Fly­ing high

Computer Music - - Producer Masterclass / Make Music Now -

As pro­duc­ers, DJs and live per­form­ers, broth­ers Tom and Ian Grif­fiths – aka Icarus – are re­spon­si­ble for a se­ries of per­fectly-crafted, genre-cross­ing elec­tronic re­leases, in­clud­ing Don’t Cry Wolf, Love Has Come Around, Oc­to­ber and – the sub­ject of this is­sue’s Pro­ducer Master­class – the sub­lime No Sleep.

Based in Bris­tol, the pair re­cently signed to FFRR and will be re­leas­ing their de­but EP later this year. “We just re­ally felt, through­out this year, that we needed to bang out a lot more mu­sic,” says Tom, “be­cause the last few years we’ve done sin­gles and it’s worked, but we want to show peo­ple more of a body of work. It’s not about be­ing scared of whether peo­ple like a track or not, but if you put one thing out, it ei­ther works or it doesn’t. We’ve al­ways been lucky in that ev­ery­thing’s worked to a de­gree, but at the mo­ment we feel it’s much nicer to put out a se­lec­tion. It just shows more of what we’re about, rather than go­ing, ‘There’s one piece – see what you think’. So that’s what we’re do­ing this year. By the end of the year, hope­fully we’ll have put out 11 or 12 pieces of mu­sic.”

“We al­ways wanted to do an al­bum,” Ian con­curs, “but the land­scape of the in­dus­try and the way peo­ple con­sume mu­sic changed so much that by the time we’d got to the point where it was even worth think­ing about, ev­ery­thing had changed and it didn’t make any sense. So these EPs are our al­bums, in a way.”

: You’re re­fer­ring to the stream­ing rev­o­lu­tion, pre­sum­ably? Ian: “Yeah. We don’t want to do an al­bum as much as we used to, but we still want to put out more than a sin­gle at a time. We’re very cau­tious about what we put out – we al­ways want to love ev­ery­thing we re­lease – and if we do an al­bum, there’s so much noise these days that most of it would get lost. You’d get one, maybe two tracks that would be pushed and fo­cused on, and the rest of it is gone in a week be­cause peo­ple have moved on and you’re not on the front page of Spo­tify or what­ever. So it’s the best of both worlds: we get to put out a lot of mu­sic, but hope­fully keep peo­ple’s in­ter­est.”

: Tell us about the track you’re go­ing to be show­ing us to­day. Tom: “NoSleep has al­ways been one of our favourites. We put it out last Novem­ber, and play­ing it live has re­ally brought the track to life for us – it’s my favourite one to play live.

“The pro­ject now, in its fi­nal state, is re­ally a stripped-down ver­sion of what it would have been when we were writ­ing it. This pro­ject in par­tic­u­lar took us the best part of a year to get from start to fin­ish. The idea had been left in a state, and we came back to it be­cause we knew we wanted to fin­ish it and re­lease it, so we started to re­work it.

“We weren’t ac­tu­ally in a stu­dio at the time, so the record was fin­ished in dif­fer­ent places. We were in Ian’s spare bed­room for six months try­ing to fin­ish it. We had a small setup in there, so we were just ex­per­i­ment­ing. We try and do a bit of mix­ing as we go along. Ob­vi­ously, in rooms that you’re not re­ally fa­mil­iar with, that can be quite dif­fi­cult – but we man­aged to do a bit in there.

“The ac­tual writ­ing of the track was quite a strange process, be­cause when it’s spread out over so many months, you kind of for­get how things came about.

“The way we will have done it is to loop a sec­tion – the two chords are the ba­sis – and then start to pick our favourite bits, or the parts that we feel are most ef­fec­tive, and work from those.” Ian: “We’ll also find that not nec­es­sar­ily ev­ery­thing that we’ve come up with will work, so that might some­times form the ba­sis of a new idea. We’ll quite of­ten mark down chord pro­gres­sions, sounds or pat­terns that we’ve writ­ten, and make sure we keep them for the fu­ture, be­cause they might in­spire some­thing new.”

“Play­ing No Sleep live has re­ally brought the track to life for us”

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