In his former incarnation, Will Kinsella was a music teacher, studio engineer, DJ, producer and promoter. A busy man. But since taking on the Hybrasil moniker, he’s streamlined his time and designed an exciting live show focusing on his love for dark, minimal techno sounds. Having already been on tour with Marc Houle around the new year, and a steady line of gigs leading in to the summer season, its fair to say Hybrasil is picking up pace admirably.
We thought it was about time we introduced this pluck Irish charmer to the world, so we set A&R man Simon Huxtable to find out more.
Hi Will, thanks for taking the time out to chat to us at Decoded Magazine today. We met, if you remember, at ADE last year. How have you been?
Really great actually, it was really great meeting you guys that time. That was a really fun night! Things are good here. I’ve been crazy busy putting together my new Hybrasil project, which is a new live project I’ll be touring and releasing with this year. I debuted it alongside Hot Since 82 in Dublin a few months back, and more recently at the Space Ibiza Tour with Marc Houle, Ryan Crosson and Hito for New Years Eve.
Its been progressing nicely and the responses have been really encouraging. My most enjoyable performance as Hybrasil so far has to be the one alongside Sven Vath & Matthias Tanzmann for Paddys Day in Dublin. I had surgery the day before and so was hobbling around on crutches, but there was no way I was missing that. The place was wild!
So tell us about Hybrasil. What’s the vision for the alias ?
Hybrasil is something new for me and a concept driven by live performance. Legend has it Hybrasil was a mythical vanishing island off the west coat of Ireland, I was always really intrigued by it and so it seems the perfect alias for this new project. Its basically me taking my years of musical intake and training and channeling all through a live studio set-up, its just loads of fun and the dance floors seem to love it too.
Where can we see Hybrasil live?
Loads of gigs about to roll out for the summer, places like Space in Ibiza, Sub Club in Glasgow, Ministry in London, a few Croatian festivals… I’ve just performed on the end of Brighton Pier during for the Brighton Music Conference, at a Wunderground party, which was interesting!! haha.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you get into dance music?
Pirate radio and a walkman! There was so much underground music on Dublin airwaves in the 90’s so I was blessed. Couple that with a thriving record shop culture and I was really hooked. I can still remember walking through Dublin with bags of new records steeped in excitement. Everywhere you turned there was electronic music. Its hyped up since then even, I love the city!
Who were your musical heroes growing up, and have you ever met them in person?
Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox and Dave Clarke all had a huge impact on my early clubbing experiences. I have been fortunate to meet all of them and they all have been really cool. Dave was the first person to support my music on the international stage. Rich was playing 4 of my first Hybrasil tracks throughout the summer at Enter and Awakenings etc. Carl I interviewed a few times at ADE and is always fun. Jeff Mills I brought over to Dublin for a gig 4 years ago for my Apocalypse Now party and I also did a live set before him last May. He is the real deal. Great guy!
Was your passion for the darker side of techno a gradual thing?
Yeah I would say so. I was initially into all sorts of music including House, Hip Hop etc. My first albums were Thin Lizzy, Skunk Anansie and Tupac. Over time and as I got into music production in 2005 I naturally veered over towards more darker soundscapes. I guess traveling to Europe and checking out clubs and festivals like ADE and Sonar exposed me to a whole new and inspiring thing.
Tell us about your hometown, what’s the underground scene like and what are of the nights you regularly attend?
Dublin is booming at the moment. Multiple international DJs every weekend and four new clubs in the past 12 months. There’s a lot going on which is great. I work with a club called Pygmalion so that’s where I spend most of my time. Before Pygmalion I did a lot of work in a place called the Button Factory. My favourite of those gigs was Alan Fitzpatrick in 2014! But in general the city is just buzzing with activity these days, with a new generation pushing up through and feeding the scene really well.
Tell us about how you started making tracks? Other than the insane learning curve associated to most modern DAWs, what was your biggest challenge in the beginning?
I was never meant to work a normal job, it was always music for me, so one day I just quit my job as a consultant and began studying Sound and Music technology full time. From there I ended up sound engineering for band’s, teaching, managing studios, all alongside my DJing. The biggest challenge was getting my tracks to an industry standard polish. That came when I started working with people like Matador and Reset Robot. They have both been a huge inspiration for me. I am still learning new things which is great. It’s a constant challenge but it’s never a chore.
What’s your setup like and have you dedicated a room in your house as ‘the Studio’?!
I’ve got a studio in my back garden with an 1987 Allen & Heath GS3 console, Nord Lead, Arturia Microbrute, Korg Electribe, Maschine, Access Virus. I also mix down my tracks in a studio in city centre which has a Mackie Desk and the room is treated. I find that really important. I listen to some of the mixes I did in poor rooms and they just don’t sound right. Maybe that’s the sound engineering background talking but I find that a well treated room is really important. That and good headphones.
Talk us through your normal workflow making a track…
It varies really. I’ve just bought loads of new stuff such as the Akai MPC40. I have started writing in Ableton as opposed to Logic so my flow has totally changed. Generally I get my groove right, then I do a sketch of the track. At that point I go into mixing and post production mode where I do all the subtle edits. Then mastering. Then sleep. Maybe, haha.
Anything due out this year?
The first release for Hybrasil has been signed to Loose Records on May 9th and it will feature a remix from Mars Bill. I also have a release coming out on Radio Slave’s Rekids imprint. I’ve been a big fan of both labels for a long time so I’m delighted to be joining their rosters. In addition to that I will be joining Carl Cox & Dave Clarke on Bush Records. Really chuffed about that as well. Also, I have my own label launching this year called DoubleVision, so lots of stuff will be coming out on that, another project I’m really looking forward to!
A man of many talents, you also promoted a night as well. The list of artists you brought to Dublin is impressive to say the least… As someone whose DJed at their own night, can you explain the mix of emotions and competing priorities that the promoter/DJ goes through?
I started this approach in 2012. I started an event concept titled “Apocalypse Now” which was a monthly countdown to the end of the Mayan Calendar. It was a very complex theme encompassing Mayan mythology and extraterrestrial involvement in the development of the human race. I was writing tracks for each show and presenting them along with other tracks I had written. Not many promoters could do that so I felt it added something to the shows.
To make this work you’ve got to be really organised. I learned that the hard way in the beginning. You need to think of everything that could (and probably will) go wrong. You also need one or two really reliable people on your side. That is worth twenty people who don’t have their heart in it.
Will it’s been awesome to chat. We wish you every success in 2016 and beyond, is there anything you like say to end with?
Thank you for your time and hopefully see you at ADE again. And to the readers, don’t forget to checkout my Facebook page for any freebie releases I might care to put out very soon, wink wink! Take care and see you in Hybrasil.