Acquaint yourself with Dave Bryce and his enticing new track ‘Vanguard Syndrome’. The track encompasses a dazzling intricate sound bed that fuses flavours of jazz, hip hop, and ambient music. Everything is on point but the keys on this track are just fantastic, real dope contemporary jazz. Stream the track below, and look out for his upcoming ‘Booksmart’ EP.
We talk to Bryce about the past, present and what the future holds.
Hey Dave, Congratulations on your first release!
Thanks so much!
What’s your earliest musical memory?
It’s not exactly a vivid memory but pretty significant in terms of my obsession with music at a young age. My Dad’s old house had a little DIY studio, and he’d sit me up at the mixing desk, so I could mess about with all the buttons and flashing lights, as you can see in the photo, it was a good time. Then I got tall enough to reach the piano and was even happier nonsensically hitting the keys in true toddler fashion. It might not sound like a lot, but it was this kind of exposure to music early on that helped build me to where I am today.
What made you decide to turn to music in the first place?
I don’t think there was a conscious decision to turn to music because I started so young and come from a musical family. I’m blessed to have had that because it means the passion for music has always been there. In my formative years, I got to grade 3 on piano but felt so restricted in the classical world, it really wasn’t for me. Whenever it came to practicing, all I wanted to do was just improvise, and that’s exactly what happened. I just taught myself from then on and enjoyed the freedom. That being said, there was a point a couple of years ago where I decided to take piano more seriously, focus more on the fundamentals and put in the practice. That came hand in hand with my decision to study music production, allowing my musical vision to materialise.
How would you describe your sound to someone who’d never heard it before?
If I had to label my sound, it would be somewhere between jazz, hip-hop and ambient. That’s still a pretty broad generalisation because each track is just a snapshot of where I was in one moment of time, the mood changes so much that it’s hard to pin it down to one genre. The first single is one of the brighter, faster tracks; packed with cool polyrhythms and piano runs but grounded by a big bassline and strong hip-hop overtones. As the EP progresses the sound drifts to more sombre and serious tone but remains cohesive overall. It’s a product of years of listening to so much different music, living in different environments and experiencing different cultures.
You’re based in Brighton, and the jazz scene is very fertile at the moment. What’s it like to be an up and coming producer in this city
The talent coming out of Brighton is endless; it’s so good to see! I actually live a couple of miles away, so when I was working on my EP, I didn’t know how much of a local audience there would be for it. It was only made clear when I started going to local shows more that I saw how strong the community is, both artists and fans. Bands like Yakul and Howes3 are killing it at the moment. Their sound is so unique and ambitious, so watching how well it’s been received is invaluable motivation for guys like me trying to get the first foot on the ladder.
Which piece of equipment could you not live without and why?
Man, that’s a good question. I could just say my keyboard or one of the many plugins that are essential but honestly from a production perspective the most valuable piece of equipment is my ears. The ability to listen to stuff between the lines, analyse the smallest details and determine how every element needs to sound to be a true representation of what’s in my head. Sure, I may be the only one to notice them individually when making those decisions over an entire track, but the cumulative effect is integral to the result.
What are your plans for the future? Will there be more new music this year?
The next step for me is releasing my debut EP titled ‘Booksmart’. I’ve been sitting on this record for months now, and it’s definitely time to get it out there, it’s looking like it’ll be released in a couple of months from now. Behind the scenes, I’m getting a bunch of musicians together to play Booksmart live which I’m so excited for. I can’t wait to see how all the music translates to a live context; the way I play a lot of the tracks now is quite different to how it was recorded so it’s completely open to interpretation for all the other guys involved too. Aside from that the plan for the future is to just keep producing both my own music and other artists.