Scott Monteith has been making music under the name Deadbeat for just over 12 years now. He’s originally from Canada and has lived in Montreal for most of his life. Scott is now based in Berlin, producing his own special blend of dub laden, minimal electronica.
Having worked with a virtual who’s who of some of the most respected pioneers in the scene such as Stefen Betke (Pole), Barbara Preisenger, Marc Leclair (Akufen) and Mike Shannon, he’s released records on labels including Cynosure, ~scape, Wagon Repair, Spectral Sound, Musique Risquée and Echochord. Scott is currently working on new material for his new album which will be released in September 2012 on his own imprint BLKRTZ.
Scott’s vast mix marks the 60th mix in the IA MIX Series and features an impressive selection of producers such as Tim Hecker, Demdike Stare, Dadub, SCB, The Mole, Sigha, Shed, 2562, Cobblestone Jazz and many more.
For those not in the know please can you introduce yourself, tell us where you’re from and what you’re currently up to?
My name is Scott Monteith and I’ve been making music under the name Deadbeat for just over 12 years now. I’m from Canada and lived in Montreal for most of my life, I’m now based in Berlin. I’m currently working on the material for my new album which will be released in September on my own BLKRTZ label.
It’s clear to me that your sound is deeply rooted in the Basic Channel / Echocord sound. When did you start delving into dub and what is it about dub that has intrigued you to experiment and produce music?
I got into Basic Channel almost right around the time the records started coming out in the mid 90s as an extension of my interest in early dub/ambient/house stuff like the Orb, Bandulu, Psychic Warriors of Gaia and so on. At this point I probably own every record worth having within that creative sphere.
I’ve also been a heavy collector of reggae 7s and particularly dubs from that 70s and early 80s as well for many years. I think its simply the other worldliness and spaciousness that appeals to me with all dub related music, and of course the physicality of the bass. On a good sounds system the physical effect of those sub frequencies and the motion of the delays start to play tricks on you. Your mind starts filling in the empty space so there is this unique opportunity with dub to really be get carried away in a very hallucinatory way, regardless if you’re talking about the classic, house, techno, or whatever-step variety.
I originally discovered your music through ‘Radio Rothko’, released on ‘The Agriculture’ in 2010 – Can you please expand on the creative process behind this mix, as today it is now heralded as one of the all time classic mix CD’s.
It was a mix that I’d had on my mind for many years, a sort of comprehensive over view of the dub techno sound that would really give people some insight into the breadth of tone and colour that exists within this quite rigidly conservative creative framework, and also how long it’s been going on for.
Of course there were some tracks and artists who I felt were crucial to include that didn’t make it on to the mix for licensing reasons (I wanted to kill someone when Porter Ricks got reissued a couple months ago for example), but generally it still feels like I achieved some semblance of my initial goals with it.
To date you’ve released albums on Intr_version, ~scape, Onitor, Wagon Repair and most recently your own imprint BLKRTZ – ~scape has now closed shop but how did Stefan Betke and Barbara Preisinger help develop your music and overall approach to sound?
My connection with ~scape came at a very opportune time for both parties I think. They were really defining there sound as a label at that time and I was starting to try and push things further away from the techno / dance floor side of things and really struggling to find myself in terms of sound design and experimentation. Looking for ‘my voice’ might be a slightly more concise, but pretty grossly hippie way of saying it. They were always very supportive and let me dictate what the final product would be. We had a lot of dialog during the writing process of each album however, and those conversations and that relationship in general had a major impact with how I’ve developed musically, as well as how I’ve decided to deal with the business side of things.
Can you please expand on how you created your mix – Your track selection as well as the overall theme running throughout?
I had 4 or 5 new productions of mine that I wanted to put on the mix so I just spent a couple of days trying figure out the best way to connect the dots between them using some of the other music I’ve been feeling recently. I knew I wanted to start the mix with a track from my good friend Tim Hecker as a tribute to the fact that he’s just won the Juno award (Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) for best electronic music album, which is an absolutely coup for electronic music in Canada. That ended up being a jumping off point for starting the mix on a very experimental tip, and in the end I’m very happy with the diversity of territory I managed to cover on the mix overall.
I’m of course a huge fan of house new and old but with so many mixes out there you get the feeling that that’s the only music a lot of DJs own or listen to. That’s most certainly not the case with me, I like a lot of different stuff and finding ways of putting it all together is the most interesting part of doing these things for me. It can make for some kind of itchy moments mix wise but who really needs another podcast of perfectly locked, inoffensive cookie cutter Chicago throw backs these days anyway?
What events let you to establish your own record label BLKRTZ? What’s the story behind the name and the label’s mission?
The name is a truncation of Black Arts, and is a play on words concerning the vinyl medium which I am very much committed to, a nod to Lee Scratch Perry who had a label called Black Arts back in the day, and more generally the historical roots of where all the music we dance to these days comes from. I’d spoken with the Kompakt guys who are handling my distribution about starting a label for many years and when I finished up work on my last album and couldn’t think of anyone to send it to it seemed as a good a time as any to finally get off my ass and do it. Results have been great thus far and I really couldn’t be happier with that side of things.
