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Q & A: Bad Math

Bad Math

Bad Math’s ‘Celestial‘ EP is a totally left-field, avant-garde body of music that bends and shapes itself around genre constraints. Built as an instrumental hip-hop mixtape, the Sydney producer adds enough magic and sorcery to make it stand out on its unique pedestal. We managed to pin down the mysterious, unknown beat maker to discuss his anonymity, the EP’s more experimental moments and what gear he’s currently using.

Your choice to remain anonymous in this project makes it all the more tantalising. Any particular reason why?

I was actually a rapper before I started making beats full time. I made a little bit of a name for myself in the Sydney hip-hop scene under a rap alias. Going directly from a rap project to BAD MATH I wanted to remain anonymous so people wouldn’t confuse the two as the same project. I wanted a clean slate and didn’t want people who may not have liked my rap project to be biased towards my BAD MATH project.

Also, I love the mystery of it all. I’ve always been a theatrical person… and I’m a big horror movie fan so a mask just seemed perfect for me. In hindsight, I like to think we all were masks metaphorically speaking.

Your Roland SP-404 SX was featured heavily, if not entirely, on the album. What’s your affinity to this piece of gear?

After seeing MOHI and Kid Fiction play live the SP404sx just seemed like a perfect way to take my beats from the bedroom to a live atmosphere and once I got to listen to all the FX on this unit I was hooked! There’s something about not having to set a BPM or playing to a click track that makes me feel so free when creating. REC / MARK / RESAMPLE!

Is there another piece of gear that you’re eyeballing?

I just had some KRK ROKIT 8’s shipped to me as I blew my mackies. Also had a Zoom Sampletrak just sent to me I’m so excited for an actual pitch shifting / time stretching function as the SP-404sx pitch shifting is so sub par. Also, I just purchased a kaoss kp3 for more live effects in my shows but I have been really eyeballing all the BASTL instruments synthesisers. I may have JUST purchased a semi modular KASTL synth which I’m afraid will lead me down a rabbit hole of modular synth purchases and debt.

There’s a little bit of 8-bit and chiptune coming through on Friday Of A Time Traveler. Have you experimented much with these genres?

Not really. I just love to have a lot of warpy sounds in the background of my beats whether its field recordings from my phone, 8-bit, chiptune madness or a bunch of out-of-time percussion. It just creates a bit more character to the track.

If an MC out there were to lay some verses over these tracks, what would your reaction be?

I’d love it! All you rappers out there have my blessing to remix my beats from ‘Celestial’ but better come correct! I don’t wanna hear no half-assed bars on these bangers! I wanna hear pure gold and wordplay!

Is ‘Celestial’ just an experiment? What direction will Bad Math take from here?

Well, I’ve actually been sitting on an EP for a while now. I made it long before the ‘Celestial’ beat tape. It’s a lot more downtempo and explores a few different genres, from hip-hop to electronica to funk. Every track is vastly different and is much “cleaner” than ‘Celestial’. I’m hoping to have it out sometime mid-year! So keep your eyes and ears peeled!

Written by Jake Wilton