by Kyle Taylor |
Last month New Zealand subatomic sound splitters TRUTH made their Philadelphia at District N9ne. Represented by Andre Fernandez, one half of the production duo, the deep dubstep fanatic was sending out a different bass frequency than what we typically hear here in The City of Brotherly Love. With a production perspective slanted toward the UK and early dubstep sounds, TRUTH’s production often takes form of minimal, ambient bass. Joined by an impressive group of supporting artists, including Joe Nice, DJ Nysus, Ludge and Shanti, April 30th was truly an all-night exhibit of dense production.
With releases on Deep Medi Musik, Tempa, and more recently, Firepower Records, TRUTH is no newcomer to the world of bass music. Since 2006, the beginning of the TRUTH career, the duo has played all across the globe, joining a spectrum of artists from dubstep pioneers Youngsta and Seven to North American powerhouses Datsik and Megalodon.
TRUTH will join an already magnanimous selection of dubstep and deep bass producers represented on this year’s Infrasound Music Festival lineup. With plenty of new music constantly in the works, patrons can expect a full hour of sunken bass rhythms covering everything from classic dubstep, to grime, garage, drum & bass, and beyond. No matter the style or speed, though, the consistency of TRUTH is clear in its sound structure.
“I try to keep the sets as diverse as possible, but as producers we’ve got to also play as many of our own tunes as possible. So there’s a bit of repetition in the sets as far as the TRUTH tunes.”
Further, this will be TRUTH’s Infrasound debut as well, premiering their corrosive sound on the festival’s main stage Saturday evening. It’s a sure guarantee that the down under dub-stars will be bringing the heat to keep the energy flowing. Plus, if you haven’t seen it already, the Infrasound 2015 artist schedule is available now, HERE.
Previous Infrasound 2015 Artist Spotlights:
Spotlight #1: Thriftworks [April 8th, 2015]
Spotlight #2: Freddy Todd (Plus Interview) [April 15th, 2015]
Spotlight #3: Android Jones [April 22nd, 2015]
Spotlight #4: Grimblee & Hecka [April 29th, 2015]
Spotlight #5: Midnight Tyrannosaurus (Plus Interview) [May 20th, 2015]
Spotlight #6: Beak Nasty (Plus Interview) [May 26th, 2015]
Funkadelphia: “When was your first official gig in the United States?”
Andre Fernandez (TRUTH): “The first, officially, was in 2010. Five years ago.”
Funkadelphia: “Can you compare the bass music scenes of the United States and New Zealand, or anywhere else in the world really?”
Andre Fernandez: “Well, the U.S. scene has taken a bit longer to grow the deeper sound. But now, I feel like, dubstep really blew up large in the States the last few years, to the point where it got almost commercial. Out of that, it just kind of dissipated, and now, I think a really strong, deep scene has come out of the ashes.
Before it got really popular, dubstep was still popular in the States as well. People like Joe [Nice], Mala, Skream, they were all touring before we were touring here. So by the time we came to the States in 2010, there was already a well-established scene.”
Joe Nice: “He came in 2010. We were already doing the five-year Dub War Party. We stopped doing Dub War when [TRUTH] came to America. That was five years ago. I started playing dubstep parties back in ’01 and ’02. I remember those nights at Sonar in downtown Baltimore in front of ten people at nine o’clock.”
Funkadelphia: “TRUTH is a two person project; can you tell us about your individual roles in the group?”
Andre Fernandez: “Everything’s pretty equal as far as production goes. We’ve both got strengths and weaknesses in different areas. We try to do as much together as possible, even if that means he [Tristan Roake] is on the other side of the world living in New Zealand. The internet’s a beautiful thing; it allows us to jam. You know, I’ll start something, send it to him; he’ll send something back; we’ll test it in the club, send it back, until we’ve got it right. We’ve got a little formula going.”
Funkadelphia: “TRUTH’s sound tends to lean towards the deeper, more atmospheric side of dubstep; is there anything in particular that drew you to that sound rather than the higher frequency sound we’ve heard in more recent years?”
Andre Fernandez: “For me, I was over that high frequency stuff pretty quickly. I started out listening to jungle music and drum & bass, and that started out with a really deep, minimal sound. As it got more and more popular, it started to get noisier and more focused on the mid-range, and that’s what started to put me off from drum & bass.
So, when I heard that deep [dubstep], basically I was just like, ‘dang, this is what got us into this all in the first place.’ So that’s what attracted me to that whole sound. It was like back to basics, simplicity, the whole concept of less is more. When I first heard that minimal dubstep I was at a point when I was just so sick of drum & bass being overproduced and getting too noisy. It was just really refreshing to hear, and that’s why we started making it, because it reminded us of what we started with.”
Funkadelphia: “When you’re working on new music, do you feel the sound design is the more key component of the track, or the composition itself, especially as far as what you think will stand the test of time as bass music continues to evolve?”
Andre Fernandez: “I think it has nothing to do with arrangement or sound design at all. I think it has to do with how the music affects people. You could get all technical about sound design, but at the end of the day, you could be the most technical producer out there, and it’s not going to make people dance; you know what I mean? You’ve got to have stuff that affects people and makes them feel something, whether it’s happiness or sadness, as long as it stimulates some kind of emotion. For me, that’s the most important aspect of it. After finishing a tune it’s like, ‘is this going to make people feel something?'”
Funkadelphia: “Has electronic music always been your main focus, or have you been involved in any other major musical projects?”
Andre Fernandez: “I was never involved in any bands apart from when I was the singer in a Rage Against the Machine cover band when I was fifteen. That never really got anywhere.
On top of that, like I said, it was really drum & bass that got me into things. Before that, I was listening to a lot of rap, a lot of Tool, Rage Against the Machine, even a bit of KoЯn, you know, stuff like that.”
Funkadelphia: “Tom Morello [of Rage Against the Machine] has actually begun collaborating with certain producers; is that someone you’d be interested in collaborating with if the opportunity presented itself?”
Andre Fernandez: “He’s definitely someone I’d like to work with. He’s the man.”
Funkadelphia: “Performing all over the world to different demographics, do you try to cater or adjust your sets to the crowd you’re playing to, or do you perform sets how you want to regardless of the setting?”
Andre Fernandez: “Well it’s a little bit of both, really. It’s really important to play what you want to play, and play music that you feel is your sound. But at the same time you’ve got to read the crowd; you can’t be too selfish in that sense. Tonight, I got a bit selfish. I was playing stuff that I wanted to hear, and I didn’t care what the crowd thought. Usually I try to read the crowd as much as possible.
You know, we just got off that Datsik tour, and I was saying earlier, with that kind of thing it’s a shorter set. It’s more mash-up; it’s action-packed, fast mixing, but it’s still a good taste of what TRUTH’s about. Whereas, in July, when I go to play the DMZ Ten Year thing it’s going to be just full foundation sound, deep, rolling TRUTH stuff.
Tonight was a little taste of everything. I try to keep the sets as diverse as possible, but as producers we’ve got to also play as many of our own tunes as possible. So there’s a bit of repetition in the sets as far as the TRUTH tunes. We’ve got a few classics, a few [collaborations] we always like to mix in there. But generally, we never plan our sets, we never play exactly the same set.”
Funkadelphia: “So you mentioned being on the Datsik tour- your Hollow World album and The Ark EP were released on his label, Firepower Records, even though the label has cultivated that more high-frequency American sound we spoke about earlier; so what drew you to that label for those two releases?”
Andre Fernandez: “It goes back a long way. I’ve had a good relationship with Datsik for quite a few years now. He’s always been a really strong supporter of TRUTH and our music. Even though he’s kind of gone a different avenue than us, playing that really heavy EDM sound, he’s always supported our stuff, on a personal level, really. So when we approached him about releasing some music he was just like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it! It’s something different’
A lot of our hardcore fans asked the same question you just asked. They say, ‘why would you release on Firepower? It’s so different than Deep Medi, or Tempa, or any of the other UK labels you’ve been releasing on.’ For us, the main thing was just that we saw it as a great opportunity to get our music out to different people and to reach a new audience. So that was the main reason we released on Firepower. We did the whole bus tour because we just saw it as an opportunity to grow our sound and expose more people to that deeper sound, even if it meant we were the black sheep. On that tour we were the only guys playing that deep stuff, and a lot of people were scratching their heads going, ‘What the heck is this?’ But there were also a lot of people going, ‘Woah, this is a cool new sound. Let’s dig a little bit deeper and find out about these guys and what they do.’ So for us it was all about that, just reaching new people.”
Funkadelphia: “Does TRUTH have any upcoming releases you can tell us about?”
Andre Fernandez: “Yeah, we’ve got more stuff coming out on Deep Medi, more stuff coming out on Tempa. We’ve got our new label, Deep, Dark and Dangerous, which we’ve got a bunch of stuff lined up for.”
Funkadelphia: “Can you tell us more about that new label?”
Andre Fernandez: “It’s been around just a few months. We’ve got one release so far, a vinyl release and digital as well. We’re just trying to grow that right now, it’s our new baby.”
Funkadelphia: “What’s your favorite country you have played in, and your top pick for a country you haven’t played, but would like to?”
Andre Fernandez: “That’s a tough one. There’s so many cities all around the world that really bring the heat. I couldn’t tell you my favorite country, but I could tell you a few of my favorite cities. Places like Denver, Colorado for example. Sub.mission has been booking us for five years; we just played the eight-year show there. Always great vibes, proper sound, it feels like you’re playing a London show there even though you’re in the heart of America. There’s a bunch of really strong cities in the States: Los Angeles, San Francisco, even Baltimore. We’ve had some great shows there [Baltimore], even though we’ve had some bad luck with things we can’t contain.
There’s some places you can’t beat. For example, playing in London to a crowd that’s been with it from the start, they’ve got a really deep culture. There’s a lot of amazing places I’ve played around the world, so I’m feeling spoiled. It’s really hard to choose; it’s like asking to choose a favorite child or something. It’s almost impossible.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that America doesn’t have a good dubstep scene. And when I say America, I mean the continent. Places like Canada, freaking amazing. Some of my favorite shows I’ve played have been in Canada. Way up north, great scene up there. I’ve played crazy shows all around the world. I played Mexico recently. I’ve played in Istanbul, Turkey. I’ve played all over Australia and New Zealand. There are strong scenes all around the world, it just depends on where you go.”
Funkadelphia: “So who on the Infrasound 2015 lineup are you most excited for and hoping to see perform?”
Andre Fernandez: “Well I haven’t seen Benga perform for a few years. I’m very excited to see Benga, because I’ve known him for years. He always used to smash it, and he’s had a little break the past few years.
Obviously homies like Youngsta, Bukez Finezt, Seven. The lineup’s sick. It’s a really good lineup, especially for our sound. Very excited about it.”