WORDS

Timeline: Calyx & TeeBee

calyx and teebee 27.5.14_081a  (credit Jimmy Mould)

Did you know that Calyx & TeeBee’s Strung Out is actually a diss track?

Did you know that their last album All Or Nothing was 100 per cent complete and ready to go before they signed to Ram Records?

Did you know the UK/Norway duo played an implicative role in getting Noisia into drum & bass?

As the guys prepare to unleash their chop-slapping Fabriclive 76 mix next week we thought it was high time we explored their UKF history. With 12 uploads in less than four years, their dominance in our selections mirrors their heavyweight impact on the scene… And by getting the stories behind each of the appearances we’ve learnt LOADS.

It’s time, once again, to rewind… Timeline style!

Break – Don’t Look Down (Feat Calyx & TeeBee)

Upload: Nov 15 2010

Calyx: We love Break! He’s a very unique and talented man. We’ve been friends for years. This came about through me hanging out with him in Bristol for a few days. The intro is actually me playing around on his bass guitar one late smoky night.

TeeBee: I was back in Norway at the time so we opened up a project online and sent different ideas and bits back and forth, it was a very cool way to do things and came about very naturally.

Scavenger

Upload – May 30 2012

TeeBee: This was a transitional period where we were leaving the sound that we’d been known for. It was great that this was our first single on Ram. It was the best way to introduce ourselves to the Ram fans and say ‘this is us’ but also a way of saying to our old fans ‘hey we’ve signed to Ram but it’s business as usual!’

Calyx: We were actually going to release All Or Nothing on our own label. The whole thing was written before we sat down with Ram. They came in just as we were about to release it. We always wanted to play the album to Ram but weren’t sure if they’d be interested!

Elevate This Sound

Upload – July 20 2012

Calyx: I’m always goofing around in the studio, singing obscene lyrics. People had told me in the past that I should sing but I was too inhibited to do that type of thing. I’d always left it to the singers. But during our album we’d been snubbed and longed out by singers a few times so I thought ‘fuck it, I’ll have a go myself’. Those lyrics are about overcoming the struggle of being inhibited.

Singing is a very different instrument and form of expression. I’ve been playing instruments from a very early age and I find when you’re playing an instrument or mixing, your fingers are doing the work. Singing is the most raw, naked expression you can perform. It’s a real rush and I still get strange feelings about it now. But that’s what it’s all about, right? Pushing yourself and trying new things.

Michael Woods – We’ve Only Just Begun (feat Ester Dean) (Calyx & TeeBee Remix)

Upload – August 2012

TeeBee: Michael’s a very high profile artist and this was a really interesting opportunity. We only used the vocals and one or two of the sounds and wrote a whole new track around them. We were worried Michael wouldn’t like it as a result but he was really into it!

Calyx: This marks the start of a crazy period for us. We were working some really exciting bands and artists little Dragon and DJ Shadow and it was so exciting to explore these different sounds and work on different vocals, musical components and themes that would be otherwise outside our comfort zone. I think a lot of artists in our style of drum & bass are always in danger of leaning towards chin-stroke or screw face or be a ‘producer’s producer’. But when you’re given a piece of music that isn’t your original production you can vibe out on something you’d never have written before. It’s a completely different creative process and one that we really enjoyed!

TeeBee: When writing the album we moved away from sampling to a large extent. We made all the original components and it took a lot of work! So to be given all of these elements that were already made and to be able to do what the fuck we liked with them – within reason – was such a great feeling!

Pure Gold (Feat Kemo)

Upload October 18 2012

Calyx: A homage to the 90s! 90s drum & bass and 90s hip-hop. We never intended for it to be a tribute track but it evolved that way. It had a different intro to begin with but Kemo wrote some lyrics and then suddenly we wrote the new intro with THAT double bassline. The video Andrew Attah shot was done super last minute. Kemo did an amazing job of lining up the locations and getting Ken Swift, a legendary B-boy breakdancer.

TeeBee: I come from b-boying and breakdancing in the 80s so that was my shit! To have Ken Swift on a video was mind-blowing to be honest. Totally unreal! Everything came full circle that moment for me.

