A catch-up with Irish DJ/producer, Hybrasil
Hybrasil is an Irish live artist and producer who has been making waves in the electronic music scene for several years. Known for his unique blend of techno, with a sound that draws influences from both the classic and contemporary eras of electronic music. With a discography that spans across several respected labels such as Rekids, Uncage and Carl Cox’s Awesome Soundwave, Hybrasil has long proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with in the world of underground dance music.
Aside from his career as a musician, Hybrasil is also dedicated to teaching the art of music production through his eLearning platform Elevator Program. This online program provides aspiring producers with a comprehensive and hands-on approach to music production, covering everything from the basics of sound design to more advanced mixing and mastering techniques. With his wealth of experience and knowledge in the industry, Hybrasil is a trusted and respected figure in the world of electronic music, both as an artist and as an educator. We caught up with him recently to chat about Elevator Program, as well as his record, the Luchtaine EP…
Can you tell us about your background in music and how you got started as a live artist?
My first connection to electronic music was through pirate radio. It was through that medium that I fell in love with DJ culture. I started going to record shops, buying vinyl and bought a pair of Technics turntables. I set up a DJ Society in my college (DIT DJ Society), I started a late night 3 deck turntable show on a local Irish language radio station and I got my first residency at a club in Dublin called the POD.
For me it was a natural progression to evolve from DJing into music production. I loved turntable culture, but with the digitisation of the DJ craft, I felt that something was lost and I became more drawn to writing music. I wanted to learn how the records I was playing were made. So I made the decision to quit my job and study Sound and Music Technology full time. I really immersed myself in the program and I enjoyed learning all facets of music technology.
After I graduated I was offered a role as house engineer at Temple Lane and Grouse Lodge studios where I got to work with musicians from all disciplines including Blues, Jazz, World Music and Prog Rock. I was also approached to curate and deliver the electronic music syllabus at the Sound Training Centre. In 2012 I launched my first series of events at the Button Factory. I began writing music for each show and it was then that I started performing live, sharing new studio concepts at each event. This is where it all began.
What inspired you to start teaching music production, and how did you develop Elevator Program?
It happened organically to be honest. I was offered a role teaching music production after I graduated from Sound and Music Technology. I was being approached by artists to help them finish music, which led me into mentorship, mixing and mastering. Over time I identified a number of pain points for electronic music producers, including composition, mixing, mastering and understanding music technology on a deeper level. I developed an A-Z system to help artists navigate the creative process and establish a workflow where they could break out of loop mode and begin to see results. I saw this work for artists of all levels. I started running a series of Ableton Bootcamps which were hugely successful. This inspired me to take this music production philosophy online so that I could reach and help more people in more countries.
How would you describe the Elevator Program to someone who is considering taking it?
Elevator Program is an electronic music production campus in the cloud. You can learn online and in-APP. I built it as something I would hand to my younger self when I was starting my journey as a music producer. I have distilled 15 years of experience into Elevator Program as a music producer, artist and sound engineer. I created the platform based on my own experience as an artist and through the program I am making that path easier for others. That’s why we have invested heavily in the platform and record label so that music producers can learn their craft, engage in community and launch their careers under one roof.
Elevator Program teaches artists the art and science of electronic music production, the art being the creative process and the science being the technology we are using such as Ableton and Native Instruments Maschine. We teach people how to make electronic music from the ground up. Our mission is to help music producers find their creative voice and reach their potential.
What sets Elevator apart from other music production courses currently available?
Elevator Program is a one stop shop offering innovative learning program for learning music production, access to community and opportunities to release music on our in-house record label where artists navigate those first steps to becoming a published artist.
Elevator offers a path forward for music producers, whether you are a total beginner or someone who has been making music for 5 years but finding it difficult to get to the next level. From day one, the program focuses on the creative process and teaching artists how to create music from the ground up. We have also invested heavily in the artist experience. Our platform is mobile first, we have a user APP where members can learn on the go and we offer an inbuilt social media platform. Elevator Program is an electronic music production campus in the cloud.
How did you decide on the course curriculum and structure?
The curriculum is the distillation of 15 years of experience in music production and education, mentoring and working with artists of all levels. I specialise in helping people with workflow and getting results. I have worked with beginners, touring DJs and even experienced producers who are looking for a more efficient way to use their studio time. The curriculum is built around this experience, I’ve seen what works for people and I’ve poured that into the program.
How do you think Elevator can benefit aspiring producers, and what skills can they expect to gain from taking the course?
