Deepblak don, AYBEE joins us at this month’s CDR Berlin to share his wisdom and technical know-how As an entrée to the main course at Prince Charles on Thursday February 7th we shared a Q+A as well as uploading his excellent mix from Alexander Nut’s Rinse FM show recorded last October. Read and listen on…
Please can you tell us a bit about how Deepblak has progressed and connected artists since it was setup?
Initially in 2001 Deepblak was started as a creative outlet for my music. I wanted to create a hub free of the chains of “genre”. As time progressed and the labels ethos refined itself others soon joined the trip. Afrikan Sciences reached out to me shortly after landing in Oakland in ’05. It was like finding a long lost family member rhythmically. His music in many ways saved me in a very tough time in my life. We have never stopped pushing, and inspiring each other since then. Later Damon Bell moved to Oakland from Los Angeles. We met via our mutual friendship with Ron Trent. Damon later let me hear some of his productions, and we were totally on the same frequency. The Oakland based duo Blaktroniks had been putting out electronic music since the mid 90’s. They are personal heroes of mine. At some point we simply asked ourselves why we were not working together.
At age 17 Shen-7 wrote me one of the most sincere emails I have ever read. He politely introduced himself and sent me his music. When I listened my jaw dropped. He’s the youngest in the camp, but his ear, and production skills are far beyond his years. The label continues to work, and build with like minds from all over, as long as there is a common creative current. As was the case with Toronto based Pursuit Grooves. I was a big fan for years, and had been hounding her for us to collab on something. She presented me with her 91 Fellows project and the rest is history.
Getting technical, we enjoyed seeing the SP-12 picture you posted on Facebook recently, please can you talk us through your past/present production setup?
I wish that SP-12 was mine. That SP belongs to Just of Smallpeople in Hamburg. My production set up at the moment is a laptop with the usual software suspects, iphone, MPC 500, Dr660, Xio 25, Kaoss Pad, Apc 40, and a Korg Monotron. I pretty much use whatever I can get my hands on.
Are you now based in Berlin? Assuming so, how did the move from Oakland to Berlin come about and how’s life living in Europe? Highs/lows?
Correct I am now in Berlin. The move was a culmination of various factors that pointed in one direction. Largely I was looking for a life shift, and a larger creative platform to explore. It has been magnificent adjustment so far. After completing 10 years of my label Deepblak in the US I was looking for growth. The move offered that. I am in “Love” figuratively and literally. The major pitfall thus far has been the weather. Being a California boy I will never adjust to real winters.
Who has been on heavy rotation on your audio player of late?
Afrikan Sciences, Pursuit Grooves, Fatima, Dam Funk, George Duke, Joe Sample, Fred P., and Sting.
Please talk us through the track you last [cmd] ‘S’d ? ([ctrl] ‘S’ to PC users)
A remix I did for a label Feel Harmonic and there artist Douglas and Dujin. I basically took a background vocal sample, and brought it to the foreground. From there I built the track around the sample. I attempted to give the remix some contrast leaning toward a more driving mix as the original was very lush. I typically try and give remix a completely different feel from the original, I also like to have some linked element so that you can connect the two.
Photo of AYBEE in Christopher Logan/Loganic’s studio. Used with thanks.