Sunday, 2 December 2012

Terrorbyte / Beta Test interview

Founder of top midlands glitch-hop night Beta BirminghamTerrorbyte hosts a Glitch.FM show with Automaton (this Wednesday 5 December 10pm-12am) and is just about to launch a new project, Beta Test... 

Please introduce yourself....

I'm Harley Davies aka Terrorbyte hailing from Birmingham UK and architect of Beta Birmingham and the forthcoming Beta Test Records.

How would you describe your particular style of bass music?

That's always a difficult one as I hate to pigeon hole myself. Hybrid bass with a heavy dose of electro infused Hip Hop?  In the past I've tried to experiment quite a bit so I've made anything from robot electro to ragga and breakcore. I like future b-boy music [thanks Andy Jaggers].


What equipment / software do you use?

I use fruity loops with a midi keyboard and my mpd32 for most of the beat making then switch it to Ableton for edits and glitches and master everything using Cubase and my TL Ivory valve compressor. Reaktor, Fm8, Massive, Predator, Albino soft synths. I have an Ensonique dp2 also which is truly shocking. I'm looking at maybe going analog and getting either a Moog Minataur or a Mini Brute as they look outstanding. Got a bit of synth love there, need to stop dribbling on my keyboard.

What first turned you onto bass / glitch / lazer music? Any particular artists or tracks?

Through a few avenues really. The early Warp, Ninja Tune, Detroit Underground and Rephlex stuff were definitely a big influence in getting me into Electronica and experimental electronics in general. It was Prefuse 73's One Word Extinguisher album and Forss' Soulhack that really stand out.

I worked engineering at a funk and jazz bar for 5 years and that introduced me to all kinds of sounds [shout outs to the Yardbird!]. I'd occasionally DJ there in between engineering the bands and that introduced me to funked up glitch breaks from the likes of Sticky Buds, Featurecast, and Shepdog. We had some amazing gigs there, working with such a high calibre musicians taught me loads about production. The UK B boy champs regularly throw down there too which made for a wicked atmosphere. We made a video for them actually, definitely worth a look!

Production wise, until recently I was always more into producing Electronica, Breakcore, Techno and Electro but I ended up playing a gig supporting Edit from The Glitch Mob and that was an epiphany. It's funny now as I had no idea who he was at the time. I was playing a boom bass electro set but after hearing the stuff he was playing I was hooked. That introduced me to the likes of kraddy, Boreta, Deweyb, Ill esha, Bassnecter and Breakbeat Buddha and there was no looking back really. At that point there wasn't much in the way of glitch hop in the UK and it's been amazing to see how the sound has progressed and how many people are switching up over the last few years.

I found Colony Productions after playing a gig with Point B back in about 2003-4 and always loved their stuff. Glitch Hop wasnt really a genre back then in my mind and I considered their releases to be more electronic than anything but Colony have been true innovators of the sound in the UK over the years in my opinion so massive respect to Mike and Sam!

I think it was at the edit gig though that I realised the potential of mid-tempo 100 - 110 bpm music and changed focus. There appears to be no end in scope for what you can get away with in Glitch Hop and Bass music in general.

What's the scene like where you are?

Painfully slow really but Birmingham is a notoriously difficult egg to crack. It's strange, there are so many wicked producers and musicians here, which is why I set up Beta Birmingham, but whenever we make an effort and put decent events on it can be hit and miss as to whether people represent. Then you get the old "there's nothing good on in Brum" speech which can be frustrating. Don't get me wrong, Birmingham is a melting pot for creatives and I love that, but I wouldn't really say there was so much of a "scene" for decent bass music here unless you like commercial Drum and Bass birthday parties or drole Dubstep events. There has always been a wicked Reggae scene in Brum Town though so it's not all bad.

Both myself and cohort Automaton have been holding down a bit of a monthly residency for the afore mentioned Andy Jaggers [ADJ] from Pyramid Transmissions and to be honest without those events and the bits we do, there isn't much else which is tragic. Under The Counter have done a couple of cool events but it's all a drop in the ocean really. Quick shout out to Ben from Jam Hott though, played a wicked show for them a few weeks back and it sounds like they have some interesting projects lined up for 2013!

Where do you like to play the most?

Festies are great fun but I prefer 200 cap venues as you're right up next to the crowd and that's a real buzz. I used to play loads of free parties under motorway bridges and in abandoned warehouses, except for the odd bit of trance music they were pretty epic.

What's the craziest gig you've ever played?

Ha! I'm not sure I'm allowed to mention all the details but I was on my way to be interviewed on the Tim Shaw show on Kerrang Radio to promote one of our gigs years back but on the way to the studio the police tried to pull us over. I'd not met the guy giving us a lift before but he turned out to have a bit of a shady past as a bit of a getaway driver. He had some weed on him or something and decided to pretend to pull over and then do one. A few handbrake turns later and we were at the studio. Never laughed so hard in my life!

Absolutely loved playing at Shambala Festival in the ufo this year as they had alien air hostesses with lazer tits.

Who's inspring you most at the moment?

Such a difficult question, I guess what has inspired me the most has been the emergent scene in general and all the characters I've met along the way. No beefs or arrogance and just pure passion for the music is my general experience to date and that's really refreshing to see.

What's your next project in the pipeline?

Big things planned for the future! The label is going through a bit of a transition at the moment as we are changing the name from Beta Birmingham to Beta Test. I've always wanted to represent a pretty broad spectrum of bass music but now I want to move away from the D and B and Dubstep and concentrate more on the Glitch Hop stuff as this is what I'm enjoying the most at the moment and it's also the stuff we have had the best reception to. Originally the label was conceived to represent the Midlands but we are going national now so the name is a reflection of that.

I'm currently coordinating our first vinyl release, admittedly its taking a little longer than expected but once the first one is out and we're set up properly we will be looking to do one every 6 months and to be honest it's worth the wait. I can exclusively confirm that we have William Breakspear, Mouldy Soul, Abstrakt Knights, Shamanic Technology, Spenghead, Automaton, Inaudible and myself.  This is a heavyweight line-up to be pressed to a gatefold double vinyl with scratch samples and lock-grooves for remixing the tracks on the fly. I want to make Glitch Hop battle wax basically and the response we have had already to the idea has been immense. I don't want to say any more as there are still a few other bits to confirm, but that alone is pretty dope ey?

I'm in the studio 5 days a week at the moment finishing up a few projects so I'm expecting to be a lot more prolific in the coming months. I've just done a mashup of Dead Prez's Bigger Than tune which is available for free download by liking my page on Facebook. Glitch Hop Bootlegs are bigger than hip hop but with Funk licks and some brass and Clavia synths to boot.!/betabirmingham

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