Bayfield harnessed the power of the one the world’s most technologically advanced and refined communications tools (Facebook chat) to speak with LA based Chestplate artist Mesck about his new Dead Language EP, getting cereal sponsorship and becoming a posterboy for EBM culture.
Bayfield: Yoyo Messer Mesck you there famalam??
Mesck: Yooo. Just getting my ass up and motivated
Bayfield: I’m ready coach! Put me on the team!
Right that’s the interview well underway. Smashed it mate.
Haha yeah I was gonna say you can probably just run with that.
It’s actually going in mate.
Perfect. Awkward intro biz… Substance. What time is it out there?
7.30 pm here. Waiting on Eastenders. New EP is a bit good by the way.
Glad you like it
Yeah mate. Anti-Social is a particularly banging number
I dont hate it yet so it must be decent
Do you hate your previous EPs then?
Yeah mostly. This one; it’s ok though. By the time I’ve actually finished a tune I generally can’t stand hearing it anymore… Quite the dilemma.
Does this release on Chestplate feel different to the previous one then?
Ah yeah definitely. Last one was that awkward first vinyl release, this one was a bit more carefully executed both stylistically and technically. Design wise it’s definitely got a really strong theme, everything from the artwork to the actual music.
Certainly fits in with the Chestplate remit in my opinion. It’s great because everyone on that label, including yourself, is really unique but fit into an overall bigger sound. There’s not many labels that pull that off. They either sound all over the fucking shop or all sound exactly the fucking same
Yeah honestly man I wasn’t really fully sold on dubstep until I heard the early Chestplate releases. I know I’d probably get tarred and feathered by the purist bunch for saying it but the older, more rootsy stuff didn’t really do a whole lot for me.
Don’t worry about that mate, a lot of the rootsy stuff can get that way for me too… I think No Sunshine was the Chestplate one that really caught my ear initially
Yeah, when I heard My Demons I was like wtf even is this?!
In my opinion that was (and still is) one of the most cohesive albums in dubstep.
That entire album was so next level, a lot of range in that one.
Were you aiming for Chestplate from the off then with your productions or was that just a happy coincidence?
Hard to say really. I’ve always kind of been more into aggressive sounds in my production; was playing and producing a lot of dnb in the early 2000s… most of it was shit
Ahhhh ok. Yeah I honestly wasn’t familiar with you before hearing some bits on the Chestcasts around the time your first EP got signed and whatnot. That explains it as I don’t listen to D&B at all… I think all DnB is shit to be fair.
Hahaha! Most of my influence comes from d’n’b, or at least it did early on.
What sort of stuff were you into?
Early Noisia, Mindscape, Ed Rush & Optical, Nerve Recordings, SLR etc. I don’t follow it much anymore though
Not sure why I asked you that to be fair; most of those names sound like medical equipment and I’ve only heard of one of them.
Mostly yes, hahaha surgical devices.
Was it a conscious move away from D’n’B or just a natural shift in interest?
Well I sucked at making D’n’B. I was actually doing a lot of design work in that genre though… but nobody ever wanted to fucking pay for quality work so that got old.
Mate I’ve been doing design in and around dance music for a minute now (It’s kind of how I fell in with GetDarker) and very few people want to pay me properly either!
Except Kryptic Minds. Shoutout Si from Kryptic Minds there. Always sorts out the drinks!
While you’re working on a project it’s all “yes this is of utmost importance to us it has to be perfect” …but once it’s done and you need payment its more “well it’s just a logo why should it cost xxxxx”
Exactly that! I did a little experiment once: a label told me they couldn’t afford to pay me for a flier design but it would be “great exposure” so in return for the work I asked them if in they would come play a rave I was organising (fictionally) for free. They flew right off the handle. Knobs.
Hahaha! Yeah, that has always been so odd to me. People don’t respect that differing arts have similar value it seems.
You would think designer & musicians would be more like-minded when it comes to that sort of thing.
Yeah it always strikes me as bizarre but then you realize it’s not about your chosen artform and that human beings are just selfish pricks by nature. Haha!
