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Tanzgemeinschaft | 21/10/2017

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Interview: BinaryFunction

BinaryFunction
Claudio Capo

Only recently we received a request for a review of an exciting UK-based artist called BinaryFunction. His EP ‘USER’ totally got us overwhelmed. We did some research and came to find out this man got a history, amazing. Instead of doing a review we offered BinaryFunction to do an interview instead. We got in touch and I got to meet a heartwarming person, down to earth with a great passion for music.

We came to find out many great things about Paul as he goes by in real life. We hope you are just amazed as we are. Enjoy the read.

You have to be totally for the music, the people and the love of the music, that’s all that matters. For me music is a way of life, it is my religion.

BinaryFunction

How are things these days?
First of all, I would like to say a huge thank you to Tanzgemeinschaft for this opportunity. Things these days are looking up in terms of my music. Since Bade Records signed my debut USER EP back in June this year things have been a little bit mental, to say the least. I’ve certainly been kept busy for the last 2 months and I hope that this journey will continue.

Early June you’ve released ‘USER’ on the London-based label Bade Records. The EP surely was a knock on the head. We were blown away by ‘ACKF1N’. This surely is a whirlwind of acid techno. Tell us a bit about the release.
I’ve been producing my own material for quite a long time now, as far back as 1995. I’m a family man with four wonderful daughters, and as you can imagine they take up a lot of my time. So time in my home studio is usually just a couple of hours, perhaps two or three times a week if I’m lucky. However, I’ve been doing this for many years and so I can get ideas together in a relatively short space of time. I save the project for a rainy day, sometimes uploading snippets to my Soundcloud account for feedback etc.

Last year I was experimenting with a VST that I really like to use and during a studio session, I took a different approach in terms of how I draw in my bassline sequences. I created the simple breakbeat that you hear at the beginning and throughout the track ACKF1N adding some percussion bits here and there. When I played this back together with the new bassline I got a little excited and thought to myself this needs to be finished. I continued to work on ACKF1N for around 3- 4 months before I was more or less satisfied with it and uploaded it to my SC account. It was about a year later when Bade Records found this track and got in contact with me. They were really excited about this track and in the space of a few weeks I was signed to their label Bade Records.

The work these guys do is unreal; my debut release received the kind of treatment and attention that I could only dream of before the release happened. I’ve been listening to the music, creating my own material, going to gigs and clubs and DJ’ing for over 35 years, dreaming of people actually hearing my music and liking it. Then all of a sudden these dreams slowly started to become a reality just a few months ago. Unfortunately, there are no words to describe my excitement during this period. If you have seen the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, that precise moment when Charlie finds the last golden ticket in the Wonka bar, this comes pretty close to how I felt.

What else you’ve been cooking? New releases, gigs?
I’ve been working on a few ideas that I can hopefully pull two or three tracks from and get a second release out. I want to make sure that my next release delivers equally as good as my debut EP and that the people enjoy it. I have a lot of musical inspiration and would like to produce all styles of underground music eventually. In terms of gigs, I am still waiting for an opportunity to play out somewhere, although my ultimate dream would be to land a DJ set playing vinyl to a small group of techno heads. DJ’ing is what I grew up doing, it’s in my heart and soul, DJ’ing has been my passion throughout my life.

In terms of gigs, I am still waiting for an opportunity to play out somewhere, although my ultimate dream would be to land a DJ set playing vinyl to a small group of techno heads. DJ’ing is what I grew up doing, it’s in my heart and soul, DJ’ing has been my passion throughout my life.

