The techno x dubstep axis that was mined so lovingly by Osiris eventually gave way to a more abstract and fractured take on bass music filtered through the grey lens of post-industrial wastes and the German techno capital of Berghain. From the Habits and Open Water EPs to Killawatt’s recent full-length album that blends the DNA of techno, electronica and dubstep into something that isn’t any of them, no other label had curated such a singularly unique take on dubstep that wasn’t indebted to DMZ. Konvex and his new label ‘Delay Circuit’ look to fill the void that was left after Mønic and company went full techno with his ‘Obscure Sorrows’ EP. Fulfilling the technoid dubstep aesthetic, the EP gives reprieve to 140 heads tiring of DMZ worship and good-time reggae indebted steppas by bringing the paranoia and disassociating psychological effects that industrial techno elicits on loud systems back to 140 bpm. Intrigued by his new project, we caught up with Konvex to discuss his music, label, and future.
TRUSIK: Easy Tom, it’s great to finally feature you on here, how’s it going?
KONVEX: Yes, I’m very excited to get this going actually, feels a bit overdue even! It’s going well thank you Alastair, busy juggling working, writing music and binge watching stuff on Netflix but I think I’m just about treading water with it all haha.
TRUSIK: It’s been almost a year since your last release, which was your Antimatter EP on Wheel & Deal. What have you been working on since then?
KONVEX: My main focus for all of last year was writing my ‘Obscure Sorrows’ EP; I started writing it around April and after numerous little edits with mixdowns etc, I’d say it was finished sometime in the early winter. It initially started as a bit of an LP project but I ended up whittling it down more and more to keep it as one coherent body of work and in the end, it felt better releasing it as an EP. I spent a lot of the year brushing up on my production and kinda refining my sound a bit. Other than that, I’ve done a few remixes here and there. One was a remix of Content’s ‘Rat Soup’ on his EP for Sub:Pressure and I was also asked by my good friend Scalade to remix his track ‘Kingpin’ on Phantom Hertz. I also appeared on FatKidOnFire’s FKOFCD2 release, which was a great pleasure to do seeing as I’ve worked with Wil and the blog since I started the Konvex project!
TRUSIK: You mentioned a number of remixes there, is this an angle of production you enjoy challenging yourself with? How do you typically approach the break down of a remix?
KONVEX: Yeah, I do really enjoy remixing. I’m actually in the process of doing a few at the moment so I suppose it’s a bit late for me to decide it’s not for me now (laughs). When approaching a remix, I normally listen through the stems separately to pick out the sounds and elements that I want to work with most and the noises that I want to bring attention to first before going through and listening to the original track to get a real feel for the track. From there I pretty much just go with it and try to repurpose the track into something that’s distinctly ‘Konvex’ whilst still getting across the original artist’s aesthetic vision. I feel that it’s important for a remix to be able to stand on it’s own as a work of art as well as a re-imagination of someone else’s track.
TRUSIK: Your production style is very much focused on the techno dubstep crossover (akin to Mønic, Sleeper, and Killawatt), so what attracts you to this “aesthetic” of music over other genres?
KONVEX: I’m enormously into techno and spent most of the last six months focusing all my attention on making it. It’s powerful, uncompromising and driving. I’ve always made quite percussion driven music. I think myself and the people I was making music with at the time (Wayfarer, Kanjira, Format etc) grew very weary of the whole ‘bongo/tribal’ sound though. I think I’d count ‘Antimatter’ as a bit of a turning point for me music wise, I started exploring more industrial sounds and really immersed myself in that kind of sound design. I like making these great big slabs of music; dystopian, droning and distorted but still relentless and percussive. For me, the key thing is the groove and making something people can actually dance to.
TRUSIK: Speaking of Killawatt, his debut LP ‘émigré’ recently came out on Osiris Music, and is arguably a landmark release not only for him, but the “sound” Osiris is exploring. As one of your contemporaries, what are your thoughts regarding this body of work?
KONVEX: I think it’s an excellent album and definitely demonstrates what Matt does so well. I remember speaking to him before hearing the tracks and he described it as “all over the place… diverse” and I’m not disappointed in what came of it. I think it’s a brilliant milestone for Osiris and shows them really diversifying the sounds they explore.
