“We originally thought we’d just release artist albums despite various offers to do compilations over the last few years,” explains Truman, currently working in San Francisco as he awaits the arrival of Healings and a month long studio session in LA. “It was always bad timing as we’d be busy with an album or other project so we never had the time to promote and do the touring associated with a mix CD. The mix was originally going to be syndicated to various radio stations, but Distinctive Records got a copy and said ‘if you make a couple of changes we’ll release it as a Y4K.’ So we had to strip back some of the house tracks as Y4K is a breaks series, but the majority of what was on the radio mix actually made it onto the CD. Most of the things we’ve done have been happy accidents. Chance meetings with vocalists, guitarists and others we’ve collaborated with, rather than planned strategies is the norm for us, and this was no different. In this case, we had so many amazing tracks that all came to us at the same time that we were really motivated to do a mix and get it out. Sure, some of them have been floating around for a while like the Stereo 8’s remix of Orbital’s One Perfect Sunrise, but it’s still such a blinder and a reasonably rare record so we decided to put it all out and it came together really well.”
The Y4K series has a rare pedigree, its reputation based on previous releases by FreQ Nasty, Tayo, ILS and Koma & Bones. Hybrid’s addition only adds to the series prestige as it is undoubtedly one of Y4K’s best. While a handful of Hybrid’s own work is featured, just as notable is their inclusion of three tracks involving Melbourne producers. “You guys have a wealth of talent,” marvels Truman. “Andy Page has been a leading light for many producers for such a long time. He’s a genius and a stellar producer. We’d love him to do some work on our next album. I’ve heard some of his recent material and it’s just outstanding. I think it’s the way he comes up with ideas that nobody would expect and which fires the imagination up. Phil K, Infusion and NuBreed all have that spirit about them. In particular we’re trying to do a track with Luke Chable who has to be one of the busiest producers at the moment and he seems to be remixing everything. Yet still he’s not burnt out by a long way. Wherever we travel, people are raving about him so he’s definitely made a name for himself on the international scene”
While Chable might be currently in Hybrid’s sights, it won’t be their first Australian collaboration having previously produced the progressive anthem Hear Me with Mark James. “That was as a result of a live tour we did and I just wouldn’t go home,” laughs Truman. “Mark said ‘I’m happy to put you up for another week, but you’ve got to jump in the studio’ which was fine by me. So I was paying my way to actually stay for ten more days. Our management in the UK always dreads it when we go to Australia because they don’t expect us back for an extra week.
Hybrid last visited Melbourne in March for a DJ set at Two Tribes. “That tour was spectacular and the Melbourne gig in particular was staggering,” recalls Truman. “We didn’t realise how big the arena we were playing in was until we finished our set. The hard house arena was like heading down to the depths of hell, but we were marveling at how enormous the room was and were told it was about the same size as the arena we played in. It’s too much to take in when you’re actually DJing.”
At the time there was talk of their next visit, tentatively booked for November, featuring a live set and expanded lineup, yet the chances of this now seem slim. “We were wanting to bring the whole band out but it’s quite tricky,” admits Truman. “There’s ten people involved when we go on the road which makes for quite an undertaking. And you’re so spaced out in Australia it’s quite different to do a bus tour. I don’t think we could pay a driver enough danger money. The tour is likely to be postponed until February 2005 and I can't confirm yet whether we’ll be DJing or live.”
With Hybrid’s Y4K released internationally, their next challenge is the completion of a third album. 1999’s genre-defining ‘Wide Angle’ was followed in 2003 by ‘Morning Sci-Fi’, displaying a maturing sound influenced by bands such as Radiohead, Janes Addiction and The Doves. “Like last album, we haven’t been listening to an awful lot of dance music,” admits Truman. “Lately I’ve actually been listening to a lot of punk rock and guitar based stuff like Nirvana, The Hives, Sex Pistols and Interpol. The main inspiration has been the intensity, immediacy and energy of a lot of those bands. Don’t worry, it’s not going to be a punk rock album, but there will be some of the flavour, energy and vibe of that sound providing motivation. The edits, noises and beats are going to get a lot rougher and fatter. We’re also still studying a lot of score material and soundtracks which will show in the album’s mood. We’ve got a few new friends in LA co-writing the orchestral tracks with us. On the last album, the strings got pushed back in the mix and were more the padding and the feel behind the tracks. This time we want them to be more upfront. I know that whichever orchestra we use in the sessions will absolutely hate us. We’re going to ask them to do things that, musically, they really aren’t going to want to do at all.”
Hybrid Present Y4K is out through Distinctive/DMC