Wednesday, 2 September 2009

INTERVIEW: Hyetal [Reduction/Formant]

Known to us only as Dave, Hyetal has pricked up the attention of many with his productions, obtaining that hallowed MAH mix slot and garnering releases on Formant, Reduction, Planet Mu and (imminently) Soul Motive. His beats even recently prompted a member of Californian crunk smiths Lazer Sword to describe his music as feeling "like... I just won a marathon race and I'm at the dubstep rave and everyone is pouring champagne on me and I'm eating wedding cake with all my ex-girlfriends... and they just told me they still love me. All of them."

Suffice to say his music demands your attention. We tracked him down to an IP address, threw down the mix gauntlet and asked him a few un-intrusive questions.

Sonic Router: Can you provide those who may not know you with a bit of background info?

Hyetal: I’m originally from Southampton but Bristol has been my home for the last 5 years. I make bass heavy melodic music. My first release was on Formant Recordings, a Texas based label run by Sines.

Outside of music who are you? What do you do on the daily?

I’ve just finished uni. I’m rewarding myself with a few months to concentrate on beats and stuff.

How did you first get into making music? What was it that infected you to do produce?

I’ve always been on it in some form. I played in bands as a kid but it was hip-hop that got me interested in programmed music. I had an MPC and used to make sample based beats. I wasn’t really into making tunes with computers until I started my degree in 2005.

What aspects of dubstep connect with you, and similarly spur you on to continue producing?

The lack of defined rules. I can draw influence from the strangest reference points and some people will still dance to it as long as there’s a sub under it.

What’s your production set up like? Has it changed a lot since day dot?

Yeah I used to be nearly completely sample based. I had my MPC, records and a couple of analogue mono synths for bass and FX. I managed to blag a laptop when I went to uni, so now quite a bit of what I make is logic and soft synths.

Your part of the new wave of Bristol producers making moves at the moment, it’s almost like new blood is coming through all the time and adding so much to the scene. What’s the city like for you to make music in and what’s it like having that network around you?

There are some amazing producers, labels and nights. Most people have been really supportive, and I chat to a lot of people regularly to swap tunes and that.

Who do you consider to be of great influence on your output?

That’s a really tough question. Without wanting to seem non-committal there is genuinely loads and I could never pick just one. I suppose the main influences that are most relevant on my current output are: Timbaland, Boards Of Canada and John Carpenter.

FRMNT005-HYETAL PREVIEW by Formant Recordings

Your ‘Pixel Rainbow Sequence’ 12” is out now. How did you link the Peverelist remix and the release? What’s the inspiration behind it?

I wrote ‘Pixel Rainbow Sequence’ in 2007. A lot of the music around at the time was really dark, some of which I liked, but a lot of it I found very generic. I wanted to make a tune that was uplifting and nostalgic. It was made during the transition from writing on the MPC to logic so the main parts were sampled and sequenced in hardware. There’s loads of stuff in there, mega drive samples, little bits of old disco tunes, a rim shot sample from an old band practice I found on a tape. I sent it to everyone I knew in Bristol at the time, Pev and Diccon had both been very encouraging about it. Diccon wanted to release it then but he was having some problems with the label. Last year he told me it was back on but it needed a b side, I’d never had anyone remix a tune of mine before so was interested in going that route. Pev is a friend and someone who I have total faith in musically so he was an obvious choice.

There’s a lot of talk of synesthesia flying wildly around at the moment, mainly in relation to the purple wow sound, but - much like PRS’ title - your sound seems more like an amalgamation of colours, rather than a block shade. What colour would you say use to describe it and why?

I would totally agree with you... can I choose all of them please? I do especially enjoy silver, purple and anything neon though.

Your Shortstuff collabo, ‘Ice Cream,’ is up on your myspace. How was it working with him? Who else would you like to get in the studio with?

Yeah wicked, we did it all online which was an interesting process. I’ve written another tune with him and the two will be released later in the year but we’re supposed to be keeping details quiet for a bit. I want to write more with Shortstuff and I’m already collaborating with a couple of other people.

What else have you got coming up?

‘Pixel Rainbow Sequence’ came out on Reduction this week, I signed ‘We Should Light A Fire’ to the next Mary Anne Hobbs comp (‘Wild Angels’), that is out on Planet Mu on the 14th. ‘Neon Speech’ and ‘Gold Or Soul’ should be dropping on Soul Motive very late this month or early October.

I’m playing at Fabric on 11th September and have a bunch of other stuff booked, including most Season 5 nights at which I’m a resident in Bristol.

If you could remix anybody who would it be and on the flip to that who would you most like to remix you?

In the realms of fantasy I’d really like to remix Sa-Ra or Boards of Canada and would be stoked if they remixed me.

Can you take us through your mix that you’ve done for us?

It’s pretty much a reflection of the kind of sets I’ve been playing recently... gradually working the tempo up. The Brackles, Martin Kemp and Shortstuff tracks are both sick, those guys make amazing beats. There’s some of my forthcoming stuff in there, a new slower thing I made called ‘The Rhythm In Light’ that I still need to properly finish. The Untold track is incredible; I’ve been feeling all of his newer bits... I obviously love all the tunes, hopefully there’s no filler.

Have you got any words of wisdom for the interweb?



DOWNLOAD: Hyetal - Sonic Router Mix


Brackles & Martin Kemp – Graffiti (Dub)
Geeneus – Yellow Tail VIP (Rinse)
Roska – Pyramids (White Label)
Shortstuff & Hyetal – Don’t Sleep (Dub)
Hard House Banton – Reign (Spoilt Rotten Entertainment)
Hyetal – The Rhythm In Light (Dub)
Shortstuff & Mickey Pearce – Tripped Up (Forthcoming on Ramp)
Untold – Stop What Your Doing (Forthcoming on Hemlock)
Silverlink ft. Badness & Jammer – The Message Is Love [Starkey Remix] (No Hats No Hoods)
XI – Ghost (Dub)
Desto – 20 20 Hindsight (Dub)
Guido – Beautiful Complication (Forthcoming on Punch Drunk)
Hyetal & Shortstuff – Ice Cream (Dub)
Hyetal – Gold or Soul (Forthcoming on Soul Motive)
Peverelist – Blues (Forthcoming on Punch Drunk)
Darkstar – Video Tape (Forthcoming on Planet Mu)



  1. Houston's in da House(oops mean Dubstep)!!

    Congrats to Hyetal & Sines(excellent dj btw)