Remember a few weeks ago, when this site hosted an interview with Panacea to celebrate his podcast for Barcode Recordings? Here we are at it again, this time with Miike Hayward, a.k.a. The Teknoist, sitting down at the interviewee table with us and answering some questions about his music, past, present and future.
Not only a seminal figure of the British breakcore and hardcore scene, The Teknoist has been part of the Ad Noiseam family since the release in 2008 of his "Pillaged and Plundered" split record with Eustachian, followed a few months later by his first (and so far only) full length album, "...Like A Hurricane Made Of Zombies". We're therefore very happy that he was asked by Barcode to record one of their free "Filthcast" mix, which you can download and enjoy right here. And let's see what The Teknoist has to say about this:
It all went pretty fast since your first releases in 2003. But can we know what Mike Hayward was doing before becoming The Teknoist?
I've been "The Teknoist" since I was 13. Putting on under 18's raves with a small crew etc in youth clubs n anywhere that would have us and then making a name for myself at regular general rave nights around the UK even before I was 18 when all of the crowd were older than that age heh.
I didn't used to just play straight, well, anything I guess (which is probably why I was on 1st a lot at my own events where happy hardcore was the main genre of music haha). I was always very eclectic, playing tracks from different genres and fitting them in with HARDcore and something that I couldn't really describe which now I realise was early breakcore (old Praxis, Fringeli stuff). There are a lot of purists in (dance) music; I've definitely never been one. It's the usual story though, I just wanted to progress from just playing records, and to be honest the few tracks that REALLY hit a note with me were few and far between and they gave me the foundation of an idea of a direction I wanted to go in. That meant involving something from EVERYTHING I loved, but making it fit obviously.
From the very beginning of your career, you've worked with pretty high-profile labels (Deathchant, Planet Mu) and producers (Dolphin, Scheme Boy...), which is more than most newcomers can say. How did you manage to get so much pair-recognition in such a short time?
Well, Dolphin was the regular provider of my 1st records as he owned a record shop in the next town in North Wales (Rhyl, the land of opportunity). We used to bunk off school and hang out there. He was also the main DJ that was doing something that was different to most others and was playing THOSE tracks that struck the chords I mentioned in me. We became friends, eventually DJ'd allot together and then started writing together.
As for Scheme Boy, well we met in London at a rave and became close friends with similar interests. He showed me a track he had written and immediately I wanted to sign it for a label id not even started yet, it eventually became Ninja Columbo #4. They're both 2 of the most gifted producers and musicians I've ever met (or heard). As Scheme Boy once said about me, I create the illusion of being good as I surround myself with great artist's haha.
While known for your early hardcore and gabber productions, you've written a lot of drum'n'bass material and have got quite a following in this scene. How do you distinguish your productions in both genres, and are there any other directions that The Teknoist could take?
I don't distinguish them at all, if a track comes out more breakbeat orientated so be it. If it comes out firing from a kick drum catapult then that's the way it goes. Saying that though, it often starts one way and ends the other so has both elements heh. It sort of back fires a lot of the time though because 1 side don't like the kicks and the others don't like the breaks. I"m in a pigeon hole limbo and that I actually think works against me to some extent, and that makes me hate the human obsession of pigeon holing even more.
I make all types of music, I've been doing some short film and advertisement scoring recent and iv forever had a HUGE backlog of techno tracks (that's my name after all ;), iv just never released them. That's soon to change though.
Tell us a bit more about your label, Ninja Columbo. What's the incentive behind it, who does what, and where is it heading? Ninja Columbo is run solely by me with the business assistance of Bryan Fury and distribution of "Audio Sickness".
I"m mega picky about the sound that it has which is why the release dates are quite spaced out. It's slowly gathering more artists as more people are writing that style and I guess my vision for it is widening also. The FREE mp3 label, "ZoMbFREE" is a place where I can release basically whatever I like, whether it"d sell or not. Some things just have to be heard but we haven't the money to press records for all of them.
