Lynx and Kemo Interview - The Raw Truth LP

8 April 2009 - , ,
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Drum and Bass has been waiting a long time for an act that could combine musical diversity with crowd pleasing success, and Lynx and Kemo has been worth the wait! You will see no better proof than the super clubs of London, where dance floors are ripped up on a weekly basis by Carnivale, Global Enemies, Skylines or one of the many other tracks in their current repertoire.

 

Lynx’s dedication to music was strong from a young age, and he started work experience at Chichester based studio ‘Airtight’. Airtight was a nursery for producers including Friction, Mampi Swift, Stakka, Skynet, and Skinny who were all found busy writing the next D&B anthem. There could have been fewer places better suited to help Lynx hone his skills. Lynx ‘s hard working attitude and natural ability for music production soon led him to co-manage Airtight.

 

Being a producer passionate for progression and having an aptitude for diversity, Lynx moved easily from techno drum and bass to the aptly named ‘liquid funk’. From then Lynx grew confident in his ability to capture the essence of a musical genre and his releases started to span the drum and bass musical spectrum.

 

Well, that’s the biography anyway (as taken from therawtruth.info), and this month, New Zealand will be able to make their own mind up when Lynx and Kemo touch down for a series of show across the country to promote their new full-length LP release The Raw Truth, showcase performances which in a critical twist include a key appearance at Sandwiches Summerset Festival held in the Basin Reserve in Wellington on the 18th of April.

In celebration of this exciting development, Bass Drop booked in some telephone time with the aforementioned Lynx (of Lynx & Kemo) to ask the hard questions, as well as a few not so pointy ones, and boy; did we ever get some good responses. Read on dear readers; read on.

 

Bass Drop: First off, how did you get to the point of being able to release vinyl records and tour as a DJ?

 

Lynx: Well, I’ve been producing music for fifteen years now, and it’s been quite a long struggle actually. I probably first started properly releasing records in 1997, but didn’t really get my first break properly until I guess 2000. I was releasing tunes with a label called Audio Blueprint with Stakka and Skynet, and then I got fed up with the techny side of drum and bass and moved to the more liquidy side of things and released a record with Fabio called ‘Mariachi’; that was in 2006. I guess that was my first big break really, ‘cause that was when Fabio and Marcus Intalex were really supporting my music.

 

Bass Drop: For sure, so when you say you were first releasing music in 1997, what were you doing at that point?

 

Lynx: I was doing kind of a mixture of hardcore and jungle.

 

Bass Drop: And you were doing that under the Lynx alias?

 

Lynx: Yeah, it was under Lynx. As I say, those were my first few releases, so people weren’t really aware of what I was doing back then.

 

Bass Drop: And you started out at the Airtight studios in Chichester? Is that correct?

 

Lynx: Yeah, I was an engineer there for six years from 2000. I was working with a variety of artists that were trying to breakthrough to drum and bass, and I was there to help them produce music. And for me it was basically a great opportunity to get in the studio everyday, and write music everyday. So it was a really good opportunity for me to quickly learn everything I needed to learn.

 

Bass Drop: How did you become involved in Airtight originally?

 

Lynx: Well I was actually doing a college course, and I didn’t know much about studios, but I picked up a flyer there and just went down and had a look. I was originally looking to book the studio out to write some music for myself. The guy who ran the studio was really impressed with what I was doing and had other ideas, so he wanted to get me down there as an engineer. Over the course of six months I did some work experience there and from there it moved quite quickly. I became the in-house dance music engineer, not just drum and bass; everything electronic music based basically.

 

Bass Drop: Okay okay, that’s interesting. At what point did you start touring?

 

Lynx: I started DJing properly in 2006 really. It all kicked off at the same time, when Fabio and Marcus Intalex really got my music, that really kick-started the DJing *for me+, even though I’d been DJing for ten years [already]. That started the European touring, and everywhere else really.

 

Bass Drop: So 2006 was the Watershed [year] for you?

 

Lynx: Yes, exactly.

 

Bass Drop: Interesting, now I remember talking to Doc Scott about you two years ago, at the time he really felt that as an artist you were going to bring innovative arrangement and song structure back into drum and bass. He seemed genuinely really excited about you. Two years on, how do you feel about that statement?

 

Lynx: I’m stoked he was that supportive. I suppose one of the things I’ve been trying to do is bring song structure slightly back to drum and bass, cause there is too many DJ tooly tracks out there already, which is great in clubs; but sometimes you need a listening experience in drum and bass as well that allows you to listen to it at home, or in your car; or whatever.

 

Bass Drop: Say that again bruv! So what are some of the devices you have employed to try and bring proper song structure back into this music?

 

Lynx: A big part of what I do is writing songs with vocalists. I feel that can bring a real third dimension to tracks where otherwise the message is just lost in an instrumental track. So that’s a big part of it for me.

 

Bass Drop: So if you were making a song with a vocalist, what would your working process be?

 

Lynx: In general? For example, working with Kemo I would make an instrumental track. Maybe just a groove, maybe a full arrangement; send it to him and he would get some ideas down. Maybe record it with me, maybe record it *himself+. He’s in Germany, so he would often record it there, send it back to me; and it really depends from there. Often the vocal ends up going on a new track. That’s happened quite a lot.

 

Bass Drop: So would you say once you have a vocal down on a beat, you find it easier to write new music around that vocal?

 

Lynx: Yeah. That can often be [the case]. You can really focus the music on the vocal, and that can really cement a stronger vibe I find.

 

Bass Drop: Speaking of vocalists, how did you originally connect with Kemo?

 

Lynx: We first met up on myspace. I heard a track of Kemo’s, a really trip-hoppy kind of thing, that I was really blown away by. I gave him a shout on myspace, and it went from there really. We ended up doing three singles before we even met properly in person.

 

Bass Drop: And now you’ve done an album together?

 

Lynx: Yep.

 

Bass Drop: What was it that attracted you to working with him?

 

Lynx: It was just he had a different style of voice for an MC. I thought he sounded something like Tricky, which I hadn’t heard in drum and bass before. Often when I work with vocalists I find I’m looking for something different that I haven’t heard in drum and bass before. Quite often you get vocalists or MC’s that sound like they’ve been in drum and bass or are trying to be in drum and bass. But for me, I’m looking for something very different.

 

Bass Drop: For sure, so post collaborating and releasing material with Kemo, are you hearing anyone else in drum and bass doing stuff that sounds like it’s influenced by what you guys do together?

 

Lynx: Yeah. There has been a little bit, which is all good I guess. It’s the best form of flattery!

 

Bass Drop: Totally! So what are some directions you’d like to be able to take drum and bass in that you haven’t been able to yet?

 

Lynx: Hmmm, I’d love to record a full orchestra with a drum and bass track. I think that would be amazing. I think in some ways classical music has similar ways of working to drum and bass. I think quite often they both break the rules. Whether it’s by arrangement, or melodic components that go together, so I think it would be great to fuse the two together.

 

By Martyn Pepperell

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