Were you a designer / artist before producer?
Yeah, I still do graphic design. That’s how I pay the bills.
You did the stuff for the new EP didn’t you?
Well I had been bugging Distance for minute about doing a redesign and he finally let me have a go at it. I found this piece online by this collage artist Arn Gyssels and just felt like it really fit the aesthetic of the music on the release perfectly so I contacted him and he was awesome to work with.
As iconic as the old Chestplate design with the characters is I kinda felt like it needed a refresh.
Oh nice I didn’t realise it was collaborative. I really like the front image with the offset / grafted pieces on the people.
I considered doing it on my own in a similar style but I felt like that would cheapen it. Might as well go directly to the source.
Respect that a lot. There’s nothing worse (in my opinion) than when you read an interview with an artist or whoever and they say how “influenced” they were by so and so then you see the piece they made and they’ve actually just ripped off said artist.
I tried not to veer too far from the usual Chestplate look too, which wasn’t difficult. Yeah fuck all that: not into copying people. No fun in that, plus at the end of the day you just end up with a pissy watered down version of someone else’s idea.
Yeah never got the copycat thing. There’s no fun for the creator and no fun for the consumer.
Normally it’s just fame hunters who do that crap… fame hunting in dubstep. Haha!
Bahaha yeah fame hunting in dubstep in 2015 is about one rung down from burger hunting at a Morrissey gig in 2015… Or any year for that matter.
… those million dollar gigs thoooo. That shit cracks me up. People acting like there are billion dollar contracts at stake
Yeah it’s crazy how bitchy music wise some of it seems to get at times. Lot of cliquing going on.
Man LA is bad when it comes to that shit. I stay the fuck out of it for the most part.
What goes on over there underground music wise? I love Low End Theory and all them folk but can’t say I know a great deal of dubstep that end anymore.
I think it’s a result of EDM bubble expanding to the point of critical mass.
Yeah that is literally swollen to capacity. It’s gonna pop off like that one of the three Storms in Big Trouble In Little China.
Love that movie.
EDM circa culture 2015
Hahaha thank fuck for that. Didn’t know if you were gonna go for that reference.
Out to Kurt Russel
Yeah shoutout Kurt each and every.
But yeah there’s a lot of people out here doing amazing shit.
Fancy putting together a little Mesck’s Stateside Picks type playlist to go alongside this interveiw?
Ah yeah definitely!
Maybe pick 10 artists and a tune from each? Any genre.
Yeah for sure.
No drum&bass though.
Don’t want to have to blacklist you son.
I swear as much as I used to listen to it I am so out of touch when it comes to any current d’n’b.
Do you stay in the loop with dubstep actually on that subject?
Honestly I rarely listen to it when I’m at home or at work. Mostly classic rock or fusion jazz, old r’n’b type shit, but I keep up.
Not a fan tbh.
Oh for fucks sake.
I know right
No idea why I let Distance sign me up for this bullshit.
I mean I’m not anti-Phil
No one is ever truly Anti-Phil. It’s funny there seems to be a strong vein of rock / metal fandom amongst all the Chestplate team.
It certainly does carry that sort of grinding industrial edge to it
That’s part of what drew me in initially I’m sure. Big fan of Converge and lots of early hardcore stuff.
Ahhhh that makes perfect sense. District is a bit of an ‘ardcore fan too if memory serves.
My musical tastes have shifted so much over the years, it’s pretty insane.
I think most do.
Most people that actually really love music tend to be all over the board.
I think it’s when your interests ground to a halt and stop changing that I think you’re really up shit’s creek creatively.
I might be listening to some early Cro-mags and then draw for some Dianna Ross next. You never know. It’s funny actually; I had Thelem and Sleeper staying with me for a week or two just recently and I’m pretty sure in that entire time we didn’t listen to any dubstep.
I speak with so many dubstep artists who say they never listen to any dubstep.
Was 90% jazz, soul and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.
But I think that’s a good thing. If everyone just listened to dubstep all the time it would become so homogenised. No fuck that, it IS so homogenised.
