The original moniker for Bézier was Robert Hustle, who began DJing in 2003 and joined Honey Soundsystem in 2007. Since then Bézier has helped run one of the most successful underground queer parties in the US in San Francisco. They’ve been bringing the noise for over a decade despite rising rent prices. It’s a multi-purpose collaboration that throws parties across the globe and runs a label.
Their offshoot, Honey Soundsystem, (also known as HNYTRAX) has seen launched records by Jackie House, Octa Octa and Street Hero. Bézier’s new release on the platform came out in March. The five-track electro EP, 府城, was recorded after his grandmother passed away in Taiwan and is tinged with melancholy.
The San Francisco native’s usual set up is synth-based and analogue heavy, which is how he crafts most of his records and live performances. But he created 府城 with only his touring setup and microphone. We caught up with the Taiwanese-American producer to learn more about what goes on in his studio.
1. Doepfer Dark Time
Whenever I need new inspiration to start a new track, I would fire this one up and start playing with the dials. Strategically, the Dark Time helps me sequence new and unique melodies when I have writer’s block. I would take sequences I recorded, and then transpose and build upon the initial notes to create a dynamic hook with a lot of twists. Early on I used to run this through the Korg Mono/Poly and would generate sounds you may find in the laboratory. The EP Telomeres focused heavily on that combination.
2. JEN SX1000
On the JEN, I had the Kensington cv/gate converter installed on the machine with an additional switch that lets me toggle between a live synth or controlled by a rhythm box. Paired with the Dark Time or Octatrack the synth comes alive especially if you’re clumsy as I am on the keys. The Jen SX1000 is definitely a good alternative (if you can still find it) to the SH-101, or Pro-One.
3. Elektron Octatrack
The Octatrack is the epicenter for any of musical exploration and production. In my setup, it is the brain and the heart working in unison. Through the 8 sample and additional 8 midi tracks I can tie together various elements for a piece and use the interface to expand on half backed ideas to full fledged performance pieces. Primarily, I work intimately with the midi sequencer. Sometimes I have sequences from tracks written on a piece of paper.
When I go in to input the notes, I start restructuring the melodies differently. What would start off as a pretty straightforward string of notes becomes wilder as I start to play with octaves and new progressions that deviate from the original composition. Most of the live show ends up being an alternate version of the songs I’ve published.
4. Alesis SA-16
The Alesis SA-16 drum machine is quite generic and a rudimentary drum machine with over 200 preset sounds. Once Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins auctioned his SA-16 on ebay at a starting bid of $300000 that he made famous for it’s drum pattern on 1979. But far from the flimsy and mostly dated sounds coming from this machine, adding a bit of chorus to the hats and snares, a bit of eq on the kick, transposing the toms and congas you can have a massive sound veering on the ebm and industrial spectrum of dance music.
5. Midi Solutions Quadra Thru
What seems to be an innocuous box is the one piece of gear that saves me from headaches with my live sets. The Quadra Thru is the connective tissue that strings my gear together. Sometimes, with the cheap monosynths I use, there never is an added thru port so this box gives me a lot of options for expanding the midi chain in my setup. I already broke one on tour and am now on my spare. I couldn’t live without this piece.
Bézier’s new EP, 府城, is out now via Honey Soundsystem.
Buy it here.