With a trademark percussive style which offsets precision beat edits with generous swathes of melody, 2562's own fusion of techno, garage, broken beat and dub has rapidly found favour across a wide spectrum of listeners. Performing under the dual aliases of 2562 and A Made Up Sound, Huismans now finds himself booked to play at events as varied as the influences from which he draws his inspiration. That trend is one that should continue with the recent release of his full-length debut, Aerial.
Take us back just a little bit to your early influences. When did you first develop an interest in music and, in turn, electronic music?
Since I was a kid, really. I've always been checking club music, which in Holland especially, was house and techno back in the early '90s. I was so young then that I didn't have a chance to go out, it was just a music thing: checking the club charts and trying to get a hold of the music that was on there, borrowing CDs from friends and copying tapes. Rene & Gaston, Quadrophonia, Speedy J, Fierce Ruling Diva, Beltram... probably it was all so fascinating because there was a whole world behind it that I didn't have access to. Record shopping and going to clubs came later. Techno has always been dominant in Dutch nightlife, so it's quite natural that you got a lot of that to hear every week.
The popular sound in Dutch nightlife was more European and dancefloor-minded though, I really started paying attention to the soulful Detroit sound quite late, when institutions like Clone and Rush Hour emerged in Holland, running and distributing some great new school labels. Delsin Records from Amsterdam, for example, has been very inspiring from the start. People like Aardvarck and Newworldaquarium have given their very own twist to Detroit techno. I just loved that deep, yearning sound that seemed to be nostalgic and futuristic in one.
While house and techno were a homebase, I also got interested in '90s drum n bass—early Metalheadz and Full Cycle for example—and electronic music full stop really. Warp Records kind of stuff, which was then called IDM, West London broken beat by guys like Dego, IG Culture, Seiji, and Domu later on. I was simply always on the hunt for music that made me smile because it was so strange or so fresh—and that's basically what I still do today.
Five Records That Changed My Life
01. Various Artists – The Tamla-Motown Sound
When I was a kid, my dad gave me a Dual turntable and one of his old records every week. Not sure if this was the first one, but it sure was one of the better ones.
02. Derrick May – Mix-up vol. 5, The Mayday Mix
The mix of all mixes. This sums up what I wanted from a night out in the '90s, from summery house grooves to Green Velvet to Jeff Mills. Even the lesser-known tracks are now classics, thanks to being included here.
03. Goldie – Timeless
Goldie broke jungle into the attention of Dutch music press and showed me there was more to electronic music than just house/techno/rave.
04. Aardvarck – Non-Spoken
Crucial EP for me. It was the first Delsin Records release I discovered, which eventually made me track back to the original Detroit techno soul. Plus it was inspiring to see some of the best new music came from so nearby—the shop (Rush Hour) where I bought most of my records.
05. Loefah & Skream – 28g
This, to me, is the pinnacle of the minimal, spatial sound of late-2005 dubstep, which was the catalyst of the 2562 project. It’s a nice coincidence it’s on Tectonic. Or maybe it isn’t. [laughs]
Well, that took quite long. I had been DJing since I was 18, 19, 20. So that's fairly late already. I really wanted to get into production, but didn't dare to, because I always had the idea that it was something that you needed to be technically very skilled to do. You know, controlling a studio and all the gear that's in it, really knowing inside and out how it works. That wasn't me, because I've never been a very technical guy.
That's what put me off for years until I realised that there were people making excellent music with just a computer and some software. So five years ago I took the plunge and bought a computer especially for this purpose, as I didn't even own one. Yeah, it sounds a bit silly, but I was really a dinosaur back in the day [laughs]. Shortly after that I bought an analogue synth, because I realised that they were actually not that hard to use and I liked the analogue sound of certain techno and broken beat records.
I've always worked with samples a lot, especially in the beginning when I did more broken beat-ish, hip-hop stuff. That way I felt I was in control of what I did as it was easier for me than working with synthesizers. That came later.
Had you had any experience with musical instruments prior to using computers?
Not at all, I can't even read notes. It's really a trial-and-error type thing. I have a controller keyboard in front of me on which I could try and play a few things, but mostly I don't even use it. I find I get more interesting melodies and structures, at least for my taste, when I just work the software and program stuff that you wouldn't come up with if you would play it as a classic instrument.
The moniker 2562 has a somewhat anonymous feel to it, perhaps hinting that you are a person not entirely comfortable with being in the spotlight. Would you prefer to simply focus on the making music as opposed to having to promote yourself through interviews and press photographs?
That isn't the reason that I chose the name—it's my zip code—but you are right in the sense that I am not really very keen on being in the spotlight. I guess I am the archetypical electronic music, anonymous, nerd kinda guy [laughs]. I feel like the music itself should tell the most. I appreciate it if people are interested in me as the person behind it, but it should never be the central thing.
Being that the alias 2562 was inspired by your postcode in The Hague, what are you going to do if you ever have to move house?
I would have to take another name wouldn't I? [laughs] I think I'll stick to it now. I chose the name because I started this particular project and started to check out dubstep after I had just moved here, which was the catalyst for the project. The place and the sound are tied together for me.
With dubstep there has been an increasing convergence of producers from varied backgrounds such as drum & bass, techno, and dub. Artists like Martyn, Breakage, and yourself have all emerged from a background other than garage or dubstep. What is it about dubstep specifically that exerts such a magnetic pull upon artists?
