My names Rob and I live in the thriving Metropolis that is Bristol. I Produce under 3 different alias, but my main passion lies with my deep electronic music persona Actraiser.
I am originally from Suffolk, deep in bat country, but I made my escape to Bristol several years ago after visiting my mate who studied here and realising what a great place Bristol was.
My country upbringing made London a bit of a chore to be honest, very impersonal and claustrophobic. I love Bristol as you have the harbour and lots of forests nearby, and we producers need all the fresh air and sun we can get!
I have always been into music for as long as I can remember. Without going into the usual cliche’s as a kid I was always listening to new stuff and getting in trouble for listening to my walkman at school. I started buying dance music tape packs and the pace and energy contained really appealed to me. It is no wonder I found it hard to concentrate at school when I was listening to jungle and hardcore techno most of the day!
I got some belt drive decks when I was 16 and taught myself to mix, I loved buying vinyl and checking out new tracks in the record shops.
I started making beats at 19 after getting some basic software on my PC and then signed up to a music technology course at Hertfordshire University.
After that I produced drum & bass for a while as I DJed it out, but never really sent out my tracks.
I switched styles in 2009 when I discovered deep electronic music that was categorised as dubstep, but wasn’t really. It was this music that really gripped me and made me realise that this was what I wanted to make.
Through my love of listening to music and wanting to produce my own take on it.
The uni course was a natural progression of this love and then It just went from there. I would constantly try and learn new things and find new ways of improving my productions and make them stand out. I love experimenting with sounds and seeing where the mood takes me. Sometimes I have a set idea for a song I want to make, and other times I just play around with sounds until a spark of creatively kicks in and it begins to form something I may not have expected.
I use a fairly basic setup but have learnt how to get the most out of it. I use a Pc with an M-Audio soundcard and Sony Acid Pro 7, which I have pimped out with the very best VST plugins and soft synths. Special mention must go to Izotope Ozone for their excellent mastering software, Soft Synth ‘Circle’ which has some amazing sounds, and the OhmBoyz series of effects plugins which are all great. I have a behringer midi keyboard and also a great set of speakers in the KRK Rokit 6, which were the best purchase I made.
I usually start by loading up lots of samples and playing around until I get a vibe going. Or I construct beats first and see what kind of musical elements and bass will best go with the beats and percussion I have created. Most often I have a specific idea of what I want to produce, whether it’s techno, minimal drum & bass, future garage, or dancefloor dubstep. I have ideas in my head and often can hear the whole finished thing in my head before I start. Other times I have no preconceived idea of what I want to make, instead just playing with sounds and playing riffs, chords and pads until something clicks and I decide on a direction I want to go.
I nearly always construct the main part of the tracks, with all the elements I want in there at it’s most epic parts, and then work backwards, deconstructing it so it then builds up to that first finished part. I have tried making a song from start to finish in the order you would hear it, but it never really works. I just find making the main part first works best for me.
I’m always learning though and I have some great producer friends who I share ideas and methods with and they are always teaching me new tricks.
The high point was getting an album deal under my other alias ‘Dr Strafe’ for Freestyle Records. The funk thing was a side project really, I just wanted to make something summery for mainstream listening, something you could have on at a BBQ. I wasn’t expecting anything from it. But when Freestyle contacted me and wanted to sign an LP after hearing only 3 tracks I suddenly thought I could actually make something of this production lark.
The second high point was the enthusiasm and faith Haunted Audio showed me after being really into my early Actraiser tracks, and they put out my first tune that I was really happy with ‘Nevermore’ and have been supporting my music ever since. This helped promote the Actraiser name and thanks to them and other labels like Stoke Audio, I was able to steadily build and loyal following.
Well I guess it all fits under the Dubstep category, but the stuff I play crosses over into other genres such as garage, techno and electronica. When doing sets in clubs though I concentrate on the slightly heavier side of what I’m into. Stuff I would want to hear out in a club myself. The DOT Mix is a good example of this.
I produce music a heck of a lot. But as well as making music (and listening to it of course). I also enjoy being out in the sun (preferably with a cold beer!), cycling, movies and the usual stuff people enjoy, and of course spending time with my wonderful and supportive girlfriend. I also have an unhealthy obsession with retro gaming and collect 8-bit nintendo games, including rare ones from Japan.