So Jamie Grind, recently signed to Infrasonics alongside such names as Spatial, xxxy, Hot City, and Ike Release, recently recorded an absolutely head-spinning mix for one of my favorite blogs, Sonic Router. Its packed with all kinds of future music across a number of genres, but underneath it all is a tendency towards broken beats, odd syncopations, as well as big bass and chopped, pitched-up, wonked-out vocal cuts. It’s really challenging, provocative stuff that doesn’t sacrifice the GROOVE that so many people overlook in trying to support head-y, bizarre, art music. You should check out the interview over at Sonic Router, as well as Jamie Grind’s recent release on Infrasonics, Balloon, which is more of the same twisted, dis-orienting but ultimately GROOVY rhythm-driven club music that is incubating in and around the UK right now. Still, doesn’t anyone else get all nostalgic over a time when Dubstep was just Dubstep?? Just kidding. Infra12003 a2 jamie grind – balloon by Jamie Grind
Anyways, I love Sonic Router and I love this mix; the blog is consistently smart with their reviews, cutting-edge music taste, and it seems that since they’re so involved in the scene over there across the pond, they’ve got a direct line to the artists and the industry people that are making the changes that we get to report in the blogosphere.
By the way, if you check out the Infrasonics website, they’ve got a bunch of unreleased downloads from some of the label heads… Check it out here.
Black Noise have been making some serious bass and beats. Last year their refix bassline and disco bass remixes of Duck Sauce’s huge hit Anyway blew up in a big way, and was featured in quite a few of my live sets. They’ve been seriously busy undertaking remix work for some of the biggest labels to grace the scene.
When the Futureheads started their new label this year their first choice of remixer was Black Noise. When Southern Fried needed someone to take their Diplo and Laid back Luke release to another level they contacted Black Noise. And when Ministry of Sound put together their wish list for remixers of the globally successful ‘Riverside (Let’s Go!)’ it was Black Noise who were added to that list.
They’ve had two EP’s released on Norman Cook’s celebrated Southern Fried label and have another two to complete before a debut album will drop on the label later in the year. They have racked up 15 remixes and have topped the Hype Machine’s Chart with their remix of Crookers featuring Wiley.
The first EP released introduced the vocal talents of Wizard Sleeve to the world on the track ‘Me Plus You’ which was subsequently licensed by Ministry Of Sound to be mashed up with Sidney Samson’s ‘Riverside’. This reached Number 2 in the UK Charts and stayed in the charts for 3 months and is still continuing to sell, very nearly reaching GOLD DISC STATUS!
Looking up any information on bassline/disco bass/house aficionados Black Noise is a little hard to say the least. Sure you can find their MySpace, Facebook page and huge mix archive but what if you wanted to find out their studio rider or who they’d back in a disco fight? Keith Wilson had the chance to catch up with them and see what made them tick…
What is a typical studio session like for Black Noise? It quite often involves nudity and drugs
So after the drugs and sex, what Studio food do you prefer jelly sweets or crisps – or are you all vegans who only eat natural berries and herbs!? Well, 2 of us are veggies… but that’s for home time. Studio is about strong coffee, cakes, crisps and pizza with some Jamaican food thrown in to keep us focused!!! Not sure you can be healthy and work in a windowless environment
It can be an unhealthy 8 hours! Do you guys prefer to produce at night or in the day though? Daytime, though most of our vocal sessions are done at night… we seem to be more creative during daylight hours
What normally comes first? Bass lines or drums? Usually we get some stonking beats in and then some music… then we hit the bassline to fit the music as we often have ideas and samples of music that we want to use… and as you know from hearing our music, the bassline is a key player!
What VSTs and hardware are giving you a chubby at the moment? Hahaha… we do have a secret weapon that we like to use but we keep it quiet… the A1 synth is a cracker! Hardware… well nothing will ever beat an Akai sampler!
Who do Black Noise really want to remix or work with at the moment? Someone like Lords Of The Underground would be pretty sick! And Bounty Killa… he would be pretty bonkers to get in for a session.
