Rubix Qube is the solo project of Kieron Grieve. His interest in Psytrance was obtained through an older sibling, which eventually led him to studying sound engineering and music production at CityVarsity, where he met Carl (the other half of Biorhythm). Besides his two Psytrance projects, Kieron has also added Jam Jarr, a glitch-hop duo to his resume.
Psymedia : Howzit Kieron! To kick things off, tell me about how you got involved with psychedelic trance? I believe you spent some time refining your sound and studied at CityVarsity. How did you know it was the right time to take the leap?
Rubix Qube : Howzit, howzit! I got involved via my brother who kinda shaped my perception of the Psytrance scene years before I even went to a party. When I finally managed to get some mates to come with me to an outdoor festival, I quickly realised how awesome the music was and how strongly I felt about contributing to this beautiful scene somehow. I was knee deep in getting to know Reason 2 and Cubase VST at the time, trying to translate what I knew on piano and guitar into a computer was pretty easy, given that school was somewhat boring in comparison. I attended CityVarsity, which was good for engineering knowledge, but more for networking. I met Carl (Luna) there and from there I got involved with The Village and co-founded Biorhythm. That was about 5 years ago! I think Lyle (Archive), Lawrence (Zion Linguist) and Barry (Frozen Ghost) really helped in motivating me to write more music and take it seriously. After my first Village and MMD party in 2008, it was pretty much set in stone that this is was I was going to focus on – this type of sound, with these types of people, in this kind of nature.
Psymedia : How often do you pick up the guitar? When is it beneficial for electronic production?
Rubix Qube : I do play guitar when I have the time. I have an Ibanez electric, a vintage nylon string and a twangy steel string. Guitar has always been a part of my life and I try incorporate it into the songs I make if I can’t synthesize a particular sound or melody I have in mind. I’ve also done some small session guitar work for other studios, but nothing fancy. I love playing guitar, it’s the one thing I can trust on if the power gets cut! [laughs]
Psymedia : Your first side project is Biorhythm alongside Luna. How does the sound differ to your solo project? What’s your live setup like?
Rubix Qube : Biorhythm is really an amalgamation of ideas between Carl and I. Compared to the Rubix Qube sound, it’s got more layers and intensity – but it can be more groovy and melodic. Even if they sound similar at times, it has to be fundamentally different because there are 2 different approaches joining into one. It depends on how feel and what we experience from festivals and parties here and overseas, but generally we sit down in the studio and make whatever comes to mind at the time. We interchange our roles as Biorhythm, both in the studio and live. Carl is a trained drummer and I’m an amateur guitarist, so we both learnt new electronic instruments and hardware based on those experiences. We use the Virus TI 5 octave, Roland SPDS Drum Machine and iPad for most of our outdoor live sets. We have had guitar instrumentalists and extra synths, but this setup seems to work the best for the sound we’re going for.
Psymedia : You also perform alongside Bakaman as glitch-hop duo Jam Jarr. How did the two of you meet? Are things relatively a bit more ‘relaxed’ in studio with this project?
Rubix Qube : Paul and I met at a Village party, funnily enough. I was engineering the Friday night when we had a multitude of alternative live acts playing – Bakaman and Spando performed and I thought it would go really well with some of the more random songs I’d been working on. We got in the studio and made the Jam Jarr version of Lazers & Vaginas, and there’s been more of that ever since!
‘Relaxation’ is not something I try to feel in the studio [laughs]. Paul and I are usually quite busy so finding the time to exchange ideas and make something tangible each session is pretty hard. Creatively, the backing tracks are all over the show. I prefer to keep it that way so Jam Jarr can be my creative ‘playground’ where the solo Rubix Qube is more like a creative ‘battleground’. It is a massively different process from the Psytrance sound, but I think the Rubix Qube sound sometimes comes through without any intention. The various electronic scenes in Cape Town are huge, and thankfully we are able to play our sound to the majority of them based on the glitch-nature of genre.
Psymedia : Your latest track Rock the Riot follows some of your previous Jam Jarr releases in that they are free downloads. Why did you decide to take this route?
Rubix Qube : We like people having our music! Due to the beastly nature of the internet, music becomes free one way or another, we’re just cutting to the chase.
Psymedia : I believe at the beginning of this year you were looking put out a few more albums [for your various projects]. Has anything progressed since then?
