“I’d been interested in electronic music since the beginning of secondary school, but my first hearings of drum and bass inspired a sense of rhythm and energy that I’d never really felt before.”
Chris Andrew, aka. Hexus, is an electronic and drum and bass music artist from Brighton. Chris has arrived at a sound he describes as ‘distorted, sharp and synthetic’, after creating ambient, lush soundscapes from the mid 2000s, before his interest in drum and bass was sparked by a new sense of rhythm and energy. It was the meticulous effort of creating drum and bass that made it ‘a challenge [he] couldn’t resist’.
Chris’ inspiration comes from relatively eclectic sources, ranging from other artists to his own emotional experiences.
“The track Propagate was inspired simply by the word itself, brought up by a conversation during a game of Minecraft with Hayward’s Heath producer Cliffhanga,” he said. Another track, Bipolar, is based on life experiences and extreme feelings. These influences, Chris says, are very apparent when he listens back to his tracks, despite the fact there are certain parameters they need to adhere to to make them ‘dancefloor friendly’. Other artists said to influence Chris’ own work include Spor, a British producer who has toured with Deadmau5, Noisia, a Dutch trio, and German producers Phace & Misanthrop, whose attention to detail and futuristic sound are much admired by Chris.
Of course, everyone making music will need some form of production software. Chris’ software of choice is Fruity Loops Studio, which he has used since 2005. This, coupled with virtual instruments and effects, help Chris create the sounds he desires in his pieces.
“A lot has been learned having used it for so long and I don’t yet feel the need to move to a different set of tools,” Chris said. This is interesting; in what many people consider to be a fairly fast-moving style of music, it is worth noting that Chris prefers to stick with the software he is familiar with, managing to create such a wide variety of music within this threshold. His ability to manipulate the software available to him to create such musical versatility may well be aided by his aptitude for computing. Chris is a Computer Science student at Sussex University. This has meant he has been able to analyse the audible spectrum, allowing him to figure out how much information he is able to fit into the fixed amount of space given, which he now does with every track produced.
One of his own favourite tracks is his remix of Int Company’s Joy, which took him about a month to finish. “It was amazing to hear the original and get so many new ideas to put into practice.” Propagate is Chris’ first track involving an MC, which Chris describes as ‘my favourite blend between melody and steppy neurofunk.” Along with these, he lists Closure, a track created with the help of his friend Josh Trinnaman, who reinvigorated his desire to finish the track after Chris became stuck after a month or so.
This is not the only time Chris has worked with other artists. Brighton based Kai, formerly known as IAM:YOURHERO, also collaborated with Chris, when he added electronic elements to their track Better Luck Next Time. “Jamming in the studio and getting to record it all was a lot of fun,” Chris said. He also created his own drum and bass remix of said track, which he ‘enjoyed thoroughly’.
Although Chris has been invited to Germany to play alongside artists such as Phace (which Chris says would be a pleasure), along with offers to try out at drum and bass nights in Brighton, his university commitments mean that currently, the live performances have to take more of a backseat. However, he performs at friends’ parties from time to time, and would like to take on more live work in the future.
What does Chris think of the internet as a platform for spreading new music? “The internet is so versatile for spreading drum and bass, with Youtube channels and podcasts that people tune in to frequently to hear the latest bangers, and I’m generally astonished by how effectively this spreads awareness of new artists.” Chris is no stranger to the internet; his Soundcloud page is riddled with comments from fans. The biggest compliment someone can give about his music is that they can both appreciate the sound design, and ‘dance to it like crazy’.
In the future, Chris would like to have his music played on BBC 1Xtra, as a way for people to ‘tune in’ to his music. He would like to collaborate with local artists such as Cliffhanga and Rockwell, along with producer Receptor. There is a potential collaboration on the horizon with Memtrix, a self-proclaimed fan of Chris’ work. We can expect experiments with neurofunk, electro and house for the rest of the year, along with the minimal, precise side of drum and bass.
To hear more from Hexus, visit his Soundcloud page.