Your album ‘Drawn And Quartered’ presents five tracks of beautifully deep rhythmic compositions. How did you go about creating this album? What inspired you and where did you spend the majority of your time writing the album and with whom?
I wrote the album over about a year and a half which coincided directly with the time leading up to the birth of my daughter and the first year of her life. As anyone who’s a parent can attest, that first year doesn’t leave a whole lot of ‘me’ time and your mind is definitely focused on all the new challenges and joys of parenthood.
I was basically going into the studio whenever I had a free moment, flailing around, and feeling like I was getting nowhere, and was quite potentially never going to write anything with any substance ever again. I was just making tons and tons of very long recordings jamming around on the gear. At some point though, really as if by magic, I started playing some of these long recordings side by side and realized that I had these 5 very long exploratory pieces that fit pretty well together. The fact that I made each of those long recordings, be it a physically playing congas or tweaking some synth sequence without any concern for song arrangement or how it might fit with anything else at all means each individual element is really strong in its own right I think from an evolving sound design perspective.
At the time I was only thinking about that one individual sound. In truth it’s almost like that album wrote itself or was beamed in from somewhere else, as I don’t feel like I had much conscious influence over it’s birthing process at all.
What’s the concept behind splitting the album into quarters?
That’s just the way it turned out really, and conveniently it fits nice and snuggly on a vinyl double pack. I wasn’t particularly into the ‘digital exclusive’ idea of Plateau Quarter and I think I’ll do my best to avoid that kind of format exclusionism in future but in the end it really seemed to fit with the rest of the material for me and closes the CD on a very positive note.
So far you’ve released two records on BLKRTZ, ‘Drawn And Quartered’ and ‘Drawn And Quartered Remixes’ – What’s your release schedule looking like, will you release records from any other artists?
On April 30th I’ll be releasing a collaborative 12 inch with Danuel Tate from Cobblestone Jazz which came together when he was here a few months ago that I’m very excited about called ‘Lazy Jane’.
The title track was a little too down beat for this mix but the b side 909 dub version is the mix somewhere in the middle there. The next release will be my, as of yet untitled, album which all faring well will hit the shelves on September 10th, a remix EP closely following that, and then some very exciting stuff from some other people toward the end of the year and in to 2013, unless the doomsday Mayan cultists are right of course.
Your live performances are heralded for your dark, deep and complex rhythmic patterns. Do you plan each performance meticulously before playing or do you let it develop organically?
In all honestly things have been quite pre-canned in the last while and that has been a point of frustration for me. As a result of this, in parallel to developing the material for the new album I’m also working on how to make playing it out live really fun and spontaneous for me again.
I’ve always enjoyed taking material that people might know from a CD and consider to be kind of heady, light weight dubby stuff and injecting it with real techno power in a live context. Having spent the last year showcasing stuff from Drawn and Quartered primarily I’m feeling more drawn to down and dirty, romper stomper noisy club business again I guess.
When producing music, what equipment, software and processes do you tend to rely on?
It changes all the time in terms of sound generation but Ableton Live is my recording and performance tool of choice. I’ve just moved into a new shared studio space with the Exercise One boys and their Moog is my new best friend. It makes so many other synths sound positively castrated by comparison.
I’ve also been delving into the murky depths of guitar pedals of late, which is a truly endless sea of possibilities and offers so much in a live context. I’ve also been finding time to build some of my own things again in Reaktor and Tassman again which I haven’t done for years and had nearly forgotten how inspiring, albeit hugely time consuming, that can be. The gratification of building your own instrument from the ground up and then getting an absolutely lethal sound out of it that slots perfectly into a track you’re working on really can’t be over stated though.
With a lot of the, to my ears anyway, lazy retro-ism that’s been going on the last couple of years I really feel a renewed commitment to sound design. The rhythmic structures that work well on a dance floor have been pretty unarguably proven at this point, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to use the same sounds within those structures, and I get the feeling sometimes that dance music producers in general are selling their audience short these days. To put it very bluntly, who the fuck wants to play for the dumbest guy in the room?
What else do you have in store for 2012?
I’m extremely honored to be part of the launching of a new 10 inch label out of Switzerland called Cadeus records run. My good friend Dandy Jack was commissioned to do the first release and asked me to do a remix for him, and both tracks are absolute bangers if I do say so myself.
I was so happy with the beats on my remix that they will probably appear in a slower, weirder form with a very special guest on the album in September. I was also asked to curate half of the 3rd edition of the Air Texture ambient compilation series alongside DJ Olive which should see light sometime in the fall.
I’ve also got some absolutely beautiful contributions from some of my nearest and dearest here in Berlin and have some big plans for the release party here all faring well. I’ll be continuing to work with Matias Aguayo in a mixing capacity over the next months and helping him ready his next, always megaton heavy, salvos into the world. Beyond that just hoping to play lots more good shows and meet lots of nice new people along the way.DeadbeatBLKRTZDubDub Techno