So you want to be a full-time producer/DJ?
Props to you! Just be prepared for years of juggling the dream with the reality.
Besides the guys who started so young they had a DAW in their cot and consequently got signed when they were still in school, the chances are you’ll be working two full time jobs to realise your ultimate ambition: One job bringing home the paper (the reality), the other learning your production chops and rising up the performance ladder (the dream).
None of the best things in life are easy, but activating ‘pro’ status within dance music is definitely one of the most gruelling with scant sleep, little dollar and lack of a conventional social life all tied into the bundle.
Some DJs will publically shy away from this fact and refuse to discuss their day job. Others will embrace this challenging lifestyle and tell you like it is. Others like Technimatic. The duo have been smashing it on Shogun Audio for almost two years (and many years before as Techicolour and Komatic) but even at debut album status they’re still neck-deep in their daytime careers.
But not for long… If you’ve enjoyed their singles, you’ll LOVE their album. From the motivational spoken word sermon on the opener Perseverance right through to the title Desire Paths, the entire body of work is a highly personal document about them, their passions, their dreams and their hard work. Deep in every direction, it has potential to be one of the D&B albums of the year.
We caught up with them to learn more…
It’s taken a while for me to find you both in the same room!
Technicolour: It’s a bit of a rarity. We both work full time jobs and both work very different hours we can’t get together that often. We just make the best of use of our time when we can.
Komatic: We’ve never kept it a secret that we’ve had to really rise to the challenge of making our lives as producers work with our normal occupations. That’s a big part of Technimatic and certainly how the album has come together.
You’ve both got really cool jobs. Cameraman and designer are desirable occupations. Many people struggle to get those types of creative jobs…
K: Yeah sure. But we wanted to make drum & bass before we started those jobs.
T: It’s never gone away. We’ve wanted to do this since we were 14. Yeah, they’re very cool creative jobs, and we’re really grateful for them! But none of this stacks up as much as much our desire to make music.
K: I think whatever job you do, if you do it 9-5 it becomes monotonous. It’s just a way of making money. Music has always been an escape from that. Somewhere where we can feel free of any usual career constraints. Music and our day jobs have worked very well together in that way; it’s an amazing outlet.
For sure. But is the grass greener? When music does become your fulltime career, that will be your way of making money. Will you feel the same constraints you do with your jobs now? DJs do get jaded…
T: Agreed! We’ve pained over this for many a time. But music has always been what we’ve dreamt of. I have no doubt we’ll be a lot more satisfied than we are now. Even when we do get those jaded moments!
K: There’ll be points where we’ll have different challenges. When we have to deliver a piece of music even when we’re not feeling creative will feel like hard work. But our passion has never faltered for over 15 years. Our view might change but the passion won’t.
T: We can’t not try and get into this position. We have to go there and see what it’s like. You might be right; we might get into that position and think ‘fuck! I want to be a designer or cameraman again’ but we’ll have fun getting to that… If it ever happens.
I’m sure it won’t. So when did this passion start? Is there a key moment or epiphany that triggered this D&B love?
K: For me it was the very first time I heard LTJ Bukem – Horizons. I’d wanted to be a DJ since I went to my first rave at 15. But this was a style of music that spoke to me. I’d never felt that deep connection with music before. It got under my skin. I need to know more and become part of it!
T: Those early Good Lookin releases were so ground-breaking and exciting. They were miles away from everything else that was being released at the time and had a massive influence on me too. This was years before either of us started producing. It was the second wave of liquid that came in during the early 2000s – when Hospital really found their groove – that inspired me to actually produce. I’d just graduated so I could afford to buy the equipment and make music. That’s where it all switched from being music fans and ravers to something more serious.
How about classic albums? Did you have any references or retrospectives during the writing of Desired Paths?
K: The funny thing is, when we started out with the album we were very much ‘right this is how it’s going to be, this is what we’re going to do’. During those decisions we did discuss what we loved from the past… But we never actively returned to those albums. It didn’t take long for us to realise that by having a pre-conceived idea for the album was fucking ourselves up. We needed to let the music to do its thing and have its own journey. Let’s stop over-analysing and just write. The second we made that decision things got a lot more creative and a theme developed on its own.
