EPM Podcast 112 comes from one of 2018’s break-out techno artists. After releasing a series of four EPs over the last year, Bryan Chapman delivered his debut album, ‘7 Shadows And Iron Lungs’ and the accolades kept on coming with the album recently included in Mixmag’s Best Albums of 2018. So with the wind in his sails and his production juices in full flow, what better time to catch the Englishman for a mix of deepest, darkest, twisted techno. Fusing together the likes of Pris, Anthony Linell, CHPTR, Dino Sabatini, Cliche Morph, Ruskin & Broom and Rodhad with a brace of his own productions we get a deep, cavernous tunnel of hypnotic sound, evoking the smoke-filled legacy of many a great club night.
Living in seclusion in southern England, Bryan is part of the conveyor of talent that hails from this ever growing, under current of modern techno found on the shores of the south coast. Now an established name amongst the new breed of producers breaking through, Bryan has earned a reputation for making no-nonsense, heavy-weight tracks that have seen his music supported by taste-makers across the techno scene including Luke Slater, Adam Beyer, Slam, Laurent Garnier, Chris Liebing and many more.
He has previously released on labels like Cari Lekebusch’s H-Productions, Alan Fitzpatrick’s 8 Sided Dice, Dustin Zahn’s Enemy, Joachim Spieth’s Affin and Butch’s Bouq. Now with his own label, Monotony, Bryan has taken his stripped-down, hypnotic, repetitive approach into a style of techno reminiscent of times long since passed merged with modern forward thinking electronics.
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EPM Podcast 112 – Tracklist
- Dino Sabatini - Duetto [Outis Music]
- Jana Sleep - Eco [Hypnus Records]
- CHPTR - CHPTR V [CHPTR]
- Anthony Linell - Sculpting Energy [Northern Electronics]
- Cliche Morph - Escape From Himself [Midgar Records]
- Bryan Chapman - Untitled
- Pris - Flagrant Foul [Non Series]
- Ruskin & Broom - Domwen [Blueprint]
- Atis - Samael (Cassegrain Remix) [Form and Function]
- Bryan Chapman - Seppuku [Monotony]
- Rodhad - Kinder der Ringwelt (Donato Dozzy Remix) [Dystopian]
- Anthony Linell - Scattered Across [Northern Electronics]
- Electric Rescue – Texture Shot (Inigo Kennedy Remix) [Skryptöm Records]
- Asmar - Ameth [ARTS]
Q&A with Bryan Chapman
- Let’s start with the mix. Did you approach this differently to a club set?
For a club set I’ll have a folder setup of maybe 200 tracks but for a mix like this, I’ll get a folder of maybe 30-35 tracks that I’m feeling at that time and then see what happens whilst its going on. In a club you react in certain ways to how the crowd is grooving and giving off its vibe but with a studio mix its all about how I try and tell a story in 60 minutes.
- Can you remember when you first became aware of ‘electronic’ music as opposed to just music on the radio?
Really early on, my Dad has the most incredible taste in music and I grew up listening to Bowie, The Beatles, Pink Floyd and later on really early Underworld. I don’t have any real memories of the radio being on as I don’t remember any talking happening but there was always music on in the house. We had long drives to see family a lot and there was always music on in the car, at a young age you don’t appreciate any of it but subconsciously its all going in. It was just normal music to me growing up and wasn’t until I was a lot older I realised how cool my Dad really was.
- What was the music of your youth?
The first album I ever bought was Daft Punk’s Homework and I was obsessed with the techno tracks on there, Rollin & Scratchin, Indo Silver Club, Alive and even Da Funk, the video as a youngster blew my mind. I remember my Dad bringing home a Carl Cox mix CD that had Aphex Twin - Didgeridoo as the last track, I couldn’t stop listening to that track for weeks, even now its still one of the best tracks I’ve ever heard. My Dad spent loads of time in an independent record shop near where he worked and was always bringing home loads of eclectic dance music. Thankfully I’ve picked that crate digging trait up.
The Chemical Brothers and Massive Attack were the main two and later on Radiohead. I was super ill when i was a teenager and was essentially bed ridden for 2 years and all i did was watch MTV all day. I really got into Leftfield and The Prodigy and later on Aphex Twin thanks to that.
