Friday, 20 August 2010

Forensics Interview















Krystian Taylor, AKA Forensics, is best known for his work in dubstep, both as a left-of-spectrum producer, and tireless champion of the scene through his imaginative (and generously circulated) mixes. He's also the man behind the slowburn indie-electronica of A Bridge Far Away. Blood Red Sounds caught up with him to talk about Forensics' "retirement", his new project The Divided Circle, and what on earth he means by the "111 Movement".

BRS: You were involved in the dubstep scene early on and were pretty evangelical about it. How did you get involved?

Krystian Taylor: The first dubstep records I bought were DMZ001 & DMZ002. I’d say Horrorshow by Loefah was the track that began my transition from onlooker to consumer and participant. Seeing Plasticman (now Plastician) play at the first Subloaded in Bristol also had a big impact. I started recording mixes, posting on the dubplate.net forum, and running a club night - Ruffnek Diskotek – with a friend (Dub Boy).

BRS: Dubstep has fragmented a lot since going global in 2006-7. Do you still feel a strong connection with it?

KT: I still feel connected, although my finger's a long way from the pulse when it comes to the commercial end of things. I just ignore the things I don’t like, and keep pushing those I do through my mixes.

BRS: Is Forensics still a going concern? You announced that you’d retired the project a while back but you keep posting mixes, and new tracks have appeared from time to time. What’s going on?

KT: I retired Forensics about a year ago, and then picked it back up around six months later - mainly in a DJ-ing capacity. I did record a few tracks, which have since been released on Methodology Recordings – the ‘In Shadow’ mini-album & ‘Lament’ on a compilation. I’ve also done a few remixes more recently, but Forensics is definitely more of a DJ entity now.

BRS: One of your recent tracks is an unofficial remix of Alex Reece’s ‘Pulp Fiction’. Was jungle / drum & bass a big influence on you?

KT: I was into jungle for a fair while. It was the first form of electronic music I took a real interest in, having only really been into ‘guitar music’ prior to that. I’d say early, minimal drum & bass has influenced my productions.

BRS: A Bridge Far Away seemed to evolve out of Forensics’ collaborations with vocalists, like Indi Kaur. Did you consciously re-brand your music to distance it from straight up "dance" music?

KT: Not sure I’ve ever made straight up dance music, but anyway!

BRS: That's true, but the Forensics stuff fits well in your your dubstep mixes. Dubstep is still typically designed for club systems rather than home listening isn’t it?

KT: A Bridge Far Away is an outlet for my non-140bpm stuff. I guess it was born of an urge to collaborate more, and to get back to making ‘proper music’. I'm not claiming to have achieved that, but the urge was there!

BRS: There's an implication there, however tongue in cheek, that dubstep isn't as "proper" as some other music.

KT: It's just how I've viewed things. I started off writing songs, and then went on to view electronic music as an escape from the emotions associated with songwriting, which resulted in me making a lot of completely soulless music for a while! I've been slowly heading back in the other direction since realising my mistake. A major turning point was recording Forensics' 'All to waste' with [Pinch collaborator] Indi Kaur. It definitely put the idea of writing songs firmly back into my head.


I'm not saying dubstep can't be 'proper music', but as you've said, it's principally dance/club music - which perhaps isn't something I have in me production-wise. I've always been on the margins of dubstep, and never made tracks with a dancefloor in mind. I enjoy DJ-ing a lot more now that I'm not really producing dubstep - I can play a set more as a consumer, and enjoy it as such.

BRS. Your new project The Divided Circle is described as a '111 band'. What does that mean?

KT. 111 is a new music/art project, info on which can be found at one11bpm.com. It essentially means that our tracks are recorded at 111bpm, for the time being at least. We’re actually the first 111 band, most 111 music has been electronic so far, so we’re pioneers or something! The Divided Circle is definitely my main focus at the moment. It's really good to be writing songs, and working with my good friend Jon Rees [of The Sky Is Blue / Dusk Ensemble] again.

BRS. Is there an aesthetic to 111, or is it just a good tempo to work with? The manifesto on the one11bpm site suggests there's more to it but doesn't give any specifics.

KT. We call it "the divine tempo" - it's great to work with! 111 is a particularly vibrant movement because it covers such a range of styles: anything goes in terms of genre. The constraints come into play in terms of approach - a large emphasis is placed on meaning and artistic value. The "Rules of engagement", which spell things out in detail, are also on the website.There's more to it than music - it's also art, photography, film, words...111 is going through a bit of a rebirth at the moment, so watch this space!

BRS. If A Bridge Far Away is a natural progression from what you were doing with Forensics, this new project looks like a radical change of direction - the brooding atmospherics are more at the service of the song than before. I can hear Joy Division and Eno in there, but what are the key influences?

KT: I suppose it's quite a radical shift. I'm back to where I started really, writing songs with Jon. And what's coming out isn't all that different to what we were doing as youngsters. We're both fans of downbeat indie music - people like Sparklehorse, Low, early Grandaddy, the various Mark Kozelek projects...I wouldn't say we have any key influences as such, though. We're not writing with anyone else in mind.

Forensics plays at
Subharmony in Riga on 10th September, and Knowledge Magazine's night at Fluid, London EC1 on 1st October. His 'In Shadow' mini-album is out now on Methodology Recordings. There's a free limited download of the original instrumental version of killer Forensics track 'All To Waste' here.

Here's a mix he recently recorded for Dub Concepts Radio, which stresses the unity of UK bass music, bringing together the deep, atmospheric dubstep of his 'Pulp Fiction' remix, the Mancunian rudeness of Virus Syndicate, and Smith & Mighty's classic 2-step inspired 'B-Line Fi Blow' (2002). I LOVE this.

There are no plans for Bridge Far Away gigs, but you can download the
very lovely 'Killer Bees' here. The second ABFA album 'Reverence' is out now, also on Methodology.

The Divided Circle will release their debut EP shortly on new label Lonely City, with live performances to follow. Listen to them
here.

For more on the 111 movement, see
one11bpm.com.

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