TFword in Conversation With Melysma

Our chat with the burgeoning DJ and producer was all about his recent single on Yamatai Records, his unique ability to switch styles with ease, his plans for the future, and lots more.

It might be wise to include a caution prior to entering Melsyma’s back catalog because once you’re in it, there is simply no going back. The British DJ and producer possesses the ability to take you into a variety of soundscapes through his progressive style of music that effortlessly navigates the scale of drum & bass.

Since his debut in 2014, Melsyma has released his music on revered imprints such as Ram Records, Symmetry Recordings, Sofa Sound Bristol, Dispatch Recordings, ProgRAM, and Engage Audio, while receiving support from heavyweights like Andy C, Bladerunner, Alibi, Ant TC1, The Invaderz, Break, Ill Truth, and Calyx, among many others.

After a solid 2023, Melsyma made a return to his production exploits with Yamatai Records on their Genesis compilation with a tune that narrates his return after a brief hiatus considering his supremely high turn-around time with releases. Aimed at the dancefloor, ‘We Return’ carries the laid-back undertone that Yamatai champions in their releases, but it also presents us with the palette of flavors that Mylesma has been playing over the years.

After the release, Melsyma joined us to talk about the tune, his style of music, and how his music has shaped over the years. Let’s chat!

TFword: We’re absolutely loving the deep and wobbly vibes on ‘We Return.’ Talk us through your experience writing the tune.
Melysma: Thank you! I’m glad you’re enjoying it, and thanks for the interview! This track was a classic example of rolling a tune out in a couple days and not overthinking it or over listening to it. The weekend before the submission deadline, I still hadn’t started anything, so on the Friday night I said to myself – whatever I start tonight, that’s it, that’s what I’m sending to Yamatai. In an ideal world, it would have had plenty of time in circulation on dub, but it’s been a nice surprise to see a tune I wrote about 6 weeks ago be so well received, especially after a long break from releasing.

TF: How has it been like working with the Yamatai Records gang?
Melysma: It’s been a pleasure, there’s a strong family vibe there which is what you want from a label and I’m really grateful that they asked me onboard for this release.

TF: How fluent was the creative flow of the tune?
Melysma: This tune started as a bassline in my head. I recorded it as a voice note on my phone on the way home and looped it at the studio. I already had the vocals set aside for a tune and it all fell into place surprisingly well.

I made the end of the loop falling bass wraparound quite early on and I see that as the centrepiece of the tune. It’s really useful putting the most complex noise at the end of the loop. It stops me from overcomplicating the rest with heavy noises, that’s why it’s deep and wobbly. Quarantine Recordings is the bible of that concept. The call and response of the low moody bass building up to crunchier bass creates a satisfaction loop that I love. It keeps rolling tunes from getting boring on the dancefloor and they’re better in the mix.

TF: How and when did the Melysma journey begin?
Melysma: I used to play bass in bands when I was a kid and my old man would often give me drum & bass Mixmag CDs, which I became pretty obsessed with. I eventually started producing music about 16 years ago, but my first drum & bass release was the Never Let Me Go EP in 2014 on a label called Ten Tons Deeper run by DJ Reckless.

I spent a lot of time trying to speak to different people in the scene and build relationships before peppering them with tunes. I was aware I was still learning, and I didn’t like the idea of my development being publicly listenable (even though it is haha).

Darrel from The Invaderz helped me shape my sound into something more rolling, which has evolved to where it is now. I was running nights and DJing a lot at uni in Leeds, which has taken a backseat while I’ve worked on my production craft but I’ll be churning out the mixes again soon!

TF: We’re big admirers of your ability to traverse through such a wide range of styles around of the drum & bass genre. Tell us more about it.
Melysma: Thanks, I appreciate you noticing! I’ve loved dnb, jungle and old school hardcore for over 20 years now and I have a very wide taste in the underground sound. When I first started releasing, the underground liquid scene was on the tail end of its golden era.

I was listening to a lot of Marcus Intalex, Random Movement, Calibre, Break, Makoto, Marky, Liquid V etc. You can hear that in my earliest releases. I did like darker tunes and I included them in my sets, but it wasn’t until I spent a 2 year stint at Rude FM after uni that I properly engaged with the darker side of the genre and explored all of the old tech step-back catalogues, Konflict, Stakka and Skynet, Quarantine, Dispatch, Headz, Renegade Hardware etc. Doing a 2 hour set every week forces you to dig deep to make sure you play different tunes every week.

TF: Another aspect of sonic output is the consistency with which you release music. How do you keep yourself motivated?
Melsyma: Personally I don’t think I’ve been anywhere near consistent enough haha! I just really love the music and I feel like I have something I want to say with it, that’s it really.

TF: What are you looking forward to this year with your music?
I’ve always wanted to be a really prolific artist but doing so in the current era requires a huge amount of organisation and feeling comfortable with promoting your music on socials in the way it needs to be now. I’ve finally managed to get my head around those things, and it’ll be my first year with a steady stream of releases so look out for lots of new tunes from me on a variety of labels.

TF: Five tunes you are feeling at the moment?
I can’t pick 5, so here’s 10!

  1. Break – Overstayed
  2. Zero T, L-Side and MC GQ – Raise It Up
  3. Bungle – Layers
  4. Loxy & Resound – Ethereal
  5. Atlantic Connection – Around The Way
  6. Halogenix – No More
  7. DJ Hazard and Dirty Harry – The Red Berries
  8. Cern – Satellite
  9. Tyler Daley & Children Of Zeus – Been Trying (Workforce Remix)
  10. Vektah – Understated

Listen to Yamatai Records’ Genesis V/A here:

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