The Process: Gav Byrne on The 49ers, Bodhilynn and transatlantic collaboration

The 49ers.

Last year a producer called Gav Byrne came to us with an infectious hip-hop track to master called ‘One More Chance’. The track features Newark/Delaware act The 49ers and Amber Bodhilynn Scott and it’s wide, warm and soulful. If you’re looking forward to the summer this is the sort of song that takes you that bit closer. Stream the track and read our catch-up with Gav, where he talks about the song, his music and what it’s like to collaborate with artists on opposite sides of the globe.

So tell us about ‘One More Chance’

The track was originally made for my project ‘The Eulogy’, it was going to be the last and final track for the EP but the project never materialized in full…

Is ‘The Eulogy’ shelved permanently or might any of the tracks see the light of day at some point?

All the tracks will come out but they will be for promotional use before ‘Cipher’ comes out, which is a project I’ve been working on since last August with Cam U-Gene.

How quickly did you write and record ‘One More Chance’?

I met the 49ers online, I was aware of their success in Japan and had listened to some of their music on an album by a producer named Soulchef, so I reached out to Marcus (Marchitect) to write a track for me, who then wrote his verse and the hook, and he passed it on to Amber, who completely killed the chorus. It took about another week and a half for Jas Mace’s verse to be finished, and then Marchitect mixed down the entire track for me. He was a real good guy to work with... but in total I’d say it took 2 weeks or so to complete the track.

Two weeks is quite quick. Do you normally work that quickly or does it depend from track to track?

It depends from track to track and who I’m working with, I mean there’s tracks which I could send over to an artist and they could have it done in 2 or 3 hours, then there’s others which you could be waiting for weeks until you finally hear something

The chorus that Amber sings is pretty special alright. I still catch myself singing it every so often, even though I mastered it last summer. That’s quite a bit of time to be sitting on a song. In fact I’ve heard some of your other tracks that I know you’re holding back till the time is right too. So, do you have a release time for ‘Cipher’ planned yet?

Yeah, Amber sounds great on that track, I was really happy with the way it turned out. Well the plan was originally the summer, June in particular is what we had agreed on, but since then Cam has formed a group called ‘The Zoo’ with Naeem Prophet, and some of the material has been switched over for that project along with some new tracks, I think I have about three quarters of the tracks on ‘The Zoo’ project which is now set for June. I have two in particular that I honestly can’t wait for people to hear, called ‘Poison Control’ and ‘Peace and Tranquality’. Both of them tracks are probably the best to date in my opinion. There’s a couple on ‘Cipher’ that would easily give them a run for their money but since some tracks have been switched over to ‘The Zoo’ project, we are still in production right now for ‘Cipher’ which could have a name change, or a completely different sound by the time it actually sees the light of day. So for now the focus is helping out with the production and promotion of ‘Welcome to the Zoo’.

What kind of studio setup/gear do you have?

Just the basics really, external soundcard, studio monitors, midi controllers, drum pad, my DAW and a heap of VSTs, I’m currently basically a 100% software producer right now, but I’m hoping to change up in the future to an MPC or even Maschine is a possibility.

100% software isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Virtual instruments have come a long way in terms of sound in the past decade. Of course some hardware sounds great and we’ve got great hardware here, but I’d take a good plugin I trust over cheap sounding hardware anyday. The tracks you’ve sent me have always been good sounding. So have you been producing tracks for a long time to get them to sound this way?

Since late 2008. If you listen to some of the earlier tracks you could probably figure out I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, there was a huge improvement in the sound around 2011, with better plugins and instruments, I started to invest in myself a little and I think it’s paid off.

Was there any single sound on ‘One More Chance’ that you were particularly happy with? Could you tell us how it came about/how you got to that moment where you felt, “Yes. That’s working now.”?

The rhodes keys, they were the first thing that was laid down. I love the sound of rhodes, they are possibly my favourite thing to mess around with for sure, and well it was a very long time ago when they were put down but yeah there was a moment when I stopped after they were in place and thought to myself “where abouts is this going? It’s sounding pretty good”. But it would have taken a long time of just editing over and over and dealing with some latency issues, however if I remember correctly I think they were laid down over 2 nights, and everything fell into place afterwards… If there was one thing I usually am very fussy about it’s drums. I love to use or chop up drum breaks. With this particular track I felt like they fell into place quite handy, which I was pleased with because they are usually such a headache for me.

What's your usual process in turning an idea/inspiration into a finished track?

Well right now, I’m inspired by the group of guys I’m working with, Cam U-Gene, Naeem Prophet, Madman Leek and Harris Rudman... They are all pushing each other and creating a real brand to get behind, so I mean its hard not to want to be apart of that and contribute, I mean when their projects are coming out, I wanna listen to that project and feel like I’ve produced the best tracks on there ya know? That’s what’s inspiring me as of right now to make ideas into final tracks, but the process is all through email as this crew is working out of California. So as I’m currently working out of Dublin we have to bounce ideas and possible themes for tracks off each other through email… The guys live in the studio, so I mean once I drop something in, a track can be recorded straight away.

That’s great. It sounds like you’re embracing the future, collaborating almost instantaneously with people on opposite sides of the globe. What are the main problems you find yourself up against working this way?

Honestly, the only problem I really have with it, is that I would love to be there in the studio while things are happening, I mean… I think I would like to have some creative input when the track is being recorded, or even just sit back and enjoy watching the process, as I’ve kind of had to sit out in a different country and watch all my friends overseas all meet up and work together in the studio, and to know that I’m missing out on that would be my biggest issue. However having a consistent work flow also is a problem, I mean things happen in life and you can’t get to work on new tracks as often as you would you like and when it’s not in person you really don’t have the motivation to get behind the boards and produce a track as much as you would if you were in the studio on a day to day basis.

So would a move to the west coast of the States be on the cards for you soon?

Ahh I would only love to, I mean I think it’s something which could be on the cards in the future but not for now, I have to complete my final year in college and have a lot of other stuff I wouldn’t be prepared to drop, but maybe someday. The guys have set up a little label called ‘Paradoxical Heathens’ and are planning to come over to Ireland during the summer, and if they don’t get the chance to, I think I’m going to have to travel over for a holiday and experience the whole movement they are creating for myself, it’s something I think I would regret if I didn’t.

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