Novation Spotlight: GLXY
Straight after their show at our Novation London Pop-up Store, we got a chance to ask UK drum & bass duo GLXY a few questions about their inspirations, where their musical journeys began, and find out some more about the album the pair have spent 2019 working on.
GLXY are creating a real buzz with their soul-drenched style of production. Having signed to UK drum & bass label Shogun Audio back in 2017, their single ‘Lucid’ grabbed the attention of BBC Radio 1 legend Annie Mac after receiving its radio premiere from Rene La Vice on the Drum and Bass show - he dubbed the track as a ‘baby maker’ which sums up the luscious inviting tones in their production. Following up on their first Shogun release, the duo have continued to deliver with ‘Vision EP’ and ‘Chiral EP’ both of which clearly document their richly melodic tones and ability to work alongside amazing vocalists such as DRS and Solah. Discover a little more about GLXY below.
Hey we’re GLXY – Tom and Jon. We’re based in and around London (Seven Sisters and Fleet, to be exact) and are a drum and bass duo signed to Shogun Audio. We met at uni through the DJ society there where we used to play nights around Leicester – mostly House and Garage at the time!
Why did you start making music and how long have you been doing it for?
Tom - As a duo we’ve been going for maybe three years now, which has gone ridiculously fast. Prior to GLXY though we both dabbled in music production and music in general from an earlier age. I used to play the saxophone growing up and I guess that’s what inspired me to start making electronic music. Playing an individual instrument is enjoyable but limits you to what you can create (unless you're Tom Misch), so that’s what led me to experimenting with production on an early version of Cubase (4!) that I stole from school.
Jon – I’ve been playing guitar since the age of 7 and got into DJing when I was about 16. I really only started producing when I got to university so I was a bit of a late starter in relative terms.
What/who inspires you?
Tom – I think like most producers I take my inspirations from everywhere, there is no one source that inspires me. However, musically in terms of melody etc. I’d say I’m inspired by a lot of jazz / soul, with interesting chord progressions, harmony and layering. I’d say I then look to fuse that with a lot influence from the groove / rhythm in house and techno – this can often be missing in some drum and bass and it leads me to get weirdly obsessive over drum programming!
Jon – Listening to a diverse range of music is really important. Much like Tom, anything jazzy or soulful catches my attention. I also like getting hold of new gear whether that be plugins or hardware, definitely helps!
Describe your new EP/release:
This question is well timed! We’ve just finished out first album project which has taken up much of our work this year – the first single from this has dropped already with our track Changed Forever. As a duo we’ve had the chance to work on 3 or 4 EPs which has allowed us to develop our sound, and this naturally led us to taking on an album. Basically the entirety of the album was written remotely, with us both trading Ableton Live projects over Dropbox, often leading to 30 versions of a track, and then eventually sticking to a final idea. The general sound of this project could probably be best described as a fusion of soulful, deep ideas with more “synthy” electronic elements – which our track Changed Forever demonstrates pretty well.
What gear did you use?
We both run Ableton 10 on Mac – for this project we’ve also started implementing some outboard gear. Nowadays, it’s easy to quickly splurge loads of cash on outboard synths / effects, but we have taken time to get the right setup for our sound. Central to this are a Focusrite 18i20 interface and a Clarett 4Pre which make it easy for us to send out MIDI / audio then route it back. Jon has got the Novation Peak involved on pretty much every track – they give a lot of the nicey space synths / pads you will hear when the album eventually drops. Comparatively - he’s also got the Moog Minataur involved for some of the thicker bass tones and leads that to drive some of the darker tunes. On my end, the Elektron Analog Heat has played a big part, from gentle saturation of drum groups to more creative filtering / distortion on some of the synth leads. I often run this into the Eventide Space reverb pedal which just has a lush tone and sound to it and adds a lot of space.
Where can people listen to your music?
Standard places – Apple Music, Spotify etc. Gig wise if you’re out in Aus / NZ this Christmas then we’re doing a tour out there over Christmas and NYE. Then, hopefully catch us touring our album in 2020!