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MORPHEUS MUSIC INTERVIEW - HEYOKA

01.06.10 - on release of Marklar.

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Q: What’s been happening with Heyoka since your debut album – Pineal Dub?   The debut EP was actually Space Case, but since then, I've been trying to constantly change and evolve my sound. Space Case began to develop my glitch hop sound. Pineal Dub was more of a psy dub album. Whomp gland kind of mixed the styles of the two previous EP's. Gate Code was a further developement, with a bit more instrumental hip hop influence, and more alienish synths. Marklar built upon the style of Gate Code, but with a lot more glitch edits, more interesting synth sounds, more psychedelia, and more of a variety of beat styles.
Recently however, I have been into borrowing elements of other genres that I normally never really got into in my production, like drum and bass, break-core and really wacky experimental IDM.
Since Marklar, I've been trying to develop a sound that sort of takes the intricate glitch style of break-core/idm, but doing it at half-step beats, and incorporating the psy dub and glitch hop sound that I've been doing all along. I'm also getting into producing, kind of minimal ambient glitch. Each EP / Album has had a pretty different overall sound, just because, the way I work, I generally stumble upon new formulas for production, then focus on them for a while, making a series of tracks in that style, then suddenly get bored with it, and get stuck in writers block until I stumble upon something different. Then the cycle starts again.
  Q:  What would you say has most been affecting your sound in these intervening months?   Like I was saying above, I've been taking elements from genres I normally don't produce, and working them into my sound. Some of my friends were surprised and a bit taken aback by the the DnB beats in Marklar, but for me, it was a fun project to suddenly jump into much faster beats, still trying to keep the same overall feel of my other tracks.
Now, I'm working on some stuff that still has the fast cut up DnB sound, but with halftime beats. My musical tastes constantly change, so when I listen to electronic genres that sound interesting or well produced, I like to experiment with using elements of them with my sound. Sometimes it doesn't work, but I think it keeps me from feeling stagnant in what I'm producing.
     
             
Q:  In setting out to make Marklar – what was your main goal?
  I never really set off to make Marklar. Originally I had an EP of about 8 tracks that were going to be Marklar, but none of them ended up on the final C.D.. Marklar has several phases of styles I was into producing. For about half a year, I would have what seemed to me to be a finished album, but then I would make a few new tracks that I liked better than anything on the album, so I would rework the whole thing. The first half of the album was a series of tracks I made in my old apartment, where I was experimenting with using more sub heavy kicks to give a punchier beat, with less sub on the bass lines, which was influenced from hip hop. I actually had a whole album worth of stuff like that, but then I got into making the sort of DnB/half-step shuffle tracks that are in the second half of the C.D.. It was kind of tricky to get it to sound consistent with the different kind of production styles on the C.D.. Overall, I wanted to get a lot more glitchy and intricate than the previous C.D.s.
There are a lot of post production glitch cut ups that I always do to my released tracks after they are out, so they are different when I play them. I decided to work that into the albums as well.
  Q: Where did the name come from?  

The name is a silly joke. It comes from the alien race on South Park, who refer to all people, things and ideas as Marklar. I was trying to find a name that would reflect the alien sounds of the album, and I just liked the idea of this alien word from outer space that means anything. My inner bull**** artist would say that it signifies the oneness of everything in the universe. That's my way to justify using a South Park word for my C.D.

             
Q:  Your current sound is quite complex – how do you build up such a rich sonic tapestry?
 

I get a complex sound by lots of layering. In Marklar, I kind of abused side chain gating to help me have lots of layers of little psychedelic bits and pieces all working with the drum parts, in order to keep a punchy feel. I like sounds that I can almost visually see as fractaling and melting. I'm trying to get it to sound like audio fractals. While working on the album, I got a Virus TI, which definitely opened up a whole new aray of sounds. One thing I love to do with the virus is assign lfo's to an oscillator wave select, so it scrolls through different oscillators while it plays. Using a lot of spacey delays helps too. The main tricky thing with using tons of layers is to keep it harmonizing well, and to keep it from being overly cluttered, so it still has space.

