In the weeks leading up to the end of 2017 we decided it would be good to try to unearth some new music talent from the north east and set them loose on the local underground scene. Big up our winner, Boss Level, aka Callum Brand. We’re welcoming Callum along to Northern Exposure on 3rd March, so we thought it would be a good idea to find a little more out about the man behind the music. Read on…
Welcome to Tunnel Club. Tell us a little about yourself and your music.
My name is Callum, producing and DJing under the name ‘Boss Level’. I grew up in Ashington and have lived in Sunderland and County Durham more recently. I’ve only been producing since last year and so far I’d say my stuff is influenced by early 90’s computer games and house music with aspects of electro and IDM.
How did you first get into making music?
After DJing at a few house parties I started looking to add creative hardware to accompany my sets. It’s then I decided to try my hand at production, but using hardware only as I use computers a lot at work and prefer to be creative away from them. Plus I like buttons and flashing lights.
Could you describe your musical influences?
I’ve loved electronic music since I was introduced to Aphex Twin by a friend when I was 18. Since then I’ve always been on the look out for good electronic music whether it be more ambient and IDM like Burial, Plaid, Squarepusher, Kuedo, to more dance/ravey stuff like Lone, Rustie, Machinedrum, Sam Gellaitry, etc.
How would you describe your sound & style?
Electronic, upbeat, arcade-house?
Give us a run down of a selection of your studio kit and how its evolved since you started.
I currently DJ using a pioneer DDJ-SR mainly due to it’s portability and how fun it is to use. The first synth/drum machine I bought was the Novation Circuit which I still use; its really quick and enjoyable to play with and along with 6 AA batteries you can put together entire songs anywhere you want. Since then I’ve bought and sold quite a few things but the Roland Aira gear I’d never let go. I could sit with a TR8 and TB3 all day long.
What’s your view on the electronic scene in the north east at the moment?
Until the last few years I’ve always thought the electronic scene was unfortunately weak in the north east. My mates and I have had to travel to Glasgow, Manchester, London, etc to see decent electronic music. Over the last couple of years however we’ve started to notice a lot more great gigs locally, particularly in Newcastle. Recent highlights have been Xaatu and Machinedrum at World Headquarters, as well as Tunnel Club last September which was bouncing.
Which other artists are doing it for you at the moment?
Recently, I’ve been really enjoying Lone’s new stuff that he has been releasing over the past year. Loving north-east lad Xaatu’s stuff on Soundcloud; he has a great original and hyper sound with a hint of Glaswegian “Aqua-Crunk”. Machinedrum’s ‘Human Energy’ was probably my most listened to album in 2017.
We’re looking forward to you joining us at Northern Exposure on March 3rd where you’ve plumped for a DJ set over live. Tell us a little about what people can expect.
I didn’t feel I had enough stuff I’m happy with to fill an hour, hence choosing to DJ instead. Variety is key for me as I can’t bare an hour of the same type of beat. I’ll be hopping between different electronic genres, attempting to get some hardcore shuffling on the floor of Little Buildings.
And finally, where can people find out more about you?
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/boss-level-beats
Big thanks to Callum for taking the time to answer our questions. Check him out for his debut Northern Exposure performance on Saturday 3rd March 2018 – details here – and look out for music from Callum on Tunnel Club Music this spring.