Interview: Kryptic Minds

Bearded chats to Kryptic Minds of Osiris Music fame.

Posted on Jul 8th, 2013 in Features and Interviews / By Matthew Bayfield
Interview: Kryptic Minds Bearded: Evening sir, thanks for taking the time.

No worries mate, all good.

Osiris Music has been going pretty bloody well this year, what with the Namaste EP selling out in rapid time and the quality Sleeper & Killawatt bits before. The Kaiju and Flowdan 12” was really well received too.

Yeah it's all looking pretty healthy right now. ‘Hunter’ by Kaiju & Flowdan was great, had a really good response with that one and we’ve just done a... God, how can I describe it? Almost like a Massive Attack, guitar sort of track. Anyway we sent that over to Flowdan’s manager and said "I don't think he's gonna be into it... but let's just see." So I sent him the track across and his manager said he loved it, within a week we had a vocal back... And honestly? I was just... "wow". We just mixed it down actually, I'm very pleased with it. Flowdan’s one of those vocalists I feel can really adapt. He's got a vocal style that just fills up a track and I knew if he was into the tune it would work, that track’s called ‘Judgement’, and that will be coming out on one of the UK’s big independent electronic labels.

As well as the label nights Osiris Music are also running a stage takeover as at Outlook this year I believe aren't you? Did you have a set plan for the nights or was it just a case of let things grow naturally?

I basically want everyone on the label to come together as much as possible. I've pretty much shut the door on demos now. We've got a select few on the roster and alongside all the Kryptic Minds stuff we’re more than busy enough. That's why I love doing the label nights, because it brings the majority of the team together under one roof to DJ and they get to share and exchange; that's what Osiris is all about for me.

The Outlook thing came about through Simon Scott, who runs Outlook and Subdub in Leeds, he’s probably one of the best promoters in the world. I've played for him so many times over the years and he likes the label; the music on there is what he represents as a promoter, and it was amazing to be asked back. We were there last year which was great and to be asked to go back for a second year was a complete surprise. But they basically said an Osiris night was chalked in again very early on. We’ve also got the Osiris Music boat party this year with ourselves, Killawatt, Biome and Toast which is another nice surprise. To be up on that particular office board for another year is amazing. Last year has got to be the highlight of the label so far in terms of shows it was so well received.

The Killawatt release ‘Press On / Tantra’ was really popular too and a bit of a curveball. It's great to see people embracing stuff that's a bit more forward thinking.

Yeah the reception of recent bits has been really good, so good. I'm excited for this year. We've just had the three track collab with Killawatt ‘No Fear Of Future.’ I’m really liking that one actually. For both of us it’s really different to what we’d normally do. Still us, but the groove is completely different. We’ve also had the Kaiju / Flowdan collab ‘Hunter’ , the Sleeper 12” ‘Narcissus/ Burning Spears.’ We’ve also done a collab with him which has just gone for mastering… We just want to keep them coming really… We’ve also just signed Ipman. We’ve got a really cool 12” from Ipman ‘Persistent Dread / Signal Motion’ coming too.

The 'Namaste' release really went off. What does that phrase actually mean?

'Namaste' is a greeting in India where you bow and put your hands together. I don't actually know the proper way to pronounce it but I just really liked the word. I thought the word itself looked cool, and what it meant. There's no underlying meaning to it, simply a greeting. It's just a great word. The vinyl of that went really quickly too.

Do you DJ with vinyl still?

Nah its CD’s now unfortunately. Up until last year I was still cutting dubplates.

As much as I love vinyl I imagine it eats into the profit margins of playing out?

Haha yep. As well as a dodgy shoulder and a bad back I’d also be carrying around roughly fifteen hundred quids worth of plates about with me every set and sadly it just got a bit much. I always wanted to do the whole dubplate thing years ago but as a drum ‘n’ bass producer, even though we made quite a lot of records and done really well from it, we never really got a great deal of bookings. I never liked the whole CD thing then, but we were never busy enough for me to be able to afford to cut plates. It wasn’t ‘til a couple of years ago when we started getting really busy that I could do it. I said to Youngsta at the time; it was just something I wanted to experience. Even if it was only for a year or whatever and even though I’m not as good as him I just wanted to feel like Andy C for a year haha!

Also if the vinyl side of things ever does come to an end I want to have experienced it properly and for a year or so I did. The highlight for me has to be playing at Fabric exclusively with dubplates: on that system? It just doesn’t get any better than that. I actually managed to play in both room’s one and two with dubs. It doesn’t get any better for me.

Still on the analogue thread, you were saying the new piece you’ve done with Flowdan has acoustic guitar on it; do you work with live instrumentation a lot when you produce?

Well Leon plays guitar and I play bass. We don’t play as much as we used to but we can still get involved. We tend to do less structured stuff with them though, things like mic’ing them up and hitting the top strings after we’ve detuned them rather than crazy solos. Leon is an amazing guitar player though and I can play a bit of bass, but it never interested me to just sit down and learn other people’s songs. For some reason I’ve always been more interested in playing different scales and that sort of approach. I prefer to listen to a piece of music and then play something of a similar style rather than note for note. I’d be totally useless for a live covers band. I’d just wander off the track and be like “nah not playing that.”

Musically there are just so many influences. I listen to old school hip-hop, things like Kool Moe Dee, KRS One and Scott La Roc right through to Jaco Pastorius, you know, a bass player? Monolake, Massive Attack, Andy Stott, Craig Armstrong. I listen to everything. I actually really like that thing of buying something then following the “this person also bought…” links. I’m quite into that.

Jaco Pastorius was always my hero in that world so I learnt to play a few of his songs, which was quite a challenge for me because he was just such an amazing bass player. I went in quite hard on the technical side of playing for a good couple of years, but I couldn’t really play it enough because I was working as a producer so it tends to only come out when I need it. Sometime I’ll have a bit of a pop and slap but it’s amazing how much you forget if you don’t do it every day.

Tracks like ‘Distant Dawn’ always catch my attention in your productions, all the orchestral elements like the plucked strings. Is that something you plan on a musical level or do you just start layering up and see what happens?

It can go either way really. Sometimes we just have that urge to write a piece of music and sometimes we’ll just be jamming about. A lot of people think One Of Us was our first album, but it was actually Lost All Faith on Defcom. That had tracks like ‘Opus Dei’ on which was a completely orchestral piece. We just woke up one day when we were doing the album, decided we wanted to do a full orchestral piece and just went and did it. It turned out to be such an important personal piece for me too. There are two meanings behind the title of that album. On one level we’d just lost all faith in drum ‘n’ bass, which was the music we’d both loved for so long and it was also dedicated to my brother, who committed suicide in 2000. It took so long to finish, and for a long time I just couldn’t listen to the whole of ‘Opus Dei’ without crying, it had all taken that much out of me. So although sometimes we do have a game plan a lot of the time we don’t, it just unfolds organically. I think personally I pick up a lot from what I’m listening to as well. I’m really digging my techno again at the moment, so a lot of my textures and that FM sounding stuff comes from that at the moment, and us experimenting with synthesizing details I hear. So sometimes a track might literally start with one sound.

Last time I caught you live was at the Dubpolice night at Fabric a few months ago, it’s been a busy year so far.

Yeah it’s been really good so far. We’ve done Fabric, I played Berghain in Germany which was great, Leon did a mini US tour. We’ve just had Lockdown Festival in Amsterdam confirmed for September the 1st. It’s looking really healthy all around to be honest. Probably going to be a lot of time spent sitting on Twitter in airports!