BBC 1xtra has become something like a weekly ritual for me. Every week I tune into my regular shows on BBC Radio 1xtra's site and get a much needed dose of all the music happening across the Atlantic. While listening about a month or so ago to Annie Mac she introduced a track called “Blazin'" ft. Lady Leshurr, from a duo named Torqux. Since then it's been a constant hunger to hear more from them. Lucky for me they released the "Blazin'" EP via MTA Records not too far after featuring three versions of “Blazin',” and a new track “Hit Me.” Both these tracks were different from anything I was hearing over here and I liked it. Motivated by my love for these tracks and my curiosity, I had to know, “Who was Torqux?”
Torqux (aka Jimmy Tippett and Dave Lee) is a dynamic duo from overseas that strive to always do more, learn more and make music that is all about the good vibes. Despite working as separate acts originally, the two have an incredible energy when working together. From throwing back ideas with each other to helping out other producers, it's safe to say the music is their motive. It probably also helps that not only do they share a love for music, but the root of their magnetic music making lies within their family tree as these two boys are cousins.
The fact we have known each other all our lives helps, we are comfortable to express our emotions, negative or positive, but you can develop that kind of relationship with a friend.
I could go on about how nice and humbling it was to be able to chat to with these two... or how I admired their hard work ethic and ability to remain goofy all at the same time, but I'll let you learn these things on your own. So without any further rambling from me, enjoy getting to know the two down to earth dudes blazin the scene known as Torqux.
Where does the name Torqux come from?
Jimmy: I originally started Torqux as a solo project. T is the first letter of my surname and I liked the idea of something powerful (Torque). I put the X on the end because when I searched it on google nothing came up, so it would be easier to market rather then a word that already existed.
Where are you guys from? Do you think this has influenced your style or sound?
We are from Luton. We live about a 5-minute walk away from each other. There isn't too much of an underground dance music scene here. There are a few promoters that have tried to influence it but weren’t very successful. The good thing is we're only a 40-minute train journey away from London, which is an amazing place for dance music.
…we quickly ran in to the room and jumped around screaming like little girls. We’ve heard our tracks on the radio before, but this was Friday night with Annie Mac. We felt like we had the ability to fly.
You guys are cousins, does this make it easier or harder to work with each other?
Jimmy: I'm not sure it makes much of a difference to be honest. The fact we have known each other all our lives helps, we are comfortable to express our emotions, negative or positive, but you can develop that kind of relationship with a friend. If anything it benefits us, it works for us and that’s all that matters really.
We have taught each other quite a lot. I got Dave into production and taught him some basics and he has taught me some very advanced stuff further down the line. If one of us learns something we will pass the knowledge onto the other person. We love to learn new techniques or tips all the time, we are always trying to better ourselves, which we think shows in the quality if our new music.
When you guys heard your first track together drop on the radio, what was your reaction?
The first time we heard our track together on BBC Radio 1 was probably a memory we will never forget. We were both just chilling, playing a bit of FIFA together when Jimmy's girlfriend came into the room and said that "Blazin'" is on the radio right now! So we quickly ran in to the room and jumped around screaming like little girls. We’ve heard our tracks on the radio before, but this was Friday night with Annie Mac. We felt like we had the ability to fly.
I first heard "Blazin'" and "Zodiac" on Annie Mac. What does it mean to you guys to know that your music is reaching all the way to the States?
Dave: For me to hear my music on the radio is unbelievable—even when I'm driving and my song comes on I just burst out laughing, it’s a nice feeling. A lot of our earlier music was really popular in America and I know that a massive chunk of our fan base is in America. I really can't wait to come out there and play some shows.
Jimmy: We have our Visas now, so we are set to go!
Any particular venues or places you have on your wish list in America?
We really want to hit the major places so we can do a bit of sight seeing, try some crazy food, etc. Places such as New York, Washington, Florida, Chicago and so on. We would love to hit the WMC, Ultra Festival and Coachella. The scene seems quite different over there, we can't wait to experience it.
Do you have any “classic” memories of touring?
One of our best memories so far is when we first toured Canada. It was just all a bit surreal for us at the time because it was our first proper tour outside Europe. We played a show on the same night we arrived in Vancouver and we had been awake for 28 hours because we couldn't sleep on the plane due too excitement and ridiculous amounts of caffeine. It was incredibly hard to concentrate on DJing but it was a lot of fun, the crowds out in Canada knew all of our songs and we were treated really well. Whilst we were touring Canada our favorite show of all was in Toronto. We met a lot of cool people and the show was really really sick. The crowd was mental, crowd surfing. Jimmy jumped in the crowd and ripped his jeans. We were drinking vodka from the bottle, so it got a bit crazy!
