Today we've managed to get an interview with a producer that I think seems to get better with every tune I hear from him. He's also very kindly chosen to give away his collaboration with EPLP entitled "2012", which you can grab at the end. Welcome, man like Retral...
NT: Hey man! Give us an introduction...
R: Yo! I'm Retral, I haven't been producing for that long, probably around a year properly and about eight years on and off. I am also a part-time DJ, mixing when I get the opportunity. I come from Southampton and grew up in a completely different music scene to the one I'd say I was in now. I am a drummer and I played drums in a hardcore band called Kerouac for a few years, playing around UK and Europe. It's funny, because I'd kill for the music I make now to get cut to vinyl, but with Kerouac all of our releases were put out on vinyl and CD.
I was always into the heavy side of music since a real young age, partly to do with my parents introducing me to classic Dad music like Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and Metallica. I think my first journey into the electronic side of music was with Aphex Twin. My Dad had tapes upon tapes of his early ambient works that I always used to steal off him. As a drummer I was naturally drawn to the breakbeat/DnB style of his productions. I would always download stuff off of Kazaa and Bearshare round a mates and burn it to CD because I didn't have the internet at home. I was always into Garage music too, but I never actively searched for it due to the lack of internet or music stores where I lived. I'd always catch some decent mixes on late night Radio 1 shows though. Not quite as iconic as pirate radio in London, but it did the job for me.
Retral - Without You
I can't really remember where I went from there, but I do remember stealing a load of music off a friends Windows Media Player, including Ital Tek & Burial. Then came Phaeleh, Clubroot, Rusko, Caspa, very quickly going off Rusko and Caspa. The Dubstep sound blew my fucking mind. I really lost my shit over it. I'd always play it to as many people as possible but they were always like, 'What is this shit?'. Just look at them now...
NT: So tell us a little about the music you've put out so far...
R: I guess it's more of a journey if anything. If I finish a track in Ableton, I put it up. I never leave anything out. The first EP I self-released, '2011' was the first stuff I'd produced in a year or so. It was all made in Garageband and was all just a laugh and something to do. None of it had a consistant sound. I put the EP out on Bandcamp because I thought I may as well, but it got such a sick response. I didn't understand to be honest, I thought it was shit. Then net-labels started contacting me, asking me if I wanted to release stuff through them and producers asking me if I wanted to collaborate with them. Then it just went from there. I am proud of everything I've put out so far, but I always think I can do better. That's a good thing.
NT: We spoke to Sangam before about the HVRT KRV, can you expand a little more? Maybe tell us of any new plans?
R: I guess HVRT KRV is just a collective of producers, including myself, Sangam, FOG & Cholombian. We are all always talking to each other and collaborating with each other anyway and me and Mitchel (Cholombian) came up with the idea of putting out a mixtape of each others collabs and remixes. I then just thought we should put a name on it. We all love each others stuff and it just made sense.
Me, Cholo and FOG all played a night in Southampton that didn't go as well as I'd liked it to go but it was cool. We do want to release a mixtape of loads of remixes and stuff but we haven't really got much material for it just yet as everyone is busy with various other things. I'm sure we'll let everyone know when something does develop though..
Retral - It Was All 4 U
Retral - It Was All 4 U
NT: What made you decide to start a net-label, Black Hymn Records? What's the plan? Any news of anything forthcoming?
R: Well, I always wanted to make music with my best friend Ash, but we had never got round to it. We have always loved each others music/bands and whatnot and did play together in a band for a few months but that kind of faded out pretty quickly. Before we could start anything else up I moved away to the West Country. We'd always visit each other and one night we had some stoned conversation about starting up a label to just release ambient music and our own music digitally and onto cassette tape.
We got proper into it and in the morning we both reminded each other that we DID have that conversation and we DO intend to go through with it. It went from there really. We decided to put together a compilation of the type of music we loved and wanted to release. Some of it was exclusively written for it, but most of it was already released, but we were in contact with all of the artists involved. It's been going better than I imagined it but we still have a lot to do to establish ourselves. We just released a really sick ambient EP by Sangam. I love everything that guy does, it always grabs me and pulls me in. We are also releasing an EP Sangam and I made a while ago called 'Himalayan Smoke'. coming out on the 20th August. We are also in discussion with a few other producers including Valiska, Bruised Skies & SunwinD. Exciting stuff for us!
NT: What does the future hold for Retral? Are you involved in any releases coming out soon?
R: Not too much really, just more tracks whenever. I have a release coming out on 'Future Flavour' on the 3rd of August. It's a 2-track - 'Luvdiswahn' & 'Thief in the Night'. I also have that EP with Sangam I was just talking about called 'Himalayan Smoke' which will be out on my label on the 20th of August. I also did a remix of Sangam's tune 'Stygian' which is featured on his release coming out on 'Con Amore Recordings' later this year. I'd also like to DJ a bit more but that'll have to happen when someone wants to actually book me, which is hard with the little experience I have.
Sangam - Stygian (Retral Remix)
NT: You've kindly offered to give away a free tune, a collaboration with EPLP. Can you tell us a little about the tune?
R: Yeah man, the track is called '2012'. EPLP was one of the first producers I discovered on Soundcloud. It was his track for a Hot N Heavy compilation that I first came across. I instantly fell in love with his stuff. I eventually asked him if I could collaborate with him, nervously, expecting him to not even reply. He did, but it was a few months later that something came of it. I am really proud of that track and we want to do another collaboration at some point. The theme behind the track (for me) is the whole belief of the world ending in 2012. I just portrayed my opinion on the matter in sound. The world won't end, but something huge is going to happen that will change the way we live and look at things and we won't even realise.
NT: Finally, if you had to pick your three favourite "Night Tracks", what would they be?
R: This is so hard dude.
Burial - Endorphin
Ghosts - It Still Hurts
Teknian - Sorga
That would probably be different if you asked me any other day.
NT: Big up man, thank you for your time. Grab the free download by clicking here or on the artwork below...
Design by T. Kelle, Photography by L. McArthur