In the space of just over two years, since his debut release, Rotterdam rising murksmith Hebbe has been as close to unavoidable as a new generation dubstep artist can hope to be. He’s had a steady flow of releases on some of the most respected underground imprints; Subway, Artikal, Division, Crucial, Version Collective and unfailing Belgian bastion DUPLOC who he has the honour of launching their new vinyl series with this month.
A fumy swampy brew comprising the groaning, toxic Watch Out, two trippy, leftsided collabs with Melle and Mr K plus a stinking remix from ENiGMA Dubz, DUPLOCv001 is yet another precision strike from the young artist. It comes hot on the chem trails of two of his most high profile releases to date (his alien funk bust up Yare on Partial#5 on Noisia’s Division imprint and Skanking Alone via J:Kenzo’s Artikal) and will be followed by more vital dispatches including an EP on White Peach that’s due imminently. Fresh from a two month US tour, we thought it was high time we called him and found out more…
How’s your day been?
It’s my first day back in the studio since my US tour so it’s been really good.
Amazing. I was out there for two months and visited a lot of places. It was a glorified vacation, testing the waters in a lot of the big cities… Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Costa Meza, San Francisco, Austin, a few more I can’t remember off the top of my head. It was a really cool trip, just seeing what people liked.
The summer of your life so far, basically….
Oh yeah. It was quite like living there because you become accustomed to it so quickly. I loved it.
It’s been the year of your life so far release-wise too…
Yeah man, I’m pretty blessed with my releases and the support I’m getting.
I looked up the translation of your name. it means ‘to have’ right?
Yeah it does. You’re the first person to look that up. Thanks.
How did that come about, then?
I came up with it when I was in the studio getting a some tuition. Do you know June Miller?
Yeah him! He gave me a masterclass and said he told me he thought my music was good and I should persist with it. That gave me confidence to get my own studio. I made up that name when I was there. That was three four years ago.
Did you know him before or did you hire his services randomly?
He posted something online and a friend tagged me into it. I wasn’t that into drum & bass but I thought why not? I want to know more about production and he seems like a guy who has the knowledge. It turns out he’s one of the craziest producers I know now. I took the class and that started me off on the course of making it for a living…
He just gave you that extra boost by the sounds of things?
Yeah I was making music for like a year and a half or something. Before that I was playing guitar and all that stuff. But then a year and a half before that masterclass I put all of my efforts into electronic music and dubstep.
It sounds like you worked on your sound before you broke though. You’ve only been around two years. All of this has happened quick, but it’s clear you did a lot of preparation and hard work before you released anything.
Yeah it’s been just over two years since my first release so it’s gone very quickly. I was never in a rush to release anything though, you’re right.
The Eighties was your first track, right? On Subway.
That was my second one but close!
That EP… Noclu, Bukez, Lifecycle, Requake, yourself. All doing the damn thing now. Testament to Subway’s A&R ears.
Definitely. It’s funny. Nicon, the man who launched Subway, is one of my good friends now. He helped me so much in my career in music. He gave me my first DJ gigs at his parties. I wasn’t DJing at all but he put me on the spot and said ‘you DJ now!’ Then I had to learn quick.
Sad Subway is over… Or is it?
He’s onto something new, don’t worry. He’s still loving the scene and music and everything around it but he’s got something cool planned. But it’s funny how I met him, I was walking down from my studio and I saw Mark talking to someone and he introduced me to him. It was Nicon and I was already a big fan of course. He said he’d check out my music, I sent it to him and he told me to play his radio show. Every time I played a tune he was like ‘who is this?’ It’s me. ‘Who is this?’ It’s me. All hour.
All unreleased stuff you’d been working on for those years before you started releasing?
Yeah that’s it. That’s advice I would give to anyone; spend lots of time making your own tunes until you’re absolutely happy. Don’t put them online. Don’t rush things. Just really craft on things.
Your sound has also developed since you’ve emerged. It sounds like you’ve become more system inspired? Tracks like Hebbe’s Sound and Dubmedika. Very funky and quite strange rhythms. Your sound has become deeper. Maybe more experimental?
I get you but I don’t like the term experimental. A lot of people make bad music and get away with it by calling it experimental! I try to make something different. I take inspiration from other artists I enjoy and respect. I don’t listen to dubstep in my free time but when I set out to produce then I check the things people have sent me and I check artists I rate and I think ‘ah I love this! I want to do something on this vibe!’ or ‘I can do this differently or I want to learn how do this!’ Either way I’m getting on my DAW. That shit inspires me.
Guessing Samba is on that list of people you rate?
Yeah for sure. We’ve done some things together, we started out together.
Who else is exciting you? We’re in a wicked time musically….
Yeah we are. Especially in the US. It’s blowing up. Some of the bigger artists like Peekaboo have a very underground sound but are blowing up. It’s very healthy to a see an underground sound be supported and celebrated like this.
Have you been inspired by your DJ gigs and travels? How has touring changed your sound?
I’ll tell you in six months, let’s see what happens with my new productions. I’ve been inspired by so many artists and parties.
Tour over, into hibernation mode now…
Yeah I’ve been socialising for two months straight so now I’m trying to get back to being an antisocial zombie.
You need balance. Time out and time on your own. The extremes help creativity.
Yeah they’re both extremes, I’m either out meeting new people or I’m on my own or with my MC or one or two producer friends. I enjoy time alone a lot. I really like closing myself off for days and days on end and making music.
What’s up next?
I’ve got a release on White Peach then I have some other vinyls coming maybe this year or beginning of next year and plenty more after that…