Helix is a young smoked out producer from the deep dirrrty south of America. He’s had support from a whole bevy of big players and with his ‘Drum track’ (forthcoming via the Night Slugs imprint) receiving some heavy rotation it looks like 2012 is the year where he emerges from a fug of weed smoke to show us what he knows about production (very little he assures me) We caught up with him for a little chat and he’s also kindly provided us with a mix.
Hey what’s up?
My laptop is fucked up.
Grim, is it the hard drive?
Even worse, it’s the keyboard; all my data’s safe, I just can’t get to it.
Yeah I think I’m just gonna sell it for parts and buy a replacement. The CD drive was fucked as well.
Sounds like time for an update then, do you produce purely on software then?
Yeah I DJ and produce with a laptop because I can’t afford anything better.
How long have you been producing?
I’ve been producing for maybe a year and a half now I guess?
What would you say you produce?
I’m making grime mostly; people just don’t seem to realize my tunes are grime. Stacks? Grime. Drum Track? Definitely grime. Those are just the grime tunes that are getting released. I’ve got a lot more unfinished ones waiting for me on my HD when I get my laptop replaced. Besides grime, I’m making a lot of rap beats as well. If I post a tune publicly on soundcloud, it’s probably either spacey rap or weird grime, because I do more than just techno, you know?
What was the factor that pushed you into wanting to make electronic music?
Honestly, people weren’t playing or making the stuff I wanted to hear, so I started making and playing what I like, same reason as anybody else I figure. Well, that and I fucking love it.
You’ve been a member of Dubstep Forum for quite a while now, how important was it you?
DSF was essential to the scene and my musical upbringing, but at this point in time, the scene’s too big and too fractured. You can’t foster a sense of community when everybody’s fucking arguing about whether the latest Hessle release is “future bass” or some bullshit like that.
Haha what was your musical upbringing?
Honestly, everybody’s heard the same old “YEAH BRO I HERD DAT LOAFER TUNE WIT DA BASS N I WAS NEVA DA SAME” shit, so I’m going to be a prick and tell you about how much I fucking love grime. In like 2006 I found Boy In Da Corner and I was just shitting myself all over the place. After that I started really getting into Rinse FM and listening to a ton of Slew Dem, Neckle Camp, Roll Deep, BBK, etc. Christ, I think I actually enjoyed a Lethal Bizzle tune or two. And after dubstep started turning into this silly bitchfest over who was “deeper” or “harder” or any other number of semi-sexual terms, I started really getting into techno, just because I wasn’t connected to any sort of scene, I just listened to stuff I liked. Some of it was UK-Berlin crossover style stuff, most of it was just old Detroit records from a bunch of obvious names, but that stuff was blowing my mind 100%.
Do you see any crossovers between when you’re making techno, hip hop and grime?
Bass and silly sound effects. It’s all black music to me anyway (I love black music)
What is it about “Black music” that draws you to it?
Bass! Could be the sonic texture, could be the ruff edge to so many trax I love, could be anything. I guess I don’t always know why I do stuff, just know I do it and I like it.
Your use of drums is pretty startling, did you ever have a drum kit/play any other instruments?
Fuck no, I just have no musical knowledge whatsoever, so I make drums and process them to the point where I barely have to use any melodies or musical elements. Would love to learn some sort of instrument, but they’re very confusing to me, so I keep making drums.
Which producers and labels do you align yourself with?
I’m boys with Bake from All Caps, Objekt, this young cat named Tsunga, this underappreciated old head Simple, DJ Ozka out of Belgium, Jakob Altmann from Germany, and probably some other guys too. The labels I fuck with: Other Heights, All Caps, Night Slugs, Hessle, Ostgut, Chain Reaction, and my personal favorite label, “white”; Dunno if you’ve heard of White, but it’s a pretty big label. Lots of big tunes on it by some guy called “Unknown”.
Top 5 favourite grime instrumentals, go!
Top 5 in no particular order: Pulse X, Firefly devil mix, Kidset Anthem, War Riddem and Pulse v Flex. …ooohh, switch out firefly with Monolake – Titan, that’s a biiiig grime instrumental, just nobody’s figured it out yet.
It’s interesting, if I listened to this I’d say it has more to do with techno than grime.
8 bar switch ups, 140 BPM? That’s grime.
Compared to Pulse X it’s really sonically different.
Compare Pulse X to Zumpi Hunter though, completely different tunes; yet they’re still both grime.
What’s planned for 2012?
Got an EP on Other Heights that should be coming out at some point next year, a little collaborative thing with Simple on Ilian and I think some other label that I forgot about because I’m a fuckhead. And yeah Stacks and Drum track will be coming out as well.
Download the mix HERE
Interviewed by Felix Yoosefinejad