By: Shelly Hubal
TheUntz.com snagged an exclusive interview with legendary breaks producer/DJ and label head of Lot49 Records, Dylan Rhymes. We get to know Rhymes intimately, and get a nice pee story thrown in, for good measure!
Standard question I know, but who were your musical influences growing up? And what can you tell us about your early interest in the electronic scene… like for example, was there a particular artist or album of paramount importance to you?
I started buying electronic music on vinyl in the early 80's and I was heavily influenced by Electro and Hip Hop along with bands such as Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Nitzer Ebb and Gary Numan. I was big into drums and these genres and artists were pioneers in early use of drum programming on machines like Roland's TR808 which is the first piece of studio equipment I purchased and used.
You had your first major hit with 1996’s “Naked and Ashamed,” but when did you initially start producing? What was going through your head when making that track, and did you have any idea it might be so monumental?
I started producing at 18 back in 1988 making Acid House tracks on my basic analog setup before getting heavily into sampling and stepping things up in the studio department. The "Naked & Ashamed" track came about when i was recording for Boys Own Recordings under the moniker 'Outsider' in the early to mid 90's producing 4/4 tracks with a heavier techy edge. I made a few beats tracks and they loved them but it didn't fit with the Outsider style so we came up with a new production name Dylan Rhymes and just released it. It became an out of control monster as it was received really well in many scenes and by a broad selection of DJ's. We picked up a ton of licenses including a Worldwide ad for Smirnoff Vodka which again helped propel the popularity of this new artist name. We had no idea that this 1st release would do nearly as well especially as remix and production work came in thick and fast.
You and Meat Katie run Lot 49 Records together. Almost ten years strong. How has your vision for the company changed over time and what specifics hold steadfast for today?
We have a simple ethic at Lot 49 and that is if we like the music and would play it no matter the genre then we will release it. This has been to our detriment at times as some say the style of the label is too eclectic but both Mark (Meat Katie) and I have a very broad taste in music so that is bound to shine through what we release. The only thing that possibly has changed over time is that we expect production values to be higher as technology and producers are constantly breaking barriers.
So I’m really curious what you guys have planned for your 100th release… we’re not that far out. Can you give us any hints? I promise it will go no further than the world wide web.
Ha ha! Yeah of course for your ears only ;) We have got a great release planned for this and having already had 70% of the tracks in I can tell you that this 2 part album plays host to all the artists that have released regular music with us over the years. Myself and Meat Katie have done a collab which although mainroom should turn a few heads. We have further fresh mainroom tracks in from Lee Coombs, Vandal, Chevy One, Black & Blunt, The Rogue Element and more so a full roster of the top players of our scene.
Let’s talk about Loop 49, the sample packs coming out of your record company. Loop 49 appears to be a relatively new endeavor for you guys. What can you tell me about these awesome production tools?
We thought it was a good time to launch our Loop 49 brand into the sample pack market as we get a lot of inquiries about how we produce and what equipment we use by new producers so it seemed the logical step. I already have a successful sample pack business with Sample Station so setting it up and getting it going was fairly painless. It's a great way for producers that are just starting out and experienced music makers to be able to buy into the sound and start producing at a higher level and get good results.
North American tour or world tour? I’ve heard talk of both. When might we expect this and who specifically will you be touring with? Anything special up your sleeves for this go-around?
It will be a mainly North American tour as it is very difficult to get even 3 of us together at the same time on a tour. Most shows will feature myself, Meat Katie and Lee Coombs but some will feature the occasional artist featured on the album. The difficulty mainly being that all the artists are spread around the world from UK to Spain to Australia to the US which makes the feasibility hard to attain.
Who is your dream collab partner? Is there a particular person you would really like to make a record with that you haven’t yet?
My dream collab would be with Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode fame. I have done a remix for his solo project and was very proud to have worked with one of my musical influences but to collab on a fresh track would be fantastic.
You’ve got some serious longevity in the biz. I don’t imagine it’s an easy feat, considering the speed and scope at which this industry has evolved over the years. What advice would you have to give in relation to going the distance?
Sticking to your guns and making music you truly like is the key. If it isn't from the heart people can see right through it. Even if what you are making isn't the current fad or trend people prefer you do your own thing. Being a band wagon jumper is lame!!!
What’s in your CD player right now?
I have a mad selection of tracks that I am currently listening to. A snap shot of today would be Jake Bugg, Black Onassis and a ton of dance music promos that I've been sent recently the best being new music from Ways & Means, Lee Coombs, Broken Robot Recordings and Deathproof.
And finally… tell us something. Anything. I’m sure there is one vital question I missed?
A couple of days ago I was stuck in traffic and dying to pee and it got super intense so I pulled in to a lay-by and had to go. The only thing in the car to use was my gym bottle so I used that. As there was heavy traffic all the trucks and jeeps that were higher than my car were rolling past slowly and could see what was going down. My face was in a state of euphoria so I guess it must of been quite a sight. Had to throw my gym bottle away... shame as it was my fave.