TEEBEE joins the team!
:: Announcement 1/6: How quickly a year goes by! It’s already time to start revealing our new team of artists’ for the forthcoming season, starting from July..
This first announcement is a real dream come true for us. We’ve always wanted Sample Genie to be about leading the way; for it to be on the cutting edge of the craft; but also with an enormous appreciation & love for the history of this great scene. This is why having the legend that is Torgeir Byrknes AKA Teebee on our new team is a massive highlight…
Teebee has been in service to the game for a long time, involved in music deeply since the 90’s; but yet, his prolific history is not all that defines him. To this day, he is still creating masterpieces, in more recent years combining forces & talents with Calyx to storm the Ram Records shelves with their signature neo-funk-tear-out, fit for the biggest stages.
Teebee has been (and still is) an inspiration to a generation of minds; those who are always searching for something that bit deeper and more evocative. It then comes as no surprise that his music was one of the prime movers behind Burial’s influences in production – and you can certainly hear that same passion in both of their works. Atop his long history of solo work (and his more recent duo material) Tee has also been on several collaborations over the years, not least of which with Noisia together writing their mighty cuts : Shower for An hour, Moon Palace, Lost Cause & Hyenas (with Calyx). And it would of course be a sin not to mention his phenomenal remixing of Photek’s Ni ten Ichi Ryu – still sounding fresh and futuristic today: now 14 years old, but blessed with production merits that have not aged negatively; in fact the opposite.
No piece on this guy would be complete without a shout out to his label: Subtitles Music. The imprint is approaching its twentieth year in operation – these two decades contain an incredible array of big tunes from a sensational list of talent, launching the careers of many. The label being home to his own music, plus that of K, Break, Ulterior Motive, Noisia, Commix, Phace, State of Mind, Misanthrop, Apex, Spor, The Upbeats, Xtrah, Tekel and many, many more. Subtitles is making moves this year with more forward thinking unique music about to be unleashed…
So, it comes with the greatest pleasure to make this first announcement to you, and we hope this news gets you excited about the year ahead. You are in the company of an original…
We got the lowdown from Teebee in some pre-season questions…
It’s a massive privilege to have you on the team for this year, and it’s been tough to keep this news quiet! As far as we know this is your first foray into the sample production world and also tutorials too – was that intentional, or just a timing thing? We’re honoured to have you with us and we can likely speak for our members, in that they will also be very excited about the year ahead!?
Thanks guys, I’m pretty excited too! It is not my first venture, but the first one where my name is involved. I have a history of teaching courses at Norof Institute in Norway, so tutoring is something I enjoy. For the past couple of years I’ve also had an intern in the studio who has really come into his own and has now signed for my label Subtitles. I love teaching. Growing up I wish I had the same platform as the aspiring producers today for information. A lot of banging your head against the wall in frustration and no google to help! Mind you, I still bang my head in frustration.
What was your path to success like as a producer and how long was it before you were making music that you were personally happy with? Also, how did you enter the scene at a time before the internet was so commonplace?
I ended up making music as a spontaneous decision. I woke up one morning on a weekend, went to my DJ set up and only had about 4 records I wanted to play. Right then and there I asked my dad for a loan to get a computer and a sampler. It was completely a spur of the moment thing for me. I was a DJ. Mainly into turntablism and battling at the time, but with one foot deep in the early 90’s rave scene. I was very fortunate that my skate crew was also my music crew. We were about 10-15 people all together all the time, and in that group about 5 of us made music already.
I got a copy of FAST TRACKER. Freeware for PC that I used to trigger midi from my sampler. I managed to blag an old Samson 8 channel mixer and some very tired speakers from a retired radio studio – I was heavily involved in radio at the time and the c studio was basically storage for retired equipment. I’d been involved with Radio since the age of 13 and had my own slot every afternoon from 4-6 on weekdays. It was crazy. Like we had our own Pirate Radio but with a licence! Complete free reigns to play and say anything we wanted. It was an amazing time!
Fast forward and as my productions got better I started sending tapes to the U.K. yes TAPES. Then sat in anticipation for weeks, sometime months hoping for our landline to ring. I also had an incident in London trying to hand two very prominent DJ’s my DAT tapes and they refused to take them. I was not from the U.K. was the answer I was given. Back then DnB was a UK thing & Only a U.K. thing and the main players where super protective. I was devastated. This scene had got me in every way and I desperately wanted to be a part of it. I remember returning to Norway completely shook up and determined to find a way to be accepted. I had my parents send me to summer school in Hastings to improve my English. I spent 3 weeks with the locals. I skipped school and hung around the local record store absorbing any piece of slang I could and focused solely on pronouncing the words right. I didn’t need the grammar! The moral of the story is, I got a haircut, returned to the same DJ’s and this time they took my DAT’s…
The big shift came about 18 months later tho when the phone rang in Norway and it was Rob Playford. He wanted my tunes for Moving Shadow’s sister label – Audio Couture. I has a few releases prior to this but got really messed around by the labels so I won’t even mention their names. That whole ordeal had me enrolled for Uni to get a degree, in something. But Rob Playford invites me to his studio in London and I decided then and there (as he told me how much my advance was for 6 tracks) that I was gonna give this another go. I ‘came out’ at the Knowledge Drum & Bass awards in 2000 when I won ‘Best International Producer’. That was the year when the U.K. had decided people outside the kingdom could come play, but not compete against the original home of it. So we got a separate category to compete among ourselves. I was happy I won, but felt very frustrated that we were deemed unfit to compete with the producers and artists that inspired me the most. That was the only year that award was given out, maybe me voicing my opinion had something to do with it.