For me it's probably been the freedom in the scene when I started checking it. I was amazed by the variance of sounds that I heard in it. This was like, late 2005. I had been checking out stuff by Horsepower Productions in the early 2000's, and then I came back to it and noticed that it had turned into something completely different with the archetypal half-step sounds by people like Loefah and Skream.
It completely changed.
It completely changed, indeed. And not into one sound, but into many different things. You had the dread half-step thing by Loefah or the more dubby stuff such as Skreamizm, something which I was really attracted to. And, of course, the sound of Digital Mystikz, which is very colourful and sometimes more up-tempo as well. I was amazed at how many different sounds were going on in this small scene.
The scene thing is what held me back in aiming to produce "dubstep" myself. I didn't want to jump their bandwagon, because it obviously was a thing they had developed for themselves in South London. It's no use if an outsider from The Hague starts doing the same thing. But at the same time I was excited about the sound and felt like I had to add something different to it as well, as my musical background and preferences would be different from theirs. So I tried a few things—'Channel One' and 'Moog Dub' being the first results—and this brought me a lot of fun as a producer as well. Initially it was merely a thing for myself. I wasn't expecting anything to happen with it at first.
What possibilities does dubstep offer you as a producer that you may not have in techno or broken beat, or other genres that you made prior to making dubstep?
Well, you can have freedom in techno as well, it's just a matter of taking it. The thing with techno is that it has existed for so long that it's became a bit more fixed in what works and what doesn't work with most DJs and on the dancefloor and in record shops. Some of the techno I made before the 2562 stuff came out was quite off-beat and broken. Therefore it was hard to get it released. It was only after the first Tectonic release, 'Channel Two', that it became possible for me to release that kind of techno. 'Channel Two' definitely opened a lot of doors.
Are there certain moods or characteristics that you consciously strive to evoke when you are in the studio, or are you more inclined to experiment and be surprised by the results?
Rather the latter. Although sometimes you are in a certain mood and feel like you have to get something out. The backbone of Aerial, for example, was made in a not-so-good period—lots of stress at work; my girl working and living abroad for a few months—and maybe that's reflected in melancholic tracks such as 'Morvern' and 'Basin'. But, on a more practical level, it's just a matter of trying stuff, switching on the gear with only a vague idea in your head and letting the experiments lead you further.
I never seem to make a track exactly the way I had in mind when I started, but that's cool, as you can let yourself be surprised. The up and down bassline of 'Techno Dread' was an accident, for example. I got it for free. Also when you work with samples, which I recently started doing again, you never can really plan what comes out, as I usually manipulate them beyond recognition.
Apparently 'Kameleon' began its life as a beatless piece of music, but somehow transformed into the bongo driven track that eventually made its way to wax. What was the thought process that led to that very different outcome?
As usual, it just happened as I went along. I got the initial idea for the track when I was taking a breath of air at the beach, like I usually do on the weekend to clear the head. So I went back home and, still with the sandy shoes, I switched on the gear and tried to quickly sketch out what I had made up. I thought it was nice to have a few percussion elements irregularly floating around in the track here and there as reference points, but they kinda took over.
Is there any possibility of the beatless version surfacing anytime soon?
[laughs] I could have done that. But I put a lot of time in every single track, so I'm never very keen on doing a different version or VIP. It's much more fun to move on and start a new thing.
With the growing buzz surrounding techno-influenced dubstep, are you cautious of the possibility that the work of artists such as Martyn, Peverelist and yourself may become pigeon-holed into this category?
I don't know. Maybe people will do that. The funny thing is that even though people group these names including mine together, I think every one of them has a very distinctive sound of his own. I can see why they group us together though, as we share a certain aesthetic that mixes well with techno. It is different from the more party-minded, wobbly or half-step kind of dubstep.
Personally I'm not bothered with pigeon-holes or genre names, my sound will just keep evolving and I can't predict where it's going to go. You can never control how it is going to be perceived by the audience and I have no problem with that.
How much of an influence was Pinch during the creation of Aerial? Were there any other people that you are comfortable with asking for feedback on your tracks?
Pinch was the one who initially put the idea and the possibility of making an album in my head, so that's crucial. But there wasn't any time pressure and he basically gave me total freedom to put the album together, aside from some good suggestions for the selection and running order.
There weren't really any other people that I played my tracks to as I'm not comfortable with sending my tracks out too early; I have to be totally positive that even on the detailed level they are really ready. Which sometimes means laying them aside for a while and getting back to them with fresh ears months later. For example, I finished 'Basin Dub' a year after making its raw version.
What has been the most personally rewarding part of the process of creating the album?
For me the most rewarding moments in making music are always when a new sketch I work on suddenly "clicks". When you realise it's becoming something worthwhile. In a way, the same goes for the album as a whole—except it was much more complicated, as I had a lot of tracks to pick from and wanted the selection to have a good flow as an album with ups and downs. When I felt it was finished I took the whole album to the beach to listen from start to finish. That was quite a special moment, to realise, "It's done now and I can actually enjoy it", after hearing the tracks in-the-making a hundred times. Of course it's up to listeners to decide whether it works for them as well, but for me personally it's become the album I wanted to make.
After the release of Aerial, what projects are you looking forward to in the future?
There's a new A Made Up Sound record out very soon on Shed's Subsolo label and there's remixes forthcoming for Martyn, Quantec and The Village Orchestra. But, most of all, I look forward to just writing new music without thinking of releases for a while. The album feels like the end of an era for me. The way I see it an album should be a coherent whole and have a focused sound. Now I can lose that focus again and just wander around, regardless of genre or tempo or sound. Anything can happen.