Yeah there’s definitely a bit of that going on. I listen to it when I play shows or when I’m making it but outside of that not so much. It’s better not to I think.
To be fair that’s a current issue I have when people submit dubstep tunes to GetDarker. With the really young guys they’ll hit you up saying how long they’ve listened to our mixes etc and how they are huge fans of a particular artist then send you something that (although sometimes sounding extremely well made) it literally sounds like something / someone that already exists.
It’s too easy to find yourself being influenced by someone else’s music.
I think that’s why the genre currently seems to be stuck in an almost complete stasis at the moment.
If I’m going to be influenced I’d rather have it come from another genre. For me anyways.
Yep. Agree. On another note: does Dead Language have a slowed down sample of Run DMC’s ‘Beats To The Rhyme” in it?
Well yes and no. It’s actually the same source they used; probably one of the most sampled hip-hop cuts of all time. Bob James – Nautilus.
Oh fuck yes of course, that’s embarrassing that I missed that.
As I was writing the tune I had this sample in there that I had recorded of a subway and the rails had this ring to it that reminded me of something… It was killing me for like a week. Then I watched this documentary on Rick Rubin and the song they played in the credits was Beats To The Rhyme and it was a holy shit moment.
I pretty much had a smaller scale version of that when I was trying to work out where the fuck I’d heard that noise when I uploaded the Dead Language preview on Friday.
So I pulled my copy of Bob James ‘One.’ Had to tweak the fuck out of it to get it to fit properly. Laid that shit in and it fit perfect
That’s what you need. Far too much stuff made now is entirely on computer and it just makes it so inhuman. My background has a lot of hip-hop in so I love a good game of sample spotting too.
Yeah man. I had a good decade where I was all hip hop. That’s actually where I learned to make beats. I had an old MPC 2000.
I thought I was an MC for a bit as well. Absolutely awful. Still have sketchbooks full of lyrics.
Hahaha always a great phase to go through! I got on the mic for Sepia at Isle Of Wight festival this year whilst out of my fucking tree… I was fucking abysmal
Hahahaha sick! Oddly enough I stay far away from the mic these days; all those tapes of me are pretty much lost on DAT. They will never be heard.
…I think me and Sepia are doing a reunion set for the GetDarker Christmas party to be honest hahaha
Thank god hahaha. I’ll be sure to tune in for that one then!
Right one last question or two before I bounce because Eastenders is starting soon and I need to get a pot of tea on the go: On Discogs your new Chestplate release had been categorized in the genres Dubstep and “EBM” which stands for Electronic Body Music (I’m not making this up)
The fuck?!! Hahaha.
I need to see this!
Here we go I’ll copy & paste: how does it feel to be the freshest young face in a “style born from the influence of Industrial music and New Wave. Initially coined in the early 80’s by Belgian act Front 242, the term is now used for music characterized by loud beats, heavily distorted synth sounds and low-pitched, sometimes guttural voice. Starting from the early 90’s, integrating the dark romantic influence of new wave, EBM started integrating more melodic, trance-like tunes, while retaining a gloomy, hard-beat aspect (one branch meeting with the more pop-influenced Synth-Pop to create the so-called Future Pop).”
That’s quite the description. Think they nailed it to be fair… I’m familiar with Front 242 but for fucks sake. “sometimes” guttural, “hard-beat”, they’re just stringing words together!
I know less about EBM now than before I read the description
“one branch meeting with the more pop-influenced Synth-Pop to create the so-called Future Pop” … Deep. Hahahah
You’ll be EBM famous in 6 months you mark my words boy.
Then maybe I can start playing million dollar shows and have my own brand of cereal.
Probably. Branded cereal is actually the fucking dream.
…maybe an energy drink somewhere down the line
Mescketamine. A heady blend of Mesck and taurine
Sounds like a panic attack in a bottle.
Proud to say I was onboard from the brand’s formative days. Right mate lovely to chat to you but I’m off. Eastenders is now on. Thanks for your time man!
You too. Respect!
Mesck’s Dead Language EP is out now via Chestplate: cop that HERE
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