This is another edition of a continuing series of artist profiles, covering all of the participants in the Ohm Resistance Subscription Series.
Get the debut HYDRA track RISE on 7″ Vinyl
Wendy Blake, better known as HYDRA, has been a fixture of Toronto Drum & Bass and Bass Music for more than a decade. She has been producing for the last several years, and her track, RISE, was the first submitted for the series.
We caught up with our longtime friend and ally and spoke to her about HYDRA, her studio, and her debut on vinyl
You are a veteran DJ in the Toronto Drum & Bass / Bass Music scene – tell us how you got started DJing?
I started going to raves in Toronto in the late 90’s and was exposed to a lot of music and experiences that really turned everything I knew on its head. I started mixing on my friend’s really old, beat up Techniques and then eventually bought them from him. I think there’s a lot to be said about learning how to make shitty equipment work for you. I made the necessary pilgrimage to Eastern Bloc and Play De Record where Frankie Gunns would sort you out. I’ve been lucky to learn from some of the best, a lot of my closest friends have some of the deepest crates and knowledge imaginable, and some of my strongest connections with people have been forged over a shared love of music, so it’s a big part of my life.
As a DJ, what is your process when selecting a set?
No matter what style or genre I’m playing there are always certain consistencies; I like it deep and driving, and I embrace the less-is-more philosophy, using the minimum to create the most energy, I think that’s really brilliant. When I’m digging for a set I consider who I’m playing for, at what time and what I’m feeling most. I don’t stray too far from what I want to play myself because I think it’s up to DJ’s to show people what they need to hear, balanced with what they want to hear, it’s challenging but I think the best DJ’s are able to pull that off flawlessly.
What synths are you using in your studio recently?
My favourite piece of gear is my Virus TI2, I use that quite a lot. I also have a JP-08, an Elektron Octatrack and an Analog Rytm. I plan on making some upgrades soon, but it’s a never ending process. I’m currently revamping my studio to create a space that’s more conducive to creativity and productivity. When you spend countless hours in a room these things become really important, you need a space you really want to be in so you can maximize the time spent in there.
What are you planning for your next release?
I’m working on an EP for Ohm Resistance and since it’s my first time releasing a collection of my music together I really want it to be the best representation of myself, an introduction to the various sounds and styles I’m into.
What is your favorite gig as a DJ to date?
I’m real glad I got the chance to play at System Soundbar a couple times back when it was still running. It was a venue that was home to a lot of electronic music and helped shape many of us, located right in the middle of the club district, back when Toronto had one, that is.
More recently though, I enjoyed playing a Spectrum party back in January, mostly because of the promoters, the crowd, the venue. Also Lightsweetcrude provided some amazing visuals, just a really fun experience over all.