DJDownload.com’s in-depth interview with Hybrid, complete with vids and song samples. Enjoy!
Since first bursting onto the scene with the now classic album Wide Angle in 1999, the Swansea, Wales-based Hybrid has been known as one of the most forward thinking and technically skilled acts in electronic dance music. Blurring the line between in-studio production and live presentation, Hybrid is one of the few remaining dance acts to perform live with a classic band setup.
They are back and much has changed on the road to Hybrid’s fourth artist album Disappear Here. Most notable is the addition of Hybrid’s third member – singer/ songwriter Charlotte James – to go along with founders Chris Healings and Mike Truman. Charlotte’s impact is marked as Disappear Here is truly an album of real songs and not merely dance beats with vocals on top. It offers a lot more than anything Hybrid has ever previously written and pushes boundaries in every way… And here we have the brilliant trio on earworm …
What have been up to lately and what can we expect from you over the next couple of months?
Chris > Well just finished the new Hybrid album called ‘Disappear Here’ and have done a ton of Hybrid club mixes from it entitled ‘Hybrid’s Kill City Sounds’ mixes. They are aimed squarely at the dance floors and are getting very well received by the A list DJ’s I know… Also next is getting rehearsed and warmed up for a big year of live touring and DJing to push this album to the farthest corners of the planet…..
Are you afraid of Piracy?
Charlotte >There’s no getting away from the fact that any artist who’s spent, as in our case, two years of their lives obsessing over the infinitesimally small positioning of a high hat, kick or noise you maybe don’t even know is there, all in the process of creating an album of music which represents everything you stand for and everything you care about, and then to see it being downloaded for free … you can’t honestly say that it’s not even vaguely frustrating. The thing is, you have to come to terms with the fact that people don’t see music the way they see a Banksy, Rossetti or Van GoghŠ for some strange reason, the same feeling or inclination just isn’t there, so you have to be positive and work with it. Luckily for the progression of any music in the future, there are people out there who believe in what we’re doing, and will help us make more music in the future by buying our music, seeing us at festivals and supporting us in what we do. It means that little bit more to see the people who support us, and even the people who care enough to criticise getting involved and by that act means that music isn’t just something you hear in the background and get for free but that done properly it really is an art form all on its own and is something that people will actively support and get really passionate about. There’s a good way of seeing everything and here you don’t even have to look that hard.
What’s more important. The mix or the next tune?
Chris > Both I would say…I mean it has to mix well but for me the next tracks have to get to the right place musically and keep up that energy and movement you’ve already built in the club. It’s great to mix in key but more importantly is keeping that energy alive and moving forward on it’s journey..
What’s the single most exciting thing about dance music at the moment in your opinion?
Chris > Dubstep will go mainstream, Drum and Bass is almost mainstream. However on the underground – Electronic Dance Music is always changing and readapting to it’s surroundings, what i love about it is that as the new styles get older and some of it goes mainstream other more interesting underground stuff starts up and that’s where the fun is, I think that’s the most exciting thing about Dance music, discovering the new styles and hearing what the people with fresh ears are doing with it…
Which dj would you most like to punch and why?
Chris > Well maybe not punch as Hybrid don’t do violence only love and Meadow Ladies BUT George Acosta !!! as he blatantly DJ’ed over the end of one of our Miami Live performances and ruined a very well rehearsed and expensive live recording that was supposed to go onto a Hybrid live CD...Thanks George next time have some respect and wait your turn….
If you ever walk around the house in pants and slippers what do you listen to?
Charlotte > Well, yes, I often shimmy about in pants and slippers listening to my favourite music, I know Mike and Chris both do too, but I don’t think the translation works for the UK. We’re talking a whole different kind of pants, but hey ho, Tomato, tomato .. oh .. that doesn’t work when you write it down…. Personally I listen to a bit of Led Zeppelin, PJ Harvey or at the moment it’s Seasick Steve who’s tractor song is just brilliant!
What do you see as your main strengths as a producer?
Mike > Being a producer to me means nearly always having the answer to problems that continually arise when making music. There’s always a point in a track where you get stuck sonically or technically and I’ve always paid a great deal of attention to the details that can get you out of trouble. We’re collectively obsessive with attention to detail so songs can get rather complex and elaborate, but this is part of the fun for us. Our hobby is our job for us and can drive us mad at times. Going to sleep dreaming about Pro Tools arrangements is a common occurrence. The most important role for a producer is without any shadow of a doubt to know what enhances and what detracts from the big picture.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Mike > I see myself sunken deeply into a very large leather chair brandishing a glass of 1967 vintage port whilst contemplating whether a dub-step country musical slant was such a good idea .. and why does this bloody port taste like cheap sherry anyway?
Is there an all time favourite track you wish you’d produced?
Mike > Can I choose albums instead? Beck – Sea Change. One of the most beautiful albums ever written. That or Radiohead – Kid A. I might have a slight Godrich obsession…
Was there a moment when you knew you wanted to make music all your life?
Charlotte > I grew up listening to Cliff Richard and some wizened chap called Arthur Lyman joyously whacking away at his xylophone casually en-robed in Technicolor pineapple shirts. After the traumatic experience that Cliff Richard can have upon the teenage psyche, for some reason, I wasn¹t put off writing music from a very early age but I don’t think there was any point at which any of us went … arrr yes, music is what we shall do, it was more of an osmosis. Chris, for example spent his school years on the bus thinking that the sound he heard could be turned into something like the effects and noises he’d heard on Star Wars. There’s a photo of Mike aged 8 wearing headphones connected to a very early synthesiser trying to work out the keyboard riff to Herbie Hanckock’s Rocket!
At the end of the day, for most musicians who don’t aim to be classically trained, a career in music is not something encouraged in school or put forward as a viable job, most people actually try and put you off, but it’s almost like music is something compelled, something you just have to do. I have never spent a day since the age of 6 not wanting to write a song or compose a piece of music. and in slightly different ways, that’s how it is for all three of us.
Do you sample, use old records, listen to them, or how does your producing process go?
Mike > We’ve always made a point of never sampling other peoples work and prefer to make all the sounds ourselves. This basically started us on the road to sound design for film and is a very large element of what makes up our sound. Chris takes all manner of recorded material, whether it’s from one of our orchestral sessions to a field recording of a baseball game and warps them into textures we can use in a track or cue that have very little to do with the original sound.
If you could have anyone remix any of your tracks, who would it be and why?
Mike > I’d love to hear Clint Mansell remix one of our tracks, his productions are absolutely astounding and can be achingly beautiful but immensely dark at the same time. Either him or Trent Reznor as he’s the master of electronic noise-rock.
What are the top five most listened to tracks/songs on your iPod?
Charlotte > Babe I’m Gonna Leave you’ – Led Zeppelin
‘Dream Brother’ – Jeff Buckley
‘Sabotage’ – The Beastie Boys
‘Mouthful Of Cavaties’ – Blind Melon
‘Everything In Its Right Place’ – Radiohead
What can people expect from your live show?
Chris >An interesting journey of where Hybrid are going with what you can do with Dance music fused with a full live band….. The new live show is the biggest step up we have ever taken in a performance, it’s bigger, better , louder , brighter , and more intense than anything we have done before…
If there is one rule in life to live by, what is it?