BinaryFunction goes back a long way, with influences in many genres, from hip-hop to techno. Tell us a bit about the best of these worlds. Why hip-hop and then moving on to more acid & techno.
I became hooked on music around 1985 and even more so with the explosion of the DMC World Mixing competitions. Hearing DJ Cheese’s mix for the first time and watching Chad Jackson’s winning set back in 1987 was a pivotal point in my life, I knew soon after that music would play a huge part in my life. Totally blown away by the Hip Hop culture I fast became immersed in the whole scene, graffiti, breakin, beatboxin, mixing n scratchin, I was a full on Hip Hop addict. The breaks, the DJ’s, DMC World mixing competitions and the legendary rappers/artists of this era all helped to form the basis of my musical endeavours. I was a massive fan of acts such as PE, LL, Ice T, RUN DMC, Derek B, London Posse, KRS, EPMD, Eric B & Rakim, Fresh Prince, Bambaata, Stetsasonic, The Jungle Brothers, Daz EFX to name but a few. I had a milk round in the early 80’s and saved enough money to buy my first Realistic 2 channel mixer from Tandy, and I started to learn how to DJ – DMC style. I managed to find two old turntables from some second-hand shop and hooked them up to the mixer, into a shitty little hi-fi and armed with a copy of Public Enemy’s YBRTS album, I had my first go at DJ’ing. From that day on I can honestly say that I practiced every single day for years on end, ask my mom. My bedroom was above our kitchen and many a time my mom would use the sweeping brush handle to bang on the ceiling before running upstairs with a pair of scissors threatening to cut the plugs off if I didn’t turn it down, haha.

I managed to find two old turntables from some second-hand shop and hooked them up to the mixer, into a shitty little hi-fi and armed with a copy of Public Enemy’s YBRTS album, I had my first go at DJ’ing.

It was the late 80’s when I first started going to clubs in and around Manchester. I went to pretty much all of the clubs that were playing acid house and techno at the time, but the main ones for me were the Thunderdome, the Hacienda, Konspiracy, The Orbit, Angels Burnley, Shelleys, The Sound Garden and many of the illegal warehouse raves mainly in the Burnley/Blackburn area. However, for me, it was the Thunderdome that changed my life forever. This club was extra special; anyone who went to the Dome often will know exactly what I mean. It was dark, gritty and moody-as-hell, a pretty dodgy place, but man, purple ohms, double dipped strawberries, banging shiny techno, need I say more. Some of the tracks that stuck with me from this era were Future FJP – Liaisons D, Rhythm Device – Acid Rock, Adonis – No Way Back, 808 State – Pacific State, The Beat Club – Security, Joey Beltram – Energy Flash & Mentasm Second Phase, NJOI –Mindflux, Lil Louis – French Kiss, Shades Of Rhythm – Sweet Sensation, just too many classics to list them all here.

Your latest mix ‘All wax yes’ is a demonstration of what you got in stock. Amazing how you mix all these sounds in a perfect way. How does the crowd react to the variety of music you serve them when playing?
I like to think my DJ mixes are well received for the most part, others have commented on how I manage to mix many different styles and make the whole set work. I never prepare a set, ever, I always try to play what I think the crowd will enjoy. Most of my club DJ’ing was from 1991 – 2004 when I was living on the island of Mauritius. These were some of the best days of my life, I was in my element playing all sorts of underground music to a crowd of locals who, up until I arrived had never really heard this kind of music or seen this style of DJ’ing before. They took to my style exceptionally well and I worked the whole club circuit in Mauritius for over a decade. I’m hoping that given the same opportunity here in the UK and Europe that I can have the same impact.

What’s your preferred setup when DJ’ing or playing live?
When I’m DJ’ing I prefer vinyl and so my ultimate weapons of choice are the wheels of steel, the mighty Technics and a decent mixer that MUST have a crossfader so I can cut the crap out of those techno kicks, something you don’t hear enough of these days, unfortunately. If I’m in a club or a gig and I hear a storming techno set or a house set or whatever the style and the DJ starts to cut, I think to myself, this DJ knows his shit. I have always been a technical DJ, I learnt to DJ in the Hip Hop/DMC world, so cuttin n scratchin, trying new techniques etc. is what I know best, and I think it adds so much more of a human feel to the performance rather than just turning a jog wheel to select a digital track and then hitting the play button, that’s too easy man. Don’t get me wrong, there are many digital DJ’s that also know they’re shit, take James Zabiela for example.

I do like to DJ digital, my preferred set up is Ableton Live together with a midi controller. Ableton enables me to DJ and perform my live material in the same set.