I have a techno label and a Jungle type label in the pipeline where I can release my own and other people"s projects in those areas. There"s some fucking special shit to come out on them. (I knew id swear somewhere in this interview haha).
You've pretty much played all over (and outside of) Europe, but are still based in Manchester. How would you compare the audience in your home country with the ones you've played for abroad?
This is a common question but pretty important I think. The crowd in the UK for a while I thought was diminishing (well, a lot of us have always thought that). But it's really not, I think we had a dry generation and the older generation, a lot had families and stayed home listening to tape packs etc. The last year or 2 though, there has been new blood in the form of both crowd and artist (scarily good artists!). True the majority of the nights here are smaller bar a few larger capacity gems but they"ve all got die hard crowds whether in drum and bass, core or whatever. Enthusiasm is on the up.
Abroad, well it seriously varies on the party. All countries obviously have golden events... Belgium does hold a special place in my heart though. I wish I played Germany more, I dream of the Berghein almost once a month haha.
Tell us a bit more about this Filthcast set you just did for Barcode. I was super surprised and SO FUCKING HONOURED to be asked, to be included in this super group of artists is amazing. Like I"m following on from Machine Code, Hidden, The Sect, Panacea etc... Jeez, scary. I initially did a huge 2 hour mix with lots of turntablism and I guess you could call them cameos from certain underground turntablists but 2 hours was just too long. So I started a fresh, more direct mix encompassing most of the styles you"re likely to hear me play in a set and by which I"m influenced... heavily. I edited some bits and made a Donny medley which was great fun. Looking back there"s so much more I wanted to add; maybe I could get a part 2 ;) I only hope people like it and it stands up with the others. The previously mentioned 2 hour set is going to be released in 2 parts on my own website during the summer.
You once told me that you "would really like to get a point across about [breakcore] not being dumb ass music made by fruity loops novices". Why do you think that the hardest kinds of music around are so frowned upon by outside producers, and what do you think can be done about it?
I"m not sure whether this is a tough question or one where I just don't know where to begin to answer. I have to be careful with answering this as I"m not at all saying novices make dumb ass music; I class myself as a novice to be honest. Also I've got to say, before I get flamed, I know there"s good music being made on fruity loops! But yeah breakcore/hardcore is saturated with half arsed attempts at making it, whether it's just directly sampling 10 year old Deathchant kicks (without even changing it slightly at least!) or just not thinking beyond the supremely basic. I"m sure the people making the majority of stuff like that have as much enthusiasm and love as anyone for the genre they are making but they just don't seem to have the drive to experiment or even add reverb or something at least haha. I"m sure I come across here as arrogant but don't mistake arrogance for sheer passion for something that could be so much more. What we make has no boundaries, doesn't have to have a 4/4 time signature, doesn't have to be 100000000 beats a minute, doesn't have to be anything but good! And there are so many good artists that don't get enough recognition, were frowned upon a lot because it's not the trendy music... oh well, I guess it just filters the men from the muppets.
Zombies. Tell us about zombies. I"ll tell you about Zombies, at least what you should do when the outbreak and chaos begins. Try and contact myself, Macheeen Boi or Scheme Boy (Scheme Boy may have a job getting out of London alive though) because we have a plan, we know exactly how to survive not to mention a bloody good arsenal.
Mandatory closing question: what's cooking next for The Teknoist?
Pea and Mint soup atm actually... other than that. I"m resting up a little. cutting back on commitments, gigs and projects. I've just had a couple of months of doing next to nothing and now I"m slowly getting back to work, I"m going to take my time and be more selective in the things I do from now on though because taking so much on wasn't healthy for me. Id started gathering ideas for the new album just before my break and now I"m going back to them and trying to work on that. There"s a new Ninja Columbo on its way and releases on various crossover labels like Sustained, Nekrologik, Pacemaker etc. Obviously I"m aiming for a release on Barcode as well as Killing Sheep too, but they're tough nuts to crack J.