Hyetal - Broadcast (Black Acre)

The music of Dave Corney, AKA Hyetal, has never really sat comfortably alongside that of his peers. While it does share certain qualities that could identify it with dubstep, or at least its peripheral camps, there have always been different forces at work in his music that suggested influences and preoccupations that lay elsewhere. Drawing upon the robust soundsystem dynamics of UK bass music while not letting those constraints define what he makes, Hyetal’s music exists in a different consciousness altogether. With debut album ‘Broadcast’, he invites you to enter into this otherworldly space.

Since his debut release on Formant Recordings back in 2009, the young Bristol beatmaker has steadily won over a loyal following with a series of leftfield dancefloor tracks for labels like Soul Motive, Reduction and Punch Drunk, collaborating with Shortstuff, Baobinga and Peverelist along the way. These early releases appeared to document him experimenting with different sounds and finding his feet musically, culminating in the release of ‘Pheonix’ which marked a definite turning point in his sound. Expansive, spacious and bursting with colour, it was built upon the same foundations that made his early releases so brilliant while invigorating them with a new confidence and purity of vision.

Taking its cue from that explosive single for Orca last year, the album shakes off the last of the uneasy dubstep associations as Corney liberates himself from the limitations of the dancefloor, exploring a more personal, introspective and cinematic vision that echoes with the influences of his youth as much as it does the soundsystem lineage of his contemporaries. Relishing in the freedom afforded by the album format, Corney has created a startlingly mature and accomplished album, crafting a coherent suite of music that impels you to follow it along its emotional trajectory. Over ten tracks he builds an immersive and intimate world of sound awash with dense textures and atmospheres that have the ability to completely overwhelm you with the evocation of vivid scenes and tangible feelings. Anchored by the cavernous drums and heartbeat grooves, shimmering synths shine through the ether and vocals call from afar. Engulfed by unfurling layers of haze, moments of beauty glimmer through the tracks to grab you, staying with you long after the album has finished. The album’s luscious and detailed constructs demand, and indeed reward, repeated listens with an album to get lost in.

I was lucky enough to be able to get some questions at Hyetal just before the release of the album, which you can read below.

The Chase by hyetal

Hi, how are things going?

Good thank you.

So how long has the album been in the making from its initial inception to its completion?

It took a year more or less.

Musically, when did the idea of working on the album start to come together? Was there a distinct point at which you perceived the project to have sprung into life?

I’ve always wanted to write an album. ‘Phoenix’ was well received when it was released on Orca and I think that was a definite confidence boost. I had a few other things I’d written in a similar style and it seemed like the right time to release something more substantial.

Although it is still at 140 bpm, for me ‘Phoenix’ marked a turning point in your music moving more noticeably away from the dubstep sound that you were initially associated with and striking out on your own. Would you agree with this?

Yes, I’m proud of everything I released before then but I think to a certain extent a lot of it was me experimenting and finding my own voice. I got really bad writers block around the same sort of time I started getting into uk funky/ house. I really liked the music but I didn’t know how I could be part of it. When I wrote ‘Phoenix’ I approached it kind of selfishly, it was influences I had grown up with that were very personal to me and I didn’t really care if anyone else understood it.

Searchlight by hyetal

Was it a case of approaching the album with a specific vision or concept in mind and then executing that, or did it developing organically during the process?

It was pretty organic.

Was there anything in particular that was influencing you during the making of the album and feeding into your own productions? Maybe music that wasn’t a part of your earlier work?

There was a lot of different stuff. I got really into youtube. I’d have these sessions where I felt like listening to a Cure or Depeche Mode song and all of a sudden had spent an afternoon listening to all this weird alternative pop music I’d never heard from the same era. Or I’d be looking for footage from an old film or arcade game I used to play as a kid and the same kind of thing would happen. That kind of nostalgia was a big influence on the album.

You have undergone the task of making an album relatively early in your production career by general standards; do you see your music as being more suited to the album format?

I think so, it felt liberating writing that way, I really like the freedom.

How conscious is the process of producing for you? Are there certain states that you enter into during which you are most productive?

It’s not sitting there and thinking about numbers and its not completely dazed. Somewhere in-between.

Hyetal – Beach Scene by Black Acre Records

To me, your music evokes very vividly certain atmospheres, times and spaces. Do you think this is reflective of your music making processes?

Yeah all those things are important to me.

The album features a couple of vocal tracks on it, including the single ‘Diamond Islands’. Is this something that you would like to move towards doing more of in the future?

I think so. I’ll be writing more stuff with Alison and I’ve been speaking to a couple of other vocalists.

It is always interesting to hear different artists’ feelings about releasing music out into the public sphere. With the album complete and ready to hit the shops, how do you feel about it?

Its uncharted territory really. I’m leaving myself quite open, which is unusual to me. I’m happy with the record, I hope some people enjoy listening.

With the album done, are you already looking ahead to new releases/projects? Have you got anything in the pipeline?

Yeah lots, I should be collaborating with Peverelist again when we find the time. I’ve taken on a couple of remixes. And I may write some stuff with Active Child, we’ve been chatting quite a bit.

Hyetal – Diamond Islands by Black Acre Records