Joseph Keevill, also known as Saytek, cut his teeth on the tech house movement having had an integral role at Mr C’s club, The End, throwing himself full heartedly into all aspects of a musical life. His early inspirations from Detroit techno and UK’s IDM movements have melded into his own take on modern techno, brimming as it does with deep bass lines and punchy percussion. Keevill has also built up his own empire with his record label and party, Cubism, which is also the main outlet for his production.
After finishing off 2011 with their 4th in their series of annual compilations, ‘Cubists Volume Four’, Saytek and co. are set to enter 2012 with a bang taking over Room Three for our first party of the year joining Terry Francis and inviting their own crew of artists.
And so, today we officially kick off the new year on our blog with a freshly recorded live set from Saytek, provided to give you all a taste of the Cubism sound. Alongside that we get stuck into the ins and outs of the producer’s story and his hard-earned success.
Hey Joseph to start us off can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello I am Joseph Keevill (AKA Saytek) and I will be performing live for you guys on the 7th of Jan in room 3 representing Cubism Records. Hope you are all well - had a great Christmas and have recovered from NYE nicely!
How long have you been performing and making music under the name Saytek?
I released my first 12" under the Saytek pseudonym around 10 years ago on Justin Drakes console recordings and I have been performing live as Saytek for about 7 years.
How did you start out getting involved with music?
Well I was a geeky kid who was interested in programming computers and for some reason I got interested in sound and early music technology at the age of 10. I was making bleeps on a computer and using a Tandy mixer, a Jen synth and a Roland TR606 drum machine to make music of sorts, recording my mum singing. I was totally obsessed with sound and manipulating it. When I was about 13 a friend introduced me to his older brother’s acid house collection, Detroit techno and rave tapes I really loved this sound before I had even set foot in a club and was listening to it obsessively, so when I was old enough to blag my way in I was out clubbing every weekend, I totally immersed my self in the scene and all its trappings. I decided to study sound engineering and devote my life to music I spent my later teenage years putting on warehouse parties in London before working as a technician in clubs like Home and The End ... it was here I made connections to sign my first record.
And who or what were your first influences - back when you started and also present day?
My influences are vast and wide; when I was younger my dad listened to classical, Jazz and 60’s rock. When I found my own tastes I was into Detroit techno, Acid, dub, 90s ambient and experimental music like Aphex twin and Square Pusher, it was when working at clubs I really discovered the underground house sound of the time which was tribal, electronic and tech house it was really fresh and was the perfect antidote to the big room trance by numbers sound that dominated the super clubs then, I suppose all these influences remain in my music today, rather than following the latest trends I like to blend what I like from today’s sounds with music influenced by my long love affair with electronic music. When I make music I tend to go with the feeling, I really like to put my soul into it.
You come across as a real hard worker, someone who’s adapted to today’s direct to fan engagement - it’s something some artists embrace and others outright reject - what would you say to them?
I do work very hard, mainly creating music, but also on self-promotion. As a live artist its really one of the only avenues I can take to get my live sets out there, I have made live albums in the past for the Zoo Project which did really well, but today I believe there is only a limited market for CD’s and paid downloads. I like the opportunities that the digital age present and now I can reach people all over the world, this is particularly good for my live stuff as it normally gets released as a podcast which then I release on my soundcloud and it then goes viral. I am really not to bothered by other peoples opinions on this as I am just trying to make a living from what I love and this way I can reach my own fan base without compromising my integrity as an artist.
How did you first hit it off with Cubism?
I met Mark (Cubism head honcho) when we where playing at an amazing underground party in a 16th century fort in Kent, at the time he was running Cubism with Tony Thomas, we just clicked and started chatting music, we have since become very good friends. I had been focusing on my live shows for a few years making live albums for the Zoo Project, so had loads of unreleased tracks still in there raw live format so we decided to start a series of E.Ps reworking my live material into DJ friendly tracks ... then came the Saytek “Reworked” album, it turned out we where on the phone for hours everyday and Mark and me decided to run the Label together.
In a nutshell - what is it about Cubism that makes it different?
It’s all about passion not fashion we both really love the music and the scene and Cubism is a labour of that love!
You’re exclusively a live artist - was this something you grew into from producing/ DJing or was it always the way for you to be from the start?
I have never DJ’d and was producing records back in the days when people were selling thousands and thousands of pieces of vinyl. I watched the bottom fall out of this industry and at the time Ableton had just come out. I had always enjoyed jamming in the studio with my hardware, so I decided to do a live show. It was really a dream come true using Ableton synced up to my favourite hardware and that’s the same today. What do you do to keep the sets fresh each time, there’s a hell of a lot of work that goes into preparing a live set?
Well my shows are improvised so will never sound exactly the same twice, I arrange, mute and unmute patterns, trigger samples, tweak filters and effects and mix all in real-time. Also I like to make 2 new full one-hour live sets a year and in between this I am tweaking creating new patterns and loops constantly. I also keep all my patterns on the MC909 and 5 hours of material on Ableton so I have a vast library of material I can draw from during a performance
Where did you take it in 2011? What special experiences stand out?
Its been an incredible year for me I have taken the live show across the UK with a schedule that has meant I have been travelling most weekend amazing headline slots at Mint Club, Sankeys, Cargo, Snafu in Aberdeen a swell as loads of wicked underground gigs across the country, In terms of international gigs I have done the amazing Amnesia Milan, a wicked warehouse party in Frankfurt as well as great shows in France, Belgium, Poland and beyond. In terms of releases I have released reworked live material as an album and E.Ps on Cubism as well as releases on Lucidflow, Wiggle I am really amazed by the support for my records with everyone from Richie Hawtin to Seth Troxler playing my tracks.
And finally, what’re your big and bold plans for 2012?
Just to keep making, performing and releasing music from heart.