Since their mysterious arrival on the scene with “All Out” featuring on Viper’s “The Sound Of Drum & Bass 2016”, Killer Hertz have been going from strength to strength with no signs of letting up.
Consistently providing the goods for fans of high energy heavy hitting dramatic dnb by way of tearing bass, dynamic pounding drums and powerful unique synths, it’s no wonder every new Killer Hertz release is welcomed into Friction’s action-packed sets with open arms.
With a slew of dancefloor destroying releases on the likes of Viper and Elevate Recordings already under their belts, as well as an ever-growing war chest of coveted unreleased tunes, the previously anonymous trio are hurtling into 2019 at full speed. The guys recently kicked off their first release of 2019 “The Unknown” appearing on Elevates “The Quadrant” series alongside Turno, Kanine and Flowidus, however this is just the beginning as their plans for this year stretch far beyond the studio…
Killer Hertz Live is set to feature on international lineups this year, so we caught up with Pete, Phil and Mo to find out what they’ve got planned for this enormous new project.
So just a year ago you guys were still releasing your Killer Hertz stuff anonymously, and now you’re taking directly to the stage for a live show. Was it always the plan to perform as Killer Hertz Live or has that just developed along the way?
Pete: It kind of developed that way, we’re Killer Hertz we just wanted to make music and let the music do the talking and then with us all coming from a live background anyway we just naturally started working towards a live project. We never really discussed it, we had an opportunity where some visual guys – Jordy and Henk – approached us about doing out visuals and then we were like “well let’s find a way of making it beyond just a normal DJ set with some visuals”, we wanted to make a full AV live show with live instruments as well.
Awesome, so on the Audio Visual aspect what’s gone into that?
Pete: The visuals are based around each of the tracks, so for instance we’ve got a track called Gorilla so we’ve got like a full moving gorilla that’s animated from scratch, all designed for that record so it will move in time and kind of jump out of the screen. There’s lots of flames, lots of really clever stuff goes on synced in time with the music and lots of it is done live by the VJ’s as well. So basically, for each of our tracks you’ve got difference visuals that are written and created specifically for the track that’s being played, you won’t just have generic visuals running all over the set it’s actually really crafted and really well thought out.
It’s so great to hear that those aspects from the promo video are part of the show! And on the subject of the promo video, when was that first show?
Pete: It was a couple of months ago, we flew to Holland and we did the show there in a place called Nijimegen.
And how did it go? Was it stressful or given your live backgrounds did you feel it was pretty smooth?
Pete: Anything like that is always stressful, just because you know when you’ve got all these things like a wall of LEDs, laptops, electric drums and all these synths and everything. You know when I’m playing drums, I look behind me to see if the first clip has triggered because it can be temperamental, sometimes it may not work, so it was very stressful. Until you get half way through the set and then you start to enjoy it and all of a sudden it’s over, it’s over too quick.
There’s a lot of risk in doing live stuff that’s why a lot of people don’t do it, or they say they’re doing live and they’re not actually doing much. So yeah it’s a very stressful thing, for instance we had to create all the custom content – well the visual guys did- before the gig we had to put the whole live setup together before the first show and it was months of work just to get it to the point where it would actually work and we had a good looking show. And that’s all good but it’s also about the performance about whether the crowd enjoy it and how it comes across to them, and they lapped it up! It was incredible for our first show the response was crazy it was a massive success, but it could’ve been a massive failure as well you just don’t know with things like this until you try it.
Absolutely, glad to hear it went well then! Can you tell me some more about the band setup then? Pete you’ve said you’re drumming, and I think I spied a midi guitar in the footage?
Phil: Pete’s on his drums, the keytar is basically a sub bass instrument. That’s my job at the minute is to play sub bass throughout the set. Mo plays a lot of the lead lines so when there are melodic hooks those are taken out and he’s playing those back in. So essentially, we’re drums, bass and lead really.
Pete: Yeah there’s other elements of keys playing and stuff like that in it. I play an electric drum kit, a Yamaha drum kit, and we’ve taken all the drum sounds from the record and put them inside the drum brain so I’m playing the drums live as such but on an electric kit. So we’re trying to do as much as we can live, with visuals and obviously with our front man Multiplex but without making it over complex because there’s so much that can go wrong in the first place. But what we’re doing is quite a lot, you’ve got Mo playing leads and keys, we’ve got the drum triggers and we’ve got Phil playing sub bass which is sick instrument when you’re in the club because you know, it’s the most powerful thing. And we’ve got Multiplex who’s an absolutely sick front man and then Henk and Jordy doing the visuals.
Excellent, so have you had any difficulties translating things into the live show? Or has it all been simple since you’re using your own stems?
