high profile releases however perhaps undermines your personal journey as a producer up to this point. How have your abilities and your sound developed to where they are now?
Well, believe it or not, I’ve been knocking around the scene for a while now. I got into making tunes when I was around 15 (8 years ago) and had my first forays into the actual ‘scene’ about 3 years after that. I think you could have said that back then, I was quite keen and fairly naïve about the whole thing and I wanted to jump head first into something I knew very little about, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, I think you just have to be careful. Luckily I was with certain people that gave me a nudge in what seems now to be a really good direction.
In terms of my abilities, that’s something that never really stops growing, I can only really talk for myself when I say that being someone that creates something, you’re never really happy with how it turns out so there’s always a drive to better yourself across the board. That desire never really stops so it’s just like anything that with the more practice and time you put in, the more you’re going to get out. I think the major development to come out of the past few years for me has been the ability to manifest my ideas into something that coheres with what I actually hear in my head. More often than not back in the day, I had the ideas to make good music but the production was never really there, and still isn’t to some degree, it’s a process that will forever evolve and change with time.
"Raya" (out now on Dispatch Ltd) is your latest release to hit the shelves, a hugely technical slice of production driven by some seriously tight drums. What was your approach towards and influence behind the construction of this particular piece of music?
Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that Konflict wasn’t a major influence in this tune, and have been in a lot of my recent productions. I’m a huge fan of that era of drum & bass and I enjoy very much trying to recreate that sound in my own style. In terms of my approach, I actually listened back to the very first version of the track the other day, my music isn’t made very ‘quickly’, it undergoes quite an extensive scrutiny and development, taking usually quite a few months of final tweaking and mixing to get something that I’m happy with.
"The dance floor rules the scene so you’ll ultimately find yourself crossing paths with it if you want to succeed as a DJ."
The drums were actually the first things that went into that project. The break was originally from another project that I started with a friend that unfortunately didn’t end up getting finished, I then took it out, remodelled it etc, to eventually end up with what you hear on the track. I’d say that I have quite an insular way of making music, in that it’s really about how I vibe off something that gives me an indication of whether or not to carry on with it, rather than if I think others will like it. Those moments when something comes together and you end up playing the track on loop for 20 minutes and skanking at the back of the studio is usually a dead give-away.
I think it would be fair to say that your most well-received tune to date has been Oblique, produced alongside Sabre and Stray, and you also have had a recent collaborative 12" out with Hydro on Horizons. Do you prefer to work as a collaborative artist or alone? How do the production and songwriting processes vary between the two approaches?
I don’t think I necessarily have a preference as such; I definitely experience my skills being amplified through the process of collaboration as you’re not only one person and one mind. That addition of someone else’s perspective definitely makes you appreciate the amount of skill and discipline it requires to produce a record on your and has been an invaluable experience in my development as a producer.
With your profile as a DJ following the rise of your reputation as a producer recently do you feel a sense of pressure to cater more towards the dance floor with your music? It is a commonly held view that in order to create something that gets a reaction in a club there is a necessary compromise in musical experimentation required, is this fair perception? How do you attempt to maintain originality and avoid being formulaic whilst still keeping music club and DJ-friendly?
It’s definitely a hard one to crack and is something that I’ve spent many hours pondering about. I have somewhat of a penchant for the more experimental side of music and do make a lot more of it than dance floor stuff, but the dance floor rules the scene so you’ll ultimately find yourself crossing paths with it if you want to succeed as a DJ.
"It’s really about how I vibe off something that gives me an indication of whether or not to carry on with it."
I think the things that Stray and myself are doing at the moment are pushing against that line of what is going to be received well on the dance floor and is also very experimental. Tracks like Poison will go off on a dance floor because of the heavy beats and bass, but the groove is so unconventional that a lot of people don’t really know what to do, or really know what they’re listening to. We’ve made a track called ‘Bon Bon Bon’ which is like Boddika and Joy O at 170, it’s pretty nuts, and people like it, it’s just hard to find a home for it as I think labels are far less willing to experiment nowadays because of the way the market is. I think it’d be a fair point to say that once you become established as a producer and gain an audience, you can venture into the realms of the experimental as people will listen to it purely based on your stature as a producer. I also think that if you’re inclined to be a producer that experiments, it’s only a matter of time before you stumble across something that’s original, and it only takes one original piece of work to propel you into the hall of fame with drum & bass, from then on you’re awarded with the ears of the scene and you can really start to go crazy without fear of your music falling on deaf ears.
Dispatch Recordings are such lovely chaps that they have given us a copy of Halogenix's "Raya" to give to you lot! Simply click HERE and enter your email address to be entered and we'll pick a lucky winner out of the hat...