Published Sep 25, 2012Ex-Montrealler and MUTEK-affiliate Deadbeat (aka Scott Monteith) recently made the inevitable move, like so many North American electronic musicians do, to the European home of techno: Berlin. Much like Monolake, whom he has collaborated with in the past, Monteith also builds his music software, as well as using it expertly. Perhaps as a result of this change of location, Deadbeat's new release (simply titled Eight, after the number of tracks on the record) shows us a different side of the Canadian ex-pat's take on dub techno. Channelling some more aggressive UK bass vibes and a bit of urban Berlin grit, Eight is more stripped down, darker and moodier than 2011's Drawn and Quartered. Eight is a solid album of bass-heavy, tribal dub techno that employs plenty of analog synth and is among Deadbeat's strongest releases to date.
You recently started your own label, BLKRTZ. What prompted that and what do you intend to achieve?
It's been an idea for some time, and as the Drawn and Quartered album wasn't really something I felt made much sense for any of the labels I was dealing with at the time, it seemed as good a time as any to take the plunge. It was a good deal of work to get everything up and running, but at this point, I only wish I'd done it sooner.
How do you think your music has changed over the years?
Much like the tortoise from the proverbial children's story, slow and steady, and as a product of the new environments, experiences and technologies I've been exposed to along the way.
What prompted the move to Berlin? Do you think there's a bit of a brain drain happening right now with so many North American electronic musicians moving there?
Economic reasons primarily; I was doing most of my touring in Europe and it really just made the most sense not to be flying across the pond every other week. I don't see it as a brain drain at all ― local music scenes evolve and change over time and Montreal is more active musically now than any of the years I lived there. I've been consistently surprised over the last few years at the amount of incredible talent the city continues to produce and in such a wide range of styles. It really is a bit of a magical place, in that sense. Blame it on the long winters, but it really is quite amazingly conducive to developing one's sound and has inspired a ridiculous amount of sonic innovation over the years.
Eight is more minimal and darker than your last. It sounds like a bit of the more aggressive UK bass culture is informing the dub in your techno this time.
After Drawn and Quartered, I was definitely feeling the need to explore more dance floor-oriented stuff, but at the same time, was starting to become fairly allergic to the 118- to 124-bpm tech-house that has really taken over things globally in the last few years. The darkness or slightly more aggressive beat structures may have been a bit of a reaction to that ― trying to find things that worked on a dance floor without having this endlessly plodding, endlessly referential, safety first attitude that's so prevalent these days. I think that's coming to an end now, to some extent, and people are really starting to look forward again, thankfully.
What happened with ~Scape?
They went bankrupt, sadly, and they will be sorely missed. If there is any silver lining on that particular cloud it's that Stefan (aka Pole) has more time to work on his music again, which can only mean good and exciting things.
You have a couple of other prominent Canadian electronic artists (Mathew Jonson and Danuel Tate) on your record. How did those collaborations come about and what role did the collaborators play?
This is one of the great benefits of being here in Berlin: a lot of great producers are either based here or pass through a few times a year, which makes it incredibly easy to make these kinds of exchanges possible. Mat and I spend time every couple of months in the studio and just kind of jam out and see what happens. With Danuel, I had a tune where his vocoded vocals kept creeping into my mind when working on it, so I sent him the tune and we recorded for a day while he was here. I really enjoy these kinds of interactions; it's so important to take yourself out of your creative comfort zone to evolve artistically. Throwing another set of hands and opinions into the mix is a great way of doing that.