Monday, April 15, 2013

Q&A :: Hex [AutomAte/Symbiosis Glasgow]

Our special guest this month came in the form Scotland's Hex. We got hold of him recently to find out what makes him tick and what we can expect to hear from him in the future.

Don't forget, you can check his mix out in the seventh episode of our podcast here:

For those of us who don't know much about you, can you introduce yourself?

Hi, I’m Hex! I’m a Drum & Bass DJ and producer based in Glasgow, Scotland. I help run Symbiosis (Glasgow’s longest running active Drum & Bass club night) and I run the DNB Dojo blog.

How did you get into the Drum & Bass scene and what made you want to DJ/produce?

My path into the D&B scene started back in 2004 or so when I started getting into electronic music via the likes of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher and the jungle-tinged IDM/breakcore scene. After that I started getting into Dubstep (back when it was still good) via the early Fortified Sessions nights in Glasgow where I saw guys like N-Type and Vex’d play, and I wanted to buy the tunes I was hearing so I started to buy vinyl records. Once I had a stack of 12”s I began to think about getting decks and learning to mix, which I eventually bought after finishing University and getting a proper job.
Around the same time as I was finishing Uni, I went to Shambhala festival in Canada and caught Ed Rush & Optical and Evol Intent throwing down on a 100,000 Watt soundsystem! Needless to say I was pretty much instantly converted to D&B, and found that I enjoyed mixing it far more than I enjoyed mixing Dubstep, hence my start as a D&B DJ. Neil and the Symbiosis crew gave me a set at one of their events in 2010 and I’ve been playing out as much as I can ever since.
As for production, I got interested in that more recently; I know quite a few producers who make all sorts of music and plenty of them encouraged me to give it a go, and once I’d learned the basics I found it pretty addictive…nothing quite beats the feeling of sitting in front of your laptop nodding your head to a beat you’ve actually constructed. 

How would you describe your sound/ethos both in the studio and the club?

Broadly I lean towards the techstep and neurofunk sounds both in my productions and DJ sets, though I also appreciate the deep halfstep and soulful liquid vibes. I think ultimately I’ve always been drawn to dark, angry music, all the way from listening to punk and metal as a teenager through getting into electronic music via tracks like Come To Daddy. Sometimes it’s fun to make or mix deeper tunes but more often than not I want something hench. It’s all about feeling that sub growling in your chest on a good rig! 

Can we expect to hear any releases from you in the near future?

I’ve got a pair of tunes signed to Automate Tech which should be coming out sometime this year, one of which you can hear in the mix. I’m aiming to get on it and write plenty this year so hopefully there’ll be more coming soon…watch this space!
Away from D&B, I took some time to write a four track EP of spacey, chilled out electronica leaning towards garage and dubstep which is available as a free download here.

Current top 5 tunes?

Always so hard to pick…right now I’d say: 

• Black Sun Empire - All Is Lost (Memtrix Remix) 
• Optiv & CZA - Bring It Back 
• Telekinesis & MC Coppa - Pocket Full Of Drops 
• Fourward - Street Knowledge 
• Command Strange – Regrets 

That list will probably change by next week though! 

Can you give us a little insight into the mix you put together for our podcast?

For the mix I wanted to try and go on a little bit of a journey, starting deep and then building things up into the harder, nastier tunes, and also showcase a couple of my own bits. The mix opens up with my remix of Lethal’s Seductive (which you can grab as a free download via my Facebook page) and goes through some other deep ones (like the excellent Fracture remix of Phantom Force and the sublime new Dub Phizix tune Rainy City Music) before hitting into harder territory with new cuts from Telekinesis and Memtrix. I always try and get a few classics into the mix too, and some lesser known artists/labels like the stuff from Audio Habitat on Sidechain and the tunes from Arkaik and Arclight. Hopefully the Blackdub listeners will feel the vibes! 

Any final thoughts/shouts you would like to add?

Big shout outs to Stu, Jules, Neil and Altron (the Symbiosis crew), shouts to the Automate crew, biggups to everyone who sends me promo at the blog and much love to everyone who’s ever taken the time to listen to my tunes or mixes. 
Anyone in Scotland reading this, check out Symbiosis in Glasgow every 3rd Saturday of the month down at Audio on Midland Street and come catch me playing at Midgefest in Galloway April 12th-14th. Peace!