Making Waves #2: nocturne

Léa Ben Saïd’s Making Waves series is back with a second instalment on The Waveform Transmitter, with a contribution by Bristol-based DJ and producer, nocturne. 

Dan Hobbs grew up in a small rural town in Gloucestershire, UK. Around music from a young age, his family contributed to shaping his tastes and developing his interest in music, by giving him access to a whole world outside of the small town he was in. When he was a pre-teen, he saved the little pocket money he was given, and spent it on second-hand belt-drive decks on which he used to play terrible hard house, which ultimately were his first steps into electronic music.

Before fully starting to participate and contribute to the scene, Dan got involved in various other musical realms, including the punk and hardcore domains, in which he was playing in bands. It is only after he moved to Manchester in his mid-20’s that he found his niche: “I was an early starter and a late bloomer all at once !” he says. Today, he has settled down in Bristol, which has become his spiritual home.

Waveform: How did you prepare for and record this mix ?

nocturne: I’m continuously discovering new music, it’s so easy nowadays that every day I’ve normally wish listed or ‘favourited’ something new, so I’ll go back and review the things I’ve got tabs on as well as going back through my physical and digital record box to find things I’ve missed or haven’t played for a while that fit the general theme. Then I tend to make a playlist with lots of sub-playlists within it; I’ve got to thank Resident Advisor‘s ‘The Art of DJ’ing’ article with Objekt for making me more organised in how I prepare, I like how he idiosyncratically labels playlists so I’ll do the same with weird labels for them that fit with how my mind works!

I recorded the mix at home with a turntable and a Pioneer DDJ-RX controller; I’m limited for space in my ‘studio’ (bedroom) so I’ve not enough room for two turntables but the setup means I can have three digital decks as well as the actual deck playing at once; there’s a couple of occasions during the mix where I’m using elements from three different tracks, less because I’m showing off and more because I find myself getting restless just going from one track to another!

Waveform: Did you have a specific idea in mind when you recorded it ?

n: Whenever I record a mix I want to evoke a mixture of atmospheres and moods, with peaks and troughs and passages for a pause of breath, whilst retaining a cohesive narrative. Because I want to play so many styles, genres and tempos I generally think of tracks by their feeling, even visualising them exhibiting different colours which allows me to tie them together in my head. I’m quite a visual thinker even when I’m working with sound!

Waveform: Who have been your major influences ?

n: My music tastes have been massively varied through the years and I began listening to (admittedly bad) electronic music fairly early on, as well as being introduced to grunge and punk in my early teens. My extended family was fairly influential in that respect, my cousin and uncle being really into that kind of stuff. My aunts’ husband also liked lots of weird 70’s synth and avant-garde stuff which he tried to put me onto and at the time I wasn’t as interested as I wish I had been!

Like I said, I started listening to electronic or ‘dance’ music fairly early on but it wasn’t until the minimal boom of the mid 00’s where I became interested in making my own music and I still take a lot of the ‘stripping things back’ mentality of those artists into what I do now. I was also lucky to be at the peak of my clubbing days during the burgeoning Hessle/hemlock post-dubstep scene so obviously that is a huge thing for me; the hybridisation of styles that was happening then certainly moved me away from any kind of notions of purism in either my DJing or production style and I still hold Ben UFO up as an ideal for the kind of selector I want to be. Nowadays, the main things for me would be mid-century minimalism, traditional east-African, middle eastern and Indonesian music, the kind of abstract, post-club mutations that PAN, UIQ and Infinite Machine are putting out and of course the whole Livity/Timedance Bristol/UK techno movement.

Waveform: What records can we often find in your bag ?

n: I tend to keep things in rotation to remain fresh but there’s definitely certain artists and labels that are go-to’s for me. I keep coming back to the Kilchhofer releases on Marionette, as well as Burnt Friedman’s release on that label amongst everything else he’s put out. Yves De Mey and his Grey Branches alias always crop up too. More recently I’ve found myself consistently reaching for Mor Elian tunes, she’s really killing it right now as well as the new Beta Librae and Lucretia Dalt LPs!

Waveform: Have you been working towards a specific kind of sounds, both in your mixes and your production, or do you mainly improvise with tracks and records you enjoy ?

n: The main thing I look to do is experiment with timbre and rhythm and evoke something very atmospheric and trippy whilst underpinning things with a solid low end foundation. Texture and colour are important to me, as I mentioned earlier I tend to visualise the space in which my music or mix is inhabiting and I’m looking to transport my audience there too.

Waveform: Would you say your creative process changes fundamentally when you produce and when you mix ?

n: Funnily enough my creative process is more organic and spontaneous when I produce to when I mix; I think I like to get things mapped out more in my mind when I’m mixing so I can be explorative but remain cohesive, whereas production-wise I have a lot of tools to produce or adapt things algorithmically and I tend to just spontaneously happen upon something I like and work from there. As a result I end up starting about five different tracks in one project as I adapt ideas and happen upon new elements that I like that don’t quite fit what I was previously working on!

Waveform: Are there any artists you think we should keep an eye on ?

n: Cong Burn and their roster of artists, BFTT, Howes, Chekov, Lack etc. Everything they’ve put out on that label and elsewhere has been wicked. Significant Other put out an awesome EP on SPE:C and I’m excited to hear more from him. The Abby Echiverri EP on Bunker blew me away as did the aforementioned Beta Librae LP.

Although he’s only put out individual tracks thus far (as far as I know), Neinzer clearly values quality over quantity because each one has been killer. DJ-wise I recommend checking out any mixes you can find that Ribeka or Gigsta have put out, two killer selectors that deserve a whole bunch of recognition! Oh and hence therefore’s upcoming ambient release called ‘STRATA’.

Waveform: Do you have anything exciting planned ?

n: I don’t know how much I can say just yet but I’m hoping you’ll see some exciting things from me real soon 🙂

You can follow nocturne on Twitter and Instagram.

You can take a listen to our other Making Waves mixes, and believe us when we say we’re building up a veritable goldmine of collaborations here, over on our mix page. You will also find our regular Waveform mix series and our Sunday Service mixes there. TTFN!

Drew Mcdowall & Hiro Kone – Barely Awake
Èlg – Blau Lunge
Bellows – Untitled 8
Driftmachine – Réveil des Oiseaux
uon – J
Konrad Wehrmeister – Bridget
Szlazak – Untitled IV
John T. Gast – Wygdn_Bashmenttk9
Jako Maron – Kaféléktro Iarivé
Marlui Miranda – Tchori Tchori
Uwalmassa – Untitled 10
Konrad Kraft – ARC 3
Jahiliyya Fields – Abendlander
Nick Klein – Hooch
Identified Patient – Weerloos
Mor Elian – Dysmorphia
Abby Echiverri – Ionosfeer
Beta Librae – Canis
Major Neinzer – Horus
Steevio – Syzygy
Konduku – Yağmur
Romansoff – Graded (Ploy Remix)
Robert Fleck – Set Point
E-Unity – Perihelion
Significant Other – Break The Web
Szare – Translocated
Blawan – Tasser
Raime – The Nourishment Cycle
Siete Catorce – Canto
Lotic – Phlegm
Oli XL – Rogue Idiot
8ULENTINA – Wander Flute
Gabor Lazar – Steady
Michael Claus – For Each
96 Back – 000
Noord Halle – 5r Jefre
Sully – Digitalis Proc
Fiskal – Dopamine
Skee Mask – Via Sub Mids

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