Five Steps: Voyager
As one of the key exponents of GLR-era atmospheric jungle with a plethora of releases reaching as far back as ’94 with his ‘Knowledge’ Remix on Lucky Spin, Pete Parsons aka. Voyager returns after a four-year hiatus with an emotionally- and technically rich single on Tempo Records. We were lucky enough to speak with the producer, giving us his Five Steps from the early influence of The Police’s Stuart Copeland and DJ Crystl, to ‘Hypersleep’, his work with Trace under the 2D33P alias and beyond.
Step 1: Origins
As a drummer, my ear would always be tuned into the drums on a track, and especially when I was learning on my first kit, I’d be practising every day playing along to various different albums, but it was probably The Police that were my biggest influence, as Stewart Copeland is just an incredible drummer. I remember at school being able to play ‘Message in a Bottle’ beat for beat….so that was the track that really got me into music and drums, and it just went on from there.
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Beats, drums and rhythm have always been the most important things for me, which probably helped a lot in those early days at the studio, as I was able to get the drum programming done and also get the beats rolling together pretty quickly as well. Another big moment was going in the studio for the first time with the band I was in to record some demos. I can remember thinking that this was the working environment for me, I didn’t care that the engineer looked haggard and burnt out, I just wanted to be the guy behind the desk who was in control of how it was all sounding, and be in the position of putting it all together and producing my own music as well as other peoples.
Step 2: Introducing
The very first commercial release I worked on was; TAS – ‘Must be the Music’, which I was the mix engineer on. My first release was as Rev-P on Seduction’s label, Impact Records, although I’d attempted some rave/hardcore tracks before that, but didn’t release any of them. The Rev-P tracks came about after working almost non-stop in the studio, and getting so many influences and vibes from everyone I was working with, that I knew I could start putting some of my own stuff together that would sound on point, but that would also be completely my own production. I think probably one of the most influential people I worked with was DJ Crystl. He was very precise about how we put the beats together, and also very knowledgeable about breaks, as he was originally from a Hip-Hop background and was already very experienced in searching out samples and beats. Also the early tracks I did with Fokus were an influence, as he was going out a lot to the raves and parties at that time, and would come into the studio vibed up from the weekend and want to make tracks that sounded like the tunes he’d heard.
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Step 3: Foundation
I think ‘Hypersleep’ was/is the track that I’m most known for. I’m proud of all the tracks I’ve made, but I think that one has something special about it. I used to religiously watch a couple of movies almost every night when I got back from studio, which were Predator and Aliens. I was always struck by that speech and scene in Aliens, where Ripley wakes up after floating through the galaxy for 57 years, and has that conversation with Burke about where she is and what’s happened, and thought it would be an awesome sample to try and use somewhere in a track. Around 1996 when I wrote it, I was hanging out down at Speed every week listening to Fabio and Bukem and the tracks at that time were just amazing. That was the era of all those deep rollers tunes that all seemed to fit together seamlessly, and I wanted to make something that would fit in to that vibe, but would still standout and be unique.
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Step 4: Present
I started the tracks in late 2012, and hadn’t got much further than some samples, beats and a rough idea of what I wanted to do. I’d been doing some stuff with Trace under the name of 2D33P, and I wasn’t quite sure if they were right for that project or what really, so I just left them and concentrated on some other projects for a month or so until one day I just loaded them up again and caught a fresh vibe on them. Unfortunately I then got the call about dad and went back to UK for a few months, and then pretty much as soon as I got back, I threw myself into work and got them finished straight away. It’s surprising how grief and melancholy can fire creativity, but then again, maybe not that surprising, considering some of the best music, literature, art, film, theatre etc is based around it. I didn’t use anything new or unique in making the tracks; I’ve still got the same setup I’ve had for ages that is PC based, running SX, plugins, softsynths, samples etc. I’ve got an electronic drum kit setup in the studio, but didn’t use it on the DnB tracks, but was used to create the beat on ‘Big Picture’.
Step 5: Future
I don’t have a preview unfortunately of any new DnB stuff as I’m working on a deep house project at the moment, but I already have a general vibe in mind for the next tracks, but it won’t be till 2014 for sure. There are now quite a few tracks, artists and labels that are really doing it at the moment, which is great to see as I was starting to wonder if DnB was starting to drift into the “catch all” EDM format of everything sounding the same. For me, there’s been some amazing new DnB this year, which would definitely qualify for “sound of the future”. Blu Mar Ten and their label BMTM have been consistently amazing all year, every release has been top drawer, and they’ve showcased some very talented new artists to look out for. I’ve also been checking a lot of stuff from a lot of newer artists and labels like; Okee, Blok One/Rain Forest, Matt Stasis, Tim Reaper, Parhelia, Omni Music, who are all dropping some amazing tracks which have an element of that oldskool nod to a more deeper rolling vibe, and a bit more musicality in the production styles. As well as a lot of the more established artists like Seba and Calibre who are consistently dropping some wicked tunes.
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My one urban essential would have to be my board. I don’t get to ride it as much as I’d like, but I wouldn’t want to be without it. It’s a reissue SIMS Taperkick with Tracker mid trucks and reissue red Kryptonics. It’s the setup I always wanted when I was younger and it sits by the door of the studio ready to roll at a moments notice.
Voyager – FAQ is out now on clear vinyl on Tempo Records, and 13th January for digital format. Grab your copy from Redeye Records here.