Saytek Interview


Saytek aka Joseph Keevill has gained a reputation as one of the most exciting live acts to come from the UK in recent times. He has been relentlessly touring the UK and Europe with his fully improvised hardware live shows with headline slots at clubs and parties such as Sankeys Manchester, Fabric London, The Zoo Project Ibiza, Mr C’s Super Freq in France and Cafe d’Anvers Belgium to name a few. This month he has released his next album on Cubism: Saytek Reworked and it’s another assured on-the-fly-performance from one of the game’s finest. We caught up with him to find out more.

How has your year been? What has taken up most of your time?

Wow it’s been a great year for me. The live show is going really well I have been lucky enough to headline places like Fabric, Mint Club and Sankeys in the UK as well as some amazing tour dates across Europe, I have given all my latest live music away for free via Podcasts and radio shows and have 2 sets that are available to download from my soundcloud. Time wise I have been busy producing loads of new live material, touring and remixing for some great labels and artists.

And how has your musical taste evolved this year? What has inspired you?

I think I have really wanted to return to my roots and have been working on a tougher sound again taking in deep retro feeling house and soulful Detroit inspired techno with a percussive tribal edge. I have been listening to lots of early Detroit stuff and Acid house and that has really inspired me to get out the 909 kits and acid sounds, you know take things a lot rawer again.

I understand you have a new album out on Cubism Records– tell us about that…

Yeah it’s Called Reworked and this time its DJ friendly! With re-edits and remixes from the live show, people have been asking me to play parts of my performances for years but as its all improvised I have had to decline, Cubism stepped in to re-edit the tracks and we got loads of remix requests so we let people remix the bits they wanted, the results have blown me away and the tracks have been supported by the likes of Luciano, Laurent Garnier, Richie Hawtin, Steve Lawler, Dubfire, and Claude Von Stroke. I am a very happy man. It’s a great feeling to have an album of fresh tracks inspired by my live show.

Have you any new toys/kit/technology/techniques on this album?

I still use all the same analogue Roland hardware, Kaos Pad 3 and loop sampler, however I upgraded my laptop to a 15” Macbook pro i7, I now use Ableton 8, reason and d16 classic box plug ins, with a fully customised akai professional APC40 on the computer side of things. The result is the best of both worlds and it really is a great way to perform

What inspired or influenced it most, musically or otherwise?

My inspiration can come from many places and many styles of music, often I can be inspired by what someone plays in a club, or when at home listening to a friends DJ mix … Or it can just come for no apparent reason.

How did you hook up with Cubism Recs?

Me and label head honcho Mark Gwinnett met when I was playing at an amazing party called Rave in the Caves in Kent, which was held in a 16th century fort. This was a couple of years ago and we have remained good friends ever since, we share a musical vision of quality underground house and techno without any pretence. We came up with the idea of Saytek Live & Remixed together because DJ’s have been asking me for a long time if they can play parts of my live show’s. Even though we are only on volume 5 of the series, it has already been supported by the likes of Luciano, Richie Hawtin, Dubfire, Nic Fanciulli, Laurent Garnier, Steve Lawler and Solomun among many others. I am really chuffed with the way it’s going, it’s only just getting started though. I have over 70 tracks of unreleased live music to get through, the Reworked Album features our favourites so far and brand new live edits and remixes, its out on the 20th of May.

Will you be performing it in clubs? Was it written with that in mind?

Yeah the live show is designed to work on the dance floor but I like to think it will work equally as well on an ipod as well, and the feedback I am getting from my podcasts seems to confirm that.

How prepared are each of your sets or are they all done on the fly?

Well all the loops and patterns are made before and are in an accessible order, its then I can improvise. I am basically arranging everything live, triggering patterns, muting parts, tweaking filters, resampling nothing happens unless I make it happen, if I leave my live show without touching a button you will just get the same bit looping forever. This way for example I can make a break down live by dropping out the kick drum, triggering a vocal sample, resampling an 8th of a bar of it, drawing in some white noise on the kaos pad, fading in a snare roll at the same time as filtering up the looped section of the vocal. I watch the crowd then drop the kick when I have teased them enough. This way I improvise the structure, effects and beats all in response to what my audience are feeling.

Which bits of your job are your favourite?

I love it all the music, the clubs, the vibes, the flyer and poster artwork, travelling meeting new people. I love this work it’s a dream come true … it can be very tiring though sometimes but it’s worth it!

What are you looking forward to most in the next few months?

Well lots of touring of course, the Saytek live & remixed series continues in June , and I am getting busy doing remixes. Also I am currently working in the studio doing some collaborations with some great producers including Philip Ort and Dzeta N’ Basile.

Saytek’s latest live sets :

Saytek Reworked is out now on Cubism Records:

Carl Cox Show: