In honor of the Berlin-based producer Hybrasil releasing his debut album on Friday, we are premiering one of the special tunes from that very L.P. Additionally, the Irish-born producer was kind enough to answer some questions about the album he's titled Embers. It's a sublime, eight-track excursion which is getting released on Rekids and I highly encourage you to drown your ears in it on Friday. We are happy to premiere a song from it today, "Messier 48."
1. Your name first popped up on my radar back in January 2018 when you debuted on OFF Recordings with a fierce, four-tracker that included the tune, "ED 209." I featured the track in Magnetic's techno chart and kept it on my personal playlist for some time after that. This was one of your first public efforts as a producer but from what I understand that you've been heavily involved with sound production and design for some time now. What was behind the leap to step out to the forefront as a producer and live performer?
Before I became a sound engineer, I was an obsessive vinyl collector and playing vinyl was a big passion of mine. As the technology became more and more a part of performance, CDJs, timecode etc, my passion moved more towards audio engineering and music production. I wanted to fully understand the art and science behind crafting minimalist music with maximal production quality. This process took me years. Throughout this time DJing took a back seat for me, although I did continue doing weekly radio and I played in an underground club every month or two. My focus was on studio work. I studied Sound and Music Technology in 2008, I was recording/producing bands, learning from other engineers, constantly developing my skills as a producer, working on analogue consoles such as the Neve VR Legend and the SSL G Series, which are instruments in themselves.
While I was engineering at Temple Lane studios, I was approached to create and curate a techno night where I booked DJs such as Jeff Mills, Radio Slave, Alan Fitzpatrick and The Advent. I produced music and bespoke live sets for each of these shows. That was 2012 and those were the foundations of what became the Hybrasil live show. The first time I really stepped out and introduced Hybrasil as a live project was on the Dublin leg of Sven Vath’s world tour in 2016. I followed that up by writing and performing a live concept ‘Spaces’ before Jeff Mills and the National Concert Orchestra. Those shows were hugely successful, so shortly afterwards I started to get booked at festivals in Ireland. Things really snowballed from there, I set up my own label and started releasing vinyl. I moved to Berlin in 2018 and shortly afterwards I got signed to Rekids, debuting with Afra EP in May and I’m now following that up with the Embers LP.
2. Although, you're still behind the scenes as well, working with Radio Slave and the Rekids camp and what not. Tell me about your involvement with them.
I guess you could call me a studio technician or technical consultant. Last April Matt (Radio Slave) approached me to help out with the first SRVD live show at Panorama Bar. The week leading up to that performance was really amazing. Seeing the show come together and the guys performing so well in Panorama Bar was really incredible. I took a lot of inspiration from that experience. Afterwards I started writing and mixing tracks for the Panorama Bar sound system which ultimately lead to the creation of my album. Since then I’ve continued to assist on the SRVD Live show, I’ve been helping produce the Radio Slave residency on Rinse FM, we’ve been doing some work on Matt’s studio, I’ve done some mixing for SRVD such as the "Another Club" remix for Radio Slave. Generally helping out where needed. It’s really interesting work with amazing people. I love doing it.
3. Production wise, your first full-length, Embers is due out next week. Tell me about what it represents to you in terms of sentiment and your mission as a producer.
I think an album is the biggest statement an artist can make. I have always been inspired by minimalist music, art, design and architecture. With the album, sonically speaking, I wanted to present something stark and stripped back with influences from early Detroit Minimal, fusing that with my own experiences as an artist. To get where I am technically and creatively right now has been a mission, it’s taken me a long time and I feel the album reflects that journey both on a technical and creative level.
4. Is there a particular tune on the album which is a bit more special to you than others?
The opening track "Hathor" is really central to the album. Radio Slave played it in Panorama Bar the very weekend after I wrote it. For me that set the tone of what was to follow, I kept writing more and more music for that space and for his DJ sets, keeping things sparse and functional.
5. How has moving to Berlin recently influenced the production of your album?
Berlin had a huge impact on me as an artist, there is something truly special about that feeling of being part of something open and creative that one gets here. Also opportunities and people I met, definitely had a big impact.
6. Because of the track's restrained beauty, I've selected "Messier 48" as the teaser to your album. Tell me about the tune and how you put it together.
I took a similar approach with all tracks. I start with a 4 bar loop and I sit in that loop until I feel the thing. It’s hard to describe but you know that feeling when you hear a record and go "yeah ok let’s do it." I had to feel that and visualize it being played in club or warehouse space. If I didn’t feel people would dance to it then there was no point moving forward. I had to have that feeling first, then I progressed to live arrangement. As with all tracks, I try to nail the arrangement on the live take with minimal editing. I then spend time in the mix down, making sure the kick, hats, bass and synths all sit where they need to be to work on that sound system.
7. What can we expect from Hybrasil in 2020?
2019 has been an intense studio year, in 2020 I will be focusing more on live performance again. I love performing live and I’m looking forward to seeing how that influences my studio work in 2020. These things have their own feedback loop, one feeds into the next.
Pre-Order Embers now through your preferred online retailer: https://lnk.to/REKIDS146