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Carl Bee

Interview: Carl Bee celebrates Hypo

Carl Bee, DJ & producer, from Malta with worldwide acclaim, cementing a reputation as one of the most naturally gifted, and hard-working artists on the scene.

We sit down with Carl Bee to celebrate his latest release “Hypo” on Solomun’s mighty Diynamic label. We discuss the scene in Malta, his inspirations, his studio and more…

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How are you, what have been the highlights of 2023 so far?

2023 has been amazing so far. Definitely some good highlights along the way since the start of 2023. I’m overwhelmed with the heavy support I’m currently getting on my music, both upcoming and past releases.

I’m really happy with the releases I’ve released so far with more lined up for the coming months. Some particular shows were also incredible which I can already list as highlights such as the ones for GRINGOS at UNO in Malta and ABODE at the Rock festival. I’m pretty sure the IBIZA shows and the GRINGOS in Catania will easily make it to the list as well 🙂

How did the scene in Malta change over the last decade? Has it come on?

It has changed a lot I must say! Back then it was all about the clubs and venues, every club had its own style and certain sound with its resident DJs, whilst nowadays people follow more the artists and the acts.

Generations have also changed and their options are quite wider compared. Back in the day, we had to travel to experience parties and our favourite DJs, or even simply follow dance music and be involved in the scene. You had to either listen to a lot of radio or browse the internet for live mixes and DJ sets, travel, or buy magazines. There was no social media and all this. Music and the scene nowadays are more accessible from every corner.

Safe to say that currently, Malta is one of the best destinations for entertainment, nightlife, and events. All the big acts, brands, concerts, and festivals are doing something on the island and everyone wants to be involved so it definitely has become a popular destination compared to previous years

Is there a thriving local scene for local producers and DJs?

Yes there are some amazing DJs and producers in Malta, with some of them playing regularly internationally for big shows and festivals whilst releasing on some well-known record labels across all genres of electronic music

Is that how you got started? Locally? or did you hear dance music down the radio or whatever?

I started at a young age, it was quite a natural move for me since my father used to be a DJ with a mobile disco equipped with turntables, and also my cousin used to DJ in some popular clubs around the island and also taught me how to DJ when I was 14/15 years old. So, I grew up listening to music all the time. By seeing my cousin in electronic music, buying vinyl, and following certain artists, I felt that natural interest in the scene to know more.

Then around 2006, I started to make my own music. I had no clue how it worked, took some audio engineering lessons in which I eventually got a part-time diploma for it. Slowly but surely, here I am today DJing, producing full time, and also organising events where I have co-own brands like GRINGOS since 2011. We host some of the world’s biggest acts in the house and techno scene.

What is your own signature sound, what’s your vibe?

For me, it’s all about a good groove. It’s the most important foundation, not just in my production but also in my DJ sets. I like to use a lot of percussion elements that can be related to a signature, however, It’s hard to explain my sound but it has to be somewhere in between Techno, Melodic & House. I don’t like to pigeonhole myself into one specific genre but somehow every track I produce seems to have something in common and relatable sounds

And have you got a big studio, lots of gear in it? hardware or software?

I have a bedroom-size studio, acoustically well-treated. I use both hardware and software. However, with software and “In The Box” plugins you can do anything nowadays, you just need good ideas and creativity. I had the Hardware bug recently during the pandemic so I ended up buying some new gear like the Moog Semi Modular Synths, Mother 32, DFam & Subharminicon, Arturia Microfreak, The PO33 for fun Sampling & The Behringer TD-3.

I had the Moog Sub 37 and the Roland TR-8s Drum Machine which were the only hardware I had before. It’s fun when using hardware! I like the fact of not looking at the screen, just fiddling around and recording bits and pieces. It’s not about the sound difference anymore for me, It’s because I can touch the actual thing. Very often though, I find myself more creative when I just use my laptop out of the studio with just a midi controller or Ableton Push 2, either on the kitchen table or comfortable on the sofa. I’ve done my best work like that, then go in the studio to actually finalise the track and replace sounds with some hardware if I need to.

How did you come to release on Diynamic?

I’ve been sending demos for a long time consistently, so it was quite a slow process. I’ve always seen Solomun testing out and playing my music quite often so I guess it was the perfect timing and finally, I got that “YES”. Persistency and patience are key factors when sending music to these kinds of labels considering you are sending your music to one of the best labels in the game, so a high demand for music and a hard filtering A&R is definitely expected. I’m really happy to have signed “Hypo” on Diynamic. It’s the perfect home for this type of track.

Did you make something with that label in mind specifically?

I don’t work around labels in mind however sometimes I feel quite influenced by who is supporting my music or who supported my music with previous releases. I try to go with the flow in the studio when I’m in the creative process and see what comes out than when I find the hook or focus point of the track and start arranging, sub-consciously I will get the feel of who should be playing it out or who I should send it to. It’s good to imagine these kinds of things when you are making a track.

What was the last tune you heard that made you go wow?

There’s a lot of good music out there, It is really hard to mention. I think “Yumi” by Notre Damme was one of those that struck me with the wow factor.

What artists are inspiring you at the moment?

Lately, I came across “Yougr” on social media. He is an incredible artist, watching the videos of him playing live like a 1 man band really inspires me!! However, there are many more artists who get really inspired when I hear them play or watch them live.

What music do you listen to outside of electronic music?

I listen to a lot of music and different styles. I like indie, ambient, and downtempo stuff. But mostly when I’m not listening or making any music, I listen to nothing or podcast interviews.

What do you like to do to relax outside of the studio and booth?

As much as I like the studio and nightlife environment, I love silence and serenity. I like downtime and doing normal things.

In Malta we don’t get a strong Winter season compared to other countries, Temperature never goes below 5 degrees at night or 8 to 10 degrees in the daytime, so I like to go to some high points on the island like cliffs with a sea view and just enjoy the silence with a cup of coffee. Winter sunsets are amazing on a nice day. I also love cooking, visiting restaurants and sometimes on the sofa playing a bit on my PlayStation. 🙂

In Summer, there is nothing better than a boat or beach day with my partner and some friends, very often it will be followed by a nice BBQ. 🙂

What had the rest of 2023 got in store for you?

New releases are lined up and ready to go out. I will be revealing more about them real soon.

I’m very much looking forward to the second international show of GRINGOS in Catania, Sicily at the amazing AfroBar in collaboration with the guys from WithLove. Excited as well to play Eden in Ibiza for the first time, plus a ton of other shows for the rest of the year.

Thank you.

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