And your studio setup?
My studio is very small, but I make do with what I have. Of course I would love to own the famous bits of hardware such as the 909, 303 or an SH101 but unfortunately, I have mouths to feed and a mortgage to pay. My studio set up consists of Ableton Live 9 Suite, plenty of plugins, a Novation Ultranova Synth, NI Komplete Audio 6, KRK Rokit 5 monitors, a Roland TR505, a pair 1200’s and my trusty little Evolution UC33 Midi Controller, oh and my brain.

How did this evolve throughout the years?
I have bought bits of kit over the years but never really got down to producing properly until around the late 90’s early 2000. I started with Cubase in 95; I bought the Roland Groovebox 303 and a Yamaha SU10 sampler in 96 and just started messing around trying to create my first tracks. I started using Ableton Live version 4 in 2004 and have just been self-learning production and synthesis as much as I can.

Which artists have an impact on you at this moment? Any artists of which you say, ‘Wow, amazing work’?
Fast forward to the present day and the music has evolved into different genres of house and techno, I like to listen to what I call organic techno, Mathew Jonson, Silent Servant and Sebastian Mullaert are amazing producers and their music is an excellent example of this style. Around 2008 I was introduced to music by an artist known at the time as Maetrik, and before Maetrik he went under the name of Mariel Ito. Most will know this amazing guy as Maceo Plex. I’m a huge fan and personal friend of Maceo and all of his work. Maceo manages to fuse house, techno and electro in a way I’ve never heard before and he a is, without doubt, one of my biggest influences at present. Another artist that I have been listening to is a guy called Brassica; every track he releases makes me say “WOW”.

Around 2008 I was introduced to music by an artist known at the time as Maetrik, and before Maetrik he went under the name of Mariel Ito. Most will know this amazing guy as Maceo Plex. I’m a huge fan and personal friend of Maceo and all of his work.

Going back in time. What’s the best memory you’ve got from your career so far and why?
During my time living and DJ’ing on the island of Mauritius, I organised some events of my own and word spread to the neighbouring island of Reunion. In 1996 I was contacted by a friend named Sylvie asking if I would like to come and play a techno set on the island. I said yes of course and a few years later Sylvie placed me on a huge event DJ’ing alongside the legendary Laurent Garnier. It was from here that I started networking and becoming friends with some of the big name DJ’s from Europe, Jack de Marseille, Charles Schillings, Stéphane Pompougnac (Hotel Costes albums) to name a few. Being able to say you have DJ’d alongside LG back in the day is something not a lot of people can say, and if ever I mention it in conversation, people are like, seriously, no way, and I’m like, err yeah.

Seeing where you are now, did you see this all coming? And what are the pitfalls and lucky moments you have been through?
I definitely did not see this coming, at all; I have dreamed of it, but never thought I would have my own release out and signed to the very professional and exceptionally well placed Bade Records and finally landing on the radar of good techno. It has taken some time for the small success of my debut release to sink in; I have been in the clouds for the last 2 months. Now my feet are firmly back on the ground and I am focused on getting a follow-up EP out over the next 6 months if possible and hope that I can secure a couple of DJ gigs here and there. The only pitfall I can see is if you are someone who is only in it for the money. I don’t care about the money, I have worked hard all my life to provide for my family, anything from my music would go to them, I really don’t care. You have to be totally for the music, the people and the love of the music, that’s all that matters. For me music is a way of life, it is my religion. I don’t have much luck, to be honest. I’m just happy to be blessed with 4 wonderful daughters and a wife that looks after us all and keeps us on the right path.

What excites you the most in the music industry?
Good question, for me it is always about stumbling upon new music that inspires me. Other stuff that excites me is advances in new studio equipment and the technology behind it, vinyl excites me very much hahaha. Tanzgemeinschaft excites me.

How do you want the future of BinaryFunction and you personnaly to look like?
I want my family to have good health and live long and prosperous lives. I hope that in the future people will still play one or two of my releases and listen to some of my mixes. I would like to play a few venues here and there so that I can share my love for the music with the people.

Thank you so much for your time. Really appreciated!

Rice n Peace
BinaryFunction

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