Mo: It’s been pretty straight forward, when we got back from the show we wrote as few records with the live set in mind and because we’ve got quite a lot of percussive riffs, the sub bass easy for Phil to play and the drums Pete can replicate so we can get it to sound pretty much like the record live. Obviously it’s not going to be quite as accurate but that’s the idea, to replicate the records as much as possible live.
Pete: Yeah so it’s almost like you’re listening to DJ play but it’s a full live performance. You don’t want the records to jump genre and be a rock record all of a sudden, you want it to sound close to the original as possible.
Phil: Without sounding exactly like the original record.
Mo: Yeah, and we achieved that basically so we’re happy!
Sweet, have you had to learn any new tech for the show?
Phil: It’s all stuff we’ve used before really, the best thing is to keep it simple live. We don’t want to make it too challenging because we want to execute it well, you know? And I mean Drum and Bass needs to sound clinical, even if it’s live, so it’s about taking the element we can execute well, that’s how we’ve done it and that works. It’s good.
Sure, you want to do it right. So, I believe “The Unknown” is your 10th release under the Killer Hertz name, has going live influenced the way you’re writing tracks now?
Mo: It has influenced how we’ve written music, but you know we’re writing quite a wide scope of drum and bass and maybe some of the releases people hear don’t quite represent all of the music that we’ve made. But we’ve got quite a big vocal radio song about to drop and you know there’s our sort of heads down bangers but there’s also quite musical ideas.
Pete: And we’re sitting on quite a lot of new music at the moment as well, so a lot of it will translate in the live format than it would in a DJ set. So “The Unknown” our track that’s out right now that’s a straight up DJ record, even though we probably will play it live, we’ve got some more musical bits as well to come.
Speaking of unreleased music, are you planning to hold things back exclusively for the live show?
Pete: Some tracks we’ve written specifically for the live show, we have our next release lined up which is coming out in March and then we’ve got 2 or 3 big remixes. We’re currently working on a remix for Example, you never know it might not come out but he loves it at the moment, so we’ve got to finish that. We’ve got a remix for Friction of Mad in The Jungle as well and then we’ve got a remix for the Freestylers and Pendulum, I’m not too sure if that’s ever going to come out but that’s ready to go and we play that in our live sets as well. So yeah there’s a lot of music on the way and we’ve got about 5 or 6 others that we’re working on, club records and potentially more commercial-ish records, so there’s a lot coming.
Nice, that’s always good to hear. You’ve partially covered it there, but is the show all your own material or are there some surprises?
Pete: It’s all our own material, but we have done a few of my Erb N Dub tracks, like there’s a remix for the Prototypes that I did with Crissy Criss and Malux that we use. We also use the remix that we’ve done for TC we play that live, “Next Hype” by TC and Jakes. And both of them translate really well live, because they’re quite big remixes and quite well known. But the majority of it is Killer Hertz music, I’d say 95% of it.
So I guess the remaining question is, when can we expect to see it?
Pete: Because we’ve literally just launched it we’re taking bookings at the moment, but we have confirmed Beats For Love, which has not been announced yet but it’s going to be announced very soon. Beats For Love mainstage in the Czech Republic which is a big festival, I think it’s 9-10 at night so we can use the visuals, cause we need it to be dark-ish. Then we have Mainframe in Austria confirmed and we’re just chatting to a few other festivals including Glastonbury and a few others across Europe but it’s early days at the moment and we’re still building the brand, we’re just waiting for more bookings to come in from our agent. We can’t just say we’re going on a world tour but having things like Beats For Love mainstage is a colossal thing for us, there’s a lot of people, I think there’s 20,000 people at that stage so it’ll be great to play that gig and it’ll also be great experience. Also the video footage we get from it will hopefully open up other doors. But it’s not like we’ve started Killer Hertz Live to expect the world, we’re just working musicians and DJs that wanted to do some live stuff and it’s been really well received, so it’s really looking quite good to be honest.
Awesome, it’s really exciting to hear that you’ll be at festivals soon then!
Pete: Yeah, the thing for us is we come from live music growing up we were all musicians, so I think a lot of DJs or Producers when they go and do a live show it’s quite daunting or quite hard for them. But it’s the opposite for us, we come from that so it’s natural for us to do it. I think that’s why a lot of producers are put off doing live music these days, because they’re not actually live musicians.
Definitely. So is there anything you would like to add in terms of what we can expect for the future?
Pete: Just expect a lot more music from us and yeah, come and check the live show it’s good fun!
Will do, I’m looking forward to it! Thanks so much for your time guys and good luck for what you’ve got coming up.