  Q:  Can you tell us a bit about your live performances over the last year. Would you say that these have affected your subsequent recordings in any way?   I've been playing out a lot this last year. My favorite events are outdoor festivals, like Burning Man, Shambhala, Symbiosis, Sonic Bloom, Raindance, and Emerge n See. That is the environment where I intend for my dance tracks to be heard. I think through playing shows, you're able to feel out what kind of tracks work well in the sets. I'm always trying to make new tracks I can play out, so my set isn't too similar from show to show. This kind of keeps me from being able to spend a good amount of time on more experimental projects I like to do, but it's very fun to make fat dance tracks too.
I try to get the dance tracks to have a very psychedelic feel, with a wacky, almost humorous twist. At the same time, I try to keep them fat and fun to dance to. I feel like there has been less of a psychedelic element to the music that has been popular in west coast festival over the last few years, especially with the huge popularity of dubstep. I remember my favorite times dancing at festivals, before I started playing at them, would be when the music was so far out, trippy and intricate, that it would totally blow my mind, and not just be a big fat beat. The music that does well in clubs isn't necessarily what is good for forest parties.
             
 
     
Q:  What is your studio environment like?
  My studio is pretty mobile. I would like to have a proper studio setup, but I move around a lot, so I've yet to set up a nice studio.
My setup consists of my laptop, soundcard (MOTU), an Akai MPK 49 keyboard. a Virus TI, and NI Machine. My monitors are Rockit 8's and a Rockit 10, but I rarely get to use them, because I don't have anywhere I can play them at night. I produce most of the time in headphones. I was using Beyerdeynamic 770's, but just recently got a set of Ultrasone 750's, which I really like ( and wish I had when I was making Marklar ).
Since I don't really have a permanent set up studio, while I work on tracks, I always render lots of versions that I listen to in other systems every chance I get, so I can get an idea of what changes I need to make to it to sound right in those systems.
  Q:  Are there any other artists that you especially keep an eye on at the moment either for inspiration or for personal enjoyment?
  Lately, I've been listening to a lot of older IDM, from guys like Venetian Snares, Jega, Squarepusher, Machinedrum, and Amon Tobin. It's very different from what I make, but it is just what I've been listening to recently. As far as newer music more similar to mine, I frequently check Addictech.com for new music. There has been a lot of good stuff coming out of the label I'm on, Muti Music. I like the Omelette Records stuff coming out of Australia a lot. I've been also listening to a lot of more ambient dub/glitch from guys like Deadbeat and Mauxuam.
             
Q:  Looking forward – are there any musical developments that you would like to bring to Heyoka? Any gear you’d like to explore or collaborative possibilities?   I'm taking a bit of a break from making the kind of stuff I normally do. I'm working on a bunch of tracks that are more on the IDM side of things. I've been doing some ambient tracks, as well as some kind of gritty half-step stuff. I've been dabbling a bit into making break-core, but I know I should stop, because I should focus my time on stuff I can play that won't drive all my hippy friends insane.
I've been into doing video fractal animation too. My Dad does a lot of fractal videos, and I got into it, but it is so compulsive, that I'm having to force myself to stop so I don't occupy all of my time on it and stop making music.
As for gear I would like to explore, I want to get Max for Live. I see a lot of potential there. I have tried to make custom effects in Reaktor, but have always struggled with it and Max for Live seems like it might be a more user friendly way of making custom instruments.
As for collaborations, I have been doing some remix projects with some other producers. I am not very good at finishing remixes. I would like to do more of them , but it always takes me a long time to finish remixes, because I have to adjust my production style to someone else's. It is a good opportunity though, for breaking out of my formulas.
  Q:  What’s on the horizon for Heyoka?   I have no idea.
Hopefully good things.

 

           

Thanks to Andrei AKA Heyoka and the guys at Muti Music for allowing us that interview.

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