This week we see HLZ get his debut solo release on Dispatch Recordings with the ‘Vectors EP’. To help celebrate this, we caught up with the man himself so he could share his thoughts on this release and see what the inspiration behind it was!
Hey man thanks for meeting with us to answer a few questions.
You have been involved in the scene of what seems like a long time and had releases on labels such as Horizon, V, Chronic, Spearhead, Metalheadz, Warm, Fokuz and Symmetry; you have released music as Need for Mirrors on Dispatch in the past but this will be your first release as a solo artist for them! Did you intentionally set out to make a release for Dispatch and is this the 1st release post Need for Mirrors?
The intention came naturally as I was in a phase writing uptempo rollers plus Dispatch has always been on my bucket list. I have to thank Ant (Dispatch boss man) a lot, he has always been really supportive of my music. Honestly I was scared to send him tunes as I have been a bit off the radar of late, and usually when this situation arises I tend to think that people are not interested in my output anymore. Fortunately this wasn’t the case and this EP really gave me a big boost in my confidence, and right now I can easily say that I’m happy to write music like never before.
To answer your other question, technically this is not the 1st release post NFM, but I can easily say is my biggest project to date. To be honest it was not that easy to make a 6 track EP, but i’m quite happy with the result.
I know you have had a fair amount of solo releases on other labels, but you were also heavily involved with Need for Mirrors and maybe themes and ideas got intertwined in those productions, so with you starting fresh, how did you go about finding your sound and what challenges did you face in making this EP?
I happily adopted the “tabula rasa” method. I had a long break off writing dnb; in the meantime I bought some hardware synths and of course it took me some time to learn this new approach in writing music. It wasn’t easy to start from scratch – still, I took it as a challenge and I knew it would require some time but was worth the wait. For me the biggest challenge was to find a new confidence and love in writing music again. If I have to give my advice to musicians/producers, take the right time to reinvent yourself, let the music come to you, even if this means not having music out for long time.
That’s a good insight on where your mind’s been and why you have been quiet on the release front, and some good words of wisdom for our readers who produce.
Moving on to the ‘Vectors EP’, what can you share with us about your journey in compiling and producing tracks for this release…
First of all I did not have any timing pressure from the label, they just gave me the right time I needed to shape this EP. I was really lucky because every track I sent over was picked by Ant and the whole project took almost one year to be completed. I cannot stress enough on how accommodating Dispatch were for waiting for it to be completed so massive thanks to them, as in the meantime I also had other music duties coupled with my day job. Vibe-wise I wrote this EP as an homage to the techy sound of the early 2000s. People might know me more for minimal rollers, but also i’m a big fan of artists such as Konflict, C4C, Usual Suspects and labels like Renegade Hardware and Quarantine.
It’s amazing how much output from that era has impacted the artists of today. Konflict are legends of the scene and their music resonates with so many producers in this day an age.
I love all the tracks on ‘Vectors’ but if I had to choose it would be either the title track or ‘Kronos’; they are very different but for me very similar at the same time – pure driving relentless rolling music, which is right up my street. My question to you is what track are you most fond of if you had to chose? Then off the back of that what one took the longest to put together?
When I finish a project I usually tend to hate all the tracks ah! Best trick is to not listen to your music for some time and you’ll have a more defined focus on the favourites. Mine are Vectors, Abracatabla and Clusters, and out of these three I will pick Abracatabla; I just really like the relentless tabla hook and this element works really well in the mix. Vectors is the oldest one on the EP and the one that took me longer because i was not happy with the mixdown. My flatmate Mike aka Mozey loved ‘Vectors’ until he got sick of it hearing me constantly tweaking the mixdown for one month and half, you could see the hate on his face, haha!
Give us an idea on how you set about getting one of your ideas down, what was the creative process for the lead track ‘Vectors’?
Defo the inspiration from Vectors came from me doing vinyl mixing sessions with Konflict, Usual Suspects and C4C’s music. I was incredibly happy about the creative process as the track was shaping out to be more and more relentless. To be honest still to this day I’m not sure I’d be able to easily replicate the same energy I have achieved in ‘Vectors’, and it was an unusual process in a sense that I normally start with drums and this time the idea came from a sci fi theme I was composing for a friend of mine. There was this synth riff playing at 100 bpm, and by mistake I opened the project at 174; to my amazement the same riff sounded sick at this new bpm. As usual there are happy mistakes and lot of times they are key factor in writing music.
You must be really pleased with the fruits of your labours, these tracks have been doing damage when ever they have been played out, that must really give you a warm feeling inside (😀) to see all that hard work pay off!
Absolutely yes, it just makes everything worth it, and is indeed a warm feeling. I’m not gonna lie, it is not easy when you come back from work, you wanna make music but your brain is completely drained; I’m not exactly in my 20s anymore so I feel some fatigue ha. Still, the passion and the fun in writing music is there. I had so many compliments about this EP, and actually few days ago out of nowhere Nicky Blackmarket messaged on my Facebook saying he loves the EP; now this was a pleasant surprise as we are so focused on subgenres thinking that certain music will appeal and satisfy just a certain audience.
Do you have any more music planned for Dispatch? Seems like you have a very good relationship with the label, and from a person looking in, it feels like a perfect match for your output as a solo artist; your sound just fits with what they’re about.
Dispatch is simply one of best labels out there with a strong core of artists mixed with newcomers who are killing it! So far for this year we have a Zero T, Amoss album released, with Philth, Dabs solo LPs on their way and projects by pioneers such as Spirit, who is the perfect example of “aging like a fine wine”! Dispatch is relentlessly putting out great music so I feel privileged and honored to release on the main label, and indeed my goal is to make a stronger connection with the label. Right now I have a second EP almost ready and collaborations with Kyrist and Black Barrel, so there’s a lot cooking! And of course I want to thank Ant, Kyrist and Alex for making this happen.
Nice one man, some really good insight and information for our readers, it’s always a pleasure to get producers such as yourself doing things like this.
You can grab his forthcoming Vectors EP on Dispatch from this Friday.