Utilizing undeniably massive Techno beats and strikingly haunting melodic loops topped with an element of the psychedelic, Bass to Pain Converter energizes audiences with a delectably dark and heavy sound.
Paul Suares (Bass to Pain Converter) is a professional drummer and techno producer from Sydney, Australia. Originally forming in early 2014 with fellow musician, Anthony Robertson, B2PC has since become a solo act. After continuing to perform at festivals around Australia, Suares eventually relocated to Berlin in order to immerse himself in the city’s rich electronic music scene. Here he continues to produce and DJ as B2PC, as well as under his other project, Victor Y.
Since launching in 2014, he’s performed at some of the top events across Australia and was a host on a monthly show on Fnoob Techno Radio, as well as previously on DNA Radio. Late last year he won the ‘Smash The Main Floor’ DJ competition which got him booked to play the main stage at one of Australia’s most infamous festivals, Earthcore, amongst acts such as Infected Mushroom, Chris Liebing, Sam Paganini, Rødhåd, Pig&Dan, Victor Ruiz, D.A.V.E The Drummer and Pfirter.
The debut EP ‘Creatures‘ released on Bassic Records gained support from the likes of Knobs, Kliment, Paul Abad, Interpulse and Dean Benson. More recently B2PC has released on various labels including collabs with Knobs (Nachtstrom Schallplatten/Moth Records), Ben Rama (Zenon Records/Techgnosis Records), Aerodromme and Triforce.
B2PC has released music on the following labels:
- Bassic Records
- Moth Records
- Techgnosis Records
- Chien d’Ours Records
- Solar Records
We had a chance to chat with Paul to get to know more about his musical influences, pastimes and future plans. Read on to find out more.
What inspired you to get into music?
To be honest, I think I got into it too early to answer that. I played the trombone for 6 months before I picked up the drums at age 10. At that age it was something fun and exciting, the same as sport. I’ve always grown up in an insanely creative hub of friends from photographers to artists, musos and the rest of it. I think it slowly grew on a lot of us by mid-late high school that we wanted to pursue these arts as a profession.
What is your musical background?
I’ve been a trained drummer for around 16 years now ranging in bands from symphonic bands to death metal, to indie shoegaze, to folk and everything in between. After high school I completed my Music Diploma at TAFE. I’m mainly a self-taught producer and was messing around with fruity loops just after high school. It wasn’t until about 4 years ago that I realised that electronic production could be a career path for my music. Since then I’ve made the switch to Ableton and done a couple of courses with them in Sydney. I think there’s a little more instant reward with producing rather than just playing drums. Being able to compose an entire song for me was much more satisfying to listen to at the end of the day instead of a drum track.
Who are your influences?
I’m more influenced by music rather than artists, if that makes sense, as in individual songs. I’ve never really obsessed with anyone in particular no matter which genre I was into at the time, aside from maybe System Of A Down and Lamb Of God when I was a youngster. Also, I think the wider variety of influence you have the better, otherwise you follow other people’s footsteps too closely.
Who are you listening to lately?
Lately I’ve been getting into Max Richter, Abhorrent Decimation, Mozzy, Patrik Skoog, Israel Toledo, Exium, Abori and Andre Walter. Also, whoever was playing in Berlin over the past 4 months such as Truncate, Zac McCoy, Myles Sergé, PetDuo, Speedy J, Sebastian Bayne and Developer. It’s amazing to hear such constant, quality techno in your backyard.
What hobbies or other pursuits do you like to take part in when you are not making and playing music?
Hmmm, dancing for sure. Otherwise I’m only making music and love.
Please talk a bit about the electronic music scene where you are from. How did you first get involved?
I first decided to get involved, at least on a punter level, after my first doof in 2009 at Subsonic. That really opened the portal for me in terms of underground dance music. I had only been exposed to mainstream club music before that and hardly enjoyed any of it.
