Synth Presents...Taz Buckfaster
Photo: via Facebook
SYNTH PRESENTS: Taz Buckfaster
WORDS: Colin Brownbill
We have a confession to make – when pressing play on Taz Buckfaster’s Synth Presents mix for the first time we had a preconception of what it might sound like: contorted bass, epic synths and an outright filthy demeanor. While his mix might contain traces of these elements, the all-out dub-fest we were expecting was infact replaced by something altogether more exciting. Being pigeonholed is certainly a terrible thing, and it’s something Tarik Cherkaoui goes to great lengths to avoid. As you’ll hear, his mix for us gleams with a futuristic flare which immediately discounts it as being simple ‘Dubstep’. Promoting a truly diverse cross-section of the upper tempo, Taz is someone who is keen to prove that 140 doesn’t automatically mean ‘screw-face’.
Listing his influences it perhaps comes as no surprise that Taz has an open-minded approach to his music. From 90’s Rave tapes to grime legends, his fascination with bass-driven club music from an early age has helped create a healthy vision which refuses to be compromised. Releases on labels such as Ramp, Rwina and Numbers stand as testament to this, with the latter perhaps marking a pinnacle in that notion. A favourite on not only the Glasgow club scene, but also with pretty much anyone worth mentioning in Grime & Bass, 'Gold Tooth Grin’, was a ‘stand up and take notice’ record which quickly became a favourite at Radio 1.
Two years later, it’s clear that the liquid gold adorning the cover art for that release would quickly become representative of his direction, applying a high-polished sheen to a sound which is usually so dirty. But again, falling victim to the pigeonhole police is not an option – a forthcoming collaboration with Rwina Records boss Akkachar proves that – so with an ever-broadening spectrum to play with, endless possibilities to consider and a creative mind to match, Taz Buckfaster’s horizon is truly limitless…
Check out some of Taz's latest productions below, as well as an in-depth interview and that all important mix:
Synth: If we take it back to the early days, how did you initially get into club music and specifically what lead you into bass music? Were there any particular artists who inspired you at the time?
Taz: Initially, I used to listen to ‘92 Hardcore Rave tapes that my older cousin would pass me when I was in primary school. I can safely say I was the only kid bumping that kinda shit out on their stereo, which made for lonely listening. Altern-8 were my particular favourite, but I’d lap up pretty much anything I got a hold of. The synths, samples, breaks and overall energy were so new and fresh to my ears that I would spend all my spare time dancing about, walkman in hand, blasting compilations like Hit The Decks vol 2 into my pre-pubescent earlobes. My interest in embryonic bass music basically started there and as jungle started to make itself known, I was all over it. Tape packs, radio, magazines - anything I could get my little mitts on. In the following years, House, Breaks, Drum n Bass, UK Garage, Grime, Dubstep and all the little tangents that splintered off got my attention.
Synth: Your mix of Krueger’s ‘40oz Bounce’ recently featured as part of a number 1 release in the Juno Download charts – we wouldn’t strictly label it as Dubstep, but more a futuristic Hip Hop flavour. Do you think that’s a fair assessment and would you say it’s almost recognisable now as a Glasgow sound or is it something bigger entirely?
Taz: I just make music. I let the journalists, bloggers and listeners bother with the pigeonholes. That said, I’d say that’s a fair assessment. Glasgow certainly has a flavour of that running through it, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. There’s talent coming from all points of the spectrum.
Synth: Focusing on Dubstep, we’re really interested to hear your views on the current explosion in America, with reference to Skrillex and how it’s begun to dominate the charts. Is this a natural step for the genre or do you think its roots have been manipulated for mass appeal?
Taz: I think it borders on self-parody, to be honest. If people ask me to describe that kind of brash, noisy Dubstep, I just ask them to imagine the older wobble-fodder’s most obvious characteristics, inflate them tenfold, and put a Metal kid in the producer’s chair. I can’t hate too much, as it’s a waste of time and energy, and by all accounts Skrillex is meant to be a really nice guy. Let people do what they do - eventually, like all fads, it’ll die out and be replaced by something equally obnoxious, if not more. In 10 years, you’ll have old Skrillex fans moaning that shit’s gone pear-shaped. It’s the nature of the beast. What really irritates me is that in the hurry to make things that sound that way, so many producers have ended up sounding like exact carbon-copies of each other. Stock sounds, no vision - disposable music.
I guess we’d have all preferred for the music to stay underground and fresh, but that’s the elitist’s lament, isn’t it There’s still a wealth of great music out there. You just have to keep digging and ignore all the noise.
Synth: With regards to Glasgow, it seems that Bass music has really taken hold and is now on a par with the traditional House & Techno the city is most widely recognised for, what would you attribute that to and do you think it will continue to gain popularity?
Taz: I’d attribute that to evolution. You find that many of the city’s ‘pioneers’ as it were, Bass music-wise, were Techno heads and still have a deep affection for all that went before. I won’t be dropping names here, but if you know the people involved, you know what I mean.
Synth: Let’s talk about your mix for us then, do you go in with any preset ideas when you’re recording a mix
or is it quite a spontaneous process? Any tunes which you just had to include?
Taz: : Obviously there are a few picks here and there that I see as essentials, but more often than not, it’s just an organic process of what I think fits at the time. Obviously, I had to include some new EPROM. His album is absolutely nuts and I'm one of the privileged few who have it at the moment. When your label's getting people like ?uestlove emailing to get their hands on it, you know something big is coming. Also, the Deft tracks were essential. Rwina have just signed him and I predict big things for the lad.
Synth: Your ‘Gold Tooth Grin’ EP on Numbers still resonates highly with the dancefloor and is perhaps one of
our favourite tunes of the last few years, when can we expect your next official release and are there any live dates we should be looking out for?
Taz: Thanks. Always nice to hear! My next release is a collaboration with Rwina Records boss and all-round good guy Akkachar, working in that ~160BPM bracket and experimenting out-with the previous boundaries. Obviously, there will be stylistic similarities to what I’ve done before, but it’s essentially about trying to break out of BPM singularity and show that I’m not just a one trick pony.
Synth: As you've probably gathered over the course of this feature, Taz's mix for us doesn't just provide a series of cheap thrills for the bass-hungry junky, but cleverly explores all facets of what is quickly becoming one of the most popular and extensive genres in modern club music. From the eccentric sound of Debruit, through the high-octane bounce of new beats, 'Stamma' and 'Hedge Your Bets', this is a mix which will both inspire and perspire...
1. Débruit - Akoula
2. Eprom - Floating Palace
3. Kuhn - Slime Beach (Philip D Kick Remix)
4. Slick Shoota - Love You You You
5. Deft - Bring Your Thing
6. Krampfhaft - Faux Art
7. Pixelord - Ninja Clown (Deft Remix)
8. Taz & Akkachar - Windshieldz
9. Taz & Akkachar - Trapped In '82
10. DJ Funeral - Nitemare
11. Raggo Flame - Partner Fucked Up (Leatherface Remix)
12. Preditah - Circles (choxa 160 edit)
13. Krampfhaft - Carl Sagan The Man
14. Taz - Stamma
15. Taz - Hedge Your Bets
16. EPROM - Variations
The Taz's Buckfaster remix of Krueger - '40z Bounce' is available now via Paradisiaca Recordings
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