Friction & Skream – Kingpin (Feat Scrufizzer, P Money & Riko Dan) (Calyx & TeeBee Remix)

Upload: March 18 2013

Calyx: Possibly the longest track title in the history of track titles! In some ways this has been one of the most crowd pleasing remixes we’ve ever done. Every two sets of 16 bars the crowd get lifted up to another level. We opened with it for a while. Then we closed with it for a while. We still drop it in most sets now because it works in every environment from small clubs to huge festivals.

TeeBee: It was number one on Beatport for a record breaking time, too. It was a cool project for us; it represents what we’re about but while working with different types of vocalists. It’s a really uncompromising track but someone who doesn’t know about drum & bass can relate to it…. While proper D&B fans know just how heavy it is, too!

Syron – Here (Calyx & TeeBee Remix)

Upload: March 6 2013

Calyx: We’ve just learnt that Dillinja has been playing this every single set since he got his hands on it. Which I think is amazing! That’s the thing with remixes, especially ones on big labels; you can’t send it to friends in advance or anything like that, it just gets done and goes out there in the hope people will find it. It’s almost like it’s done to tick a box; to have that ‘underground’ remix. It means that if you find it and it hasn’t been pushed in a heavy promotional way then you’ve got something that a lot of other DJs may have slept on. Plus I’m really pleased with the way that intro evolves into something pretty gnarly. I think the bass guitar slide tipped it for Dillinja. Plus Syron’s got a great voice!

Wilkinson – Heartbeat (Feat P Money & Arlissa) (Calyx & TeeBee remix)

Upload: June 26 2013

TeeBee: Wilkinson did a remix of Pure Gold so we basically owed him a favour! This was towards the end of the mammoth remix run we were doing and we’d learnt a lot of things during this time. This kind of represents everything we learnt… A bit like the Kingpin remix, this has got every bit of our sound but translated through Wilkinson’s elements. It’s a real highlight for us, not just a remix highlight, but a career highlight. It goes off every single time in every single venue. Without fail!

Example – All The Wrong Places (Calyx & TeeBee Remix)

Upload: July 22 2013

Calyx: To give you an idea of how remixes come about, you get these third party intermediaries who act as go-betweens between labels and artists and commission remixes. After the album we had calls and opportunities every single day. We’ve loved this journey and how we’ve taken our music to a bigger market. This remix was part of that. We had this offer with four days to go before we played at Glastonbury, so we smashed it in the studio for several days nonstop. We debuted it to about 50,000 on that insane Arcadia spider stage. It was a fitting way to wrap up the remix! Example loved it and it did well on the radio… I’ve got very fond memories of this!

Noisia & Calyx & TeeBee – Hyenas

Upload: October 2 2013

TeeBee: Noisia are relentless in their approach! They’ve never compromised on anything, especially when it comes to their original material. This came about through a few days of jamming together and there are a lot of references to our roots and our sound because that’s what Noisia wanted to do. They told us that our early solo material were key influences for them getting into drum & bass. They wanted to reflect that and take part in that era of music. So it’s a homage to the heritage of drum & bass but put in a new school context.

Naughty Boy (Feat Wiz Khalifa & Ella Eyre) (Calyx & TeeBee Remix)

Upload: October 9 2013

TeeBee: We’re massive fans of Naughty Boy! This was a real pleasure to work on and I love that eight bar snarl it drops into. We just can’t get away from that snarl… It’s who we are! We play this every set and it always goes down well.

Calyx: We’ve got our own version that doesn’t have Wiz Khalifa on it. For us it just sounded so much better with more space around Ella’s voice.

Calyx & TeeBee – Strung Out VIP

Upload: November 18 2013

TeeBee: This is actually a diss tune… Isn’t it Larry?

Calyx: Well. Yeah. I’m not going to say who it’s a diss at, but we had an amazing singer lined up for this. At least we thought we did. He’s incredibly talented and never worked in drum & bass. It would have been amazing. But he longed us out so much that it became infuriating. On the rare times we managed to get hold of him on the phone he’d be very apologetic and tell us how much he wanted to be on the tune and how he’d get back to us as soon as possible. Then silence. And this went on for two years.

TeeBee: We had his vocals recorded. We had the structure laid down and everything but he didn’t come up to scratch. So we wanted to record it again. But it just never happened.

Calyx: By this point Elevate This Sound was starting to go down well so I thought I’d write about this experience. I don’t know if the singer has ever heard it and listened to the lyrics, but he really was long to the point of disrespect… but it all turned out for the best, eh?

Photo Credit: Jimmy Mould