Who would win in a disco fight – Abba or The Supremes ? The Supremes I think would be better in a street brawl as i doubt the Swedish ‘hood teaches you the art of street bopping! They are a bit gay ABBA… so maybe they wouldn’t do too well. But those Thai ladyboys can kick some ass so maybe ABBA would hold their own (or someone else’s!!!) fuck… i dunno… if i was placing a bet i would put it on The Supremes… yeah, they would do the biz. The Supremes please christ!!!
Can you see Black Noise pushing any other specific sound, such as DnB or Dubstep? Of course, i think any producer who decides to forge a career in music would be foolish to work one sound solely… other styles help bring fresh ideas back to the studio. Stay creative kids!
What do think about the idea of allowing fans to remix your work? Love it… totally down with it. That way they can have fresh and original material for their dj sets
Would you ever release tune parts for people to remix? We will defo be doing that mate…
Well please keep us posted, I’d love to get involved! What about Black Noise sample packs? You got any plans to drop any at all? Haha… this is also something we have been approached about so probably yes to that one
What festivals are you guys gonna be going to this year? We have a month of touring Australia this summer and have some to do down there. We will also be at Glastonbury this year. One thing we haven’t focused much time into is getting out there djing which i think will be high priority over the summer, getting that locked in and touring what we are doing
Are you more “Ten quid tent, Sleeping bag and camping in the mud” or “Boutique Camping with running water, bog roll and face wipes” Bog roll and face wipes mate!!! keepin it dutty!
Is there any chance that you’d be looking to do a live performance (Ableton/live instruments/etc) any time soon? Disco female vocals and live instruments would surely be a fat sound? We were asked that same question yesterday. I am not sure at this stage as i don’t think we have enough material to warrant that but perhaps, when the album is completed we will focus on doing something live
What set up are you guys using for DJing at the moment? Serato with either vinyl time-code, internal mixing or using a Vestax VC1 300… Serato is dope!
Well thanks for the interview guys, really appreciate it. You got any mixes we can download and listen to?
Yeah, check out our Black Noise ‘CONTROL THE GROOVE DJ MIX’ track list
Black Noise ‘CONTROL THE GROOVE DJ MIX’
Kid Kenobi – Breakers Revenge [dcup Remix]
Wizards Sleeve – Get Down Tonight Accapella (Exclusive)
Tom Piper & Destroy Disco – Dender [Nom de Strip Remix]
Temple of Boom – Definition Of
Sam Young feat Aphletik – Hee [Sam Rockwell Mix]
Crookers – We Love Animals [Keith and Supabeatz Remix – Southern Fried Gorillaz – Superfast Jelly Fish – Evil Nine Remix)
Black Noise – Control the Groove [Exclusive]
Cassius 99 – Reset! Remix
Will Bailey and Punk Rolla – Kata (Simma Records)
Wizards Sleeve – Me plus You Accapella
Hatiras – Spaced Invader [Nom de Strip Remix]
Black Noise – Speaker Buster [Exclusive]
The Future Heads – Heartbeat Song [Black Noise Remix]
Lars Moston – So Sick [Nick Supply Reboot]
Will Bailey – Hit da Club [Calvertron Remix] (Simma Records)
Heavy Feet – Saving Me – [Black Noise Remix]
Black Noise Discography
Black Noise Releases
Black Noise EP1 – Southern Fried Records 2009 1: Knock You Out
2: Me Plus You ft. Wizard Sleeve
3: Knock You Out (Andy George Mix)
4: Check The Blast
5: Rockin’ It ft. Nick Thayer
Black Noise EP2 – Southern Fried Records 2009 1: Jackin My Fresh ft. Lex One
2: So Damn Fuff
3: Lokking Fly ft. Murs
4: Jungle Iz Dem
Black Noise Remixes Diplo & Laidback Luke ‘Hey’ – Southern Fried
Crookers ‘Put Your Hands On Me’ – Southern Fried
Crookers ft. Wiley ‘Business Man’ – Southern Fried
Sinden & Trevor Loveys ‘Organ Grinder’ – Cheap Thrills
Rhythm Section ‘Comin On Strong’ – Y4K
The Young Punx ‘Ready For The Fight’ – Mofo Hifi Records
Tonka ‘Jack Track’ – Southern Fried
Tommie Sunshine ’5AM’ – Ultra (US)
Sidney Samson ft Wizard Sleeve ‘Riverside (Let’s Go) – Ministry Of Sound / Data
The Futureheads ‘Heartbeat’ – Big Life Records
Will Bailey ‘Take It To The Club’ – Simma Records
Fugative ‘Sticks And Stones’ – Ministry Of Sound
Costello ft. Ninelives The Cat ‘Get Crazy’ – Boxon
HeavyFeet ‘Saving Me’ – Stamp!