Pre internet was a whole different game. Can’t even be compared. The level of dedication and persistent perseverance to even get feedback involved obtaining personal addresses and phone numbers to key players in the scene. Not everyone was welcoming to a call from a hyperactive Norwegian kid!
Your music – more so the older works – are peppered with samples from films. How would you describe the influence that that media has on your artform, and do you still have a love of sampling as a medium?
Things have gone very ‘you must synthesise every single sound yourself’ these days… what do you think of that?
I’ve been into films since I was a child. I think movies has influenced me a lot more in my music than anything else. I’ve always been seeking escape by diving into movies and it’s stories. Sci-fi was and is my favourite genre. And I’ve come to realise that a lot of these cold, desolate soundscapes really resonated with my environment growing up. I grew up on the west-side of Norway, surrounded by mountains and snow, that sense of suspense in a droney atmosphere spoke way more to me than an uplifting chord progressions. I sampled everything I could. and in That way learned how to understand how these things were layered to create them myself later in life, once I had the knowledge and understanding of synthesis in combination with foley.
I personally think the ‘synthesise everything’ thing is cool if that’s you. I believe in the inspiration a sample can give you, how to be creative with it and then also maybe re-create it. I often build lots of ideas around a sample, then remove the sample and then I’m left with my own work: inspired by the feel of the sample. Obviously when rights holders are concerned – and rightfully so – you should declare all samples used in your work if you plan to make it commercially available. Nothing wrong with getting a vibe on by dropping your fav stuff in the DAW to play with tho IMHO. I think a combination of synthetic synthesis and organic sounds are a great combination. I’ve yet to hear a Serum snare that does not sound like – a Serum snare. But there is a lot to be said for modern front end synthesised transients and organic tails.
The name of your label seems like it has a nod to the movie world, was this the case? ?
In a sense yes. Polar/K came up with the name. He is brilliant at coming up with words that has multiple meanings. Subtitles obviously refers to movies , but also SUB- bass heavy, and TITLES – name of tracks etc.
While we’re on that…Top 5 films of all time?
Impossible to pick 5. Star Wars original trilogy has had the biggest impact on my musical life due to the feel and visual side of it. I’m all about future stuff,but my fav director is David Lynch. I think your favourite movies change a lot as time goes by. I’m mostly into series now. If you haven’t watched The Wire, go watch it. Best series ever made IMHO.
You’re well known for a deep knowledge and appreciation of studio hardware: which two items in your studio would be on your desert island?
Anamod Ats-1 : Analogue tape simulator with 4 machine cards/3 tape cards emulating classic and obscure tape machines in the analogue domain. There is no plug in coming close to this. Rob Swire put me on to it. Also my one off 6 valve , 3 transformers (switchable) optical compressor with dual optical detectors. Thing took 3 years to build by a Swiss watchmaker and cost a fortune in parts. It’s the only one of its kind.
What can our members expect to get from you in terms of sample inspiration, and what categories of the Sample Pack are you most excited to be working on?
I’m obsessed with feel in a sound. The tone of it. I believe the tone changes as your preference and knowledge expands. I love digging into that aspect of music more so than anything else. I have a lot of very specific hardware for tone sculpting and I’ll be using this to get my message across. Besides that I’m going to make stuff I’d be happy using myself. Stuff that inspires me and I hope that resonates with your subscribers. It is an ongoing process and I don’t want to reveal too much in case I put thoughts in people’s minds about what it will be like!
In terms of technical tutorial concepts, can you give any hints at what you might be thinking about covering?
Structure, detailing, movement in image, removing of static feel (unless desired) and the balance between synthetic and organic sounds. Individuality and tools to help you explore that in forms of techniques I use to get my message across.
What are you excited to help people with / teach them artistically – where do you think your strengths are?
I believe my strengths lie in arrangements, creating a strong groove (using more than just drums), working with samples and finding a sense of cohesion between elements…
In terms of classic Drum & Bass, can you give 5 tracks that you still love play to this day??
If you could travel back in time, and give your teenage self one piece of studio advice and one piece of life advice…. what would they be??
Studio : ask questions. Lots of them! Worst case scenario you’ll not get an answer but someone else will give you one if you keep on asking!
Life : Be the person you needed when you were young.
SO YOU HEARD IT FIRST! SAMPLE GENIE SEASON No.6 KICKS OF FROM 2 -7-20
More BIG announcements coming soon! 😀