- Did you have an epiphany the first time you heard techno in a club? Or was it a more gradual process?
Really gradual, my first real clubbing experience was Fabric maybe the first or second year it was open and I went on a Friday night for D’n’B. The whole experience as an 18 year old just blew me away, something changed that night. I went through a whole phase where I was like a sponge and wanted to hear every type of electronic and underground music I could find. At some point or another I’ve been into all sorts but never felt I’d found ‘that’ sound and was always looking for deeper more meaningful sounds and of course found ‘that’ sound with techno. Before I ever DJ’ed or produced I worked as a lighting engineer and then later on as a sound engineer in clubs for a long time so my experience of clubbing every weekend was slightly different but very insightful.
- How would you compare the tracks on your album to those put on an EP? Is there a marked change in the way you approach them in the studio?
I wrote in a different way when I realised I was writing an album. I had Black written for maybe a year and could never find a home for it, every Monotony release I tried to fit it into but the flow of the EP’s never felt right. One day it hit me that Black was perfect for an album, I then wrote the first and last tracks and had the concept mapped out in my head and then the rest of the album was morphed around that concept. I’m a big believer in being as creatively free as possible but having a concept to work towards gave a different type of focus and loads of tracks where written that normally I don’t believe they would have been otherwise.
A good example of that is Dead Shadows. I had just seen Blade Runner 2049 and in a way Dead Shadows is my homage to that series. To me those films are all about what it means to be alive and how humanity deems natural consciousness as being more important and being on a higher level than constructed consciousness. But if you have consciousness it shouldn’t matter how or where it came from and those films to me are about exploring that premise. With the concept of my album being about death, seeing Blade Runner whilst in the process of writing the album really resonated with me and I feel Dead Shadows would fit really well into that space.
- The feel of your mix reminds me of going to clubs like Lost in the 90s. Dark, twisted, hypnotic and that sense of the unknown just around the corner. How do you create these dynamic changes in what your own label might refer to as ‘monotony’?
I love call and response, especially within a hook. Call and response was the first language when everyone was living in caves and before words existed, so its a deep rooted tribal existence that we all relate too. So techno with a strong tribal feeling of a call and response hook I’m drawn too and there’s a lot of that in the mix. Monotony is a word that’s usually used in a negative manner but to me it’s a massively positive meaning. Techno for me is at its best when there’s automation or effects that happen so subtly that you might not hear them the first few times you hear the track. My music is 6/7 minute monotonous loops but its what you do with those loops, with those subtle effects and automation.That’s the style of tracks I’m drawn too.
- You also create your own artwork. Please tell us about the process involved in making the cover for your album ‘7 Shadows and Iron Lungs’?
I spend a lot of time in nature, in the wilderness and forests. I love the silence. I ended up taking photos as I found the textures of nature unlike anything that’s man made. The appeal of the freedom of nature resonates and hopefully that shows within the art. The artwork for 7 Shadows was originally a tree, mostly branches. 85% is all to do with how I set-up the camera and how I take the photo itself. Making it symmetrical was added afterwards along with the colour. When I first created the cover it looked like a face from another dimension to me, a 5th dimensional internal self projection.
- Over the years, what have been your favourite parties to play at?
Tresor for a straight up club. It’s everything you hope it’s going to be as a DJ with a super knowledgable and reactive crowd. Something a bit different was a festival in Belgrade a few years back. The festival itself had loads of talks and art exhibitions in the day and electronic music at night. The crowd was a mix of clubbers and people that had been to the festival in the day that didn’t dance. I was super confused at the time as half the crowd where really into it dancing and reacting but the other half didn’t dance but also didn’t leave. I got told afterwards that for a lot of the crowd it would have been the first time they would have ever heard electronic music or been in a space like that.
- What production plans do you have for 2019?
To write a lot more music than I did in 2018. I had some health issues that unfortunately impacted on my ability to write a lot of stuff this year. My album was actually delayed a lot because of it. Thankfully my health is all good and now healthier than ever so getting my head down and writing is 2019 for me.
- You have ticked off ‘Make an Album’. Whats next on the bucket list?
I’ve always been massively into soundtracks and the process you’d go through to create a soundtrack for a film is a challenge that has massive appeal to me. Plus to carry on gigging and travelling the world, the perfect combo.
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