Nick Thayer ‘Gonna Getcha’ – Passenger
Black Noise VIP Blog Tracks Tonka ‘Jack Track (Black Noise VIP Mix)’ – Southern Fried
Duck Sauce ‘Black Noise Disco Mix’
Duck Sauce ‘Black Noise Bassline Mix’
Black Noise ‘Knock You Out (Black Noise Kick The Break In Mix)’
Crookers ft. Wiley ‘Business Man (Black Noise VIP Mix)’ – Southern Fried
Black Noise ‘Check The Blast (Krafty Kuts VIP Mix)’ – Southern Fried
Black Noise Collab Projects Sidney Samson ft Wizard Sleeve ‘Riverside (Let’s Go) – Ministry Of Sound / Data – This track is a mash up of Sidney Sampson Riverside & Black Noise ‘Me Plus You’
Wizard Sleeve ‘Get Down Tonight / Hit The Party’ – Southern Fried
So when you hear the word “minimal,” your mind probably jumps straight to thoughts of carefully refined clickity-clacks, tasteful sub-bass, and white people with glasses who want you to know that this isn’t just party music, but thoughtful and sophisticated sound art. (no offense) Enter Roska: the man who came out of nowhere snares and bongos blazing to pioneer a whole new brand of minimalism that’s taken the emphasis off of boops and bleeps in favor of raw, organic percussion and almost mathematically calculated syncopated rhythms.
Wotchu call it UK funky?
We caught up with the man himself this past week to get the run-down on his first North American tour this April and his new full-length album, put out by Rinse.FM’s record label. For those who don’t know, Rinse.FM is the UK pirate radio institution that’s been providing the world with the newest innovations in beat-craft since about 2004 (oh yeah, they also those crazy raves everyone’s been talking about), and this upcoming release is bound to be absolutely bananas, at least judging by the snippets that have been floating around the internet for a few weeks now. Roska’s signature minimalism even comes across in his interview!
Trash Menagerie: So I assume you’re pumped for your first United States tour. What are your stops along the way and who’s hosting you?
Roska: It’s turned in to a US & North America Tour now. I am hitting up along my journey: LA, ATL, Philly, SF, NYC, Boston, Portland, Toronto & Montreal. I don’t have a host. I think I can hold up the crowd with the selection pretty well. LOL.
TM: I’ve noticed that so much of your music has a raw, upfront percussive presence, and more and more we’re beginning to hear these crazy snares and bongoes trickle down into musical scenes that, before now, never asked for more than your average “kick-clap-kick-clap.” Look at that Major Lazer single, “Pon de Floor,” that shit has snares and bongos and shakers all over the place, and is obviously taking some cues from the new funky house movements. What do you think of that? Do you think that party much is accumulating more and more drums? Is this a trend you’re seeing?
R: Drums and percussive tracks work well in clubs and that’s what those sort of tracks are intended for. Pretty much most of my tracks are made for my love of percussion and hard hitting beats!
TM: People talk about this percussive insanity as related to the influence of Carribean and African party music, like Soca or South African house. Do you see that yourself?
R: Yes I do- most tracks that have this flavor have definitely been influenced by Afro-Caribbean music.
TM: I see that the artwork for some of the tunes you’ve released as your alter-ego, Uncle Bakongo, has featured stylized renditions of African masks. Where does Africa and the African influence figure in through all of this?
R: The Bakongo alias is strictly my love for minimal conga and bongo based tracks. I use the tribes from Africa to label each track.
TM: What are you really into right now? What’s on your playlist?