Do you discuss or exchange ideas with other producers?
Dave: We like to help out up-and-coming producers as much as we can and we love sharing ideas with other producers. I spent a lot of time working with Culprate and we worked together really well bouncing ideas and learning from each other without any disagreements. We often share ideas with other established producers, if we or they are struggling with a particular sound or section of a song we will suggest various possibilities with one another.
Discuss a musician or an era which has influenced you. When and how did you come upon what moved you?
We mention this a lot but, for us it’s Noisia. Their music has been massively influential too us, they inspire us to better our production and we would love to follow in their footsteps of leading an incredible career as music producers. We came across their music in 2003 and have been following them ever since. Their production is so crisp and has amazing energy. With other alias like Nightwatch and writing music for video games, they show they can produce just about anything, in any style.
We dont think creativity really relies on any type of setup, but they’re lots of things you can do to enlighten your creative thought process.
Where do you start when building a melody or rhythm for a track? Take "Blazin" for example, where did the idea for the vibe and sounds used for it come from?
We will always start with the beat—that will set the tone. With "Blazin'" for example, we actually started off with a 4/4 house beat and worked on the track for about 2 weeks, after we had finished it we hated it and just stripped it all back to the kick drum. We got a friend’s vocal and side chained it against the kick. Once we had that rolling we finished up the track. We didn't actually get onto the riff sections till months after that. Our music has never really had riffs in it, we didn’t really have the skills. We learned some theory and worked hard on this section. It took us a few attempts to get what you can hear now. We have a very organized sample library and will flick through there to gain inspiration or drag samples into our projects for some quick ideas to get something rolling. Once we have the vibe, we will get to the technical side and try and get the track as clean as we can.
What value do you place on environment as a creative springboard?
For us it’s all about a clean work space, physically and on screen and easy access to tea. I suppose we prefer working on music in the winter because it’s usually far too cold to go outside any do anything interesting. We don't think creativity really relies on any type of setup, but they’re lots of things you can do to enlighten your creative thought process. Although like we said a clean workspace, as in, organised samples, presets, etc., definitely helps us. You want to be able to access the sounds quickly for bursts of inspiration.
If you could give any piece of advice to a younger you starting out, what piece of advice would that be?
Dave: One piece of advice I would of given myself would be to stop thinking about the future and start concentrating on the present. Time is wasted away daydreaming when you can use that time to make your dreams a reality. I suppose Jimmy taught me a lot about producing when I first started music. If he hadn't influenced me to keep on working on music I would probably be doing something completely different right now.
Jimmy: I think as Dave said, if I could get younger Jimmy to knuckle down a bit more I would have probably been in this situation a lot sooner. There’s not much I can do about it now, but if I was offering advice to younger guys coming up in the scene it would be to put your heart and soul into your work and believe in yourself. I’ve had mentors in the forms of other producers, getting bits of advice here and there. It really can benefit you, sharing ideas and thoughts.
What tracks are you currently listening to? Any favorites you can't get out of your head? Why?
Jimmy: I'm hooked on BBC 1Xtra right now. There are some really big tunes being played on there.
"Kingpin" by Skream and Friction featuring Skrufizzer, P Money & Riko Dan. The beat on this is wicked, really clean and the vocals from all 3 vocalists sit really well on top
"Fade" by Jakwob. There’s 4 different mixes of this, each completely different and all of them sounds amazing!
"Real" by Gorgon City featuring Yasmin. This tune is so addictive, such a good vibe on this one.
"Waiting All Night" by Rudimental featuring Ella Eyr. Again this is addictive, impossible to get out of your head!
"Soundbwoy" by Stylo G. This sounds like the perfect BBQ tune for me. That siren riff !!!
Dave: Tracks I'm currently feeling are...
"Fade" by Jakwob featuring Maiday. This is such a great tune so is the VIP he made as well, everything about it is just perfect, can't stop playing it.
Another tune I really like at the moment is "Morning Light" by Nu:logic—absolutely in love with this tune... such a great summer time vibe. Can't wait to play this one out as it gets me excited for the summer.
Lastly, if your lives were measured in BPMs, what would it be?
For the past three years our journey through music has had a range of BPMs. It slowed right down last year, but it is now building up like a D n' B tune. We've experimented a lot over the past year and we finally feel like we are on the right track. Our production has matured and we're really happy with the stuff we are making as of late. With all the great feedback from "Blazin'" It feels like a massive tune has just dropped in a club and we've exploded with excitement.