Myroslaw Bytz, known by some as Blysk, Vzaem, or Tricyclic, has been exploring the world of electronic music for well over fifteen years. Since 2012, he’s played an important role in the rise of Brooklyn as an international capital of electronic music, curating and producing hundreds of events in New York City, encompassing the breadth of techno, house, bass music, trip-hop and even reggae, jazz, and sound art.
When he’s not playing at Output, Verboten, Space Ibiza, National Underground, Sullivan Room, or warehouse parties like Blkmarket Membership and Rinsed, Bytz is focused on developing Brooklyn talent through his artist collective, Secret Guests. Despite a shifted focus towards DJing and community development in the last few years, Myroslaw still lays down sage technical and industry advice on production.
If you could sit across from your eighteen-year-old self right now, with all the current knowledge of music you have, what advice would you give your younger self?
Never succumb to the temptations to pay attention to what you think an audience would enjoy listening to. Keep forging your own style, carving your own niche, and listening to your inner voice. The nature of sound is such that all of us can acclimate and appreciate anything with repeated exposure—and the musicians that stand out resist softening their edges.
Tell us about yourself. What makes you stand out?
I’ve taken a circuitous path in life, having earned degrees in History of Science and Media Studies, but the one undeniable constant has been a pure joy and deep belief in sound. Any success I’ve had flows from that, and it was only once I gave myself utterly and completely over to it that I’ve achieved anything of real note.
Why did you start DJing and producing?
I was introduced to trip-hop in the mid-90s, and that was my gateway drug into all the peripheries—drum n bass, illbient, IDM, dub techno, post-rock. The aesthetics of sampling and blending fascinated me, as well as the cinematic nature of the genre. There was no specific reason I can point to why I began experimenting myself with production, but I can say as soon as I heard Portishead, DJ Shadow, and Black Dog, the ideas began exploding in my mind. Those early artists truly unleashed something new and exciting in me and in global culture.
What software did you start out on?
If you were a new producer today, with no music knowledge or following, outline your schedule and tools you would use in your first year to have the biggest impact on the music industry.
Use whatever tools necessary, whatever you’re comfortable with. And don’t even think about releasing. Seriously, pay zero attention to what others will want to hear, to what impact you will have. Allow yourself to suck (because you will suck, embrace it). Encourage happy accidents and not-so-happy ones. The field is so saturated, the barrier to entry is so small, that you will be swallowed whole unless you have developed a voice that stands out; the only way to cultivate it is dedication and time. I see so many young producers bitching and moaning all over Facebook and Twitter about how they’re not getting plays, how they are so passionate and hungry and why won’t you just listen to my mixtape. That’s all great if you aspire to a life of bitterness and confusion. The trick is—and this goes for anything in life—to really acknowledge to yourself that you know nothing, deserve nothing, and probably have nothing of value to contribute. Yet. Only then can you begin building your voice.
Take us through your creative process. Do you have any rituals?
I have no rituals. Truly, I simply fire up my DAW whenever the mood hits or an interesting earworm of a melody arises in my brain. It’s a luxury I guess, since I don’t rely on producing to make a living—but then, who does these days anyway?
What’s your favorite sample pack? Do you synthesize your own sounds?
Sample packs are there to be mangled beyond recognition. I honestly would be embarrassed to release music composed of unprocessed samples from a CD or kit. Since the beginning, I’ve used organic sounds that I’ve recorded myself: my feet crunching in the snow of a Boston blizzard, a homemade water drum, micro-snippets of street dialogue, instruments recorded myself in studio. At very least, I’ll re-pitch and tune and double-up and effect any samples I use from a kit. It’s a foreign concept to me that the perfect sound for any composition would come ready-made and pre-packaged.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Vladislav Delay, Moritz von Oswald, Mad Professor, Lee Perry, Duke Ellington, Alice Coltrane, Big Juss, MF Doom, John Cage, Brock van Wey, and (non-musically) Marshall McLuhan and Don Delillo. And of course, the artists, mentors and colleagues I’m fortunate to work with on a daily basis.
What have been your top three musical accomplishments?
Winning an award for my premier release, Amfuem, in 2006, forming the Secret Guests NYC collective and agency to showcase and develop the finest talent in my hometown, and finally—after years of furious and non-stop work—getting to a level to able to eke out an existence sharing the vibrations that I love, night after night.
What genres define you?
As someone once said, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Genres don’t define, they simply approximate, and honestly I’ll leave it up to the more ably grasping of minds to approximate my music (and everyone else’s).
What are your favorite plugins to use?
Haha, I prefer keeping my secrets to myself! But I will say that FAW Circle, NI Reaktor and Guitar Rig, Spectrasonics Trilogy, and Glitch are probably my top five used.
Do you have any advice on promoting music?
Yes, hire a professional. The right person for the right job is always the best practice and will save you a lot of heartache. It is no longer enough that you adore our music and are enthusiastic about sharing it; you need someone who can translate that energy for a wider audience.
What producers have impressed you the most in the last year?
The homegrown underground New York DJs I love have started finally producing and releasing music, and it is really exciting to hear all the permutations. The upcoming releases by labels like Downpitch Recordings, Styles Upon Styles, Intimate Project, Absence Seizure, Blind Colors, Jyre, Euphoria, NOSI and Strobelight Network are absolutely incredible! I cannot wait to hear what the new Brooklyn techno sound will evolve into a couple years down the line.
What’s your favorite set you’ve ever played?
Truly, I am still very much honing my craft, and really have to say that my favorite set is yet to come at some undetermined future point!