Dev79 is a Philadelphia-based producer and DJ who is also one of North America’s originators of “Street Bass” – a genre he created with label-mate and long time collaborator Starkey. The genre fuses together elements of Dubstep, Grime, Juke and futuristic Hip-Hop and is now heard across the globe in various incarnations. Just ahead of a tour along America’s West Coast and Midwest, we had a chance to catch up with Dev79 to learn more about where the label is headed, his process of working with collaborators, and more. We also feature the full Ableton Live session for his song “Dutch Yak”, in stores now. You can explore his project below:
Nate Mars: What projects have you been working on in the studio lately?
Dev79: I just wrapped up 3 tracks that are free downloads – a bootleg of Bobby Shmurda‘s “Hot N****” dropped from Top Billin last week, this week my collab with RVLVR is coming from our Seclus Jockey series and next week Forward Thinking Sounds is unleashing my track with MC Buddy Leezle “Summertime Champions.”
And all that is hot on the heels of the “Street Bass Anthems Vol 7” compilation that Starkey and I presented on Seclusiasis last month with 16 blazing tracks on cassette, digital and in the Crossfader app. Plus I have a lot more music coming, I’ve had a good creative flow lately and I’m hype about all the beats hitting your ear waves.
NM: Are any of the upcoming projects collaborations?
NM: You’ve been collaborating with Starkey for a long time now on the label side and musically. Can you tell us about that?
Dev79: Starkey and myself met around 2004 and soon afterwards started to work together on Seclusiasis and then developed Slit Jockey as well. We met playing around the Philly scene and had similar tastes in music, especially that we were both into grime and neither of us knew anyone else who even knew what it was at the time [laughs]. Wow it’s been 10 years, that literally just occurred to me…
NM: Where are the labels headed?
DEv79: For the labels we want to continue to maintain our pickiness and quality control standards but at the same time expand things. We are going to be releasing more compilations so we can expose more artists and music. We also want to keep one fist in the physical world and continue to release tapes, tshirts and other things. And we are in early development of a street bass mobile app which we are really excited about.
NM: Your main DAW is Ableton Live. What has drawn you to Live?
Dev79: I used to use Sony Acid back in the day and Ableton Live was a natural switch when Acid wasn’t getting updated anymore. I’ve grown to love the sh%t out of Live, the expansiveness and flexibility never end. I’m always learning new tricks.
NM: What about third-party plugins? Which are your go-to plugins and what do you use them for?
Dev79: I got Arturia Spark LE a little while back and it’s really fun and creative for me. A lot of bits from that have been ending up in my tracks of late. And not just drums but I can get some cool weirdo synth sounds out of it too.
NM: Can you tell us about a technique in Live that is unique to your workflow?
Dev79: I like to sorta ‘jam’ out on parts a lot and then freeze & flattened them, picking out good sections to chop up and re sequence things. Basically I like to sample and re sample myself a lot, using some old school hip hop processes with current vibes.
NM: Can you tell us about your approach to producing “Dutch Yak”? How were the “synth arp chop” variations created?
Dev79: I think it basically started with me chopping the vocal snips. Things developed from there [laughs]. That arp was done by running a synth run thru Ableton’s arp on a few different passes, with settings variations. Then freeze, flatten, and chop chop.
NM: How has using Splice changed your workflow?
Dev79: I think that Splice is going to help me collaborate on projects a bit easier, which will make it a more fun and spontaneous process.
NM: What are some of your favorite Splice features?
Dev79: I like how there’s the dashboard quick links and the layout is really clean and attractive, cluttered interfaces turn me off even if the application is useful.
NM: Any advice for working on music projects and collaborating with others?
Dev79: Create without restraints [laughs]. One of the most fun aspects of collaborating is the unexpected results and the spontaneity, so let go of expectations and let the ideas flow!
Catch Dev79 on his upcoming tour:
About the Splice Artist Series:
We empower music creators to create and collaborate fearlessly. Our goal is to build the best platform possible in order to enable that process. We hope that you learn just as much as we do, hearing from artists about their workflow and how they collaborate. Most importantly after reading, we hope you are inspired to make music!
August 21, 2014