D&B duo Technicolour and Komatic both have solo back catalogues not to be mocked, but perhaps their comes when they join forces. They excel in making just my kind of d&b, it’s never overproduced, but rather tastefully chosen which retains the heart and soul within the sound, something perhaps easily lost in electronic music sometimes. With releases on the likes of Spearhead, Technique and Critical already, me and James Caunter caught up with them to get the lowdown on their recent Shogun release, their second on the label, and chat all things from production processes through nightmare gigs and all the way to getting lost in Kazakhstan.
Easy guys, explain a bit about yourself firstly, where do both work and what else fills your time?
Pete Technicolour: I am based in London, and outside of Drum & bass I work as a graphic designer.
Andy Komatic: I’m from Bedford and I’m a cameraman!
What album would you describe as perfect to listen to with a few drinks on a friday night, and how about one for a lazy sunday evening?
AK: One album that both Pete and myself both agreed was amazing was Crazy P’s last album When We On. That’s got a lot of rotation and would be perfect for a little Friday night session.
PT: For Sunday night it would have to be something classic. Perhaps Willie Wright’s Lack Of Education, or something by Leroy Hutson…
What are some guilty pleasure tunes that you just can’t help loving?
PT: I will happily stand by my opinion that Toxic by Britney Spears is one of the greatest tunes ever written.
You both both love soul & jazz, how do you think that gives you a different outlook to a lot of d&b producers? Would you say your emphasis on vocals stems from there?
AK: I guess it means we’re less concerned with achieving absolute sonic perfection with tunes. It’s more about capturing a feeling than getting lost inside the technical aspects of the tune making process.
How did you both get into d&b and did you start out as DJs, or did production come first?
PT: I’ve been listening to jungle & d&b since the early nineties. But it was only in 2003 that I finally got around to making it.
AK: I have always felt as though I’m a DJ first and foremost. That is the thing I’ve always wanted to be, since way back when. And like Pete, I only got into the production side of things in the mid-noughties.
Describe an ideal gig? And do you have any horror stories of sets that have gone really wrong?
AK: An ideal gig can be anywhere, as long as there is a good crowd and a good technical set-up!
PT: We did a gig in Bulgaria last year that was probably our most challenging gig to date. Firstly the CD decks were these odd Denon things that had a huge delay when you moved the pitch control and were generally a nightmare to use. Plus midway through our set the whole set-up almost fell off the stage into the crowd. A guy behind the decks leant on one of the tables which was too close to the edge of the stage and it fell off straight into the crowd, taking Andy’s CDs with him! I managed to hold on to the table that the decks and mixer were on, but it was close!
You first started producing together through AIM, how do you think working over the internet effects the creative process, and when did you first link in person?
AK: Interesting question. Ideally working together in the studio is always preferable, and I think we come up with our best material when we do it that way. But swapping tunes over AIM has been very effective for us. As we both work full time, and sometimes one of us might be unable to do much music work, the other can take the tune forward, so we’re essentially always working on stuff and things are moving.
PT: Doing it that way can be difficult however, as if you’re both in the studio together, the decisions made on a track are always done together. But if you’re working alone, you have to make decisions yourself on how the track is progressing, and when you give the track back, sometimes the other person might not agree with what you’ve done! But we work through any disagreements quite easily…
Where do you produce now and what are some essential studio comforts?
AK: Its still a combination of AIM and in my studio in Bedford. Whenever we get together in person, red wine and cheese is essential to the creative process.
You both work on solo tracks as well, would you say your solo output differs to your collab pieces?
PT: Hard to say, really. What I would say is I think our material together is generally better than our solo stuff, and that’s the reason why we’re working far more on Technicolour & Komatic material these days.
Do you tend to work on tunes together from start to finish, or does one of you often start something and then send it to the other?
AK: It can happen any number of ways, really. There’s no set template to the way we go about making tunes. Sometimes it starts with a beat, sometimes with a sample. But if we’re working remotely, we’ll generally work an idea up to a pretty basic standard, so the other one can get an idea of what we’re trying to achieve, and then pass it over.
