WHEN BEATCHILD SET OUT TO CREATE HIS NEW SONG “Thunder Groove,” he was given one simple challenge: create a track using only live instrument­s.

The Sarnia, ON-born producer né Byram Joseph is certainly fond of mashing up the digital with the analogue, with a penchant for programmed drums, samples and virtual gear alongside his real-world array of instrument­s. Whether as Slakah the Beatchild, Beatchild & the Slakadeliq­s, or his current moniker, Beatchild is a master of weaving a rich tapestry of sounds that blur the line between live and virtual, a time-warping blend of funky, throwback grooves and cutting-edge technology.

But, as the producer tells Exclaim!, the restrictio­n kept his process intact. “I approached it like I do most other solo works,” he says. “I often sit at the piano and improvise until I do something that feels good. The piano riff is basically something I improvised and liked. I built everything around that.”

Recorded with a Universal Audio Apollo Twin X interface, Beatchild found that the interface allowed him to keep to his typical practice of “committing to sounds and tone on the way in” rather than treating everything digitally in post-production. With an array of UAD plug-ins including the Neve 1073 preamp, the 1176 Classic Limiter Collection, the Teletronix LA-2A Leveling Amplifier, and the Studer A800 and Ampex ATR-102 tape recorders, Beatchild brought his collection of real instrument­s to life. Once mixed, the final polish was added by mastering engineer David Roman of 4130 Mastering, who stayed “in the box,” mastering it with various UAD plug-ins.

On “Thunder Groove,” Beatchild builds a head-boppin’ soundscape where each instrument is fully committed to making listeners dance in their seats. Each element is recorded cleanly and crisply — no matter which instrument one chooses to focus on, there are plenty of fun licks, riffs and fills to be found, be it via Beatchild’s Fender Stratocast­er guitar, Fender Precision Bass, Ludwig Classic Maple drum kit, Hohner Pianet T electro-mechanical piano or his “old upright piano.”

All of the instrument­s were recorded by the Royer R-10 ribbon microphone. “I’m so happy with the result that I might only use this mic on instrument­s from now on,” says Beatchild.

“Thunder Groove” keeps to Beatchild’s penchant for rethinking and reapproach­ing his standard style of production, a central theme of his recent output. He kicked off 2021 with Nostalgia: Beats of 2008 – 2020, which delivered instrument­al versions of tracks from that fertile 12-year period of his — including both volumes of his acclaimed Soul Movement album series — bringing his expressive blend of funk, hip-hop and psychedeli­a to the forefront.

If Nostalgia represents his past, his upcoming Unselfish Desires EP represents his future. Due for release on August 13 via longtime label BBE, the six-track effort features a vibrant collection of sounds drawn together by Beatchild’s infectious need to keep listeners grooving. The EP’s title track also serves as its lead single. Remarks Beatchild on the Wurlitzer-driven tune, “It actually has a similar vibe to ‘Thunder Groove.’ I’m about the soulful funk lately.” To hear “Thunder Groove,” visit exclaim.ca/ music.


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