Synba Interviews Neo¹
[Synba] Where did you grow up?
[Neo1] Im from Kelowna originally. I grew up there till I was about 10. I actually grew up in the woods near Kalowna till I was 5. Then moved here (Victoria) when I was 10 and lived here since. For the last 20 years.
[Synba] How did your dj/producer career start?
[Neo1] Well my first exposure to electronic music was probibly when I was about 13 or 14 and my best friend at the time, Ryan, had this uncle who lived in Japan and brought him back some cassette tapes of some trance and stuff like that. That was my first exposure to it and I totally was into to it even though my other tastes of music I liked at the time was metal and punk. It was just this awesome, possitive, happy music and I liked it right away and then I started just looking on the internet and finding mixes and stuff over the next couple years and it just took off and I never looked back. I donno there is something about electronic music… I just really relate to it in alot of ways and it just talks to me. I has been my mainstay ever since I started listening to it.
[Synba] It seems that music kind of runs in your family. Can you tell me a little about that?
[Neo1] It kinda does seem that way, because my dad told me long before I became a dj, that he wanted to be a dj. Him and Jordie’s (DJJD) dad, being brothers, were always into the same things, hangin out all the time. My dad actually made a synthesizer that they were making a kind of electronic style of music with. Totally ahead of their time really. And they were doing this when they were like 20, so like 40 some odd years ago. They made this video to go along with the soundtrack that they made with this synthesizer they made. It was just like this psychedelic picture to go along with it. It was pretty cool to see that. He actually just re-rendered it and put it on YouTube.
[Synba] I looked up the word Neo1 online and I found out that it was a gene. Is that where your name came from?
[Neo1] No, because my name is Neil, when I was younger I had friends that called me Neo because it was easier to say than Neil, cuz we were like 5 years old or something. So I have been called Neo quite a bit of my life. It started as a dj name cuz I just wanted a dj name, something different and then I was like Neo means new in a lot of languages. Then the 1 was just added kinda to make it original. It was the 1 kinda up to the side like it was to the power of 1 but you know its like a singular, there is only 1.
[Synba] You have been around in the Victoria scene for quite a while. What is your role in the scene here?
[Neo1] I have been doing it for 13 years now this summer. When I first started out, my friends and I were throwing these renegade partys and stuff. We had connections with the bar scene up in Naniamo, specially Brent and I. It was the Dizzy Boys who did the Sunday shows at the press room and they were always getting us up there to open for their headliner from Vancouver mostly. That and Sweet Waters down here in Victoria, which ran from 2000 till 2003 or 4, it went for a few years. It was like Swerve Tuesdays, which was put on by Reliable Mykee, Brent and I had played a lot of shows there. Those were like the two bars that really opened it up for us and got us out of the house party and outdoor rave scene and into the club scene.
[Synba] You mentioned that you started by listening to trance, and now you’re playing primarily speed garage. Can you elaborate on that transition?
[Neo1] When we first started collecting records it was mostly just hardhouse and trance, I liked speed garage at the time because some of my first cassettes tapes that I recorded from sets off of the internet and off of the radio from Vancouver on their electronic nights were speed garage. I didnt even know what speed garage was at the time but I knew I really loved it. Once we were able to find speed garage on vinyl then we started collecting it but it took a year or 2. I even played some other styles also besides hardhouse and trance… some new energy and funky house and stuff like that. As soon as we could find the speed garage records Brent and I were all over it.
[Synba] How would you define your genre… speed garage?
[Neo1] There are a lot of similarities between speed garage, bassline and 4X4. Really it has to do with the style and patterns of the basslines that are being used. Because they all do utilize the shuffly hi hat pattern while maintaining the 4X4 style. To differentiate from garage, its like a more sped up version. Like it’s “speed” garage. Specially in its early years it was played at much higher bpms, like 138/140 and the vocals in it where really sped up to match that high bpm and they didnt have a proper way of encoding the vocals to maintain its pitch while getting it up to that bpm. So… it was called speed garage. Garage having a lot of similiar patterns is kind of a slower version.
[Synba] What were the influences that you had as you came up?
[Neo1] I really liked Dj Rid tapes from the UK and that was speed garage. Which was some of the tapes I was talking about earlier. At the time I didnt even know it was speed garage but it was my favorite tape, Dj Rid from the UK. There were other artist’s tracks that I was spinnning, like even in the hard house, like TDV (Tony De Vit) he produced awesome stuff. It was all like hardhouse, new energy and trancy stuff. Even to this day Ill listen to it cuz I love that shit! So that was a big influence and I like to work in styles from the stuff I first started listening to into my production now. It not really regular speed garage or bassline I produce, its kinda like the same but different. I have been told by people that my speed garage that I produce is not like any other out there. Except for maybe the older stuff.
[Synba] Tell me about Portugal. What the story with that?
[Neo1] I heard about this festival and I thought that this would be awesome to just go to. I was online looking it up and I went to go check out the lineup. Then I saw that they dont decide who plays till a few months before the show, which is about now. And they try not to have the same headliners every year. They try to get people to come in from all around the world. They take in entry forms and I just filled it out for fun, not thinking of it and I got the email a couple days ago saying that we have chosen you as one of our 1500 djs we are picking for the 5 week event please confirm within the 5 day period to tell us that you will be there. You can come play and bring 3 guests and when I first read it I was beside myself thinking is this thing for real! kazantip is the name of the festival.
[Synba] Is there a story behind the whole totally thing.
[Neo1] Totally is another nickname that I have had for a long time. It really just started with me saying it all the time. And then when I started working my day job, glazing, I was working with this young group of guys and they made nicknames for everyone and mine was a pretty obvious one. I was saying totally all the time. Ya it just stuck as a nickname.
[Synba] We will be playing some of your new tracks. Can you tell me about how “Our Time” came together?
[Neo1] That track was a lot of fun to work on. Right away when Daryl Duve, from Bassbong Records, over in Vancouver, when he approuched me about these remixs, he was stoked to do speed garage remixes of this track in perticular because of the vocals. I thought this will be awesome to work on. The feeling that went into it was actually from a ’98 track, Marc Ruffrider – Joy, it reminded me of that because the vocalist kinda sounded like that. They were like the UK style vocalist. Deffinetly gave me the impression of what I wanted the track to sound like. Sometimes when you work on a track it doesnt always turn out the way you want it to. But everything came together like I wanted it to really well. It was deffinetly one of the most fun tracks I have ever worked on.
[Synba] Which of your songs do you think has gotten the most attention?
[Neo1] The first release that I did with Atomic Zoo was a 5 track EP. One of my tracks on thereDestination actually got remixed by another guy, Double Oh No, from Seattle, that track and the remix did really well. Being one of the first releases on the 5 track EP it was one of the favorites. The reaction email mine was deffinetly one of the favorite ones on there. Ive talked to people who say that they have been keeping an eye out for my new stuff just because of that track and the EP.
1.Neo¹ – Master Blaster
2.Totally – Break It Down Dub
3.Salt n Pepa – Push It (TooWicked vs Neo¹ DavisHouse Hash Bootleg)
4.Funk’n Ruff – Stamp Your Feet
5.Puario – LA Sucks (Funk’n Ruff Remix)
6. Ocelot – Our Time (Kycker & Neo¹ Totally Kyckin Bootleg)
7.Neo¹ – This Is My Destination