This Belfast-born stalwart has been an underground mainstay for almost 20 years. He continually operates at the sharp end of the scene with a mix of cutting-edge sound designs and compelling rhythms imbued with found sound and spoken word details. He's had high-profile support from tastemakers like Laurent Garnier, DVS1 and Truncate and following on from a strong series of EPs in recent years, he is now back with a superb full-length.
We have had the pleasure of interviewing Linear B and this was the result.
Hi Dan and welcome to Chromatic Club. Where are you in the world right now and how are you doing?
Hi! I’m based in the UK; I live about an hour outside London in Kent, in a village called West Malling. We moved out of the city a few years ago and I became a father for the first time nearly two years ago so I’m very busy being a dad. I’m loving the quiet life and fatherhood.
You’ve been on the scene and making music for some years now and finally have a debut album dropping this autumn. What can you tell us about your musical journey to this point? I started as a teenager living in outer London listening to early hip hop and electro, I was into breakdancing and graffiti. When we moved to a new area in 1987 I met a new group of friends, one of them was into early techno and US house, so about that time we started going to early raves in London like Shoom, Promised Land, Trip, Astoria and Brixton Academy.
Before long we got some decks and started putting on our own parties, which went on for many years with varying degrees of success; towards the end it got very messy with the law and our unmanageable behaviour. I went back to college and studied electrical engineering which is what I do today, as well as doing some sound engineering courses and building a little home studio during that time. I was DJing occasionally, some pirate radio and putting on the odd night in east London, then I got worn out by a full time job and the DJing so I stopped the DJ bit and began concentrating on writing and producing my own music.
I had gotten to know Tim Deluxe through his brother John, who I was DJing with. He helped me with early projects and eventually sent some of my demos over to Darren Emerson who released them on his label Detone. After that, I decided to start my own label called Rainbow Tipi and putting out the huge backlog of tracks I had made so that’s where I am now.
The album features your own vocals, is this a shift for you as an artist? Not really, I always had plans to do vocals on tracks, it’s what I’ve always done. The first track I ever released featured my own vocals back in 2005, on orient records called “Shaker Shaker”, so I’ve gone back to that format making tracks with more vocals, which is difficult as I’m super critical of my voice. I write a lot of songs and poems and sing into memo machines so now I sometimes work them in tracks.
Away from the studio or DJ booth, what do you do with your time and what are your personal passions? I’ve been really into Indonesian martial arts called Pencak Silat and Kali, they’re beautiful ways to move. I’m also into growing vegetables on our allotment and keep chickens and I’m learning about bee keeping - so I’m super busy.
What is the one piece of studio kit you would never get rid of, no matter what? To be honest, I’ve never got rid of any of my kit. I still have all the stuff I originally bought 25 years ago, like drum machines and synths; we’ve got history so I couldn’t sell them. If I had to pick a piece I’d say either my Roland JP8080 or my Korg Monologue.
What was the last record store you visited, in person or online? I buy tracks online a lot via beatport and traxsource but the last record shop I physically went into was Evenflow Records in Tunbridge Wells in Kent.
And what did you buy there? Lots of vintage rock like Neil Young’s Harvest Moon, T Bone Walker Blues and Ella Fitzgerald’s early stuff.
Do you have hope for the future of music? There’s always hope, the music industry is amazing now. I’m not too keen on the platforms that pays so little to the artist for plays, but the dance music scene is the strongest it’s ever been. It’s amazing to see venues go from dingy warehouses to massive festivals and arenas but I guess that’s progress.
And how do you feel about the benefits or threats of AI in the musical arena? Tell the computer what to do and it’ll come up with something, AI will always need a reference point... scary though. For me, I enjoy my creative process; I’m not looking to replace it.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2023? I’m starting to write new material now, my recent album “Healing Time” was a big clear out of loads of stuff I had on hard drives. I would love to start performing live and doing the vocal parts, it wouldn’t be too hard to knock a live set up together. I still love DJing and am planning a little festival with friends who are also passionate about dance music.
What makes you happy? My little daughter Shayla who’s two. She’s a funny little character. She also loves banging on synths in the studio but has a habit of nicking the buttons off synths and messing with my compressor settings. Fatherhood aye...