The past, present & future of DET
DET has been known to turn heads since his 2013 track 'Voyager' was uploaded to Inspector Dubplate. From there, the exciting newcomer quickly became a staple name with releases on INSPECTED/RENRAKU/VALE experimenting with every genre along the way.
Fast forward from his InspecDub launch, and he's continued to evolve his abilities across a plethora of genres, seamlessly entwining futuristic UK garage with intense sound design.
Alongside being a veteran in the scene he has become the mastering engineer for Labels such as Renraku and Vale. A man who usually stays in the shadows, but not for his first interview in 9 years!
How's it going man? Thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us. You have just dropped a new 2 track EP 'Ocha' on VALE, tell us a bit about the Inspiration behind the project and meaning behind the name?
Hey, my pleasure, dude. Over the last few months I have been staying in Taiwan. I came here just for fun, not really looking for inspiration or anything, but the whole experience has been triggering a lot of creative moments and consequently I've been writing a lot more music than I usually do.
Ever since I made 'Cursed' for my Bad Feelings EP I felt like I needed to explore these kind of garage grooves further, so that's how the EP idea started out. Over the past year I've also been working on a DIY modular set up which has been heavily influencing the kind of sounds I make and what I use in my music.
About the track title, 'Ocha' means tea in Japanese (お茶). I used that because at the time of making the track I was learning a little bit of Japanese and just stumbled upon this word, and I think the vibe of the tune transmits this calm, very 'zen' vibe. The name 'Homie' simply comes from the vocal sample I used.
Ever evolving your direction, I notice with this record, the sound design is toned back and has more of a typical rhythmical pattern compared to previous releases. Was this something you were consciously trying to achieve going into the project and is this something we can expect more of in the future?
As I mentioned, my sound design style has been heavily influenced by using my modular set up. One of the first modules I got was a Clouds by Mutable Instruments, which is a dope granular processor, great for textures, FX and pads. Ever since I started to mess with it I started building a huge collection of pads and atmospheric sounds. I also made heavier kinds of sound design with it, you can hear my first experiments with some of the sounds I made by listening to 'Renegade' and 'Shape Shift'.
For this EP I started playing with the softer sounds in my library, and rhythmically I think I just got inspiration from artists like Sorrow or Moody Good's garage tunes. Sorrow special has been a long time strong influence for me when writing music in general. I feel like my past releases don't generally show that but I'm a big fan of ambient and I love to produce laidback stuff like this from time to time. I think I'm gonna keep exploring this style of music for sure!
So you mentioned you have been travelling recently, how has that affected your production compared to staying in your studio?
Well, I've been feeling a lot more creative, but obviously my setup has been reduced to almost nothing but a couple pairs of headphones, my recorder, an audio interface and my laptop. In my studio I got monitors, the modular and a Moog Sub 37 which make the whole process of writing music a bit more fun. Other than the commodity of sitting in a studio chair rather than at a cafe or my flat, everything is exactly the same. Nowadays everything you need is inside the computer. I was over 5 years producing without any gear whatsoever, only headphones and laptop, and I wrote some of my best music with that, so the last few months have been a throwback to that feeling of having only the basics, it's pretty refreshing.
What lead you to begin work as a mastering engineer, also how did you begin working with Renraku and Vale?
When I started producing 9 years ago I used to send my music off to mastering to different online mastering services. It was quite expensive for me at the time, so I felt forced to grab some mastering plugins, read some manuals and learn to do it myself. With time I gained experience and felt confident to offer my services to other people. When I joined Renraku as an artist, they asked me to master a few releases and they liked the result, so ended up as the main mastering engineer, the same goes for Vale.
What’s next in the pipeline? Do you have plans for any shows?
I plan to keep writing garage in particular, and see where this brings me. I have been thinking about the idea of doing shows as it has been many years since I did one, but I still have no plans. I'm thinking about it and I might start messing around with my old dusty Ableton controllers and see what happens.
I also have some collabs ready to release. An old one with Clockvice & Vorso, which is one of the craziest tracks I've ever worked on, another very weird and special one with Bolten M and a garage banger remix for Aleph coming on Renraku.
Really looking forward to hearing those! Tell us one production tip that you have learnt that has helped your music the most?
I think the most valuable lesson I learnt is that in order to be creative you've got to think of producing music like a game instead of a means to achieve something. Being creative is really hard and it's impossible to achieve when you're not having fun and are in a 'playing' mindset. I see too many producers trying to get somewhere and taking production too seriously, trying to learn every little production technique from other producers and forgetting about experimenting by themselves.
I'm definitely not saying it's bad to learn from others, but I'd say it's not that important to know the technicalities or to have particular skills as long as you are simply having fun producing. That's when you have the energy to spend hundreds of hours in the computer, open your mind to creativity, train your ears and learn how to use your DAW deeply.
Who/What’s inspiring you at the minute? Any artists we should look out for?
Lately I've been really addicted to Richard Devine's music. He's a total sound design genius. You can definitely hear his influence on the music I've been making lately Also I've been revisiting sorrow's discography again on the past months. Other artists that have been inspiring me lately are Crematorium and Aleph (both occasionally making garage tunes and totally killing it) and not to mention the Slug Wife Crew which are a main source of inspiration.
DET's 'Ocha' EP is out now on VALE.
You can stream/download ‘Ocha’ below: