DyLAB is an English born but Melbourne resident producer of acid.
He has released several EPs on labels including Handmade Acid, Acid All Stars and BWL Records, and collaborated with like minded artists such as Honeysmack and Poor Boy Rich. He currently has a monthly residency on Seance Radio showcasing his live jams.
His website acidboxblues.com pulls together all his work to date, but also contains a wealth of content relating to hardware – sample packs, self & co-authored acid patterns, hardware patches – and important instructions on how to recover lost ableton files.
We caught up with the acid maker in his Melbourne studio and looked a bit deeper…
Can you give us a quick verbal tour of your studio and how your creative process works when using hardware?
Do you have a workflow and planned ideas that you try to stick to, or do the sounds just come out when you start ?
The nature of the tb303 and tt303 mean they have pre written patterns but that’s the only stuff written before the show – all the gear is set up to jam easily and improvise upon. The studio is setup with gear on one side, mixing desk in the middle and computer on the other. The computer is pretty much used as a clock generator, midi to cv/gate translator, and tape recorder. I use expert sleepers silent way for clock and cv/gate stuff.
The drums, usually the TR808 and TR8 are written live, as are the SH101 synth parts . I use the iPad to control and write notes live for MC202 and Korg Volca Keys. I have my effects on the desk predefined so there are curtained sounds like tempo delay I can use quickly. I use other drum machines like 606/707 as I feel or if I want a different sound, and other bits like the Boss PC-2 can add quirky little bleeps .
I don’t have mapped out plan but usually follow the energy of the melody or sounds and go where that leads me.
What was your first piece of studio equipment?
I think it was either the TR606 or the SH101 – I bought them in a second hand shop near Angel Islington back in 1996 or so.
And following that is there a special piece of kit you would love to get but can’t justify?
I’d love a real 909 but I’m pretty happy with the TR-8 sound. I’d also like an old Juno – either a 6 or a 60 – I can’t play keys but it’d be nice to have a big analogue poly.
I’m intrigued about the “Steel House” EP – where did the inspiration for the various sounds come from?
We bought our first house recently and it was a 1947 Beaufort Home – which is an all steel house, hence the title – the sounds and inspirations came from the house itself. The house is featured on the cover art of the EP.
How are your live sets composed right now?
The acid parts from the 303 are written beforehand the rest is improvised – so it basically runs either 1 or 2 acid lines at once then switch over to another synth like mc202 /sh101 or volca keys and back and forth between the gear like that, building the drums in and out to get transitions between melodic or synth parts.
Melbourne has a great music scene as I remember. Was music a factor in the decision to move down under?
No not really. When I got to Melbourne in 1999 a friend of mine took me to a club called Virus – which had the old 404 cold harbour lane vibe – lots of liberator and acid techno sounds. After staying in the city a while I got more into the drum n bass side of things here and the emerging bass music scene. Now I’ve gone full circle and back going to techno gigs when I can.
It’s great that there’s an active community around the acid patterns and TB303 that you are involved in. Is original still best and what do you think of modern counterparts such as xoxbox?
I haven’t got an x0x but I do have the TT-303. I think it’s a great emulator and sounds fantastic.
DyLAB would like to thank Seance Radio for the interview and show
Interview by Stringer