My first electronic music gig was Subsonic Music Festival 2013, in the Chai Temple as Victor Y, where I played my only set of all originals to date. The only one of which I kept was ‘Black Light ft. Elyse Beer’. Then a few months after B2PC was created. We had a pretty solid understanding of the outdoor scene by then and I just put into play the skills I’d already learned from booking my old bands.
This is what I love about the doof scene, the fact that most of them will always give new comers a go. B2PC’s 2nd gig was main stage at Rabbits Eat Lettuce 2014 after Paul Abad, for goodness sake.
Can you talk a bit about what prompted your move to Berlin?
Pretty much since straight after high school I’ve always wanted to jump ship. Any music scene, in Europe and the USA, is thriving in comparison to good old Sydney. I would’ve made the move a lot sooner if it wasn’t for being tied down in bands.
In passing, Anthony and I joked around about making the move to Berlin about 2 years prior to take off. Next thing you know the wheels were in motion. Both of us having European passports definitely eased the transition but I would’ve made the move regardless.
What has this experience been like so far? How does the music scene there compare to the one in Sydney?
So far it’s lived up to its expectations. The entry level music interest is techno, so I’m in heaven. Nothing beats walking into a club full of marching techno zombies at 10am on a Sunday.
Sydney, as everyone knows, has its struggles but at the end of the day a good party is a good party, regardless of which city it’s in. Berlin definitely has a lot more room for experimentation and freedom of expression in the arts though. That alone is pretty unbeatable.
What festivals or events you have enjoyed performing at the most?
I can’t go past getting to play main stage at Earthcore Festival last year. That was on a whole other level. Getting to play on a rig that size is incomparable, the stage was rattling with that wall of subs underneath us. Life has been downhill ever since!
Do you have any favourite festivals in general? Why?
– Subsonic Music Festival holds a special place in my heart as it popped my doofing cherry, you can’t beat a sunrise tech house session at Paradiso.
– The techno session at Earthcore 2013 in Loud Tent (now known as Kinky Karnival) on the Sunday was the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life. I cried when I had to leave that festival.
– Rainbow Serpent Festival because it’s the best “party” in Australia.
– A new favourite is Awakenings Festival in Amsterdam. It holds the best music I’ve ever heard at a festival from a totally biased techno-loving stand point. The rigs are monstrous and they showcase almost everything techno from minimal to mainstream to proper 150bpm hardtechno. It was like being a kid in a candy store for 2 days.
What would be your ideal time slot to play at a festival? Day/Night? Early/Late?
An outdoor sunrise session is always super special with the right crowd. I think B2PC calls for the late night/early morning though. Those hard, industrial tunes suit the gloom of night.
How did the Australian tour come about?
I really want to keep my ties strong with the motherland. That’s where my fan base is so it’s very important to keep coming back. Once Earthcore and Subsonic were locked in then it had to be done. The intention is to do this yearly. You really appreciate the Aussie landscape when you’re away from it (not that I wasn’t thankful to be surrounded by it every day) and to be able to play your favourite music amongst it is the meaning of life!
Besides the tour, what else do you have in the works?
To back up the tour I’ll be releasing ‘Switch’ EP through Bassic Records in February. I’m really excited to collaborate with them again and Zigmon (label owner) has been a driving factor in making this tour happen.
Mid January I have an EP coming out through Egothermia Records, titled ‘Salem,’ which is a bit of trip because Egothermia was one of the very first techno labels I ever followed. It’s a pretty special one too because it was Anthony’s and my last collaboration together so I cannot wait to get it out there. ‘Salem (Original Mix)’ can be found on my latest Earthcast #143 on my soundcloud, if anyone is keen for a preview.
I don’t want to jump the gun but I should be playing in some neighbouring European countries next year, it’d be incredible to hit the outdoor scene next summer as well. Release wise I’ll be plugging away as usual once I get my studio up and running in Berlin. Sorry I can’t spare any details!
How do you usually like to play when you do gigs? Can you talk a bit about your setup you use?
