Q&A: What The Heck Is Going On In Chee's Head? Dubstep and Halftime's Newest Mindblower Lets Us In to His Process
South African dubstep and halftime prodigy Chee makes beats so strong, interesting and different that no one in any genre bass music can make heads nor tails it. It’s just mindblowingly good. In fact it’s even tough to call Chee dubstep or halftime because his beats are in a category all their own. He changes tempos, syncopation, styles and even samples so ten it’s impossible to pin down, not that you’d want to.
With his music and style as strange and random as it is, one would think Chee has a master plan and knows exactly what he wants in terms his sound design. On the heels his recent Eddy Morphine EP, released on Noisia’s Division label in late December, Your EDM sat down with Chee and found out that nothing could be further from the truth in terms process. Chee marks himself much the same way fans experience his music: unhinged, with little or no plan as to where the sound goes and, most importantly, he’s out to fuck shit up, quite literally.
Since our audience is mostly in the US and a lot people here are really curious about you, what’s one fun, non-music fact you can share with us?
I have an unhealthy obsession with avocados and I have a tendency expressing my appreciation the existence tardigrades (water bears) to everyone.
How did you come to produce dubstep and halftime?
I started producing dubstep in 2010 when I found out about it in High School. Halftime was the following year or two since my background was already hip hop, now just with dubstep characteristics.
There seems to be a lot humor in the way you put your tracks together, just the general syncopation and then also some the tones you use, like in the opening “Allergic to Public Displays Affection” on Eddy Morphine. Is that a fair assessment? Why do you like to put these fun, lighthearted elements into your work?
I don’t like taking things seriously, that’s when things become fun for me, like when I was a kid. I like to combine strange words I hear that day specifically and type them down on my iPhone. A lot the times, my track titles represent daily experiences and things I battle with. I guess I have issues, but that’s also why I make music in the first place. There’s a bit subtext in nearly every track, the ad libs you hear also play a little role too – if you can make out what the hell they say after putting those terrible effects – but also, sometimes it’s not that deep. I’m just trying to be funny.
Speaking syncopation, what drives you to come up with so many wacky split beats?
I barely quantize my music. In fact, I purposefully ruin grooves in hopes achieving one I never intended on making, like a happy mistake but on purpose. Premeditated improv (laughs). Most beautiful things exist out accidents. If I write something and it comes out exactly the same way I expected, its less magical and kind boring. Almost like spoilers.
A lot the tracks on Eddy Morphine seem to have some funky or more lighthearted, ravey elements to them. Are you influenced a lot by funk and rave?
Kind . I’ve recently started to question a lot my music and why I make it (the way I do). I’m trying to dig back into the roots why I was into hip hop, so I went back to funk and a bit disco. It makes it way easier to write something you’re influenced by once you figure out what they were influenced by (themselves).
How do you see these funk elements going together with your heavy syncopation? What are some challenges?
I think not having any musical training or musical theory plays a big role. Some my music sounds melodic or groovy to a certain extent, then everything sounds like electricity. It’s almost like I tried halfway and gave up then proceeded to do what I feel I’m good at: making strange effects and noise. I don’t know, whatever works. It’s hard to describe.
Overall this EP seems to be a little more melodic than previous stuff. Did you choose these tracks this way to make a theme or are you just feeling a more chilled out vibe lately?
It’s a number factors including the ones mentioned but also I just didn’t want to rinse out the usual sound people know me for. It’s not that different but it was also unexpected. I like to try out new things and I’ll most definitely do something like this again, but I also enjoy letting the music write itself. Cliche, I know, but that’s how it is. It’s always fun writing music for yourself and express your emotions when doing so because you never know what will come out. Forget bandwagons.
What’s your favorite thing about Eddy Morphine?
The track lengths and the album art, big ups to Funilab! Check his stuff out, he’s worked in Inspected and Mr. Bill quite a bit.
Any plans to tour the U.S. soon?
Oh yeah it’s happening again, very soon too! Had the pleasure to meet so many amazing people & artists on the previous one and I’m excited to come back.
What’s your next step in terms production? Any collaborations coming up?
Tons but I’d much rather keep under wraps. Surprises are always fun, right?
Eddy Morphine is out now on Division Recordings, streamable on and . It can be purchased on a number platforms . Stay up to date on his touring and releases on .