We grabbed some time with Ram Records’ Calyx & Teebee after the release of their 1×1 LP.
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Calyx & Teebee are a duo synonymous with complex production, heavyweight beats and a real dancefloor-catered vibe. After dominating the drum & bass scene with their first two LPs, Anatomy and All Or Nothing, delivering their signature sound of weightier drum & bass, the duo have now settled into life on Ram Records and are eager to show a more mature and musical side to their talents.
That’s where their latest LP comes in. 1×1 still sees the boys offering up those dancefloor beaters but also shows a different side to their capabilities in the studio. Vocals play a far more prominent role, with Calyx clearly growing in confidence to lay down some lyrics, and they’ve introduced a far more accessible element to their catalog. To get a better understanding of the work they’ve been putting in over the past few years and to see what processes the guys go through, we sat down with this exciting duo to talk 1×1 and what the rest of 2016 holds.
- 1 2015 was all about singles for you, how have you found the reception so far to the new material?
- 2 What’s 2016 consisted of mainly for you? Any highlights?
- 3 Your latest LP 1×1 is about to drop, how long in the making has that been? How would you say it differs from Anatomy and All Or Nothing?
- 4 Any tracks you’re particularly proud of on the album? Personal favourites?
- 5 You’re synonymous with high energy and complex DJ sets, how do you put together your playlists?
- 6 Where can we catch you playing over summer?
- 7 It’s a big year for drum & bass albums, especially within the RAM camp, what ones are you mot looking forward to/ most impressed by so far?
- 8 Outside of drum & bass, what artists would you love to collaborate with or remix?
- 9 3 tracks, LPs or EPs everyone needs in their playlist at the moment?
2015 was all about singles for you, how have you found the reception so far to the new material?
Calyx – We’ve been so happy about the reception to our singles and the album. Finishing an LP is such a strange mixture of emotions, often alternating between belief and doubt while you wait to unveil the body of work, so we’ve felt ecstatic at how people have reacted to the music.
TeeBee – I’m really pleased with how things are going. The singles have all done really well, with Long Gone being the 2nd highest selling track in our genre on Beatport last year. I can’t wait to drop the rest of the album!
What’s 2016 consisted of mainly for you? Any highlights?
Calyx – We’ve had some fantastic gigs already this year across Europe and we just got back from a really good RAM North American tour. A personal highlight outside of music was an unreal few days of skiing in Whistler at the end of the tour. Right now we’re itching to get the album out but we’re already getting stuck into new tracks and collaborations.
TeeBee – The usual gigging every weekend, remixes and preparing new music plus balancing that with being a father to a manic 4 year old. The grind never stops. We just came off a really good 3 week Ram tour in the USA and Canada. We did 12 shows and had an amazing time together with Culture shock, Mefjus and Delta Heavy. We’re currently remixing the next Sigma single so look out for that sometime after the summer I think.
Your latest LP 1×1 is about to drop, how long in the making has that been? How would you say it differs from Anatomy and All Or Nothing?
Calyx – Each LP we’ve written reflects our evolution over the 2 to 3 years each album takes. Our tastes gradually morph and expand whilst our techniques are always progressing. We’re constantly changing and pushing ourselves to explore and create music that feels different to what we’ve made before, or to make something that is outside our comfort zone.
We’d have got stale and bored a long time ago if we kept recreating the same ‘sound’ year after year, so along the way we’ve explored themes that reach outside of the genre as well as others that hark back to our past. Essentially though we still just keep making what we feel inspired to create and what we enjoy making.
TeeBee – It is a natural progression from the former two. It feels more mature, more controlled and more consistent. We have more “songs” on this record, more of everything I guess. We always strive to improve and gain more knowledge in every aspect of our careers, so for us, this is by far our best body of work.
Any tracks you’re particularly proud of on the album? Personal favourites?
Calyx – It changes from day to day, but really there’s no one particular track as it’s more a case of different tracks for different reasons. Usually we’re most into whatever we’re currently working on or what we’ve finished recently as that’s where our passion and energy have just been focused.
But having obsessed over this album so intensely and having only just finished, it feels more like a labour of love than something we’re proud of quite yet – it’s always many months or years after an album is out that we look back on it with fresh ears and know what stands out for us and remains music to be proud of.
TeeBee – It always seem to be the last tunes finished! For me, it’s Pathfinder and Stray Bullet. They feel retro but done in a modern context. Ask me in one week though it will probably change!
You’re synonymous with high energy and complex DJ sets, how do you put together your playlists?
Calyx – As we’ve gained more experience in playing with 6 decks and 3 mixers, our sets have become less planned over time. We do have some choreographed moments that we have rehearsed and are prepared for in advance, but the vast majority of our sets are about spontaneous moments when we feed off the feeling of the moment or when one of us tries to surprise the other with teases, key-matches and drops.
As the years have passed, we’ve gained an unspoken understanding and intuition of what the other person is thinking or planning in their minds – but communication is still the key to making it work: we constantly shout across the decks at each other and have evolved hand signals so that we both know what the other is thinking. We always have to be thinking ahead; much more so than with a standard back-to-back DJ set.
TeeBee – For the most part, we don’t. Our sets are about 20% planned, and we’ll remember good moments and take note of that from previous gigs. We always know what key we are in so it’s down to communication, hand signals and teamwork. It makes it more fun for us as well when it’s mostly spontaneous.
Where can we catch you playing over summer?
Calyx – A summer of festivals lies ahead all over Europe. Audioriver is the festival we’re looking forward to most, but it’s usually one of the festivals we least expected to be ‘the one’ that ends up being the highlight of the summer.
It’s a big year for drum & bass albums, especially within the RAM camp, what ones are you mot looking forward to/ most impressed by so far?
Calyx – Can’t wait for Audio’s album on RAM – it’s guaranteed to be a bold & uncompromising statement from the destroyer!
TeeBee – We have been so busy doing our own we haven’t had time to even check other stuff out really! Also, when we do have time to listen to stuff, it is usually from other genre’s to get a break and find inspiration. I love the new Tim Hecker album, if you don’t know, check him out.
Outside of drum & bass, what artists would you love to collaborate with or remix?
Calyx – There are just so many dream artists I’d like to work with, but to pick just three of the top of my head, this month I’d like to get in the studio with Aphex Twin, Thom Yorke and Stimming
TeeBee – So many!! Brian Eno – that man is a genius and a huge inspiration to me. I am a massive ambient fan and his albums are timeless. I love Stimming as well, fantastic organic house producer with a focus on groove and space. Tim Hecker is another one. Legend in his field. We are doing a thing with Mefjus currently, so it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out. He’s a great guy and we had an amazing time together on tour .
3 tracks, LPs or EPs everyone needs in their playlist at the moment?
Calyx & TeeBee Ft Doctor – Ghetto
Mark Pritchard – Beautiful People (feat. Thom Yorke)
Brian Eno – The Ship
Calyx & TeeBee – Long gone
Stimming & Johannes Brecht – Stekker EP
Tim Hecker -Love Streams LP