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Deathmachine | Interview
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Hardcore Techno, Industrial Hardcore, Crossbreed
Stef Eyre’s (AKA Deathmachine) started DJing in 1998 and over the following years began carving a unique sound for himself. His background in underground Hardcore along with his new work in the direction of Crossbreed and D’n’B results in diversity both in the studio and in the clubs.
In November 2013 Stef presented “Engines of Creation” his first solo album. A crossover hardcore trip!
After hosting his new year´s eve mix , CCPAR invited Deathmachine for an interview. In our conversation with Stef, he talks about various matters like his influences and style of hardcore, new album, thoughts on the UK scene, his future plans in music and current top 10.
How did you discover hardcore? What is your first memory of hearing hardcore?
My first memory of hearing Hardcore (well, really it was just “rave music” back then) was at school in 1991. Some older boys had a tape that they used to put on sometimes. I have no clue which DJ or event it was, but it sounded like nothing I’d ever heard before. I lived quite close to one of the biggest venues in the country at that time (The Sanctuary in Milton Keynes) and there used to be occasional news reports on TV about the raves held there. That was my first glimpse of what a rave looked like. Eventually I managed to get a ticket for a Dreamscape event there, which was my first Hardcore experience. From the first minute of stepping inside that rave, I was hooked.
How did you get into your djing career?
I bought some decks in 1997 and started looking for records to play on them. By this time, I had discovered Hardcore Techno and was trying to find somewhere that sold the obscure kind of stuff I liked. I found Underground Music and spent the next few years buying records and learning the music, while also getting to know Simon (who ran the store) pretty well. It was Simon who gave me my first DJ’ing set at his night The Underground up in Scotland. In November 1998 he booked me and I played on the same line up as Manu Le Malin. After that, I sent out promo mix tapes out and started to get the odd booking and it just built up from there.
The origin of Hardcore is rooted and combined sounds like Techno, EBM, New beat, etc. Which one is the root of your style of hardcore?
I have always liked and still do like Techno, and take influence from that style quite a bit. But the uk has always had a strong history with breakbeats and I think this still continues today. I also liked D&B from the early days so that influenced the root of my style too. So I wouldn’t say one element had that influence, I took/take inspiration from lots of areas.
You defined your first full album “Engines of creation” as slow Industrial at 125bpm, quite D’n’B influenced Crossbreed, and faster UK Hardcore. How would you describe the creative process of this master piece? Do you have any personal favourite tracks from your album?
I only began writing the album when I had a defined concept for it. I spent a lot of time building ideas for each track, as I wanted to make sure they all contributed to the theme. Choosing favourite tracks is hard but I think Introspective Future is up there for me as I feel it was quite a different/challenging track but also seems to have been well received. I really like playing Modify out as it is probably the most driving track on the album. Also, I like Our Introduction (to technology) as I think it has the strongest essence of the album theme in it. At 125bpm it is the slowest track I’ve ever done too.
We know that you have been working for years to achieve your own sound that covers a wide variety of Hardcore but heavily influenced by D&B. For this reason, your productions evolved with the emergence of the Crossbreed/Hybrid style. How would you define crossbreed? How do you find it an original and creative style? What is the future of Crossbreed within the harder styles in EDM?
For me, Crossbreed contains both elements of Hardcore and elements of Drum & Bass. Although mixing other styles is also possible, generally when people mention Crossbreed they mean the D&B/Hardcore mixture. Like most genres, it has been done well and it has also been done badly, and there has been a lot of bland kick-snare-kick-snare stuff done that has given Crossbreed a bad name to some people. Personally, I feel Crossbreed is more accepted in the Hardcore scene compared to the D&B scene but I hope that will change in the future.
We know you´ve have released some Dubstep tracks in the past, have you ever produced any drum and bass tunes or any other styles for that matter?
No, I haven’t produced any other style but I plan to change that fact this year although I won’t say now which style. I find writing in a different style very interesting and I feel it has helped improve my standard of production over the years. Appreciating and understanding other genres can help bring new ideas across.
Before you heard Hardcore Techno you seemed to like the dark vibe of the D&B, Do you remember the first artists of this style of D&B you used to play back in those days?
Yeah, I used to play stuff from artists like Limewax, SPL, Current Value, Counterstrike etc. Most of these guys are still going, and I still play their music these days a lot. But before I started DJ’ing I listened to a lot of D&B too, particularly the darker stuff like Ed Rush and Optical etc.
With D&B being one of the most popular styles in electronic music in the UK. Do you think the D&B influence in Crossbreed could help to evolve the harder EDM scene in your country?
The popular D&B in the uk is pretty commercial and quite separated from the underground so it will be hard for that audience to even be made aware of Crossbreed. Once Crossbreed gets better acceptance in the D&B scene then maybe it will grow more. I think things are starting to change though. I see DJ’s from other genres starting to play it, so this will help spread the sound to people who might not otherwise hear it.
Back in November 2013 we had the pleasure of seeing you play at the Sindrome party in Manchester. We witnessed how you combined heavy bass and break beats with hardcore energy and it is frustrating to know that there isn´t regular parties of such nature. Though, we believe that the scene will grow and improve in time. What do you think can be done to push things forward in the UK scene?
The uk scene is small which is a disadvantage straight away. On top of that there have been a few arguments between different groups that have segregated it and made the situation worse. There also seems to be some “ladder climbing” going on where people seem desperate to be “big” in the scene with little or no real musical output. I guess this is the same everywhere but in a smaller scene I think it affects it more negatively.
Some venues aren’t keen on hosting Hardcore events either, which adds to the difficulty. These days, a lot of uk people travel abroad for parties too, usually to Holland where the events are on a massive scale. There seems to be an expectation of similar lineups in the uk, so some promoters are really stretching themselves to provide something that people will be interested in going to. On the plus side though, the crowds that do go to the parties here have great energy and really love the music.
In terms of pushing the scene forward, all working together is the simple answer. No promoter wars, the support of true artists and also people need to physically turn up to the events and support promoters too.
What are the future challenges of Deathmachine in the UK DJ circuit?
I don’t think there are any more challenges than there have been in previous years really. Politics is always the main issue but that won’t change.
What are your thoughts on the electronic music scene in South America?
I’ll be honest and say I don’t know anything about the scene in South America. Hardcore does seem to be spreading around the world a bit more lately, so hopefully things will continue to grow over there for you.
Could you tell us about your future plans in music?
I have lots of projects lined up this year including a few interesting collabs with some great artists. I want to keep pushing my sound further and hope to show that Hardcore can be interesting music to listen to as well as to dance to.
To finish, can you please share with us your Top 10 of 2013?
The Outside Agency & Dep Affect – Mathematics
The Dj Producer – Modus Operandi
Switch Technique – All Vintage
Cooh & C-Netik – Retrofit
N-Vitral – Kombat Aktion
I:Gor – Total Confusion
Mindustries – Minds in Motion
Detest – Not Far
AK Industry & Billy S – Monster (Ophidian remix)
Sei2ure – War
Exclusive Studio Mix for CCPAR Podcasts Series
New Years Eve Special
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