Artist Interview: Calyx & Teebee

We briefly chatted with Teebee during the RAM Records Boat Party at Outlook Festival to find out what the duo has been up to, what’s in their future, and how they feel about the loudness war. Unfortunately Calyx wasn’t in attendance of Outlook Festival due to an abscess, but Teebee was nice enough to answer questions on behalf of the duo and we hope Calyx is feeling better by now!

Dose: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us how you’re doing?

Teebee: Hi, I’m Teebee and I’m doing well! Thanks!

Dose: Now that you’ve put out two albums; one less conceptual and one being a reflection of your past and present, what does the future hold for Calyx and Teebee?

Teebee: We’re working on our next album at the moment actually! We were supposed to deliver five tracks last Tuesday, but we’re running a little late on those. Hopefully it should be finished by early next year, and it will be coming out on RAM* (big things in the works!)

Dose: It appears you’re both ripe with energy and inspiration currently and with dnb continuously growing with promising artists every day, will you guys take this as an opportunity to utilize that energy/inspiration to explore different styles of music or will you remain within dnb?

Teebee: We have written loads of other types of music and when the time is right it will surface, but for now we’re going to continue on the path we’re currently on as we’re still riding the success of our last album. We are really excited about it though! It’s in the distant future, but it will come out eventually!

Dose: Teebee you run the Subtitles label and are regularly releasing more music along with a new edition of the Sine Language album. Can you give us some insight into the compilation and what future releases we can expect from Subtitles?

Teebee: The Sine Language album will be coming out at the end of this month and that project has been a real long time coming. We’ve been working on that for the past year and a half and it has all my favourite artists on it! Ed Rush! Gridlok! Everyone I rate is on it! We got more planned in the future and it’s more of a release that kind of reminds everyone we’re here and that Subtitles hasn’t gone anywhere. After all the album stuff last year things died down a bit, but that doesn’t mean my passion has disappeared and we got some big plans coming in the future!

Dose: You guys push the envelope of DJ’ing by mixing together across 6 decks. If you could push the envelope even further, how would you go about elevating your current setup?

Teebee: I don’t really see much of a point in that, because if we were to go all digital than it takes away the difficultly and level of engagement that our current setup entails. For us, having at least three decks each and two mixers…we’re actually doing something. Although it could be extended, our current DJ setup is really enjoyable for us and creates a great interaction with the crowd!

We’ve developed this sign language where if Larry gives me a certain hand signal than I know to filter out the tops at the end of 16 bars, or if he goes the other way than I know to filter out the bottoms, and so forth. It definitely adds an exciting and unique element to our setup that results in a lot of facial expressions!

Dose: The idea behind “Elevate This Sound” was Calyx overcoming his vocal doubts and after its wide spread success will we be hearing more of his voice?

Teebee: The whole concept was of him overcoming his fear of singing, because I would always hear him sing in the studio and we would have all these vocalists come in that didn’t work out. Eventually it got to the point where I’m like “c’mon Larry…I know you’re Jewish, but you can sing!” Haha, only joking!

It was a beautiful and funny moment really, because the first track he sung was “Hurting” and what we had to do was have him sing about cock & balls for two hours so he could get it out of his system and feel comfortable. Now that he’s more comfortable with the idea and after the success of “Elevate This Sound,” there will be more vocal’s from him in the future!

Dose: You guys have had releases on some of dnb’s oldest and most regarded labels, what would you classify as the most successful moment in your careers?

Teebee: Well in terms of success, obviously RAM has been the benchmark for us, but if you go back in time Larry’s first album (No Turning Back) was really successful and my first album (Blacksciencelabs) was as well. Times have changed though. What was accepted, what the future of this music was, and the audience, was all much different. People actually bought records back then! All or Nothing was certainly a definitive moment for us though, and was the culmination of five years of hard work!

Dose: Your productions are very clean and you guys maximize the elements of your tracks without adding volume or unnecessary noises. How do you feel about the loudness war, and do you think newcomer producers should focus more on maximizing content vs. maximizing sound?

Teebee: In an ideal world, I’d personally like to go down to -12RMS which was what it was like in the ‘50s and ‘60s with plenty of dynamics, but times have changed and that’s not the case anymore. I think Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails) made a really good point to release his album in two versions. He’s done one that’s at the standard volume we know for radio, iTunes, and so forth, and he’s done a second mastering in high-quality format with virtually no limiting; pretty much how the music is supposed to sound.

We’re probably going to do the same with our next album. If you have a good sound system and you really enjoy music, than you should have the option to utilize your investment. The loudness war has gotten ridiculous though, and a lot of people say they hate it because they can’t actually get it that “loud.” We don’t have that problem though. There’s always some sacrifice along the line that has to be made in order to make room for other sounds and I enjoy the challenge, but I don’t think new producers should focus on volume over vibe.

Dose: What’s one piece of advice you would share with aspiring producers?

Teebee: Learn from your mistakes! When you’re in your twenty’s and it’s “happening” for you…don’t think you’re bigger than the music and don’t think that you’re the centre of the world. Stay humble, and stay grounded! That’s the best piece of advice I could give to anyone!

Dose: Name one song or album you wish that you had produced yourself?

*Drunk Guy in the Background*: LTJ Bukem – Atlantis!!

Teebee: …uh no, let’s aim higher than that! I would have to say that I wish I produced Pink Floyd’s album Dark Side of The Moon!

Dose: Thanks for the interview!

Teebee: You’re welcome!

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