Jason Kallis AKA Buried Notes makes electronic music from the heart, always trying to find the soul in a sound. Growing up in London during the late 80s and early 90s he listened to mix tapes, house, electro, hip hop, garage, drum & bass as well as jazz, and soul. As a result, his tracks incorporate sounds from different genres.
Recently he debuted on Londam with You’re My Favorite Flavour, an infectious slice of lo-fi house, based around a gorgeous keys stab, and a delightful vocal hook, and backed up with mixes from label founders Riigs and Skenna.
Hi Jason, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today! How has the year been treating you so far?
On a personal front it’s been hard, but I’ve been pushing the needle on musically. I’ve moved back to using outboard gear, a little, so I can start playing out, and because I’ve missed it. I’ve had a couple of DJ gigs recently too, so that’s been great.
This year I’m just aiming to concentrate on two sounds (I tend to try and make genre less music, but I’d like to stick to classic / deep house, with some more off key experimental/electronica type stuff. It’s something that was born out of the idea that the music industry is missing a trick – it feels like we’ve lost the A and B side on a record. Everyone laments the loss of LPs as a diminished art form. But what about the 7 inch with two very different sides? Another lost art form due to the demise of vinyl in my view.
You tend to see EPs that have tracks that are similar or from the same kind of ball park. Although that’s very sensible from a marketing point of view, it’s nice to get 2 or 3 tracks that come from different places sometimes. I am hoping at some point that I will have a vinyl record out (one’s been proposed on one of the labels I produce for, whether that comes into fruition remains to be seen!)
Where do you think the impulse to create music comes from for you?
Hard to remember really. I’ve almost always made music electronically. I’ve had keyboards since I was quite young, and recorded silly raps onto tap with mates at one point when I was in my early teens. I was the kid that would walk around the playground with headphones on too. Kind of a dopamine hit I guess…. For me music is cathartic, as much as a method of expression. I played the piano from 6 until I was 9 getting a few grades then gave up. I took that up again in my teens and still muck about on the keys a lot.
By my late teens I had cubuse running on an Atari and it went from there really. I was forever trying out cheap gear (samplers and synths bought on Loot, the early equivalent of Ebay) and trying to work out how to make a track in my bedroom.
I do remember that MJ Cole sold me the computer he wrote Sincere on at that time. I sold it on, in one of my bouts of selling gear and buying new stuff. What an idiot!
Tell us about your current studio set up – any particular bits of go-to kit you find yourself returning to?
I’ve got a Mac mini running Logic Pro x (although last year I bought Ableton and am starting to generate ideas in that now too).
I have the Native Instruments Standard suite, Serum, a Juno emulation, the TAL instruments, Sylenth, as well as Sound Toys and Fab Filter stuff in the box. Those are my go tos anyway.
Out of the box I use the TR8S (which I’m going to base my hybrid sets on), the Korg Minilogue XD, and the Bass Station II along with a full length weighted keyboard to control soft synths.
My absolute favourite currently is the TR8S – it’s House music in a box. If you know how to use it (and it is deep!) you really don’t need anything else for beats. It can be hard to pick up, and of course you’ve got to record it, but it’s environment and controls system is so tactile and together I am strongly considering just using my outboard stuff for a bit. Working in the box is great, but limitations help creativity, and all my outboard gear plus Loopcloud might define my sound this year possibly.
I may use Fivver for vocals or sing myself this year – watch this space! I love a vocal.
Your latest single You’re My Favorite Flavor – talk us through the process with this one…
First of all I wrote it in about an hour, the mix down was done in the same time. The jazzy chords are me on the keys, which is what I laid down first. Then I just played the bass in, without thinking. I do that all the time. Just press record and see what comes out. The drums are a loop from Logic, which I took a while re programming. The vocal I found on Loopcloud. The rest really is just long transitional stuff, which I came up with on the spot without thinking.
The inspiration for it is hard to remember. I think I was just searching for something that contrasted; tension between two bits of music. I do that quite a bit. Most producers think of tension linearly, I try and find it between two competing parts of music playing at the same time. That’s Jazz music’s influence on me really. It makes for uneasy listening on occasions, but when you get it right you find something that grabs the attention fo the listener. You have the lush keys here, and the squeaky saccharine vocals that could be out of a children’s cartoon providing contrast, but somehow they work together to create something different. I hope so anyway.
For us there seems to be a strong jazz influence on this – is that a genre you’re a particular fan of?
Yeah I suppose so. Less so in recent years, but I’ve got a fair bit of it on vinyl (Coltrane / Davis, obvious stuff mainly). I was also very into the JBs, and the Meters when I was younger, before House was a thing in London many people were. But I love a lot of different music. Drum and Bass, classical, rock, all electronic stuff really.
How did you hook up with Londam for the release?
I knew Mark Allin, and I think Jeff heard a few of my releases on Street Tracks – the rest is not yet history, but let’s hope I get to say that in the future!
Do you work well when collaborating with other artists? Or do you prefer to go it alone in the studio?
That’s such a good question. I do like collaborating, but I think this year I am going to limit myself to doing so in person or where I really want to do it.
There is an understandable trend nowadays to collaborate constantly. It helps promote someone’s music if you do so, so why not right? But it can take you in directions you don’t want to go, and I like to be intentional and move along a path I dictate as best I can. Call me a control freak, but it really goes back to what I was saying above. Music is cathartic to me, and has to mean something.
I always feel that I need to really like someone’s music to collaborate happily. I don’t even mind if I don’t like their processes, I just want alignment spiritually in a way. I have done remixes and collaborations in the past where I’ve not enjoyed it at all, and the tracks that came out of it were no good really. Then again my first release which was now nearly 3 years ago was a collaboration. It really is still one of my favourite tracks.
Which artists are currently exciting you?
Ah there are so many. I love Ross from Friends, Four Tet and Jasper Tygner, who all have very distinctive sounds. Sansibar is great too (Jeffrey from Londam switched me onto him). If I had to name artists I’d emulate for my dance floor ready stuff it would be Dusky and Skream though. Their music is harder than mine, but I love it.
What should we expect from you for the rest of 2023?
I’m hoping a live set, more DJing than before, and production wise House (deep/classic/jacking/New York style) along with some deeper electronica/listening type music. I like to be intentional, but ultimately what comes out comes out. I tend to be experimental whatever I do.