London based DYSART is the artist alias of Matt Tanner whose unique brand of techno has been taking the scene by storm and he is hotly tipped as someone to keep an eye on.
DYSART recently dropped a release on Carl Cox’s Intec and we caught up with him to chat about that, plus his follow up EP on Kneaded Pains.
> For the people reading this who haven’t heard your music before, how would you describe your style, and the key elements that define it?
Well, it’s recently been described as a “thundering sound” which isn’t my phrasing but will certainly do as a start. I’m finding uniqueness is important, and trying to create tracks using old vinyl samples for inspiration instead of commonly used sample packs, then go from there.
I try to make my sound as unique as possible, and the track ‘Tribaleee’ on my first kneaded pains EP was a good example of this. It crossed over to loads of DJ’s, which I’d never imagined would be supporting my tracks. Not only was it a great surprise, but it really broadened my reach, and also really opened my eyes to the type of music that I’m creating. I’m not about second-guessing what people want or expect to hear as that never works, so instead I focus on music that suits my own ideals.
In terms of key elements, I get the drive of the groove right first then build the rest of the track around that, but my sound has developed over the last 12 months. Now it’s less about synths and melodic elements, instead of trying to create more rhythmical sounds to be the hook. The other critical part is distortion and the role that plays in different parts of the tracks, as I spend quite a bit of time making sure simple elements like the clap have enough grit and crunch.
> Your most recent release is on Intec which is, of course, the iconic label run by Carl Cox, is there a story behind how the release came to fruition?
Through a friend, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with Carl’s camp at Burning Man since its inception about 5 years ago. I played numerous DJ sets the first year, and after making contact with Carl I was inspired to focus on my production and get the music to him. I have sent through countless demos, all of which he’s been kind enough to listen to, then after a long wait these two tracks finally broke through. It was a very proud moment getting that email from Jon Rundell who runs Intec with Carl, as he confirmed the tracks were going be released.
> Before your release on Intec you said played some back to back DJ sets with Carl Cox at the legendary Burning Man festival in America’s Nevada desert. What was it like sharing the stage with Carl, and are there any more plans to play together following your Intec release?
I did play before and after him numerous times. Sharing the decks with Carl was amazing as he’s an absolute gentleman, and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever hope to meet. Burning Man is one of the craziest (yet at the same time serene and spiritual) places you could ever experience. It’s difficult to plan things at Burning Man, as often there are severe sandstorms which bring everything to a halt. A couple of years back Carl had been playing for five hours one morning, and there was a knock on the door from one of his team asking me to come and take over – so, of course, I jumped up, grabbed my kit and went straight down to DJ. Wasn’t until much later I saw some pictures from my set, and was chuffed to discover Erick Morillo was stood behind me the whole time I was playing. I’m not going to Burning Man this year, as I’ve just had a son, and father duties are keeping me at home, but next year we’ll see.
> I understand you also run a commercial studio in London where you are based. What’s your involvement in the studio, and who are some of the people that have used it?
I’m the founder – it’s actually Andy Weatherall’s old studio which he vacated a couple of years ago. The place is inspired by Riverside Studios in Berlin, which is run by Tassilo and Martin Eyerer. I did some recording there with Martin Eyerer a few years back, and that was the catalyst for me to try doing something similar in London. It’s not so much of a commercial studio, but more of a studio hub for producers and engineers to work from. There’s a whole host of people in and out of the studio such as Mark Knight, Dave Seaman, Danny Howells, Darren Emerson, Eli and Fur, Smokin Jo and Athea. We even have Christian aka Hodor from Game of Thrones dropping in now and again.
> Could you talk us through the creative process of putting a track together, and list any specific equipment used to bring your sound to life? Do you usually produce in the studio that you run?
These days most of my tracks start on the move, or at home using Ableton on my laptop. I find that getting a vibe going when I’m not pressuring myself to come up with something in the studio really works for me. It’s also about speed, as the best ideas (Tribaleee for example) come together really quickly. The skill comes in knowing what’s good to work with, and Tribaleee’s low end was all about the saturation!!
Once I have an idea formed then I’ll need to take it in the studio to develop it further using the monitor speakers. In terms of kit, I’ve recently started using a few different FX pedals to run audio through, and give my sound something with a bit more of a distinctive identity. I’m still experimenting with those but they definitely add something that I can’t get from computer plugins. There at some point will be a few videos going up on my Instagram with the FX pedals being used in my tracks.
I do have also a small studio at Scrutton Street which I use for writing, but I’ll always use one of the producers based at Scrutton Street for mixing, as I always feel a second set of ears helps refine the finished product.
> Before your release on Intec you had recently released an EP on Dense & Pika’s label Kneaded Pains. How did Dense & Pika discover your music, and are there any plans for a follow up on their label?
It’s one of those who you know stories really… I have a DJ pal called Demi, and we used to live together at university. We have been friends for many years, and he’s Danny Tenaglia’s Tour manager in Europe. Danny had been heavily supporting my track ‘Crazy Delicious’, so it made sense to send it to a few heads, Alex Jones (one half of Dense & Pika) being one of them. Demi sent a few tracks to him for me, and for ages heard nothing back thinking they weren’t interested. Then out of the blue, I get an email asking to sign ‘Crazy Delicious’ and it went from there really. I’ve got a new EP called Champion Sound out with Kneaded Pains which was released on the 13th August, and it’s already getting some really great feedback from the likes of Adam Beyer, Nicole Moudaber, Alan Fitzpatrick and Dax J plus loads of others.
> Could you give some advice or words of wisdom to any aspiring producers who might look to your music for inspiration?
Create your own sound, and be as prolific as possible in terms of writing. It’s so easy to get sucked into the trap of trying to fit with a current trend. Looking back, many of the big breakthrough artists have created something new and fresh, which has given them the platform for success. Be realistic and super critical of your own work, especially the early stuff which will most likely be rough around the edges or simply not good enough (sometimes it’s only later when you realise this).
> Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today, we like to finish our interviews with a couple of questions that are a little bit light-hearted… without getting too personal, could you tell us something many don’t know about you?
I love listening to Irish folk/rock bands… I think it’s a genetic thing (Celtic heritage in there somewhere), it’s so far removed from techno, and many of my friends find it hilarious.
> You don’t need to mention names, but what’s the most “outrageous” thing you have ever seen happen in a club… was it something outrageously brilliant, like a blindfolded DJ mixing seamlessly and scratching with his elbows, or something outrageously cringe-worthy, like some embarrassing drunk person urinating on the dancefloor?
Wasn’t so much a club but an Ibiza workers party that my friend Bungle (yes Bungle) took me to many years ago now, and the DJ was playing vinyl in reverse with the needles on the underside of the vinyl (Yes it’s possible – Google it if you haven’t seen it done before). I’ve seen it done with one deck but never seen a DJ actually mix like that. Because it was so mad I sometimes question whether it actually happened, but I spent so long watching the DJ in utter amazement, and I’m certain that’s what they were doing.
> Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, is there anything extra you want to add before we wrap up the conversation?
Thanks for having me, and to thank everyone who supports my DYSART releases. The comments and messages it really has encouraged me to keep going.
> for those interested, you can buy a copy of DYSART’s music from …HERE…