R: I just bought a Dâm-Funk CD, which I heard a track from recently, which prompted me to go out and get it. (support your favorite artists!)Also I went and bought back my copy of Dr. Dre 2001 – a classic album (Still waiting for Detox). Also I copped the Gorrilaz new album which is the main CD in the car at the moment.
R: People talk. To be honest, whenever there’s hype on a certain genre of music you will see all types of behavior. Funky is an in-between for all of those genres you mentioned, so we will see and be able to catch the ears of a wider audience.
TM: Who’s coming out to these parties? University kids? Rich clubs kids? Is it a relatively diverse dance scene?
R: All of those you mentioned come to those parties, but it depends on what area you play.
TM: What other kinds of party music do you fuck with when you’re at a gig? Do you every play grime or dancehall reggae or anything like that?
R: I usually drop some Dubstep alongside the funky if it fits in, but i like my sets to travel smooth like a nice car ride with a lot of energy.
TM: Lastly, I hear you’ve been releasing tunes on your own record label, Kicks and Snares. From what I understand, Kicks and Snares has only featured your own music. Is that ever gonna change?
R: May 17th – DJ Naughty – Firepower EP coming out on my label.
Thanks Roska! Come check him out if he’s stopping in your area, and cop the album when it comes out this Monday, April 5th.
Here’s a high-quality stream from DJ Naughty- this one’s a really hype funky remix of Sean Kingston’s innocuous “Fire Burning,” which you may or may not have blocked out of your memories from last summer. You can find it on Amazon + iTunes and all the other providers, except not in the United States because of silly proprietary issues.
And then there’s this awesome music video for one of the singles off of Roska’s debut full-length, Squark; this beat is weird and totally awesome, lots of squishy sounds and crazy syncopations that make me twist my body all crazy like a human pretzel. Roska said it best himself on twitter this morning:
“i played squark @ fwd last night and it messed up the dance differently #justsayin“
Of all the people I’ve been surprised to learn have gone to Burning Man Festival, it’s got to be techno/tech house DJ and Lot49 label owner Meat Katie, who’s hard-edged sets that include breaks, broken beat and minimalist I only imagined stayed within the cold walls of stripped down clubs.
It turns out that the legendary far out art and music festival-event-circus-lifestyle that takes place every year out in Nevada’s inhospitable desert made a deep impression on the DJ. One could even call it a soft spot.
I talked to Meat Katie (Mark Pember) about why, how and again why a club DJ would ever find himself at a glorified love-in with a bunch of hippies. He tells me about the the miracle of consumer-free living, porn, eggs, and why this is one festival the loo roll comes provided. PLUS check out his live mix from Rockbottom.
Meat Katie having it at Rockbottom, Burning Man 2009
Amy Riley: Hi there, how are you?
Mark Pemberton: Okay. I was supposed to be playing in Greece, but instead I’m sitting on my sofa, sick. Where we work, we have a block of studios that I share with other DJs like Alec Metric – so now we all have the flu and having to cancel our gigs.
AR: So the question I’ve got to ask: what’s a DJ doing at Burning Man? Wasn’t it just a hippy fest?
MP: I had the same reservations about Burning Man. The thing is, I’ve got a really good association with some promoters in San Francisco called Opal. I’ve been doing their parties for the last 8 years. They got involved in Burning Man right when it got started, about 12 years ago, and then it just grew. The weird thing is they kept saying, ‘You got to come, you’d love it’ and I thought ‘hippies, no way’.
Slowly but surely, other djs were playing for them – they went there and said it was amazing. I fought it for six years – ‘you’re lying to me, it’s going to be crusties with no clothes on’. Well, it’s kinda true. There’s a lot of crusties and a lot of people naked, but it’s more than that’ (laughs).
This year I decided to go and the promoter gave all our DJs – the Saturday night. I took on the daytime shows. That video clip you see is at Rockbottom, which was on at 4 in the afternoon. Because of time, Elite Force and I did back to back sets, which was good since our music is quite similar. Doing the day time parties, it meant I arrived early. I didn’t know what to expect. People said ‘it’s not what you think it is.’ It’s not hippyfied. The art side of things is not tie-dyed – it’s amazing sculptures and fire . They have fire orchestras, half the size of a football pitch.
AR: How is the music organised?
