EXCURSIONS 012: BEAT BROKER
December 18, 2020
San Francisco→ Unknown Future Space
Words: Bad Lieutenant
Ryan Bishop is the Beat Broker. Whether its slow mo cosmica, midtempo techno, or upbeat house, Ryan's original tracks, remixes and edits have a consistent function: to bring you on a ride. When you plug into the Beat Broker's sonic world, expect to be taken on highway cruise through space driven beats and melodies ... speeding past the fluorescent signs of cyberpunk cities, kicking up cosmic dust of glittering deserts and into the glowing temples of unknown dreamscapes. For years now, the San Francisco based producer has articulated a futuristic vision through his sound.
In 2000 Ryan founded Dream Chimney, a blog and music space dedicated to the outer reaches of the mind and spirit. Ryan started the blog with a close knit group of musician friends who had similar interests and tastes. Dream Chimney began as a seemingly acid tinged exchange of dream interpretations, and blossomed into a music repository with the addition of tracks of the day and mixes of the week shared to a growing community of enthusiasts. Today the blog is a holding place for all things "Chimney", including personal touches such as links to websites called “Yachtornacht” and “Dawgs”. As evidenced by these links and Ryan's image above, the contributors have a good sense of humor. The team has grown the reputation of Dream Chimney to the point they are now inundated with material from interested parties daily; however, the Dream Chimney members seems to enjoy the jigsaw puzzle of fitting all the new tracks and mixes together while continuing to be a platform for new artists.
DREAM CHIMNEY SC: @the-dream-chimney
DREAM CHIMNEY IG: @dreamchimney
Ryan’s own reputation as a producer and remixer began to take off when he was part of the dj duo, Broker/Dealer in the 2000s after the Blog gained traction. In addition to making contributing to the website and making edits and original music, Broker/Dealer hosted a bi-weekly party called POP in SF with a number of highly respected dj’s as headliners. Since his debut as the Beat Broker, Ryan has release credits on a number of labels including GHOSTTOWN, DISCQUES SINTHOMME, BEAR FUNK, ADULT CONTEMPORARY, NANG, and UNIVERSAL CAVE (to name a few). Despite a slower production pace in 2020, Beatbroker’s stock continues to rise and his fans patiently await 2021 with excitement about what the new year will bring. We knew we had to have Beatbroker for our EXCURSIONS series. We were grateful for his contributions of a mix and Q&A, which did not disappoint. Strap up your seatbelt and prepare to ride.
Interview with BAD LIEUTENANT
I was introduced to your production and dj work through Dennis Kane, one of the best in the business and a true underground artist. You've produced tracks for his former labels, Disques Sinthomme and Ghosttown, as well as Bear Funk, Universal Cave, and Nang, among others. Your productions range from slower cosmic to AOR to uptempo synth-driven club music... but has a consistent sound and flavor that is unmistakably Beat Broker. Are there particular production techniques, pieces of hardware, or approaches you use in your production to achieve this?
There is a sound or style I have, hopefully people still like it. Even if I'm attempting something new, it still seems to have some of my sound in there somehow. I’ve mostly been using the same gear for the past 15+ years. Yamaha rs7k, few older rack synths/efx, and ableton live with arturia synths are pretty much the main tools. I acquired a set of gear from my previous studio that I'm always trying to work into new tracks but typically go with the trusted set. I'm still somehow finding good things inside that rs7k, many of the synth sounds in it have come back into style again. My tracks typically start from a small sampled loop of some sort, could be drums or synths or both, and then pile my own sounds on top until they both fit or one is removed. That and just the right amount of delay added is the formula. Tempo may vary.
What is your favorite production or project you've worked on in past years?
The past few years I've been doing mostly remixes, and for labels that I’m a big fan of. Citizens of Vice, Palms and Charms, Hell Yeah Recordings. Great projects, great labels and really liked how it turned out. These labels have all been producing some of my favorite releases in the last few years so it was an honor to be asked to contribute.
Your mixes also seem to have a consistency to them as well... dreamy, melodic, synth driven and futuristic. Always with a clear beginning, middle and end. Good storytelling. Have you always tried to achieve consistency or do your mixes come together organically?
Really glad that you like them and can hear the effort that goes into each. I've been making mixes pretty consistently for the last 15+ years, each with a pretty clear theme, style. Typically ill save, tag or just hold on to tracks to line up for future mixes based on some concept, sometimes the mix title will come first and then slowly find the tracks to go with it. The past few years I've received so many amazing promos for Dream Chimney, im picking out new tracks daily and start to hear different styles/themes form so ill typically plan them out for different mixes over time.
I really love this mix. It evolves quite a bit starting off slower tempo and really starting to gallop around the 20 minute mark. I have banged it out in my car and probably driven a bit too fast but it was worth the rush... How was this mix recorded? Is there an ideal environment for listening?
A cruising midtempo laid back house/disco 114bpm vibe was the goal. Sort of a warm up to the Classy Dancer series which is a bit more upbeat. I was playing this mix in the car after finishing it and realized that yeah that is the ideal environment for this one for sure. Being stuck in the house all week/year it was good to hear it out and away from my studio last weekend. The mix was started on my older cdjs and then recorded in ableton.
Let's talk a bit about Dream Chimney, which you founded. I wrote a bit about it in our blog, but in your own words, what is the ethos of Dream Chimney?
It started with the name back in 1996 as an electronic music project for late night experimenting with sound, samples and synths. The project itself didn’t continue but the name hung around and then in the start of 2000 when I was wanting to buy a domain name to experiment with a website it seemed like a good fit. Pre every social network I invited a close group of friends to contribute and then it expanded over time. It started with amateur dream interpretations, a way to send digital donuts...odd stuff but soon after the Track of the Day section started. Filesharing was at its peak and finding new music, albums, artists, labels was an everyday thing, so Dream Chimney seemed a good place to share those. Each day we would post our one absolute favorite track and add a comment about it. Tracks we post can be any genre/style imaginable but based on our select member base with their unique background / influences, over the years we've managed to maintain a "Dream Chimney" style to it.
How has working with Dream Chimney played a role in your music and dj'ing?
Another key part of Dream Chimney is that not only do our members have a great ear for finding good music but are also musicians. Dream Chimney was/is a great place to share new productions, remixes, Dj mix etc. A strong list of producers Hatchback, Sorcerer, Rollmottle, Windsurf, Broker/Dealer and many more would be sharing new tracks hot off the presses from the night before.
The music posted on Dream Chimney exposes myself and hopefully others to all types of new music all the time. Over 42,000 tracks have been posted, browsing the archives of the last 20 years and you can find some hidden gems. Some of which finds it way into DJ mixes, ideas for edits/remixes etc.
Are there any future projects you're excited about?
In 2019 Dream Chimney launched its first 4 releases on bandcamp, 2020 has been a hiatus from that but i'm really looking forward to getting back to some new releases. We get great demos on top of the music from Dream Chimney members. I just bought a new sound card finally and getting my new laptop up and running hoping this latest mix will kick start me into more for 2021.
Finally, after the vaccine gets to you, what will be the first thing you do?
Feels like at this point it won't be until late 2021 for that to happen but ill be ready, although it seems like things will mostly be the same for me. Would love to get the hell out of SF or even just out of the house for more than a day! Taking it slow.
Any words for the listeners?
Hope everyone enjoys the mix, a majority of the tracks were sent directly to Dream Chimney as promos which we feature every weekday, so if you like the mix check our website for more. Thanks for inviting me!
Follow the Beat Broker on soundcloud and IG (links above) and buy some of his music!