TRUSIK: While we’re on the subject of Osiris, it’s been over a year since the label shifted away from the purist foundation aesthetic to a more progressive, techno influenced sound. Has Osiris’s adoption of techno had an influence on your productions, and if yes, how so?
KONVEX: Yeah, to an extent; the music I’ve made has always been very percussion focussed and I slowly moved into more industrial planes to explore. Artists like Sleeper, Killawatt etc definitely piqued my interest and made me explore techno more but so did my dad, who gave me a load of techno records to check out. Techno has been my main focus and something I’ve explored in depth over the last year or so. Whilst Osiris and their artists definitely helped me get into the sound, I’d like to say that I explored it on my own too.
TRUSIK: What are you thoughts on other labels at the moment, as most of them have become adopters of what we like to call the “DMZ Tradition” – in other words – rootical percussion, dubby atmospherics and reggae inspired basslines?
KONVEX: It’s not really for me and I don’t really see it as a very experimental or exciting sound; I can imagine I’d get some heat for this but I think it’s a step back. How can a genre move forward if it’s stuck in the past? There’s definitely a place for it, but it’s not really something I’m much of a fan of.
TRUSIK: So let’s move onto your new project: Delay Circuit.
Can you tell us a little bit about it…?
KONVEX: Delay Circuit is an outlet for me to release my own music as well as the music of my friends and people I’m really into. I got a bit tired of all the waiting around involved in putting out music through other labels and wanted a bit more control over the art and the way it was presented. I’m putting stuff out both on vinyl and digital and selling it all myself through places like Bandcamp and Bigcartel and also plan on releasing cassettes and the like for things like live performances by the artists. It’s been a lot of work getting everything off the ground but I’m massively excited to finally be able to release the music I love. The first release is my ‘Obscure Sorrows’ EP, which was the first thing I’ve ever put out on vinyl. It only felt right to put out the release I spent so long writing in a way that granted me full control.
TRUSIK: Congratulations on your first vinyl release. How does it feel to finally have some material out there on physical format?
KONVEX: It feels good! It feels overdue as well, I’ve had several releases in the past that were meant to see a physical release but for one reason or another never happened or things fell through so it’s nice to finally see your work put to wax. It’s kinda funny how a format so impermanent like vinyl can be one of the few ways to make sure your music isn’t as easily forgotten in a world where you’re competing with God knows how many producers that are all able to whack their music up on Beatport or whatever. You really have to be sure of yourself and believe in the music you’re pushing when you invest in it enough to put it out physically; there’s a lot more risk.
TRUSIK: So what else can we expect from you in 2015, is there any other forthcoming material, interesting projects, or up and coming music gigs you can inform the readers on?
KONVEX: I’ve got a few remixes coming out both digitally and on vinyl and I’m releasing a few tracks on a techno label called 2651. It’s actually a collection of kind of techno love songs (laughs), I’m very excited to be putting it out. I’ve also got my eye on a few artists I want to work with for Delay Circuit releases but it’s all very early days at the moment; I wouldn’t want to jinx anything.
TRUSIK: Take us through the mix you put together for us.
KONVEX: The mix is really just a collection of tracks and artists I’m really enjoying at the moment, as well as a showcase of the music I’ve been making and the sounds I’ve been experimenting with. I won’t big it up too much, hopefully the music can speak for itself.
TRUSIK: Thank you for your time fella, we hope the label and forthcoming music is well received by your fans – I’m sure it will be. Are there any final comments / shout outs you wanna share to wrap things up?
KONVEX: Many thanks for having me and for all the time and effort you put into the blog! I know I’ll probably miss people out but honourable mentions to Tom Subject, Alex and Freddie, Jack E Vercetti, E.B., Hutchon, my superstar DJ dad Scott Mac, all the artists I’ve featured in the mix and Hatcha and N-Type for all the support they’ve given me from the start.
TRUSIK: A track…
by your favourite new artist: Subject – R.S.I // Ripto’s Rage // Evasion
you’re currently opening your sets with: Impey – Bangclap
you give the rewind treatment every time: Youngstar – Pulse X (Blackwax Remix)
you would like to remix: This is so so hard to answer. Really though, I’d say I’d love to have a go with anything Regis has made.
Obscure Sorrows EP is out now and available from the Delay Circuit Store.