B Complex Interview

B Complex, or Matus Lenicky, as he is also known, has been passionate about music since childhood, and first started making tunes when he was 12 years old. You may know him from such contemporary classics as “Beautiful Lies” or “Rolling With The Punches” (feat. Diane Charlemagne). Over the years, he has followed a musical journey that has taken him through many genres, before discovering a passion for making Drum and Bass in 2001. Here to tell us more about his musical journey is the man himself…

Hi Matus, thank you for talking to us. So first of all can you tell us, prior to starting to make your own music, what kind of music did you grow up listening to as a child? Was it a very musical household that you grew up in?

I was fascinated by music from young age, I was listening to almost everything I could find on tape, and I loved the gramophone my parents had, so much I managed to look inside one together with my cousin, and of course nobody was able to make it work after that. I was of course influenced by music my parents were listening to, my dad is a big fan of Beatles, my mum loves Chanson, but I could find something that I liked almost in any genre, ranging from folk to rock, metal, jazz or electronic music of course. What interested me most was the melody and message of the songs. With my parents being journalists, I listened to lots of folk protest songs against the regime; even if I was not fully aware of what the lyrics were about, I could understand the emotion in them.
What was it that first inspired you to start making Drum and Bass music?

I started noticing jungle and drum’n’bass music at the techno parties that were very popular in Slovakia at that time, the jungle stage was usually some small place left on the side but I remember how amazed I was by that huge bass. Before I was a big fan of happy hardcore music and I think d&b has lots in common with it still (just ask Danny!) At that time I was usually making trance music, but I was pretty bored with the 4×4 drums. So when I first heard music by John B, Concord Dawn, or Teebee, I could find trance elements, with hardcore energy and interesting drums and I was sold.

Who would you say that your biggest influences are today, including both contemporary musicians / composers / producers, and also those from the past if they still inspire you today?

For inspiration I try to listen to anything that is not drum&bass, as influences go, I admire the work of Shpongle for the stories the songs are telling, the same with Hybrid, I was amazed by the drumwork of Xploding Plastix. I love film soundtracks, written by people like Yann Tiernsen, Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer or Edward Shearmur. I am a big fan of world music because you can often find very original approaches to music there, I love Finnish Värttinä, Cechomor or Celtic music. When it comes to the energy I was always a big fan of Punk Rock music and I’m big fan of Nirvana for example. I love Steve Reich’s music for 18 musicians, Arvo Part, but also classical choir music, especially Russian. This all somehow mixes with influence from Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim, of who I am also a big fan.

Did you have an older musician who helped show you the ropes and get you started, or were you mostly self taught? And what equipment did you first start making music on?

I’ve learned on my own mostly, even if I tried to study, what it did after a page or two, was that I started to be excited and instead of finishing reading I just had to make some music myself. Eventually I learned some theory, but I still can’t read the notation – it’s more like deciphering it, and I would really like to be more fluent with it for learning purposes. My first musical machine was a 486 computer, with soundblaster pro soundcard, that was only able to play 22khz stereo or 44khz mono sounds. I also had a splendid pair of cheap plastic speakers. The software I was using fast tracker 2. That’s where I learned how to play the first musical instrument – PC keyboard. Later I bought proper midi keys and of course upgraded, but in essence I still kind of work similarly using Renoise – that is like a modern version of fast tracker.
Compared to the tools that you had when you were first starting out, what does your current studio consist of?

With computers the problem is that it’s difficult to avoid your music to sound programmed or artificial, that’s why I try to focus on live elements, I bought an Octava microphone for recording vocals, a guitar or whatever I feel could fit the track, I bought an electroacoustic guitar which I am trying to be able to use and I of course have much better monitoring – pair of adam a7 together with sub adam 10″ atm.
Which of your tracks means the most to you emotionally, and why?

“Beautiful Lies”, it will always be a special song for me and it’s not because of the success it had. When I made it, I was only channelling what was happening inside me and I’m glad people are able to read it. The other side of the same coin in this case is the track “Three Dots”, as it’s connected to one person that was moving my world at that time.

When you’re not in the studio or checking out the competition, what types of music do you prefer to listen to, to help you relax and unwind?

Lots of what I already mentioned for influences, but I also really like silly music; Monty Python’s “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” must be one of my favourite songs ever, as it always brings a smile on my face even if I had a really bad day. In this category you can find anything really, lots of shitty internet music can be fun, and music should definitely be fun as well there’s no point to take it too seriously all the time.

After listening to quite a lot of your tracks, I would say that you definitely have a recognisable quality to your production – where do you see yourself taking your sound in the future?

I try not to think this way, it works more in a way, where will the sound take me in the future. When you make songs you somehow enter kind of a trance, where you stop be aware of the world around you and you just keep making a song, and it just happens naturally. Of course you use techniques that you learned before but you don’t really think about it. I often compare it to reading a book, you just don’t see the words anymore just the story.

Are there any personal goals in music that you still have to achieve, and if so, what are they?

One of my goals is definitely my first album, I want it to make it as good as possible, and I don’t want to hurry it. One of the things I would love to experience is to be able to record some of my songs with the real orchestra, if all goes well I might be able to do it thanks to the academy where I studied, fingers crossed. Performance wise, I would love to find a live format for my songs, and find people who will help me to execute it, I would really like to practice my keyboard skills so that I could make this happen.

Out of everything you have achieved so far, what would you like to be most remembered for?

For making music I believe in, and doing it honestly.
To finish off, we have a couple of light hearted questions for you.

… And I have a couple of light hearted answers for you 😛
If you could have worked on the film score / soundtrack for any major movie, which would you have liked to work on, and why?
Monty Python’s “Holy Grail” – I would love to see them at work !

Which country has been your favourite to play in so far + why?

New Zealand, because it was a dream come true, and I had a hot tub in the hotel room!

If you could have anyone come along to a party that you were playing at, who would you most like to see on the dancefloor raving away to your music, and why?

Definitely my grandmother, because she would teach everyone how to do it and I love her!

If you haven’t yet experienced B Complex’s special brand of musical magic, then make sure you get yourself along to Hospitality Brighton on the 24th of April where I’m sure he’ll leave you spellbound!

Interview by: Zoe Wilson

You can catch B Complex at Hospitality Brighton on Sunday 24th April for the London Elektricity – “Yikes!” album launch alongside London Elektricity feat. MC Wrec + Elsa Esmeralda, Netsky, Logistics & more. Tickets available HERE.

Posted 8th April 2011 in Interviews