Sydney's Tim Butler, aka Boot, has been one of Australia's most active dubstep producers and DJs over the last few years. Hailing from Sydney, the 29-year-old producer has been making music for around five years now. Throughout that time he has constantly been working on and refining his sound.
Boot’s tunes are a convergence of dark dance floor dubstep, techstep, drum and bass, funky techno, tech house and punk attitude. He brings his love of dark, brooding futuristic, hyperfunk to his music which results in a dance floor friendly tech dubstep sound, without shying away from deeper end of the spectrum.
Butler is on his way to Melbourne next month to play with UK dubstep legend Youngsta. His sound fits perfectly with Youngsta's and being one of the support acts is an honour that he is looking forward to. It must be the culmination of a dream.
"Absolutely! Just when I started getting a bit down about the direction dubstep was headed in, I got onto listening to his Rinse FM show religiously and it's had a big influence on the way I approach writing now. So to be able to showcase what I have to offer with him there is an awesome opportunity!"
Butler has been making music for a long time and it feels like it's something he is driven to do. "I've been playing and writing music for most of my life. I started using Cubase in 2000, but only seriously started focusing on my production around 2005."
The evolution of his own sound took time. "Initially I was writing drum and bass, and then at the start of 2008 I wrote my first dubstep tune. I just felt I had so more much freedom writing dubstep, and still do to this day! There's still swathes of ground that haven't been covered in dubstep yet and that's what I'm trying to explore."
That freedom and broad scope that Butler talks about is common amongst dubstep enthusiasts. Is it getting harder to promote his sound with so many people understanding dubstep as Skrillex now though? "Not really. As much as I dislike that type of music, and as much as I think it's not dubstep in any way, shape or form, at least that exposure has put the term dubstep out there. So if people do want to dig deeper and find out what it's truly about, they can, and if they don't then their loss really. I just try my best to ignore all that stuff exists!"
The whole scene and popularity of dubstep has changed since 2005. How has that affected his production? "I guess when I first started out I was just trying to replicate guys like Noisia, Konflict, Teebee that kinda stuff. Then my skills developed enough to start pursuing my own sound, which over the years has changed from a more dance floor approach to something in between that and more detailed sound for home listening. I'm always pushing myself to learn and use different techniques so I don't get bogged down in a routine either, that keeps me interested."
Butler is no stranger to Melbourne and he's looking forward to returning: "Melbourne is definitely my favourite place to play in Australia. I think compared to Sydney there's just so much more going on in regards to the type of dubstep I'm trying to push. I've also got a few producer mates that live down there so it's always good to catch up, talk shop and work on tunes."
Butler's reference to feeling down about the direction of dubstep in Sydney was a point of view he aired online last year, to much debate. Has much changed in the intervening time? "Yes and no. There have been a few regular nights that have popped up that are trying to bring back that sense of community, which is a great thing.
"I still think there's a lot lacking in regards to supporting local producers on a regular basis, and unfortunately the more commercial side of things still determines the direction Sydney's heading in for the most part. Since then I've come to terms with the fact that Australia really isn't the greatest place for me to make some semblance of a career, for that I'd have to move to Europe. It's not going to happen due to family commitments but I do like being isolated, with less influence on me I feel like I can really explore my own take on the sound."
Plans are in place to tour overseas though: "I'm looking at getting over to Europe around September next year for some shows and to hook up some beats with mates over there. I really would like to get on the Outlook bill while I'm there as well!"
This year is bringing some exciting things for Butler on the release front. "I've got my Colder Now EP coming out [through] Paradise Lost on 12" and digital, and my tune Reeducation on Aquatic Lab which will be out with a killer remix by Seven on the flip."
BY SIMON HAMPSON
Boot [AUS] plays with Youngsta [UK] and more at Brown Alley on Friday June 8.