Hey Matt, Thanks for chatting to us today. Could you start by introducing yourself to our readers and telling us a bit about how you got into music?
Hi, thanks for having me! I’m a producer / DJ / officedog – born in London, brought up in Welsh valleys town Merthyr Tydfil, and I’ve been enjoying living in Cardiff since ’97.
I was introduced to dance music in the mid-90s by cross-over artists like The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Leftfield, Underworld, Aphex Twin etc. Before this, I’d mainly been into rock, indie and metal, and these acts were the gateway into electronic stuff. By 2000ish I’d explored more of the electronic scene and had come across Drum & Bass via my brother’s The Creeps CD (Ed Rush & Optical), and by sneaking into a Bad Company set when the bouncer wasn’t looking… From then on my love for the scene kept growing, and I went to events strictly via the ticket booth. Cardiff and Bristol inspired me with club nights run by Silent Running / Enthusiasm / Bullet Proof / Aperture / Mutiny etc, and the more I heard, the more I wanted to get involved.
In terms of producing music, I’ve been making noise in various bands since ’97 (guitar and bass), but I’ve been experimenting with electronic production under different aliases since 2005. I began working under the Kyam name in 2014, adopting a more focused approach to my sound.
You’ve just dropped your first solo EP on Foundation X, could you tell us a bit about how it came together?
I’ve been a big fan of Skitty for years, having caught a set by him in Amsterdam back in 2005ish… hazy memories of a great low-key warehouse-vibe party! I’d picked up his tune Apocalypse (Renegade Hardware) at a similar time, and I’ve followed his releases / Foundation X output since, so he instantly came to mind when I started sending demos out. I sent Ixnay to him a while back, and he liked it enough to sign, so I quickly followed it up with Lapdog. There was a bit of a delay, when certain elements of the label were relaunched (vinyl pressing etc), and then he requested a couple more tracks for an EP release – so I spent a few weeks solid working on new bits and eventually everything came together.
There’s a nice variation between each track, was that intentional when you put the EP together?
Cheers – yeah, I wanted to represent the dub and jungle influences that are cornerstones of the label, but also I tried to mix it up with some other elements to include some different vibes – Lapdog features vinyl-sampled drums from my rock / punk collection, and I used a lovely vintage synth on Jun as a nod to my love of 70s/80s film soundtracks – big fan of the scores to Clockwork Orange / The Warriors etc. I sampled a Spectrum computer game on Ixnay, which fed into the crunchy / 8bit feel.
As well as Drum & Bass, I’m into a huge range of music, from jazz to metal, to experimental / atmospheric artists like Haxan Cloak and Liars, and I suppose it all shapes what comes out in subtle ways. Part of the joy of Drum & Bass is the variety of stuff that can be done within the same BPM bracket. I’ll be self-releasing a 10 track album in the next couple of months which showcases a much broader range of influences.
Could you tell us a bit about your workflow? what’s your studio set-up?
My workflow changes quite often, as I like to try different things – sometimes it’s fun to have a sound-creation session on hardware synths, write some bits on guitar or bass, or record some live sounds. But I also like trawling through my record collection for (sampling) inspiration, or sampling sections of film soundtracks and then mangling them into something new. An IPhone is useful for recording interesting sounds that you hear whilst wondering around… In other sessions, it’s nice to get a good drum foundation down first, using sample pack hits, or breaks sampled from vinyl / CD, and then see what else I can add to the mix.
Of course, in some sessions, I might spend 2 hours making a snare sound different (aka worse), and then wonder why I’m not out in the sunshine, although luckily that appears to happen less these days – we don’t seem to have sun anymore… and my self-taught technique is improving incrementally!
Studio setup is based around Cubase running SSL / Waves / Slate plug-ins, V-Station synth, Juno 106, Korg Monotron, bass / guitar, Roland 202, Shure 57 for recording, 1210s / Short Circuit for sampling, a bunch of old guitar pedals, some percussion, as many different speakers in as many rooms as I can test mixes on, and a bunch of hardware bits which I used to use all the time (TL Audio Compressor / SPL Vitalizer etc) but now mainly look pretty and pretty dusty. Bought a ChristmasMEGAdeal basic laptop a couple of years ago which has been hugely beneficial as I can fit making music into my lunch hour at work, and squeeze sessions in whenever / wherever I can.
Any other bits in the pipeline you can tell us about?
I’ve got a tune forthcoming on Subtle Audio’s A Decade In Breakbeats compilation CD – huge fan of the label so I’m very happy to be on board. There’s a solo EP coming on Danger Chamber Digital, a track forthcoming on Future Thinkin, and a few other signings with details TBC. I’m also extremely excited to be having my first vinyl release on Foundation X later in the year, definitely another bucket-list thing.
Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has been supporting my music, means a lot!