MP: All the soundsystems have their own vibe. There’s no sponsorship – Burning man don’t give them any money. It cost 70k to put one on.
AR: Why do they do it?
MP: People put on stuff because they want to do it. We got there Monday (early) and there was forklift trucks to put soundsystems up. There’s nothing like it here.
AR: Is it like the rave scene used to be here?
MP: It’s like early raves, but it’s organized so they’re set back from each other.
AR: What soundsystem are there?
MP: It’s crews of people based around cities. A lot of people from San Francisco because that’s where it started. Denver. Crews from Florida have started coming out. They have all their own sounds.
AR: What kind of music were they playing?
MP: A lot of dubstep and glitchhop – which suited heavy electronic and desert and Mad Max anarchy. It was a nice backdrop for that. I didn’t hear a lot of trance, which I was expecting. There was a lot of minimal and techno, which I like.
When I wandered around, I discovered there was an amazing number of international DJs who made the pilgrimage to be there. Armand Van Helden was there -he played a really underground set, not the euphoric hands in the air set he normally does and he’s not being paid 50k to be there either. He did himself lots of favors by playing there. I met Carl Cox when were were both DJing out there. We bought our own tickets and paid our own way.
AR: So is Burning Man in your top ten festivals?
MP: It’s my number 1 event – nothing even comes close. I walked out of there with my jaw on the floor. Coming back to UK and hooking up with people who had been there, everyone said the same thing. It’s such a harsh envionrment you’re in, the way people brave this terrain to be there and do this, you get something from it. I don’t want to sound like a hippy, but I gained something from it and the benchmark was lifted to unrealistic level for anywhere else.
AR: What do you like most about Burning Man?
MP: That you can’t spend any money. When you go to normal festivals, you don’t even realize how caught up you get in spending money and you don’t realize how branded and corporate it is. At Burning Man, you’re not being sold anything. All they do is provide a a perimeter fence around the site and you have to make your own fun. It’s a totally different type of experience to any other festival, where you go based on the lineup so you make a decision based on what you’re going to get – at Burning Man, there’s no lineup so you go. I’d be happy to go even if I wasn’t playing.
They supply toilets as well, and not once where there was no toilet paper and they were always clean, which is quite an achievement.
Punters at Burning Man 2009. Photo from Crave Online.
AR: Any advice you’d give to punters?
MP: Prepare properly. If you want to go, don’t just turn up with your camping gear. Its important where you stay, but people are so friendly. Goggles, face masks.
AR: Oh what, people need to dress like that? I thought they were just trying to look cool with those stupid vests.
MP: I know you look stupid, but the sand is everywhere, it’s unbelievable. And then you get the sand storms, the white outs where you can’t see your hand. I was walking to our camp and there was a white out and it was like being sandblasted and there’s some people having sex and we just walked around them. You couldn’t see them until you were right up close.
You have to queue to get on the site – it’s not like Glastonbury where you can stay in Bath or Bristol – you’re there for the duration – seven days – it swells out on Thursday and Friday. Some people say there for two weeks.
AR: Where there a lot of drug casualties?
MP: I got a sore throat half way through, just from dust. I went to the medical centre there – it was all run by volunteers, it was like M.A.S.H – and I didn’t see anyone there freaking out on drugs. It was mainly people who fell off vans. When the doctor saw me, I gave him ten dollars, and they went to Reno and picked up my prescription for me. They say Black Rock City is the only place in America where you get free medical care (laughs).
Lot49 are running a competition to discover a new producer for a lucky 3 EP deal as part of their New Lot competition, which closes on 1 December. For more details, check out our post on the competition or go to the Lot49 site.
Are you a dance music producer who wouldn’t mind a plummy record deal? Lot 49, UK dance music label, are looking for the next big thing.
The label, which covers techno, electro, tech-house and breakbeat, already boasts artists such as Dubfire, Lutzenkirchen, AudioJack, Lee Coombs, Robbie Rivera, Marco Bailey, Vandal, Audiofly, Miles Dyson, D.Ramirez, Evil 9, Infusion, Bassbin Twins & Elite Force – you could be next!
