Tuesday, 22 November 2011

TEA Podcast #15 - Sebastian Bayne

Want to know what the weight of 15 years of records feels like? Just ask Sebastian Bayne, IF? Records new label boss as of late 2010. IF? Records was first established by Andrez Bergen aka Little Nobody in 1995 and has since released over 130 titles covering all mediums from mp3 to CD and vinyl. In an active sixteen years the label has housed releases from names such as Dasha Rush, BCR Boys, Ben Mill (Groundloop) and Ade Fenton whilst receiving remixes from James Ruskin, Aux 88, Justin Berkovi, Dave Tarrida and DJ-Hi Shock (Advanced Human).

Bayne is closing out his first year of being IF? Records top dog and is respectfully making his mark on the label and breaking new ground in the process. A homebred Sydney sider, Bayne has previously done extended stints offshore calling the UK and China home during his time away. Aside from his 2008 Dub City EP and the split Contorted Self EP with Martin Mueller released on IF? Records, Sebastian Bayne's production prowess has so far mostly come in the form of the remix, reshaping work from The BCR Boys, Little Nobody and recent Gynoid Audio recruit Enclave.

TEA spoke with Sebastian Bayne over email where talk of parties on the Great Wall of China, calls for faith in humanity and Assam loose leaf tea all took place.

Where and how was the mix recorded? What was the idea of the mix?

I did the mix in my studio using a friends Traktor Kontrol S4. I wanted to try the S4 out and see it how handled. I found it quite sensitive first time round and this mix was the second take I did. The idea behind the mix was to meld different kinds of techno into something that reflects what I play in clubs and also something that was interesting to listen to, I think I managed to do that. It was a mix of both raw and polished music, well known and unknown and some tracks from my label that haven't been released yet.

Give us a little background on IF? Records and how you came to be a part of it.

IF? Records has a long history stretching back 15 years when it was started in Melbourne by Andrez Bergen, Brian Huber and Mateusz Sikora. It has always been known for its underground and experimental techno, with a long list of respected and successful Australian and international artists. The seeds of my involvement started in 1999 when I was working for 3D World Magazine in Sydney and Andrez was working for Impress in Melbourne, we would swap stories for our respective publications and we became friends through that. In 2008 I started to release some of my music on IF? and became more and more involved from there on in.

What brought about the change of ownership?

Once I started releasing on IF?, I thought that Andrez could do with some help as he was running it all on his own. I remember sending him a email asking him if he wanted any help but I got no reply. I figured he was just busy, didn't need help and didn't get a chance to answer so I left it at that. About a year later I asked him again, he was delighted I asked and said that he had wanted to ask me to join up but thought I'd would be too busy. As it turns out he'd never got that email I had sent a year before. So I started working on IF?, primarily trying to get better distribution for the label. Out the blue at Christmas last year he told me he wanted to focus on his career as a novelist and spend more time with his family. He gave me the label having got the okay from some of the original IF? Records crew. And that was that. The door is always open for him if he wants to come back and he'll continue to be one of the key artists on IF?.

How do you plan to run IF? Records now that you are in charge?

I have been running IF? for almost a year now and at first I was a bit worried that I could do it justice. First thing I did was finalise a distribution deal, which has seen our music available to wider audience. Second was to get to grips with the release schedule already in place and getting to know all the artists. Going forward into 2012 my main goal is to focus on promoting the label, double the amount of releases to two a month, continue developing our core artists and hopefully continuing to attract well known talent to work with label.

How big an influence do you think IF? Records has had on Australian techno?

That is a difficult question. Objectively I don't really know, depends who you ask I guess. Personally I think IF? has alway been a major player in the techno scene here in Australia and a respected one at that.

Run us through some of your favourite IF? Records releases.

There are so many to choose from, I love them all. Can I give my top three? Let me think. A favourite is definitely Little Nobody's 'Bare' released in 2000 from memory. I loved this CD from the first time I listened to it. Andrez gave it to me when he came and played live for me at my club in Beijing. Although it is seven remixes of the same track, it feels like 7 different songs. And their playing order on the CD is a nice journey through different sounds. The haunting vocals of Dasha Rush's 'Comme La Neige' is pretty hard to beat with a superb set of remixes to boot. Ade Fenton's 'Falling Down' was important to me personally as the remix I did for that was bit of a turning point in my production and was well received internationally. I have also been a fan of Ade since I bought one of his singles on Melbourne's great techno label Wetmusik. It was an honour to have him on the label. Generally I am really into what Enclave, Alkan, Dead Agenda, Defined By Rhythm & Dopamine and Biz are producing at the moment. The Japanese artist on our label always do great work. I am also pretty excited about releasing some upcoming work from European artists such as 88uw, Krenzlin, Bactee & Tito. 88uw has already been releasing a lot on Gynoid Audio out of Sydney, so you can check out his music there.

How long have you been DJing and producing for?

The short answer is I started DJing professionally in 2000, and released my first record in 2007. I collected records from 1992 and got my first turntables in 1995, then started teaching myself production with Cubase and an MC-303 from 1999.

You are based in Sydney?

I grew up in Sydney, did high school here and have been living back here for almost five years now. It's my home and most of my family live here. I spent ten years in England at three different times in my life and also lived in Beijing for four years. I travel as much as I can, I love going to different places. I certainly won't rule out roaming off somewhere else in the world if the opportunity presents itself.

