Bristol born and bred and with a strong focus on representing talent closest to DLR’s heart – Sofa Sound has rapidly grown into one of the most popular drum and bass imprints to emerge in recent times.
Pouring equal amounts of creativity and attention to detail into both their releases and the labels inimitable visual identity – created solely by Adam Menzies – the Bristol-based outfit continue to showcase their sound & innovative roster of artists with their latest release – Sofa King Sick [VA LP].
Featuring tracks from both established and up and coming producers including M-Zine, Submarine, Scepticz, DLR, Hyrdo, Black Barrel, Ill Truth, Dubhead, Nuvman, – the fifteen track LP also includes the VIP of one of the most popular releases of last year – Song and Dance (Break, Randall & DLR).
Now the ‘Sofa King Sick LP’ is out in all shops, we caught up with American born, Czech based Hybris – aka Evan Vischi – for a quick Q&A about his involvement in the release, what it’s like to work with the Sofa Sound gang and what 2019 has in store.
You’ve got a new track out on the Sofa Sound ‘Sofa King Sick’ VA called ‘Arbio Barbio’. Can you tell us a bit about the track, the name, and where the idea originated from?
H: So one day I decided to sample myself banging on different bannisters and pieces of metal in my creepy studio building. I had a friend help mic it, and together we got a lot of good hits. I loaded them up into my sampler and went to work trying to make a hook, and eventually, the tune was born. The name, on the other hand, was just some nonsense name I pulled out of nowhere when I had to name the project file. Usually, somewhere in the tune-making process the name gets changed, but this one remained up until the time I sent it off, and Jay and I both agreed I might as well just name the tune that.
How did your involvement in the project come about and how was it working with DLR and the Sofa Sound guys?
H: Jay and I go way back, we’ve worked on a few tunes together, and generally get on well, so when he started the label I knew it was something I’d want to be a part of. At one of his visits to my studio I played him Arbio Barbio, and he signed it on the spot. The reason why I like working with Jay and Sofa Sound is it’s just good vibes. My ethic these days is that if something music related isn’t good vibes, I’m not gonna do it, because if I’m gonna do something I don’t want to, I might as well do something that earns more money. With Sofa Sound there’s a strong emphasis on strict quality control, but also on fun and not taking yourself too seriously, and I’m just all about it. Jay and I jam out and laugh in the studio, and occasionally make something decent, and for me, that’s what it’s all about.
The release features some heavyweight tracks courtesy of some impressive names – do you have any favourites from the LP?
H: I’m loving the Subtle Element tune, also the one with Submarine and Skepticz. I like that the whole compilation has a cohesive vibe to it, something unmistakably Sofa Sound. I don’t generally like any of the DLR tunes on there….(jokes, of course)
Talk us through your creative process…how does a Hybris track transcend from an idea to reality?
H: To be honest it very rarely happens that I have some sort of vivid idea and manage to realize it. Usually, it’s me dicking around with sounds for ages, trying to vaguely accomplish something, but ending up accomplishing something else, and going with it. I try to view production as more of a collaboration with your equipment and try to constantly facilitate and adapt to happy accidents. At some point, the track forms a “face” and you try to work to bring out what it’s trying to say. And then at some point, it comes time to try and really get it hitting right, so you spend ages on that. And then at some point it’s done, and you start again.
You’re a label owner as well as producer & DJ among other things – how have you found managing your own imprint?
H: I’ve found it challenging, it’s a totally different set of skills, but I’m enjoying learning the more administrative and logistical sides of things. For me Pseudoscience is a kind of pet project, I’d just like to use it to release whatever I feel like, from experiments to bangers, and not worry about charting or hopping on trends. We’re doing our first VA ep soon with Exept, MVRK, OaT, myself, and a new guy called Ding, who I’m really excited about. After that, I’ve got a couple of tunes I think would work as a single, so I might release that too. Then I might release some more non-dnb stuff, or maybe not, just trying to keep myself guessing.
Your career has included some notable collaborations – Rido, Nosia & Mefjus – which other artists are on your ‘bucket list’ of people to work with?
H: I mean as far as teenage idols, I’d love to work with Photek and Hive, but unfortunately they’re both more or less retired from dnb. I could list off a whole bunch of people I admire, but to be honest, I think the whole dream collab vibe is overrated, often collabs don’t work, so really my dream collab is to be able to hang with real homies in the studio, have a laugh, and end up with something we can be proud of. It’s rare that it works so well, so when it does it’s awesome.
What’s your favourite VST / favourite piece of hardware?
H: I love my Octatrack, it’s a weird piece of kit that no two people use in the same way. It’s the backbone of slews of techno live acts, but for me, it’s a studio mangling tool and a great sketchpad for home use. It seems limited at first but is designed in such a way that it goes deep and can get real weird.
Finally, if you knew then what you know now, would you do anything differently?
H: I would’ve just followed the vibes from the start. Somewhere along the way, I got caught up worrying about what I “should” do rather than what I wanted to do, and it made for a little hiccup in my development. I’m glad to be back on track, and I don’t regret it at all, but to anyone stuck in their own heads trying to figure out how to please other people, get off that shit asap, just make dope beats! Again, if you’re gonna do something you don’t enjoy, get a job in finance or something. Hybris