At the moment I’m running 4 decks on Traktor with a Z1 and X1 controller through an RME Babyface audio interface. 2 tracks are used for normal, top-end bangaz, 1 track for hard kicks and 1 track for melodic pieces, acid tracks and loops. All the separate, melodic content you hear during sets is pre-warped and chopped to fit with the corresponding banga.
Once the repertoire is a little more developed I’ll be switching to a live setup with Ableton and various midi controllers. I plan to have this up and running as soon as possible.
What is your approach to composition and/or production?
My approach is always to write from the heart. It’s a sure way to love what you’re writing and to produce something unique. I have 1st hand accounts of friends who wrote with the intent of commercial gain, barely got anywhere, started writing music for themselves and suddenly jumped up through the ranks of that scene and are now killing it. True punters are really sensitive to authenticity.
Being a drummer I’m naturally drawn to rhythm so focus fairly heavily on that. I don’t really have a formula on where to start compositionally and I try to write without paying attention to the mix initially to help with creative flow. Being weighed down by bookwork when you just want to write music is a pain in the ass.
How would you describe your sound?
Well obviously my original tracks are pretty different from my sets at this stage but I’d say overall that it’s dark, industrial, yet psychedelic, bush techno. Who knows?
Do you have any favourite production tools that you use (i.e. software synths, plug-ins, or outboard gear) that you couldn’t do without?
Indeed. I could not live without Native Instruments’ good old Guitar Rig. That thing is a multi-effects, distortion beast. Often I’ll chain one or two to a sound on top of its original source. It’s great for widening and beefing up.
For field recordings I use Roland’s R-26 and their CS-10EM binaural microphones. In every track I have some recorded organic elements and the binaural mics have a beautiful 360 pan effect. It’s an easy way to have a completely unique sound. Listen to the build up mid-way on our remix of Knob’s ‘Oleander’ with headphones. We recorded one of those rain sticks covered in bottles caps “chinking” on the ground while walking around the person recording with the binaural mics. You can hear it wrapping around your head, it’s trippy as. Unfortunately, this effect is lost on speakers but acts as kind of a hidden audible secret for the headphone-wearers out there, which I think is pretty dope.
Are you working on any remixes or collaborations with any other artists at the moment? Any you’d like to do in the future if given the chance?
Not for B2PC at the moment. I just spent 4 months in Berlin without a studio so production time slowed a little. Now that I’m writing solo I’m looking forward to pumping out a few releases by myself, I have a lot of unreleased material that needs polishing.
However, the remixers I’m getting for my upcoming Bassic Records release, ‘Switch’, are Ben Rama, Luis M, MiniKore and Dylan Carrol + possible others. Pretty damn excited about that!
I’d love to collaborate with 2Bee and Knobs. These guys are such innovators, that’s what truly inspires me. Innovation in the scene is what I really get off on, as well as pure brutality.
How does the Victor Y project differ from Bass to Pain Convertor? How did that project arise?
Personally, I could never restrict myself to writing one style, I’d get bored. I’ve always been one to have multiple projects on the go. Victor Y is an outlet to experiment with softer styles of electronic music that I love consuming and composing, whether it be tech house or chill wave or whatever. It triggers different moods and emotions that dark techno cannot.
What challenges or fears have you overcome so far along your path in music?
I guess I’ve come across the same challenges as anyone else pursuing the arts. No financial security in the slightest and being underpaid or playing for free. It’s a ruthless industry at the end of the day. People don’t value you as they should, especially if they knew how hard you worked. 1st world issues, however!
I’ve always had a very supportive close community, which is the most important thing. It makes the journey pretty pleasant.
How has your involvement in music helped you to grow as a person or as an artist? Has your experience provided you with any important life skills or lessons?
My close friends and I realised pretty early in life how important it was to pursue a passion that gives you actual personal fulfilment so you can live a healthy, balanced life. A lot of people only realise this when it’s too late.
Music has been the tool that made me understand what it means to work hard and I don’t mean slogging it out on the jobsite. There’s no better feeling than earning the benefits of that.