Critical have been bang on the money lately with future talent. In among massive hitters such as Current Value, Binga, Breakage and Emperor we’ve had firing freshman dispatches from the likes of Klax, VROMM and Obeisant.
While both Klax and VROMM have had some previous exposure, New Zealand artist Obeisant is brand new. And he’s brandishing a stark, dark sound that’s rooted in tech history while staring fiercely into the bleak future.
So how did Kasra find him? What’s he got in store next? Above all, who the hell is he?
How did the hook up with Critical come about?
Through Resound. I’ve been following him for a long time and have a lot of time for what he makes, how he spreads his interests and how he says it on his blog. His posts on mindset and productivity are especially inspiring, I’m into that stuff, so I’d comment on them and we developed a rapport. Behind the scenes I was chipping away in the studio trying to get up to a standard I was happy with and eventually sent him a batch of eight tunes. The feedback was good, he was really supportive and played some of them on BBC 1Xtra which was amazing. So the link to Kasra came through Resound.
Was he the first big DJ you sent tunes to?
No, I’d sent tracks to a couple of people quite a few years back and kinda jumped the gun in terms of production level, it wasn’t well calculated to be honest. It was the result of feeling like ‘no one is hearing this music, what am I doing here? I need to know where I’m at’; coupled with ‘this is it, I’m the shit’ which was the blind confidence from a few beers hahaha. I thought I’d cracked it but the responses weren’t what I hoped for. It pushed me to go back to the studio and work even harder.
Who did you send it to?
BTK and Dose. I hung out with Dose in Perth once when I used to live there. But they were totally cool, it was a humbling experience and a learning curve.
Especially with music as technical as drum & bass. You’ve been chipping away at this for a long time haven’t you?
Yeah since I was a teenager 12 years ago. I had no musical training and there were no tutorials online back then, especially on Drum & Bass. The genre is bit of a dark art with everyone keeping their techniques close to their chest, it took a long time to really get to grips with it.
You’ve dabbled with house as well according to your Soundcloud – is a multi-genre future for you on the cards?
Eventually perhaps! Up until a few years ago I was producing everything, but I was a jack of all trades and master of none. I’d dabbled with dubstep and electro and things like that but drum & bass is my primary passion when it comes to electronic music. I’m focusing totally on it for now.
With Critical’s backing that seems like a very good idea. Did Kasra give you any specific feedback?
I sent him the same tracks I’d sent to Resound and he said ‘I like what you’re doing, keep sending me stuff’, then I sent him Dreamcatcher and Bassdrop both of which he was real stoked with. He came back saying ‘get me two more and we’ll do an EP’.
Did those tracks feel like a level up?
Yeah I got new Adam monitors and I felt the mixdowns were definitely a level up. Also I’d taken a month break from producing which gave me space to refresh and refocus. I really benefited from that. I wrote the two tunes in a week and they just flowed, it was a creative burst.
What did you do in that month off then?
I enjoyed a lot of outdoor time, gym time and some games. I listened to a lot of my favourite non drum & bass music, I actually don’t listen to a lot of drum & bass outside of production to be honest.
What do you listen to, then?
I listen to a lot of Tool. They’ve been a passion of mine for a very long time and it’s almost ritualistic to keep coming back to them before I do anything in the studio. 90s grunge rock, prog rock and 90s hip-hop and electronica are the biggest influences for me. I don’t listen to a lot of contemporary stuff because I don’t have the time to find new shit! I’m either working on new material or want a complete break from music in general.
What was it about drum & bass that caught you, then? Was it the complexity and futureness of it all?
A bit of that but more the intensity and the high tension in the music. That’s what I like about any form of music. Plus the sounds were out of this world, too.
You know this. So… What’s coming after this EP?
Hopefully more releases on Critical. I’d love a vinyl release and for my music to be tangible. There’s loads more music in the pipeline and I’m itching to get back into the studio to finish it up, I’ve just been working on the social media stuff lately. It’s a bit time consuming but I want to do it and I personally like it when artists interact with fans.
Like you and Resound on his blog!
Yeah totally. My interaction with social media previously has just been through production groups and blogs though, not necessarily ‘Facebooking’. I hope for the music to speak for itself rather than based more off promotion through social media haha.
Indeed. Final question…. What’s up with the name?
Glad you asked. Just in case anyone is wondering it’s pronounced ‘obey-sint’. It means a physical gesture of respect like a bow and I like the idea of respect to what’s come before me, I feel like my music is the embodiment of that. It’s also a homage and an anagram of my name. Ticks all the boxes.
Follow Obeisant: Soundcloud / Facebook / Twitter