Monday, 6 July 2009

INTERVIEW: The Hizatron [Wigflex]

Sometimes a producer’s style forces your hand. Either you put the chips in, raise the stakes and bluff your way through the first few listens. You might win, you might not, but it’s the hollow void of the loss that always sucks the life right out of you. And let’s face it, its nicer to make a concerted effort and be rewarded with a healthy return… monetary or otherwise.

After taking such an informed punt on the two hectic slices of contorted synthesized mania this man has released so far on Nottingham based label, Wigflex, we nabbed the one they call The Hizatron, asking him to lay down his style to virtual tape for us, learning us a whole heap about his processes and passions as he did so.

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

The Hizatron: I am partially robotic, and powered by Hungarian potato juice and yams. I also make beats out of cats and four eggs. I was assembled in Notts and am operated by the evil Wigflex Corporation.

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

I’ve just completed my degree, so my days have mostly consisted of afternoon breakfast, not going to Uni, and then mongin’ out in front of the mac. I’m resident at Wigflex and I’m 23.

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

My little brother is a rapper and uses a community studio in St. Anns in Notts, he told me about all the stuff you could play with down there like the Akai MPC 2000 and I thought it sounded japes so went along, I was 16. The MPC was my weapon of choice and I used to make what liked to think was RZA-esque hip-hop beats and give them to local MCs to spit on. I got tired of thinking I had to rely on other people to finish tunes though and wanted to get away from sampling everything and get into synths and whatnot. I quit my A-levels and started a music tech course and that’s where I learnt recording and Logic Pro.

Now I make rudeboy techno.

What’s the big idea behind The Hizatron moniker?

My actual name is Joshua Harvey, my boys used to call me “Jay to the hizzay” for some reason, which they shortened to “j-hiz”, or “hiz” or “HZA”. When I was 17 and had first started going raving I met Spamchop at those boys house at an after party, I showed him some beats, he was bang on ‘em and asked if I had an alias, I said not really, except hizatron. He added the “The”.

We have a mutual respect for robots, and it went from there. He’s been my top boy ever since.

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

Yeah nowadays I just I’ve got a box with some lights on it full of cats, four eggs, a mac, Logic, Ableton, my monitors, a Roland Groovebox and a Korg thing that I hardly ever use. I like recording clicky and gloopy audio samples for a lot of my percussion. I use bare automation, processing and effects; I also like Soundhack, FM8, ESP and Ultrabeat amongst other things.

Your own productions, for me anyway, lie more on the minimal side of music. Would you say that it’s a fair comment to say you’re more influenced by techno producers rather than dubstep??

Yes definitely, I flirted with dubstep when it first reared its head, but I didn’t ever enjoy producing it enough, probably because I was shit at it! I like clever techno, mans like Stefan Bodzin, James Holden, Extrawelt, Minilogue, Trentemoller. Also fun, swingy tunes like the stuff Trapez and Leftroom/Letfout put out, they’re a couple of my favorite labels. Wigflex has an element of dubstep obviously, but we don’t want to be pigeon-holed. Our recent headliners have included Nathan Fake and Luke Abbott. Taylor is producing some of the cleverest techno in the country.

What was it that sucked you in [to the music you make]?

I was heavily influenced by Spamchop when we hooked up, he’s literally the dopest man out, he’s actually physically addicted to vinyl. Also Taylor, he showed me ridiculous levels of tek haus and is an absolute genius. I showed him how to use Logic about 3 years ago and he instantly took it to space, now everything I do is to try and impress him really.

What’s your involvement with the Wigflex camp? How did it all begin?

Well not long after I met Spamchop he made this mixtape, it was called Wigflex 2000, just coz he had a bit of a bush nut wig piece. Spam used to have a residency at a bar in Notts and used to call it Wigflex Wednesdays. He also used to have a show on Kindafunkyradio, they had a birthday celebration and asked him to host a room, Spam asked me if I could play a set. We got Taylor on board and called it the Wigflex room. That December we put on the first Wigflexmas and the venue asked us to make it a regular night.

Now were at Stealth which is the dopest place about, Funktion 1, ream, got our own label and clothing line! It’s big nowadays.

Nottingham seems to be on fire at the moment, musically, leaning a lot of the twisted synth side of things. What is it about the community that produces this music do you think?

I don’t know, y’know, there’s good access to free studios and that helps people to get into producing young. Everyone’s a bit rude, even if you’re not, you’re considered a rudeboy elsewhere and we’re the garage generation, and at the end of the day. It’s all garage really isn’t it?

Is Nottingham, in your opinion, a healthy place for dubstep and for music in general?

Yeah its healthy, it’s not a massive place so there’s not a huge choice of venues but there’s a lot of talent and a lot of dope residents. I’m not a massive dubstepper, but we have seen some big things frequently pass through, Appleblim and Brackles are often in town. Max Cooper has been a Firefly hero for years; Matt Tolfrey’s Leftroom is Notts, Spamchop obviously. Don’t forget Geiom, he’s sick and bringing a lot of man through on the productions front as well. I don’t think anyone had heard anything like Geiom and Spamchop’s ‘Mah Geile Zwazo’ before. The Futureproof crew are super dope too. It’s comin’ out our ears man.

The mix you’ve done for us is comprised entirely of your productions… Can you tell us a little bit about your track selection, was it just a case of fitting things together or did you have a specific set of tunes waiting to go?

I wanted to include the releases in there but a lot of it is stuff I’ve been messing around with recently, and some Ableton tomfoolery. I like to think my stuff is quite electro-acoustic, as in I like to build intensities through concentrating on colour, timbres and textures rather than notation. Although I do produce some stuff with more chord progression and whatnot.

What else have you got coming up this year?

Well the second Wigflex EP has just come out and is triple dope, so get that! Also got a next tune called ‘Von Glooperstein’ coming out on Geiom’s label, Berkane Sol, which is sick. Him, Brackles and the Applepips crew are bringing club wrecking reports already. In terms of upcoming headliners we’ve got Shackleton live in August, and we’re in talks with some very big artists. The new clothing line is released this month – Wigflex City Monsters, the printers are goin’ on like right pirates though so Spam’s gona be swashbuckling mans pronto, anyway look out for that and high quality mixes and live sets from the whole crew on! Other than that were doing some remixes and I’ve got a few tracks in mind for a solo EP.

I might buy some more hi-tops.

Have you got any words of wisdom you’d like to instill on the interweb?

Buy lots of pairs of triple dope creps, then wear them on rotation. That way you’ll have loads of sick boogs that stay fresh for time!


To win a copy of Wigflex002 email us your answer to the below question and you could be in the running.

Which of the following producers has NOT yet released on Wigflex?

A) Taylor
B) Eleven Tigers
3) Brackles

Winner will be announced by the 23rd July.


DOWNLOAD: The Hizatron - Sonic Router Mix


1. The Hizatron - Fridge Magnet (Unreleased)
2. The Hizatron - Mustard (Unreleased)
3. The Hizatron - Now Then Boris (Wigflex)
4. The Hizatron - Pinklip (Unreleased)
5. The Hizatron - Pat Sharpe (Unreleased)
6. The Hizatron - Von Glooperstein (forthcoming Berkane Sol)
7. The Hizatron - Schlupinski (Wigflex)


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