AudioUnit interviewed ahead of Easter Vortex 2017
With more funk in the trunk than almost any other psytrance artist I know, AudioUnit is definitely one of my favourites.
In a world where everything has become so serious, even psytrance can be a little too austere at times.
AudioUnit however is all about large doses of funk with a healthy smattering of humour thrown in for good measure.
The Melbourne based artist will perform at Vortex Parallel Universe this weekend and his set is bound to put the biggest smiles on the faces of the Easter Vortex revellers.
I chatted to Brian, aka AudioUnit, just before he boarded for Cape Town…
I think most people who are still in the scene after this amount of time are a bit left of centre, in the best way.”
You’ve been hanging about the psy scene since the 90’s which explains (to me anyway) why you have such a great oldskool psychedelic sound, but with a very contemporary production ethos. Which 90’s artists do you think may have influenced your own creativity?
AudioUnit: I came into the scene at the very end of the 90’s from about 97-98. At that time I was still in the honey moon phase enjoying the uniqueness of the outdoor scene and trying to wrap my head around what I was actually hearing, coming from a band background my mind was pretty blown. If I had to select a few it would be Simon Posford, Astral Projection, GMS “Chaos Laboratory” was a big one and of course when in 2000 when Infected Mushroom came out with Classical Mushroom it had a big impact.
Being a bass player but also digging the electronic music scene, do you remember that moment when you decided, ‘hey lemme try my hand at some electronic beats!’
Playing in bands growing up mostly Heavy Metal, this wasn’t challenging enough for me so I moved over into the more commercial funk style and eventually more obscure and niche styles. But no matter what the style the same problem with being in a band remained (Band Members) getting a bunch of people together to audition is a challenge especially at that age.
Around this time I was staring to enjoy underground bush parties and the adventure of it all, and I though this is awesome, F-it I’ll go solo and I ditched the band scene. First I started as DJ Psyclone 1999-2003 edition and 6 months into that I knew I would never be satisfied just playing other peoples music. In mid – late 2000 I decided that was what I was going to do, write psychedelic trance.
I didn’t want to release my act without a solid 90 minute set…”
Was psytrance the first style you started producing?
AudioUnit: When I first started to produce I was a young energised multi coloured hair mad man. So full-on PSY was the only thing that existed in my world and is what I wrote, I had blinkers on. To me at that time all progressive and other electronic genres where rubbish. I have since softened to this and feel that all electronic genres with a few exceptions have improved immensely and enjoy a variety of genres/styles.
You’ve been around psy for a long time, yet your first release (Dirty Funkatronic on Expo records) was only in 2014. What took you so long to bring us the awesome sounds of AudioUnit?
AudioUnit: My first release solo release was actually in 2003 on Tribeadelic “AudioUnit – Pink Cup” There is even one of my very first tracks with another artist floating around on YouTube “feeble minds”. (Listen at your own risk) There were also some collaborative releases under other artists names the most popular being Eskimo – Addictive Solution.
The main reason for the delay was life. I didn’t want to release my act without a solid 90 minute set, I was also working full time trying to produce every second outside of work and this slowed me down. This also meant I had to take a step back from the party side of the scene so I could have the time on Friday nights and weekends to focus on writing music.
In 2008 AudioUnit starting gigging and after years of talking to Labels it finally took my friend Lawrence, Chromatone to kick my ass and push me to release AudioUnit. This resulted in Nano Records introducing me to Grant from Expo Records, we hit it off and the EP Dirty Funkatronic was released.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/47523819″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]
Your studio looks awesome. What’s your day job?
AudioUnit: Thanks, my studio was a long time in the making. Collecting synths over the years, selling and trading equipment, doing deals to get the best possible price and missing out on dinners out so I could get that extra bit of gear. For a long time I was in a corner of my lounge room but persistence and 17 years of collecting helped it become what it is today.
These days my day job is AudioUnit along with a small side business of Tutoring Companies and individuals in Audio Production, along with Mastering and other Audio related things. This change happened in the last year or 2, up until that point I was a computer programmer and then switched to warehousing which freed up my mind and time for music. I’ve been lucky in the sense you can get paid decent money for basic jobs such as warehousing in Australia which was good for writing music and my gear addiction.
It looks like you have some killer outboard gear. What’s your current go to piece of tech?
AudioUnit: Well that’s a bit of a loaded question, for me my gear feels a part of me, sort of like asking if you like your arm or leg better.
They all have their place and their strengths but the one that puts the biggest smile on my face is my Moog Voyager, the sound feels so alive I can get lost in it for hours. The Nord, Prophet 12, Virus Ti and Mopho all have their own sonic character and are all awesome in their own way. I can’t imagine giving up any of them.
For plugins and processing you will almost always get the same answer universally, UAD. Unfortunately they will send you broke but UAD’s quality is undeniable.
People who have known me for a while definitely say I’m a funky person, so I’m certainly living the lifestyle.”
Fullon psy is still a tough sell on the global circuit and international gigs not that easy to come by especially when one is so far from the main centres, something Aussies and Saffas share. So what keeps driving you?
AudioUnit: That’s easy, I love it! For me it’s not the gigs that drive me but the creation of the music itself. That being said it is difficult financially and anyone reading who wants an awesome psy act to come to their country AudioUnit is ready.
But the main driver is writing the music itself and the feeling you get when you create that music, sound/riff or a cool break in a track and you think to yourself it’s the greatest thing ever created in music. Tomorrow you may feel different and cringe but when it works and your done it’s a great feeling of accomplishment and is something that fills me with a lot of happiness. This is why AudioUnit sounds the way it does and doesn’t always fit neatly into the full-on, prog, PSY box. I do what makes me happy and hopefully the crowd likes it as much as I do.
AudioUnit is probably the funkiest psy around with a phat dose of humour thrown in. Where’d you get all that funk from?
AudioUnit: Well people who have known me for a while definitely say I’m a funky person so I’m certainly living the lifestyle. I think most people who are still in the scene after this amount of time are a bit left of centre, in the best way. This can account for my sometimes bizarre sense of humour and cartoon fetishes but I have always been attracted to the unusual. Being a bass player from way back certainly helped, especially in the early days of AudioUnit, one of my goals was to take some of the best things I loved about playing bass and incorporate it into PSY as best I could. This is probably why a lot of my leads are more funky melodic than percussive like a lot of other PSY, old habits die hard.
A booking from South Africa must have come as a bit of a surprise considering the number of countries throwing parties. Were you at all surprised and what have you heard about us down here?
AudioUnit: When I was contacted to come and play at Vortex in South Africa I was definitely excited. I have made so many connections over the years with Labels, Artists, promoters and the masses, it was starting to feel like a home I have never visited. I’m happy I can finally put face and accents to people I’ve been talking to for many years, and not just imagine everyone with accents from District 13.
I wasn’t surprised about the things that I’ve heard about the South African PSY scene, and I was excited and happy that I’m going to get a chance to experience it first hand and finally understand the special thing everyone says South African PSY parties have.
If you could pick any one single song of all time to remix what would you choose?
AudioUnit: I was having a trip down memory lane with some friends of mine a few months back so this is still fresh in my mind. At this point in time I would have to say “Sub6 – Droid Saves the Queen” when I listened to that track a flood of awesome memories came back to me and I had a vision of how I would AudioUnit-afy that tune, so that would be awesome. My previous other top RMX track is currently in the works but that will have to stay top secret for now.
Final shout outs to the Cape Town massive…
AudioUnit: Looking forward to immersing myself in the Cape Town scene and Monday morning make sure you have a big breakfast, you’re going to need your energy, it’s going to be a big one![soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/291071452″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]