051 Half Normal
Add equal parts Sub Chakra resident Bambooloo (Kiefer) with now Edmonton based Method Sound (Joe) and you arrive at our latest contributors for this week’s mix series: Half Normal.
With a forthcoming EP (NCT011) right around the corner featuring remixes from some of the collective’s finest. It seemed fitting to have a chat introducing them and getting a feel for what’s going on below the surface.
Boys! what’s good?!
K: Happy to have this mix completed! Been a long week of grinding it out.
J: Oh yeah. I agree with that, can't wait to make some new bits.
So, How did you first meet? What made you realize a collaborative project was worth fostering?
J: We didn't really plan on making a project until we had already made a few tunes. By that time we didn't even have a name.
K: We were both enrolled in The Ontario Institute of Audio recording Technology in 2013. Coincidentally, we ended up living right beside each other during our year in London, Ontario.
How would you describe the Half Normal ‘sound’ compared to your solo projects?
K: It’s definitely a on more intelligent tip. Bambooloo songs are usually trap-based and high energy. Half Normal stuff has come to be more laid-back and intricate. Music you can jam too, but also send to your grandma.
J: It a great outlet to explore different tempos and vibes. Having someone else in the room is good to tell you if you have gone too far off the deep end.
When you’re in the studio together, how is the workflow divided? What are your separate strengths? Did most of the EP come together in person or was it more just sending stems back and forth?
J: Its challenging working on someone else’s computer with different plugins at your disposal. It can push you to stop reaching for the same plugin all the time.
K: We’ve tried swapping stems before, but our strongest songs were made while in the same studio. Basically, we like to pick out a few samples or sounds that fit a vibe. Then its just kind of swapping back and forth between the two of us in the driver’s seat. As soon as one of us slows down the other guy will jump on. The EP has two songs on it that were made together and two that I started and sent to Joe to finish.
Who’s making the most exciting music right now?
K: Off the top of my head…
Really excited to hear the new Folding City project that Self Evident is a part of
Also Om Unit
J: We also get down to System of a Down every now and again.
What can you tell me about the artist’s that you’ve featured on the EP? Why did you choose them?
K: All the artists that did remixes for us are of a different flavor, but top quality producers in their own genres. We wanted to keep the Noctilux family involved, and also wanted to reach out to some other circles we haven’t been introduced to. Weston and Kousk filled that void nicely. Wolf Camo and Huskie have been pushing everyone aside when it comes to the Calgary bass scene.
J: Kiefer listed off these cool folks. I nodded.
What about the mix? What was your approach to that?
K: We’ve made songs at pretty much every tempo. Since we wanted to make our debut an all original mix, this made it a bit of a challenge to just throw all our songs in Traktor and start mixing. We decided and ableton set was the best way to go about it. We were able to build a sexy little sound-designed intro and pepper the mix with FX and oneshots in order to make it come across smooth and seamless.
J: Because of all the different tempos we wanted to work with we ended up settling on Ableton. And oh man, am I ever looking forward to going back to a set of decks.
Musically, what have been some of your highlights over the past year?
K: Well we don’t really have any highlights as Half Normal yet. The mix and the following EP are our first steps, but there has been good feedback so far and a strange amount of hype built up about the mix that we didn’t exactly intend for.
Personally, joining Sub Chakra this year was a pretty big thing for me. Its allowed me to play WAY more shows than I would have without them.
J: My main highlight was working with Foundation Channel last year. Getting my own guest mix and a release on their Abbsinthe Versions compilation. Those guys have a great handle on the dubwise sound.
What’s the game-plan for you two in the next year? Both collectively and separately.
K: Half Normal is sitting on a pretty nice stockpile of tunes currently. We’ll be matching them up and sending them around to different labels. Depending on the kind of response we get I hope to be on a bit of a festival circuit next summer.
For Bambooloo I’ll just be pumping out tracks when I can. I’ve been in contact with a few label heads about releasing a 4 or 5 track EP in the near future, but I want to space things out with Half Normal as well.
J: Im looking forward to just writing more tunes! Even doing some collaborations with other producers as Half Normal. Im moving to Calagry right away here, so it will be even easier to make time for the studio.
Any final thoughts or shoutouts?
K&J: Biggup the Illuminati.