How have you found the electronic music scene in Australia and Sydney over the past few years?

In the circles I move in, I think there is a lot going on in Sydney. I never get to go to all the events I want to. Sydney has a lot of good party crews who support underground house and techno like Disconnected, Subsonic, Spice, Mad Racket, Loose Kaboose, Shrug, Voidsound, Swarm um Haha [Industries], Mince Meat, CO-OP, Finely Tuned, Strange Signal and S.A.S.H. There is a lot of cool music coming out of Sydney too and FBI and 2SER radio stations continue to support underground music which is cool. When I first came back in 2007 I noticed Sydney as a city had become more fascist and authoritarian than when I left in 2000. 

I think that this was having a negative impact on creativity and freedom which in turn had an affect on the the electronic music scene. In the last few years I think things are changing again and ordinary folk now know what they want and don't care about all the bullshit, they are just going for it. It would be good to get a more liberal and forward thinking mayor for this city who supported peoples right to party and do what they want, when they want. I mean how long are they going to bang on about licensing laws and binge drinking. It is pretty obvious that given freedom of choice, most people make the right decisions. If you try to cage people in they have to let the pressure out one way or another. Place a little more faith in humanity and get rid of all the silly rules. Having lived in parts of the world where you can go to a corner shop and buy a beer any time day or night, it really frustrates me why we can't do that in this country? 

It doesn't make any sense. That is Sydney I'm talking about, I don't really feel like I am qualified to comment on other places in Australia as I spend most of my time hrere. The electronic music scene looks pretty healthy everywhere to me, especially, as always Melbourne. Also, while we are on the topic, I get a bit tired of comparisons between Australia and overseas and even different cities in Australia. There is cool stuff going on all over the place, I think people should just try to have more fun, feel more and think less. I think some of what I just said sounds like a bit of a contradiction? (laughs), oh well, life is like that. To sum it up, we have got it pretty damn good here and it's important to realise that, but we should always try and strive for more.

I also read that you threw some parties on the Great Wall of China?

I did two parties on the Great Wall, both were done with the owner of the club I used to work for in Beijing. The first one was a Global Underground party with Trafik and the second one was with Paul Oakenfold. Paul did his first gig in Beijing at our club the year before and asked us if we would do a party for him on the Great Wall. We told him what we could manage and made him an modest offer that he accepted. It was a rock bottom price for him at that time as it was just after the peak of his fame. We were limited to 400 people, it was really dry and the local authorities were worried about fires. The part of the Great Wall we were using was about 3-4 hours drive from Beijing on country roads, it was in the middle of nowhere. It started to sprinkle rain during the day when we were setting up and it didn't end up stopping the whole night, it just got heavier and heavier. Everyone was soaked and heaps of people ended up taking off a lot of what they were wearing been though it was really cold still with no cover. The speakers and lights were soaked and sparks were coming from the electrical box. We thought at any minute everything was going to blow, it was pretty wild. As soon as Oakenfold stopped playing at 5am the sun came out. We had not planned for rain as it never comes at that time of year and being so far from Beijing it was impossible to get anything organised at that late stage. We always thought that it would rain a bit but then stop, it didn't. It was a very memorably party and Oakenfold loved it. Being the businessman he was he managed to get plenty of milage out of it with a mix CD. We did the party with Andrew Bull and Mian Mian from Shanghai. I am not really into what Paul does musically, but he was always up for doing something different, is very enthusiastic and always puts his all into a project.

Whats next for IF? Records and Sebastian Bayne?

I guess what is next for me and next for the label go hand it hand. To keep building a reputation for quality underground music. It would also be really cool to start doing some IF? Records parties in Australia and abroad showcasing the talent from the label. I haven't done parties in a good few years but with everything that is going on with the label, it would be really fun to do some again.
What is your favourite tea?

Assam loose leaf tea from Twinings, the UK version. I love it really strong with a generous splash of full cream milk. Hard to beat.

  1. 88uw - The Purple Rays [IF? Records] (Unreleased)
  2. Enclave - C-Sin (Sebastian Bayne Remix [Gynoid Audio]
  3. Steve Lorenz - Overlock (Damon Wild Remix) [Absolutive Records]
  4. Go Hiyama - Post Modern (Lucy Remix) [Perc Trax]
  5. 88uw - Communication Offline [Slap Jaxx]
  6. Cari Lekebusch - Tenacis [H-Productions]
  7. Hans Bouffmyhre - Demon Within (Pfirter Remix) [Perc Trax]
  8. Shlomi Aber - Groove Mechanism (Chris Liebing Remix) [Ovum Records]
  9. Krenzlin - Infusion (Original Mix) [IF? Records (Unreleased)]
  10. Emptyset - Altogether Lost feat. Cornelius Harris (Ben Klock's Glowing Clap Mix) [CLR]
  11. Jeroen Search & Markus Suckut - JSMS 4.3 [Figure SPC]
  12. Luke Solomon - From Rhythm Into Light [6ONE6]
  13. Dave Tarrida - Damage (Angel Alanis Remix) [Gynoid Audio]
  14. Deepchild - Suffering Ones (Tim Xavier Remix) [Thoughtless Music]
  15. Russ Denman - White Knights (Flavor Aid Mix) [6ONE6]