Pig Headed - 25-11-2014

Scott Hallam has been producing music since 1993 under the alias Grey Matter and his real name for the past 5 years on his own label, Axia. Giles caught up with him down at the local butchers to talk about acid, studio kit and his fascination with pigs.

Is it true that you've only ever done one interview in the past?

Yes, it was for Amiga Computing back in the 90's when I was still using an Amiga A500 and Music X 2. I don't use promotion other than social media and tend to keep to myself.

You've remixed Paris Brightledge though - that's hardly keeping a low profile! How did that come about?

I got in touch with him on Facebook and did a couple of mixes of It's Alright and he liked them. He then sent over the vocals for a brand new track and I did a couple of mixes for Let Loose The Light and his label ended up putting 2 of my mixes out. I did an electro house mix and an old skool sounding mix with some really nice acid which was around 10 minutes long. After doing that it inspired me to go on to finish the album Viva Acid House which covers many different styles of acid.

Has your production and studio kit changed much over the years and can you tell us what you're using now for your latest tracks?

I've gone full circle as from 1993 to 1998 I built up a full studio with a 32 channel Soundcraft Spirit desk, Tascam DA20 and a load of analogue synths and drum machines including the usual Roland faves, TB-303, TR-909, Juno 106 but I sold most of it a few years after that and went mostly digital for a while as the quality of VSTs got better and better. I've now got a 24 channel Soundcraft desk and a fair bit of outboard gear but use Cubase 7 for recording and Ozone 5 for mastering. I like the combination of old skool style programming and new techniques for recording and editing tracks as having to do stuff in one take used to be a nightmare - having to control a 303 with one hand and filters on something else and make sure all the effect changes happened at the right time used to take a few goes to get it down as one take on DAT! With Cubase 7 you can record each part and take things slower so my production instead of writing a track in say 4 hours now tends to take 3 or 4 days and I think the sound is better for it.

Have you heard any of the new Roland Aira products? A lot of people don't seem keen as they aren't true analogue.

[laughs] Yes I've got the TB-3 the TR-8 and the VT-1. I think they're great and real easy to use. The updates fixed a lot of initial bugs. I'm not into the digital and analogue debate as I think it's all about the end result, whatever the tools you get there with are there to be used and I'm not scared of trying out new stuff as it's a good way of keeping up to date and learning new ways of using the gear.
I've still got a TB-303, R8 MKII, TR505 and TR626 (a lesser known but really great machine)

What's next on the purchase list if anything?

I've been looking at the old Roland Space Echo machines but don't want the hassle of getting one and having to have it serviced. A few years ago Boss brought out a new version which is meant to be true to the sound of the original at under £200 so I think that'll be next. I've already got enough sound sources it's mainly alternative effects now to use either through the desk or in Cubase.

Are you hiding your face for a reason? First it was a Bad Taste mask and now a pig.

[laughs and makes a grunting noise] James and Andy (V/vm) used them when they did live shows and I wanted to use one but shelved the idea until earlier this year when Richard Norris mentioned he'd watched MasterChef and heard the phrase 'Pork Fun Fair' and in his Basement Filth group on Facebook said it would be good to sample, I did it for a laugh and put it in a track. He used it in a mix recently that he did for Mixmag. I added a couple of tracks to go with it for a new release and then wanted something pig related for the cover, I was thinking of cooking some bacon in the shape of the numbers 303 but this seemed darker and suited the music better.

When you aren't producing what are you listening to and who are you being influenced by?

I'm really back into the old electro and hip hop stuff at the moment as apart from the breaks there aren't many samples to date it unlike a lot of the typical rave stabs. Dub has and always is a big influence - Andrew Weatherall's ALFOS mixes are great, Richard Norris is making some great tracks, Erol Alkan - his latest Sub Conscious track was ace. Really like the I Love Acid label and Jerome Hill's Super Rhythm Trax too. Mark Archer always delivers solid tracks and pretty much anything by Andreas Gehm is always superb. There's loads of little labels in Spain, Greece and Japan that often get overlooked but are putting out some great acid. Kenny Mulligan, Damo Beblot, Adam Wilson and the DABJ boys for radio.

Any gigs or other news coming up?

No gigs, I'm not ready for that yet. Currently doing a remix of Moodswings - The 6 Train for Joe Bernard and then on to do some more acid tracks which are more raw than the previous stuff and hoping to get a label to put out something on vinyl next year as I'd like to return to wax again. Also a Detroit style techno/electro and ambient album planned for next summer.

Bringing Home The Bacon is out 1st December - Buy it at Juno Download
You can hear Pork Fun Fair as featured on Richard Norris' mix for Mixmag

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