We teach people how to make music and improve their creative process. If you want to break out of the Youtube video loop and learn how to make music, Elevator Program is a platform that can help you reach your creative goals. We teach the craft of making electronic music from the ground up. If you put in the time you will get results.
Elevator will help you put a creative workflow in place so that you are getting results in the studio and it will help you better understand tools at your disposal, such as Ableton and Maschine.
Can you discuss any success stories or notable achievements from students who have completed the Elevator course?
The Elevator Program label has seen some incredible music from Elevator artists including Olympias, REOSC, KERZ and murademura. The label's mission is to platform good underground electronic music, from House to Techno to Electro. We’ve seen an interesting blend of House and Techno so far. The label isn’t bound by trends or charts, our objective is to release music that will stand the test of time. This offers freedom to artists to create music that is representative of who they are. We are looking for music that is truly authentic.
What is your approach to teaching music production, and how do you adapt to different learning styles?
I have helped a lot of artists of all different levels. The key is to help people navigate the creative process and put in place a workflow that works for them. We help people through online tutorials and people have access to community support through our community manager and we offer mentorship for artists who are looking for a more curated approach.
The key is to help music producers navigate the creative process, understand where they are on their journey as an artist and identify a path forward for them to help them get results and reach their creative goals.
How do you balance your career as a live artist with your role as an educator?
Both have balanced hand in hand. Teaching and exploring music technology and music production techniques feeds into my creative process which feeds into my live show. Feedback from my live shows feeds into my studio work, creating a type of feedback loop. Everything is very much intertwined for me which pushes me forward as an artist.
How has your style and approach to live performance evolved over the course of your career?
When I started performing live I was working with a laptop, Ableton, a controller and some drum machines. In 2018 I decided to drop the computer from my live show and I began performing DAWless with the Elektron Octatrack Sampler. This was a challenging transition but it was a game changer. It pushed me to learn that machine on a deeper level and it also added something to my live performances.
Let’s chat a bit about what you’ve been up to release-wise recently. We’re really loving the Luchtaine EP especially; can you tell us a bit about that one and the vibe you were going for with it?
The Hybrasil concept pulls influences from my surroundings in Berlin, my influences from early Detroit Techno and fuses that with Celtic mythology. I feel that this EP delivered that really well. Sonically it was created for Berghain at a certain time of the morning, you can hear an expanded interpretation of the Hybrasil sound, exploring more industrialist textures. I really enjoyed releasing this EP with Alan Fitzpatrick and the We Are the Brave team.
Are you just as inspired by your students as they are you, do you think?
For sure, I love listening to demos for the Elevator Program label and it's amazing to hear what people are creating. When you work with artists there is always a feedback loop, you are sharing knowledge but you are also getting their insights on that knowledge. I find it very inspiring to hear music from artists who have studied with Elevator Program.
How do you see the production teaching evolving in the coming years?
AI will play a major role in music production and education in the years to come. I think AI is already influencing some of the content we are seeing today. I can see virtual tutors, augmented reality driven by AI and perhaps a more granular or personalised approach to teaching music production.
You’ve also been really busy putting together HBL Studios. What’s in the studio? And how do we get an invite?!
You are welcome any time!! HBL Studios is my studio at Riverside Studios in Berlin! I founded it during the pandemic. It's my creative space but also where I do my mixing and mastering work. Some of my favourite machines are the Elektron Analogue RYTM, Elektron Octatrack, MOOG Voyager, Roland Jupiter 6, Roland SH-101, Nord Lead, KORG ARP Odyssey along with some 303 and 2600 clones.
What makes a great studio? Or is it a case of ‘each to their own’? Do you have a favourite piece of kit in there too?
A studio is just a place where you get your music done. So if you just have a laptop and a controller and a pair of headphones, that's enough. It's all about the results. If you are buying machines it is important to learn each one inside out before adding the next one, otherwise you end up with a lot of equipment and you are only utilising them to 25-50% of their potential. Focus on the craft and buy the things you really need. In terms of favourites, I love the Roland SH-101 and the Roland Jupiter 6 has been a dream to work with.
What advice would you give to aspiring DJs and producers looking to make a name for themselves in the industry?
Learn your craft, don't get distracted by social media or by comparing yourself to others. Focus on the music, the creative process, make sure you are constantly learning and building your skills and most importantly enjoy the process. Create music for you, follow your path and the rest will follow.
For more information on Elevator Program, check their website HERE