What was the first track that came about after you scrapped that plan?
K: We can’t say a specific track as we don’t work on one track then move on to the next. But definitely Looking For Diversion with Lucy Kitchen was a turning point. It felt like a jump for us. We approached the whole thing differently. For me it’s a great example of us wearing our influences on our sleeves and really enjoying the creative process. It’s a very simple track which felt very refreshing as in the past we’ve been guilty of maybe over-complicating things and throwing too many things into one project.
Any more highlights?
T: We finished the album in March so we’ve had a lot of time to think about our favourites. It changes in every interview we’ve been asked this! Music Is Music is definitely special for me. It sums up what we’re about.
K: For me it’s Perseverance. The opening track. It makes me very reflective about this whole journey… Why did we want to get involved in drum & bass? Why did we become producers? What did we want to make an album? This was one of the first tracks we wrote for the album and it’s got a real magic and excitement about it for me.
T: It was the first track we wrote after coming from a meeting with Shogun when they told us they wanted an album. It had a life of its own, the original idea we put together was miles away from what you hear on the album.
Tell you my faves on the album? Tectonic, because it’s filthy. And Mucky Jeff because it’s stupidly funky.
T: Ah, Tectonic… Yes. We’d love to write more of the darker stuff. But we sit down to write them, we’ll get so far into the project and go ‘this could do with a trumpet’ or ‘this needs some strings’ and the whole vibe changes. But with Tectonic we stuck to the original idea. What can we say about Mucky Jeff?
K: We had about 70 sketches of tracks during the album process and we’d done A LOT of drum & bass so we thought we’d cleanse the palate. It came together really nicely and we weren’t too sure if Shogun would like it. We sent it over to them and they loved it!
Who is Jeff?
K: We’ve met a lot of interesting and funny people in drum & bass and Jeff is one of those people. For legal reasons we can’t say who he is but he’s played a very distinctive role in our career!
Sticking with track titles, there always appears to be more depth than, say, your standard D&B tune title. Desire Paths, Perseverance and, going back, Intersections. They’re pretty personal aren’t they?
K: This whole thing is massively personal! For us an album is an expression of ourselves as artists. It’s about how music is such a massive part of our lives and how it’s helped us get through everything else we do day-to-day. And the sacrifices we’ve made to make the music, too. Everything about the music is an expression of that. Including the track titles.
T: We never name a track for the sake of naming a track. One of the most exciting things about the album was finding those moments that gave us a thread. The spoken word sample on Perseverance is one example and one of the lyrics on Looking For Diversion; they form a thread of ideas and emotions that create their own natural story. One of the hardest things about making dance music is that you’re trying to express yourself as an artist but at the same time you’re trying to make music for people to dance to and DJ. It’s hard to nail both sides…
Depth and musicality vs losing your shit on the dancefloor… It’s the hardest line to tread! If you had to compromise on one of those, which would it be?
T: It’s hard to answer as I err on the side of making things deep and chin stroky… While Andy will try and go harder. He’s always been the more longstanding DJ in our partnership so he’s got a keener ear for things to work on the dancefloor.
K: It’s tricky… We want DJs to drop our music but we also want you to enjoy it in every other walk of life and we want to do that within one track. But a track that’s six minutes long is ideal for DJs to play but will feel very long and boring while you’re listening to it in the car. It was something we’ve really thought about during the album and only time will tell if it’s worked.
Indeed. Let’s wrap up on lighter note now… Last time we spoke you mentioned wedgies behind the decks, and now there’s a pic of one of you with a helmet on behind the decks. WTF is going on here?
T: That will be me. It was Berlin a few years ago. We’d played in Holland the night before and hadn’t slept much. We were in a funny frame of mind that night so when I saw the motorbike helmet behind the decks I decided it would be really good fun to wear it during my whole set. Zoom in on my face and you’ll see beyond the enjoyment there is a very pained expression. It wasn’t big enough for my head!
K: We did the gig and went straight to the airport. We took a look at the picture and I laughed for 20 minutes nonstop. I’m not sure which one of us suffered more pain from the whole incident!
T: We both did with the hangovers we had the following week…
Desire Paths it out July 28. Pre-order right here…