Crypticz is Jordan Parsons, with new beats on 31. About which we spoke!
INTERVIEW REPOSTED FROM Drum&BassArena
Hey sir what you up to, what’s new?
I’m good, just doing my thing. Recently graduated from university so it’s time to give this real life thing a go now and see where I end up.
The ep seems to have come together amazingly, so much scope, so when did this start, for 31?
Thank you! Yeah, I’m really happy with the EP and how it turned out. So, Jim Om Unit played my track ‘Bubblegum’ on the RinseFM session with Fracture, dBridge and Machinedrum around early/mid 2015. Off the back of that a lot of people heard the tune and started reaching out…
I was round a mate’s and randomly checked my email to see that Doc Scott had got in touch asking, very politely, if he could possibly get the tune to play out. I’m a great believer in fate and I think this is a great example, the reason I was round my friend’s place was cause we were chilling out and having a catch up before going to see Scott play at Lakota that same evening.
I replied to Scott sending him the tune and a few more and told him I was reaching, he got back saying to come see him after he played if I got the chance. Of course I did just that and he asked if I’d be interested in doing an EP project for 31, I was stoked!
The EP itself came together over 2015. Some of the tracks were kind of there before I’d been in contact with Scott and some came after. He was great to work with and just let me do my own thing entirely. I was basically told there was a space in the release schedule for me in 2016, there was no rush and to send the music when I felt it was right.
I sent the first mixes of the tracks I think around this time last year, Scott listened to it over a couple of days and said he was really happy with it. I had the final mixes finished up and ready for mastering around the back end of 2015.
Backtracking a notch, what’s the label rep to you? Always very much a trip when anything new comes from this label, you don’t know what to expect.
31 is an amazing label and Scott is great curator, a man of good taste. It was a real honour to be given the opportunity to release my music amongst such an exciting, vast and historical catalogue. I hope I’ve contributed something of worth.
The label is one of my favourites releasing music in the movement that I’m a part of. As you say you don’t know what to expect, and that is a beautiful thing. As a label or artist if you can get to a point where the fans do know what’s round the corner that’s great too, it means you’ve built up a brand or style that can be synonymous with you and your name.
However, when you lay out those foundations and then break them over and over again… that is something I really respect. It’s what I’m trying to do as an artist. I have my style or sound, call it what you will, but I’m trying to bring it all together and take twists and turns further down the line. That is something that 31 as a label achieves excellently, there is that core essence but they explore many different paths.
Take us into the track ‘Echo Sound’, what inspired, and when did it come to life?
So this was actually the last track that was conceived for the EP. When taking influence from other music I try to do so from my peers in small doses so that I can stand out and draw from other areas. However, I was just having a kind of quiet night in and listened to Scott on Future Beats one night and after tuning in I just had to write music immediately after. It didn’t amount to much but I sketched out a few ideas on the laptop and that then came back the next day.
From what I had I built the kind of dubby intro then sourced the vocal snippets and then tried out numerous basslines and ideas over and over. The point when it ‘came to life’ was when I touched upon the bassline that lives there now, for me it had enough impact to give a climax whilst still maintaining that deeper, heads down quality and also carried the whole tune along rhythmically at the right pace. It’s really remnant of old school dubstep styles too, which is a bit of a love affair of mine.
Itoa is on here, do you two go back? ace musician.
Yeah, he is an incredible producer working on some amazing music. I’m telling you now to expect great things from him in years to come. If you haven’t already please check out his most recent EP on Roots & Future, it’s really quite something.
The thing I really respect about Itoa is that he is truly unique. This kind of halftime/whatever you want to label it as style is picking up a lot of traction quickly and as a result a lot of rules and foundations are being laid out, which honestly, scares me.
How can something move forward if we get caught up in what it should or shouldn’t be? We need more people like Itoa operating. He is in his own little world, drawing from loads of different areas, doing his own thing. Staying true to himself. No one out there is writing music quite like his.
We don’t go back too far; I wish I could say we did but we crossed paths in the end so it’s all good. He had an EP on Bad Taste around the same time I did the Contact EP on Diffrent. We bigged each other up and first got in touch online. Swapped some tunes and that. I had the first sketch of ‘MTD’ and tracked him down ’cause I just knew he would be perfect to work with on it. He smashed it, he breathed a whole new life into the tune that I didn’t know was there. We’ve got a vibe, we work great together and our styles bounce off one another really well. I haven’t been this excited about collaborating with another artist for a while. We’ve written a nice batch of tracks now, there is more round the corner I’ll tell you that.
We spoke of genres and rules, and some may use certain genre styles/names to describe the sound but I feel that nobody thinks that way now… nobody! But what sort of styles – nonetheless – do you dig and get inspired by to the extent that some remnants and influences may have found their way here?
Certainly man, I drew from multiple places, I mean it’s important to push and try do your own thing but we’re still all coming from somewhere. Stylistically, and I think it’s kind of obvious, I really wanted to push the dub thing on this EP. For me it feels like the foundation of what I do and I wanted to represent and express that.
So Dub/Reggae was a big influence on this release. In pretty much all my music I extract ideas heavily from Dubstep and Footwork/Juke. This EP also really explored Dancehall, Dub Techno and Drum & Bass influences.
I’m sure there are many more styles of music that subconsciously informed how the EP was crafted because I listen to a lot of stuff but the above mentioned are the ones that really stick out and people can probably identify with.
Take us into 20?
I started writing this on the morning of my 20th birthday, hence the name. The skeleton of the track came together pretty quickly over a few weeks as I recall, I kind of wanted to explore a minimal, progressive techno approach with a bit of a Drum & Bass template. It was cool, it worked, but something was missing for sure. I came back to it and added that big dub stab and then it just rolled real quick from there, just that alone brought a new depth to the track for me that I thought really worked.
This track is based round a certain sample from a certain dub tune… Out of all the tracks on the EP this is the one that went through countless different versions and ideas before I finally settled. It’s the track out of the bunch that feels most in line with Drum & Bass to me. It kind of stomps along and progresses and dubs out over time.
I think my favourite bit of the tune is when it reaches that climax and the amens break out. I think the amen section is what makes this track for me.
A lot of the energy in the early stages of this track comes from the low end pressure which is great but building into that second section I wanted to hit hard, really harsh breaks, dubbed out percs and fx. I almost wanted it to hurt, hopefully it does that but in a somewhat pleasurable way.
What in your studio arsenal do you really like using/couldn’t live without?
Echo Sound EP wouldn’t have been what it was without my Korg Monotron Delay. Love that thing and it finds itself all over these tunes. The whole Itoa collab is based around it (MonoTronDelay, MTD). I tried to push that bit of kit in a few ways it’s maybe not been used before, hopefully I achieved that. It can churn out an impressive low end for a little battery powered synth. It also did what it does best, provided some mad bleeps and bloops!
What song/influence/’wow’ tune is in your head?
All this week I’ve had Cocteau Twins ‘Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops’ on repeat. Big into that kind of stuff at the moment.