Songwriting and production duo The HeavyTrackerz are known for their work on tracks for the likes of Meridian Dan and Stormzy. The pair are Tee and Tank, who moved to London from the Ivory Cast when they were children. Despite already being familiar with French rap, they were keen to soak in London-orientated genres such as grime and dubstep.
Musical exploration is a recurring theme in their work and The HeavyTrackerz are known in the business for their fresh take on production. Discovery and exploration are also thematised in their newest release Odyssey: A Musical Journey. Despite their schedule, Noctis Mag was lucky enough to sit down with the The HeavyTrackerz to talk about working with JME, their musical process and what the duo have got planned next.
SO, LET’S START FROM THE BEGINNING. WHY MUSIC?
We’ve been a production group since 2003. We got started using the Playstation 1 ‘Music 2000’ computer game just for fun and before we know it, we were buying equipment with our student loan money and borrowing from friends and family.
WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN INSPIRATIONS?
We wanted to take grime and urban music to a different level. More of a household name. Major influences of ours were The Neptunes, Timbaland and Daft Punk.
WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF YOUR MUSIC-MAKING PROCESS AND WHAT ARE THE ROLES YOU EACH PLAY IN THE CREATION OF A NEW TRACK?
We always tend to create in two different rooms, then share ideas. Once an idea is fully formed, we then concentrate on the track that stands out more. Tank tends to programme and work on the drums, while Teddy will have an idea, add some chords or melody. We both go back and forth working on the format. We would often already have an artist collaboration, subject and idea in mind before we even finish it. Sometimes we record a demo of the hook and send it off to the artist.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING MUSICIANS?
Listen to music outside of your box. Challenge yourself and make other genres of music. Expand your mind and ideas, get some piano lessons on Gumtree. And most importantly, figure out early on what your USP is.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC IN THREE WORDS?
Energetic, orchestral bass
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH THE LIKES OF JME, LETHAL BIZZLE AND SHOLA AMA ON YOUR DEBUT ALBUM, ‘ODYSSEY: A MUSICAL JOURNEY’?
It was educational and enjoyable. Especially being able to be in charge of such a big project, befriending these guys and being able to fit the right act on the right track. They all bring something different to the table. Some bring fun, others bring perfectionism.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR SINGLE ‘RUDEBOY FLEX’ DIFFERS FROM EARLIER RELEASES LIKE ‘TRKRZ’?
‘Rudeboy Flex’ was actually the last track to make it on the album, but it became the first single. It picks up where ‘TRKRZ’ left off. We wanted to make a club anthem initially with ‘TRKRZ’, but on ‘Rudeboy Flex’ we were able to achieve that by substituting more verses for a catchy chorus. It’s something to get the people going and has allowed us to go straight in with more radio plays.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE NEW ALBUM? WHY WAS THE NAME ‘ODYSSEY: A MUSICAL JOURNEY’ CHOSEN?
To us, it’s a discovery. We came into the lime light recently and it has been exactly like a journey of discovery. We wanted to convey that in an album, tackling every aspect of the music business world. The name just stood out the minute we compared our album to a roller coaster; both as a musical and as an educational/satirical look at the shady music industry.
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH ON FUTURE RELEASES?
Major Lazer, Lana Del Rey, Kendrick Lamar and MHD.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE HEAVYTRACKERZ?
We want to concentrate on our live shows, DJ performances and take the album on the road throughout the year.
Odyssey: A Musical Journey was released yesterday and you can order it here.