Rubix Qube : I’ve been a bit quiet on the marketing side for the last few months for the Rubix Qube act, but certainly not time wasted. The Village Records is something we need to publicly establish before release, so there’s been good ground being made on those two fronts. It’s different when there is no deadline and it’s your own project, you know, you can really take the time to make it exactly what you want. I’ve been doing a lot of versus tracks with students and producer buddies, but at the moment I’m in the testing phase of the album tracks. A Rubix Qube vs Rabdom L EP is in the making prior to that, which I’m really looking forward to people hearing. I released a track with Tantrum on Hadra Records a few months back and that’s doing quite well. Dead Still Dance just came out online from Strain’s compilation Compression Session. I believe the track did well enough to sit at number one on Juno Download for a few days so I was really surprised and happy about that!
Psymedia : Speaking of Rabdom L, you guys are doing a production workshop together. How’s that going?
Rubix Qube : We just did our 6th session with 2 groups, and we doing our 7th session tonight – so it’s going well! We had planned out some seriously detailed demonstrations for the workshop and it’s really satisfying seeing everything fit into place. We’ve had huge help from Strain, Archive, Microdot Music, Karen & Brian, Tune Raider, Eqlipse, Dale Byl, Shift, Gareth Taylor and Mik Motala Photography. It’s something Craig and I have agreed to extend into November/December and possibly next year but due to our schedules we will not be able to hold them very frequently. Teaching students is not something new to me so I really enjoy seeing what they bring to the table as musicians/DJ’s. You can email me or Craig or phone us, both our numbers are on the event page of the last workshop. The next workshop will be well advertised so that anybody who has been meaning to do something like this for while can finally take the opportunity and do it – be it in private lessons or the more interactive workshop sessions.
Psymedia : Rubix Qube and Biorhythm have a heavy, dark, night time atmosphere. Have you considered making something geared towards the day time, maybe a progressive project?
Rubix Qube : It’s been quite an interesting experience, being in the ‘twilight’ scene while the prog scene exploded the last season. I expect lots more of it this season, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be starting a prog act any time soon [laughs]. I’ll be trying my hand at all shapes of Psytrance for the album, so you can judge the ‘proggy’ track on there when it comes out! At the moment I’m really enjoying some of the progressive trends here without me having a prog alias, and until I have some earth-shattering progressive ideas I don’t think you’ll be seeing a solo progressive side project from me any time soon. I instinctively steer clear of any suggestions to start more aliases, but I have seriously considered this option based on positive feedback, so who knows! Time will tell.
Psymedia : You’ve also been working on the sound for the iOS/Android game, Soccer Moves. What’s that experience been like?
Rubix Qube : It’s an awesome move-based concept game for various iOS and Android devices, something Fuzzy Logic and I have been working on for some time now. It’s one of many games/apps I have helped them and other companies with, but this one was quite challenging! It’s not like you can find samples of football physics and soccer stadiums lying around in your sample bank somewhere, so I’ve had to buy some equipment and spend some time researching and experimenting with different recording techniques for foley and voice overs. It’s hard work but the fun involved is immense! The guys at Fuzzy Logic are really talented and easy to work with so it’s definitely something I will continue to do in the years to come.
Psymedia : What’s it like being a part of The Village family since its inception, and what can the dance floor expect from your sets at The Village presents The Gathering 2013?
Rubix Qube : It’s ultimate gees. These handful of guys take it upon themselves to create The Village, the village style of music, the village parties. I feel like I make Village inspired music, and it’s humbling to be a part of the whole experience. I love that twice a year, I can count on seeing the whole community there working together to make something greater than themselves. Aside from being able to perform there every year, contributing to that experience is really killer – but it’s something everybody does, just by being there you are making the level of parties increase in quality.
They can expect the same kind of gees with sprinkles of 2014 gees [laughs]. My Soundproof set will be the opening set of the party, on Saturday from 16:00 to 18:00, which is essentially Jam Jarr instrumental tracks, as well as some Tipper, Amon Tobin, Trentemøller and Glitch Mob thrown in, whilst finishing off with a more Techno driven theme to get the party going. Carl and I recently went to Hadra Festival in Lyon [France], the festival there was nicely done and showcased a mixed South Africa vs Europe sound – there will be a bit of that at The Village presents The Gathering 2013 with Outer Signal and the Rubix Qube set in the morning instead of the usual midnight slot. Can’t wait to see how messy it gets!
Psymedia : Thanks for the interview. Any last words before we finish off?
Rubix Qube : Thank you guys for the interview! I’ll see you in the front-everywhere! Check out my Rubix Qube Facebook and Soundcloud page to stay up-to-date on future releases!