The Waveform Transmitter’s Ste Knight presents Drumcode’s newest partnership, for this week’s instalment in the Waveform Mix, Harvey and Ryan McKay of techno duo Alias.
Fair to say, here at The Waveform Transmitter we love a bit of techno (lest you had overlooked such a detail). This is why we have been so excited to present our readers with a contribution to our Waveform series from two of Drumcode‘s most exciting artists.
Harvey and Ryan McKay…brothers who are purveying some of Scotland’s finest techno as their recent coupling under the Alias handle. This pairing seems to have worked a treat, as they have released, via Drumcode, techno that is incredibly faithful to the original sound ; raw, powerful and, at times, aggressive. Which is, of course, exactly what we all want!
Their most recent release under this guise, Visions, featured four tracks awash with such tropes of the techno sound. From robust, looping techno, to heavily layered, more melodic affairs. It was clear from the EP that the newly founded production duo had made an excellent decision to come together and combine their expertise in the studio.
Of course, both have made waves on the techno underground prior to this venture. Harvey and Ryan have positioned themselves well within the ranks of their esteemed techno peers, joining the likes of Pig & Dan, Alan Fitzpatrick and, of course, Drumcode‘s head man, Adam Beyer. Their releases on the imprint offer a no-nonsense approach to techno, which is evidenced by the often heavy sound that the Swedish imprint has become so well-recognised for.
That isn’t to say that their music is lost amongst a myriad of similar sounding tracks. They inject soul into their techno, which obviously has the effect of making it more emotional. Putting one’s soul into one’s sound is a personal act, and one which both producers clearly perform when putting the elements of their tracks together.
This is what sets them apart from their peers. In a market awash with carbon copy techno, the pair have cornered their own niche (both together and separately) – something that many of Drumcode‘s producers seem to manage – and don’t seem likely to budge any time soon.
If you want to know about how Alias work, then check out our interview with Harvey and Ryan, below.
Waveform: Hi guys. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Normally we’d start by asking a duo to tell us how they met, but with you both that would be pretty pointless! So, tell us, what made you want to start producing together?
Alias: It’s been a long time coming really, we always bounce our solo project’s back and forward, and it was something that was always on the cards. We didn’t expect it to go so well so quickly though, we were really surprised how well it all came together, and to get Adam on board with the first release on Drumcode was a great start.
Waveform: Do you both work well in the studio together? Or do we have full-scale, tooth breaking Gallagher-brother style bust ups?
Alias: We have had our moments ha-ha, but we get on really well. We’re more like good mates. We have a love of fun in the studio but push each other to really try take thing up a notch, if one does something the other pushes then to improve on it. We bring out the best in each other, and its a good buzz doing it together.
Waveform: Speaking of the studio, you’ve both been locked away behind the production desk for some time recently. Can you give us an idea of what you’re working on?
Alias: Yeah! We’re working on a second EP at the moment, we actually just posted a new video of Adam Beyer testing out a one of our new tracks. We’re pretty chuffed with it, as you see it goes down really well. That will give you an idea of our direction.
Waveform: You’ve both released on Drumcode as separate artists (Harvey under his own name, Ryan under the Skiver moniker) and as Alias. How did the initial signings come about?
Harvey – Just the usual really, Adam had been playing my tracks for a few years, then I made Lost and the rest is history for me!
Ryan: Adam had been supporting my first release on Relief which led to him taking Playing Games for the A sides.
Waveform: Do you feel that your productions differ, as solo entities, compared to your collaborative output? If so, how?
Alias: Yeah, without a doubt it’s an altogether different sound we go for when we’re doing Alias. A whole different ethos. Very different decisions are made in the strategies we take and the processes we use to get the end result. I think really comes across in the vibe.
Waveform: June saw your first guestmix as Alias on Drumcode Radio. Are there plans to take the alias project out in respect of DJ performances or are we sticking strictly to production?
Alias: Definitely, that is one of the main things…to get out there touring together. We have both been DJing for years, so it would be great to go out on the road together and build something together. We hang out a lot and do normal stuff, but we just thought it would be great having something we built together that was really tangible.
Waveform: Thanks again guys for chatting with us, and for contributing an awesome Waveform mix. Good luck with the Alias project and your future solo ventures!
The Waveform Mix that Alias have provided us with is evidence of their penchant for a more demonic techno sound. Kicking us off with Marco Faraone‘s Desert Crash, before dropping in a few of their own tracks (three of which are, as yet, unreleased!), we finish up with Dense & Pika‘s remoulding of Tiga’s timeless track, Planet-E.
Crash helmets at the ready for this one, as the two offer up a relentlessly driving mix. Here it is, in all its compelling glory. Alias‘ Waveform Mix (track list below stream).
- Desert Crash – Marco Faraone
- Cuckoo Night (Berlin Version) – Vonda7
- Organ Trax – Truncate
- You & Me – Dennis Apec
- Phantom – Jorge Verrone
- Dream Taker – Alias
- Diamonds – Emmanuel
- Jealousy – Skiver/Ryan McKay
- Icefyre – Marco Bailey
- Typ 14 – Env3
- Regelbundet – Mattias Fridell
- unreleased – Alias
- Paradox – Alias
- Alien One – Alias
- Planet E (Dense & Pika Remix) – Tiga