Cal Sorensen - 25 08 2020
About the Producer: Hyroglifics
Equally adept and proficient across a number of sounds, genres and tempos, Bristol don Hyroglifics has been plying his trade and refining his production over a number of years now, beginning to make serious waves in the industry as early as 2012. Since signing to the scene-leading, pioneering Critical Music in 2014, the multi-talented wizard has led the way as a constant, consistent fixture on the imprint, never resting on his laurels and always pushing boundaries further and further with each release.
He’s dropped a slew of critically acclaimed EP’s on his home label that have seen him excel on a solo tip, whilst also linking up with the likes of Sam Binga, Enei, Signal (Pre IMANU), Visages, Halogenix, Redders, Arkaik, Foreign Beggars and Fluidity. Aside from Critical, he’s often made standout appearances on other labels, namely Fracture’s Astrophonica and Sherelle & Naina’s HOOVERSOUND, the latter a toe-tapping collaborative EP with Sinistarr.
At present, he’s just dropped his staggering ‘Best Of’ EP on Critical back in July, a selection of tracks that we think are his finest yet, and he’s also linked up with Jack Chard as the enigmatic, diverse Wholesome Fun duo, who’ve got an LP inbound as we speak. In addition to that, he’s just dropped a brand-new, exclusive sample pack with us, so we had to get him in for a chat on everything Hyroglifics.
You’ve just released a sample pack with us at By The Producer, I’ve had a proper chance to listen through and it’s a really varied, expansive package. How did you find the process of putting it together?
Everything came together pretty quickly. I usually make a lot of sounds when writing new tracks, bounce them out and then save them in a folder to use in tracks in the future, so most of this pack was made up of sounds from that process.
In a way, it feels personal - something I’ve always loved in your tracks are those atmospherics, pads, vocal layering and synth work that just scream Hyroglifics! Production and hard/software-wise, how do you go about creating these sounds, and then integrating them into a pack?
I created a lot of sounds using a Virus TI2 Polar synthesizer as well as the plugin Serum and a lot of percussion loops that I recorded and sped up to 174. A lot of the pads were made by making a nice layered sound and then resampling into a sampler to then add glide to the notes.
You’ve dropped a few packs before this, is it a challenging process or does it come naturally to you? I can imagine it’s quite rewarding!
Yeah, the process is pretty natural, usually when i’m writing music I’ll bounce out a lot of samples and loops either to use later or further process within Ableton in that session. Every time I make a new collection of sounds I usually end up discovering some new production techniques or use a plugin in new and creative ways.
On that subject, have you ever heard a tune online or in a club and thought, “that’s one of my samples”?! That must be the ultimate compliment!
Haha yeah, a sample pack company lifted a break from one of my tunes and sold it in a sample pack online and now i hear it being used in a lot of tunes on soundcloud…
That is savage - we won’t even do them the justice of talking about them here then!
Within the pack, and your tunes, there’s some of the quintessential, ethereal Hyroglifics vox and background movements that you can hear on the likes of ‘Best Of’, ‘Stone Rose’, ‘No More’ and ‘Unconditional’. How is this created in the studio?
Lots of reverb and chorus. Shout out to Eventide (pls sponsor me)!
On that subject, the ‘Best Of’ EP dropped last month on Critical, and it’s arguably some of your finest work so far. Can you tell us a bit more about the EP and its structure as a whole?
This EP was a bit strange as ‘God Given’ / ‘Best Of’ were written around summer last year and ‘Vultures’ / ‘Circular’ were written fairly recently. I actually lost the project for God Given and only had a wav bounce of it so just went with that for the final!
It’s a top-drawer collection… dropping right in the depths of lockdown as well, what was that like? They’re all quite club-ready cuts, especially ‘God Given’ and the ‘Circular’ collab with Kasra.
Timing-wise it wasn’t the best timing to release a club-centric EP, however I think it had a good reaction regardless. It’s a frustrating time at the moment not having an outlet to play the tunes in the space they were designed for..
From the outside, Critical always gives off those real family vibes, there’s not really anywhere else like it; everyone’s always pushing boundaries and moving things forward. What’s it like being an integral part of that, and how important are figures like Kasra and Badger for the Drum & Bass scene as a whole?
It’s great having the support of such a hard working, professional label. Not many labels on the same level really look after their artists the way Critical does so I guess that’s why there’s such a strong family vibe to the label. Kasra & Badger really put a lot of care and detail into every release and I feel it definitely shows in the end product. Without people like Kasra & Badger the scene wouldn’t progress.
As well as Critical, we’ve seen you on Astrophonica’s Turbo VA, as well as Sherelle & Naina’s Hooversound Recordings. You’ve proved you’re highly proficient at pretty much any tempo you’ve tried your hand at over the years, how important is this variety for you as a creative? Would you say you’ve got a preference?
I literally just make whatever I feel like making at the time. I think as a creative person you have to do whatever feels natural. Being able to produce differing styles of music really helps you grow as a producer.
I don’t really have any particular preference, however I've been writing a lot of rap tracks since lockdown which has been refreshing.
‘BS6’, on Hooversound, is easily one of the standout releases of the year so far for me. How was the experience of launching the label with their first release, and how did you originally link up with Sinistarr, being on opposite sides of the Atlantic?!
I initially sent over some tunes to Sherelle just to play out and she liked them so much she wanted them for the first release so couldn’t really say no! Was great to be the first release on the label as I feel it helped set the tone for the releases to follow. Initially, I met Jay in Denver in 2018 at the Black Box on my first US tour and have just kept in touch since. He’s a sick producer and one of the nicest guys in the scene, as well as a pleasure to work with.
It’s clear you guys really clicked in the studio, and we’ve seen similar, successful results on your releases with the likes of Visages, Fluidity, Sam Binga, Arkaik and more, are collaborations a big part of the journey for you?
I think it’s healthy to collaborate and experiment in the studio with other artists. Most of the artists I work with are just good friends I've met in the scene throughout the years... Collaborations are also a great way to learn from each other and help progress your production skills - being a good collaborator is almost a skill in itself.
Aside from the more bass-driven stuff, you’ve got a really exciting album coming out in August as Wholesome Fun - a duo with Jack Chard. I’ve really enjoyed listening to the first single from the LP, can you tell us a bit more about the album, and Wholesome Fun as a project?
I’ve known Jack since we were 16 and he used to be a part of a crew called Bassvision who would put on events near my hometown and they booked me for one of my first shows. We then met up in 2018 to jam and ended up making some good instrumentals and then just kept on writing together. ‘Wholesome Fun’ was started as an outlet to release all of our instrumentals under, as well as production for rappers and singers. Glad you’re feeling! We’ve been working closely with the Blah Records family and are currently working Black Josh’s next album which i’m pretty excited about, but can’t say too much at the moment.
Huge fan of Black Josh & LEVELZ so I can’t wait to hear that! Finally, everyone’s been coping with the pandemic in their own way, and we’ve been keeping tabs on your Patreon which is really sick. What are you offering over there, and how can fans get involved?
Every month I’ve been offering;
A collection of 60+ samples
Patreon exclusive track
Access to 1-on-1 track feedback via Discord
And, I’m currently planning some tutorials and track breakdowns. If you’re interested you can get more info here!
Huge thanks to Hyroglifics for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat with us, his all-encompassing sample pack is available to buy here, exclusively via By The Producer. Remember, we’ve got so much more content lined up for you so stay locked - there’s plenty more to come.
Head Writer at By The Producer