Big Up Mix 105 ~ Graphs

This is one of those mixes that will not leave your iPod/iPhone/what-have-you for at least a few days. Then you’ll realize you’re addicted and will try to cut down to just rewinding your favorite parts. And then after a few days/weeks or in some cases even months, you’ll be forced to lay off of it, as you’ve completely and desperately rinsed it till you can’t even hear it anymore. It will be a sad moment, as no other mixes will do it for you quite like this one, but such is life. Time erases everything. Speaking of, not to waste any more of your time, we present Big Up Mix #105 by Graphs:

Tomás Urquieta – Neglect (Forthcoming Infinite Machine)
Detboi – Pin Point (Keysound)
Rabit – Fetal (Tri Angle)
Lokane – See Me (Nervous Horizon)
Rizzla – Airlock (Fade to Mind)
Celestial Trax – After All (Purple Tape Pedigree)
Magic City – Fugazi (Dub)
Glacci – Gloomy (Heka Trax)
AxH – Gem Tone (Tempa)
Thelem – We Aint the Same (feat. T-Man) (Artikal Music UK)
J(ay).A.D – Why So Sad (Dub)
Graphs – Foxdie (Forthcoming Diffrent)
Future – Trap Niggas (Freebandz)
DJ Spinn – Off That Loud (Hyperdub)
Simpig – Covenants (Dub)
Graphs – Wrist on Glacier (Forthcoming Cosmic Bridge)
Danny Scrilla – Riddim (Forthcoming Cosmic Bridge)
Moresounds & DJ Madd – Undastand (Forthcoming Cosmic Bridge)
TMSV – Laddergoat (Dub)
Graphs – Sleep Recursive (Forthcoming Lightless Recordings)
Lakeway – Out of Touch (Forthcoming LowRise Sounds)
Neuropol – The Rise (feat. Om Unit) (Cosmic Bridge)
HomeSick – Control the Sound (Dub)
Cirrus – Smoke (Dub)
Mtwn – Four (Diffrent)
Moresounds – What A Party (Forthcoming Cosmic Bridge)
Graphs – About U (Forthcoming Diffrent)

Boston resident via Atlanta and Chicago, Graphs, aka Jason Taylor, weaved his sound rooted in drum & bass into a unique blend of dubstep-, 2-step-, footwork-, bass-inspired productions. He reflects that it comes from a “disoriented place” and it only appropriately embodies the feeling.

Graphs’ Posthuman EP was released via Om Unit’s Cosmic Bridge, which propelled him to even more recognition and collaborations with fellow artists in the Boston music scene. Graphs tells us why he doesn’t do remote collabs, what Burial’s album did for him, and why he’s superstitious about his snacks in the studio.

Something is telling me you’ve got your musical roots and influences in the early dubstep scene. Can you talk about your most memorable experience from the era and how it inspired you in your music production?

There isn’t one specific experience, it’s more of a time. I had been a big fan of breakbeat hardcore and jungle as a teenager and I was a drum & bass DJ in Atlanta up until about 2003. But after a few years in the scene I felt less connected to it than I did when I was an outsider. So I just unplugged. A few years later, I moved to Chicago for grad school. Right off the bat I was working insane hours, I was dead poor, and I was living in this gigantic, unfamiliar city. I was totally disoriented. Around that time, I discovered Burial’s first album. It sounded a lot like how my world sounded and a lot like how I was feeling, but it also had a musical history flowing through it that was the same as my own. I needed that. I guess that’s a bit stereotypical, but that was the hook for me. Shortly after, I found out about Blackdown’s column in Pitchfork and started to get a window into the scene and the music. It was still in flux and full of possibility and I loved that about it. It helped me cope with my new situation. In my own work, I try to put myself back in that disoriented place and try to make things that come from there, both in tone and in terms of their physical sound.

I discovered Burial’s first album. It sounded a lot like how my world sounded and a lot like how I was feeling, but it also had a musical history flowing through it that was the same as my own.

How did you hook up with the Cosmic Bridge crew? Have you pursued any collaborations with any members of the CB family?

Jim reached out to me after Mark Kloud sent him a copy of “Scylla”, from my debut EP on Ground Mass. We started chatting via email after that. We met in person a few months later and he said he was interested in me possibly doing an EP with Cosmic Bridge and to keep sending him tunes. I was excited, but I was also kind of terrified because at that point I had zero tracks stashed away. Posthuman EP ended up coming together really incrementally. Jim didn’t tell me what to do or what not to do. He just gave me honest feedback on what I sent. He helped me find my own way.

As far as collaboration goes, I would love to, but I’m awful at remote collaboration. I have to be in the same room as the person I’m working with on a track or I freeze up for some reason. I need to get over that, or I need to find out who won’t mind if I crash on their couch for a few days.

What is brewing in the Boston music scene at the moment? Are you a part of any local collective?

The Boston scene is in an interesting place right now, I think. When I moved here a few years ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. There’s a thriving electronic music scene here, and Bostonians have a pretty varied and sophisticated musical palate. Bass music is well represented here and NYC isn’t far away, so I think I’ve had better access to the kind of shows I want to be at now than at any other point in my life. In terms of local collectives, I’m part of Lifted Contingency. If it weren’t for Lifted, I don’t know if I’d have met anyone in the music scene here. That’s how I met Tone Ra, who has become a good friend and frequent collaborator.

Judging by some of your tracks on the mix, you’ve got plenty of album material. Any ideas or secret plans for it we may pry about?

I’m working on a lot of new solo material and some collaborative material with Tone Ra right now that’s almost ready to see the light of day. I try to avoid retracing my steps or repeating myself, so I end up burying a lot of stuff. It’s taken a while to start to build momentum again, so that feels good. I’m also working on a side project that I’m really excited about, but I can’t reveal the details just yet.

I superstitiously avoid listening to other people’s music when I’m in the studio, unless I’m doing a mixdown and I need a reference track.

Do you have any studio rituals? Anything particular you have to have/do/watch/hear to be most productive?

I’m a little superstitious about my studio snacks. Good coffee is essential. Swedish Fish are essential. Black liquorice, too. Especially those horrifying double salted ones. On the serious side, I superstitiously avoid listening to other people’s music when I’m in the studio, unless I’m doing a mixdown and I need a reference track.

Who would you like to Big Up?

My wife Ciara, my Cosmic Bridge family, my LowRise Sounds family, my Ground Mass family, and to everyone out there who is pushing new sounds and new frontiers and staying one step ahead of their own comfort zone.

Cosmolgy Vol.2 featuring Graphs, Danny Scrilla, Om Unit, Moresounds and more is out on December 11, 2015 on Cosmic Bridge Records.