To celebrate the release of the “Hybridization EP” on re:st we chatted to Romanian producer DYL about his mutated vision of drum and bass. We also discuss early inspiration and how at almost thirty years old there is still room for fresh experimentation at 170 beats per minute.
What I love about your sound is its rich feeling of texture. I hear all kinds of styles and influences in your music, do you consider yourself a drum and bass producer?
Thank you, I’m glad to hear it. Sometimes I’m a drum and bass producer, sometimes I’m not. One thing is certain, everything I do moves around 170 bpm. I have a love that will last forever for drum and bass, pushing the limits started from inside this music.
So what were you listening to before drum and bass?
Back then I was inspired by the likes of Autechre, Massive Attack and Joy Division. Time passed and I discovered drum and bass.
How did those non drum and bass artists help shape your sound?
Well, Aphex Twin and Autechre are responsible for teaching me to be much more creative and how being a producer isn’t limited to a certain view. I’ve learnt from them that you can express your music in many ways. Joy Division and The Cure taught me how to talk through my music to people.
So when did you start to produce and what did you use?
When I discovered drum and bass I said “enough!” and I started to learn more about music and began to produce. My first attempts were in Fruity Loops.
How about now?
I’m using Cubase and field recordings. Sometimes a MS-20 mini, for example if I’m feeling the noise produced by a bus while I’m going home from work, that might be the beginning of a track. I find music everywhere.
It’s interesting to hear about your field recordings, do you ever use commercial sample packs as well beside breaks? I don’t think you could make music any more personal than recording your daily surroundings!
I used to at the begining, not anymore. I’m very obssesed with manipulating the sounds. Tracks for me are like Lego, I start building them with a lot of enthusiasm… sort of like Christmas time. It’s just amazing how my fridge can be a spaceship.
Your style seems much more rooted in atmosphere and tone than it does genre. How would you describe your productions?
I’m an introverted person, I’m a lonely wolf that always tries to do his own thing. I try at every ocassion to do something a bit different, something that isn’t repetitive. That’s why I don’t believe in this “cage” called musical genre because it generates limits, why don’t you just leave your imagination free and try to do things a bit different without that fear of being judged, without fear of failure?
I have to be honest and say when I first heard some of this new lo-fi 170 stuff I didn’t quite understand its relationship to drum and bass other than beats per minute but then it dawned on me. I think it’s natural evolution. I see what you guys are doing is tapping back into that early 90’s creative spirit that was centred around pushing boundaries and experimenting. That’s what that golden era was to me… It’s wasn’t just about amens, 808’s and ambient FX. Where do you see this style going and what feedback do you get when you play traditional drum and bass heads your more abstract material?
It’s not something for everybody but step by step we’re moving in a good direction. My thing is to mix the 170 hybrids with other genres that have similarities, then I’m adding more drum and bass tracks and the result is a trip with variety that keeps everybody happy. The reaction has been good because most of the people are open to new sounds.
You’ve had a string of releases on a variety of labels over the last few years that are really pushing boundaries, who’ve you worked with so far?
I’ve had the luck to work with people like Sub (Syncopathic Rec), Simon (Nord Label), LXC (Alphacut), Lcp (re:st), Alien Pimp (Dubkraft), Thomas (Minor), Raica (Further Rec), Hangout Music crew and many more that believed in my vision from the start and always helped me. I’ve been lucky to meet the right people, I just want to thank them all for helping me!
Are there any highlights from your back catalogue that you’re particularly proud of?
I’m proud of every release, every single one has a special meaning for me. They’re like my children. I love them all, good or bad! Haha…
How about for people that are just discovering your music?
DYL – 22 (Hangout Music)
DYL – Monoceros (Nord Label)
DYL – Concept 1 (Minor Label)
DYL – Reductio Ad Absurdum (re:st)
DYL – PPXXPP (re:st)
Your latest EP consists of five wildly different tracks that remain cohesive along side each other. Can you talk us through the production process of the Hybridization EP?
I talked with Lcp about doing a new EP for re:st and started to work on it enthusiastically as I always do. The EP also contains a collaboration with DB1 which I’m very proud of, Dylan is a great producer and I really enjoy working with him, so expect more! Also keep your eyes on the label for more!
You mentioned earlier about being introverted and a lone wolf, how did this effect your collaboration with Dylan? How did you work on this track together?
We have a very good flow when we work together, same thing happened with my previous collaborations, do you know why?
Because being a lone wolf and introverted doesn’t mean or necessarily refer to working alone. It’s more about reworking those certain rules that a musical genre comes with and trying to make them more creative, letting them float around other influences and assimilating new sounds.
Minds that think in the same way but with a different style of expression should work together because this is how you get evolution in music. There are a lot of artists in the 170 spectrum with this kind of thinking.
I hear a lot of Photek influence in your Drum And Bass tracks, especially on “The Veil Of Ignorance” (the collaboration with Dylan AKA DB1). Was he an important inspiration and which other Drum And Bass producers have inspired you?
Yes! Photek made one of the first impacts on me within drum and bass, also Dillinja and Jonny L were the influences that made me say “This is it! I have to start produce music!”
You want to recommend any other modern day artists to check in a similar style?
Here are a few that come to mind right now: Projekt 22, Entire, Paragon, DB1, DAAT, Nic TVG, Jalex, Pessimist, Overlook, ILL_K, OWL, Blanca, LXC, Alien Pimp, Stavrogin, Neurosplit, there are more to discover.
There seems to be a real return to vinyl releases at the minute that are often dogged with delays, criticisms of poor product or expensive second hand sales via Discogs etc. What does it mean for you to have your tracks on vinyl and have you had any bad experiences with releases in the past?
Well, having vinyl releases is great as I’m a big fan of the format and because it’s a great feeling to touch your music physically. Something more personal, I haven’t had big problems with releases in the past, thats just life though.
Finally, what’s next for DYL and where can people find out more about you and your music?
I’m not saying much but just to keep your eyes on soundcloud.com/dyl170 and facebook.com/dyldnb for more info as everything at the moment is still processing.
Anything you want to say?
I want to thank everyone that helped me all these years, much love and respect!
As A Tribe Called Quest said “We do it all for the love y’all, yeah, we do it all for the love y’all.”