Hybrid Interview

We all have heroes. It could be Daft Punk, Michael Jackson, Metallica or Batman. For me it is Hybrid. And Batman. One of the best times in my life was in 2000-2002 when Hybrid was on their remix spree, releasing 2-3 remixes a month(!!), around the same time hybridized.org was formed, releasing mixtapes by Hybrid. Ammagad! The exciting times. Hybrid’s style and my personal taste have diverged slightly ever since, but it doesn’t keep me from feeling like a child in a candy store when Hybrid announced a new album.

In 1999, Hybrid did a batman’ish entre, emerging from practically nowhere with their now classic ‘Wide Angle’. They had a whole new take on electronic music, incorporating a full live string section (The Russian Federal Orchestra), recorded in Russia. Numerous album tours followed and, as mentioned, what felt like thousands of remixes and other productions (check out their insane discogs page) before they released their second full-lengther ‘Morning Sci-Fi’ in 2003, starring blokes like Peter Hook. In 2006, their third studio album ‘I Choose Noise’ was released featuring Quivver et al.

Well, after some time of hibernation and hard work in the studio, Hybrid is back with their 4th studio album, also introducing a new third band member Charlotte James. Over the years, Hybrid has changed their sound substantially in between the albums, constantly pushing their boundaries further ahead. The tracks on up and coming ‘Disappear Here’ released 12th April, has taken on a more classic song format, yet retaining what makes electronic music exciting. Naturally, the characteristic string section is intact. You gotta fucking love it!

A little Q/A with Chris:

So what’s changed musically since “I Choose Noise?” What did you want to accomplish with the new album?
Of course, Charlotte is now a full time member of Hybrid. She was out on the tour with us and did a few shows including a tour of America. She helped us work on the single “Formula Of Fear” and other stuff. Musically, About a year ago we had 10 tracks; some of them were Charlotte inspired stuff and almost finished. We thought it wasn’t quite right and we scrapped a lot of it and started all over again. It was too indie rock but realized it wasn’t us, so we finally found a happy medium of being a band but firmly rooted in dance music. At the same time, we wanted to move into something a bit more mature and forward thinking. The record has a moving theme to it with her vocals and just by working so much with her. This is us really moved on from the past and that’s what we all feel like. There’s a theme of let’s go somewhere else and into more of a long lasting live thing.
In terms of structured roles, this is how we see ourselves:
Charlotte – singer / songwriter (acoustic guitars, cello) Mike Truman – Mix Chris Healings – sound design
Speak about some of the collaborators on the new album.

Tim Hutton is the male singer on the album and he’s a multi talented musician. He is a guitar player and is known for touring with Ian Brown, sings on “Omen” from The Prodigy and does some stuff with Groove Armada. He came on late but will have more input on the next album. As in the past – but not as extensively – Harry Gregson-Williams did a few string writing sessions.
Hybrid has always been really into real gear and creating technically superior music. With this new album, what programs are you experimenting with? Anything of note?

We are working with a lot of Reaktor, Omnisphere synths, pro tools, native Instruments stuff. Absynth and live drums. There’s so much instrumentation that between the three of us there’s more than enough sounds to go around. I guess if I was to site some particular bits I’d definitely single out the program Kyma as it’s a bit like reactor – very high end program that allows you to build sounds yourself. Additionally, we’ve been fiddling with the Roland RSS unit which is a 20 year old 3D sound placement bit. You don’t see them very often.
What was the hardest part of creating the album?

Finding the direction early on and where we wanted to go was extremely difficult. It took us a while and until we nailed it with the title track “Disappear Here” we didn’t know our sound. Finding that first track with the right sound was the spring board.
For someone who thinks they know what Hybrid is all about, what new message would you say this album delivers?

I truly believe that any old fans will love the album as its so much more forward thinking. It’s matured like a fine wine. It offers a lot more than anything we’ve managed to write. It pushes more boundaries in every way.
What’s next for Hybrid?
We are hoping to do two full-on tours in support of the album. Perhaps one in the summer and then another the following spring. We’ve also been working on a ton of remixes from the album and there will be all sorts of full on versions of “Break My Soul,” “Can You Hear Me” and more coming soon.
Lovely, mate! Thanks!

We sit on a lotta stuff from their new album – here is a nice promo vid (check out the supreme Hybrid sound at around 3:10 and forward) as well as an unofficial mix of a lot of their old, brilliant, stuff, found on soundcloud. Well, it is all…large. And pompous. And we fucking love it!


Yenks – Hybrid Tribute Mix by Yenks


Psst! HMWL just happens to know that Hybrid is gonna do one of their epic live sets with full band setup, as always, at Glade Festival this summer (yet another reason to go there). Remember where you heard it first.

About Alex Esser:

DJ, surfer and entrepreneur residing in Malmö, Sweden. HMWL label daddy. My music network is always open. Holler at alex@hmwl.org