Komatic, you run a monday morning show on Bassdrive radio. How long have you been running that and what do you enjoy about radio mixing as opposed to playing out, does your selection differ much?
AK: I’ve been doing the show for 4 years now and what I love about mixing on the show is that I can showcase music on the radio that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to showcase out on live sets. The selection’s vary from week to week and the same applies to the live gigs. It all depends on the response from the listener’s and the live audiences!
I hear you have an unsigned section on there as well which seems like a sick idea. Have you noticed any producers from there having any luck with releases at all? Or have you found any tunes that you play out through it?
AK: Yup, the first hour of the show is nothing but brand new music and although I will feature tracks that have just been released or forthcoming on labels, its all about the unsigned music and unsigned artists. Its fantastic because I get to share all that great music with the audience that they wouldn’t normally hear otherwise. Its good for the artists, because they get the chance to showcase their talent. There are always tracks that I will be sent that feature in my live sets; in fact a huge amount end up being played out on the road! I was sent early tunes from Fred V & Graphix so the producers definitely have luck with releases! I should also say that if anyone does want to send their music through, please please get it over to me by using the AIM address komaticbassdrive. I listen to every single track I get sent, and if I like it then I run it on the show!
Your second 12” on SGN ltd, We Were Always One/The Glow, just dropped, tell us a bit about the sound and production process behind that.
AK: We Were Always One is a big Amen-led dance floor tune with plenty of edits which has been getting a fantastic response everywhere we’ve played it
PT: The Glow is on a deeper tip, pulling in some jazz and soul flavours.
How do you approach a tune on a label with a slightly darker sound like Shogun differently to one on a brighter label such as Spearhead?
AK: We never approach making music with a particular label in mind to begin with. I think that would be counterproductive. We just let the creative process lead us, and once the tune is done, we can then decide what label it might work for.
PT: I think the labels we have represented recently are the kind who put out the kind of music we are passionate about, so there’s never any need to force or manufacture things.
What else is forthcoming, either solo or in collaboration?
AK: Out this month are 4 tunes on Fokuz’ 50th release project. The Secret, Ever After and two of Pete’s tunes Ascension and The Harp Tune. I then have a 12” forthcoming on Celsius with Earth Turns and The Open Choice featuring.
PT: After that our collaborations with LSB, Rotary Motion and Serendipity come out on Integral in April/May, and you’ll also be able to get Stay featuring Jayma on vocals, on Spearhead around that time too.
AK: Further in the future we are going to be working a lot more with the Shogun camp. We can’t really say much more at the moment though!
Lastly, give us a current top ten?
1. Technicolour, Komatic & LSB ‘Rotary Motion’ (Integral)
2. Spectrasoul ‘Light In The Dark (feat. Terri Walker)’ (Shogun Audio)
3. Sabre, Stray & Halogenix ‘Oblique’ (Critical)
4. Villem ‘Hush’ (Samurai)
5. D.Side ‘Ninja Scroll’ (Directors Cut)
6. LSB ‘Overthinking’ (Spearhead)
7. Technicolour & Komatic ‘Stay (BCee remix)’ (Spearhead)
8. Random Movement ‘The God Complex’ (CDR)
9. BCee & Blade ‘Fatal Attraction’ (CDR)
10. LSB ‘The Hurting’ (CDR)
Lastly, we’re starting a new feature called ‘Blank Spaces’. Fill the blanks in the following paragraph for us….
When I was stuck in Khazakstan for a week, the one possession I wished for was a copy of Mark & Helen Banning’s LP ‘Journey Into The Light’ so I could focus my third eye. My arm was blown off and I replaced it with a bottle opener just in time to crack open a lovely Chilean Merlot . When I got home, the first thing I did after taking my socks off was open Reason which was equally as pleasurable as opening any other sequencer . I was in so much trauma that I emailed Friction saying can I have a full advance copy of the Spectrasoul album and he replied with no. The next day, life didn’t seem repairable until I opened my kitchen cupboard and found a flat cap so I took it to my set that evening and the crowd couldn’t believe it was me until I actually put it on.
Catch them on Twitter using… @komaticmusic and @technicolourism
Also check Komatic’s most recent mix below….