One lucky winner wins a three EP deal on Lot 49, mastered at London’s Wired Masters studios with Kev Grainger (Steve Angello, Bjork, Gilles Peterson) plus a heap of software prizes.
14 finalists will have their track featured on Lot49 Recordings “New Lot Compilation”, due out in early 2010.
I talked to label boss Meat Katie more about where the idea for the competition came from:
We were just looking for new artists. In music, there’s been so many breakthroughs in technology, so the problem now is getting it heard.
I’d say 99.9% of what I get sent is what I’m not looking for. The thing is you get all these emails and they all blend into one another. We’re getting nowhere with it. Also make it clear to people exactly what we’re about. And hopefully people will listen toe our back catalogue to understand where we’re at creatively.
We’re all checking out and emailing each other – some artist in Venezuela will have a chance to have their track listened to by people who’ve produced before. It’s not just a demo drive – we have prizes as well. It’d be great if someone from the ass end of nowhere got their stuff produced.
As a special bonus, Meat Katie has given us a brand spanking new mix, the Dirty Stop Out mix (November 2009).
On the eve of the fabric 48: Radio Slave US release, which takes place on 20th October 2009, I’m pleased to give you an interview I conducted with famed DJ and producer Radio Slave aka Matt Edwards back in August.
Soft-spoken and modest, Matt talked as easily about his recent trip back to Brighton as he did about his mixes for London’s legendary club. We meander through life in Berlin after Brighton, love, music and what’s driving his new creative projects, which include the fabric 48 mix CD, new releases on his Rekids label and a top-secret art project.
Although from South London and infinitely lauded for his many projects under his various guises (Quiet Village, Sea Devils, Matthew E, Rekid), there was little talk about his past achievement, focusing on the present – and the future.
Radio Slave’s selection of house floor fillers are truly representative of the sort of quality sets he plays; if you’ve ever been to a night where he’s playing, you’ll know that he delivers the goods and at length. The mix is quite chilled out in places, but builds up nicely with some stand out moments with “DDB” and latin-doused “La Mazcla”.
Amy Riley Hi, this is Amy, phoning from you from Brighton.
Radio Slave: I was actually visiting Brighton yesterday.
AR: What were you doing?
RS: I was visiting, well, I guess my ex wife, and having a look round town.
AR: Oh cool.. did you pop into any of the shops?
RS: I did actually. I bought two paintings from Art Republic and then we went to the cinema, to Duke of Yorks and saw the Coco Chanel movie.
AR: How was that?
RS: It was amazing. Yeah it’s really good. Really slow, it’s very moving, but very slow.
AR: I love how you can take booze in the cinema (laughs). I’m just trying to remember what the weather was like yesterday.
RS: It was pretty good. I used to live there so I haven’t been back for quite a while. It was good to wander round, see some friends.
AR: How long ago did you live here?
RS: I lived there for eight years, for pretty much from 1998 to 2006.
AR: That’s pretty cool. Did you play out at clubs down here?
RS: Yeah, I used to be resident at Stompaphunk. It was with my friend Anthony at Funky Buddha Lounge – I used to hang out with those guys for years. It’s a good place to live, but it ended up being too much like a small town for me. There’s too many people in each other’s business and it’s incestuous and it caused a few problems in my life.
AR: I used to live in New York and I’ve been waiting for Brighton to lose it’s thing – it’s charm – maybe but it’s thing – maybe I’ll move to Berlin.
RS: Well if you lived in New York, you’ll like Berlin – there’s a great comparison between the two cities.
AR: I’ve been going over the past two years, to visit friends, go to the clubs and take in the music. Do you go over there a lot?
RS: Berlin? I live there!
AR: Oh sorry.
RS: I’ve lived there for two years.
AR: How’s that?
RS: It’s amazing. I’m not there very often, but when I’m there, It’s a very free city, it’s so bohemian, in Kreuzberg where I live, they’ve got everything you need from a city, but it feels like a village. It’s a beautiful city.
AR: When I’m there, it really reminds me of New York. I used to live in Williamsburg.
RS: Okay, I know it very well. Some parts remind me of Brooklyn, with the overhead subway train line.
AR: So do you want to tell me about the Fabric mix?