The sound of the un­der­ground

Computer Music - - Make Music Now -

In the early 90s, Matt was just be­gin­ning to get his mu­sic heard via un­der­ground DJs. It was at this point that he be­gan to en­counter some names that con­nois­seurs of dance mu­sic will find rather in­trigu­ing…

: Pre­sum­ably it was hard­core DJs who were cut­ting your dubs in the early days. MC: “Yeah, we used to go to In­nersense at a place called Laz­er­drome. It was a Lazer Quest place in Peck­ham, and that ran for years into the early 90s. We kind of knew the guys who were run­ning it. My mate Matt used to do the video pro­jec­tions there, and there was a guy called Joe Lawrence who used the DJ un­der the name Nut-E-1. He cut the plate of some­thing, and around that time I went to the stu­dio for the first time with Matt Quinn [Op­ti­cal] and did a remix of an In­tense tune with him: Baby­lon Time­warp – Dur­ban Poi­son. That was the first com­mer­cial re­lease I was in­volved with.

“That was dur­ing my first year at univer­sity, where I started do­ing elec­troa­cous­tic com­po­si­tion, which I got re­ally quite heav­ily into. It’s es­o­teric sort of sound sculp­ture. At the very be­gin­ning of the course, we went into the stu­dio with loads of pots and pans and any­thing that made noise from home, recorded them, and used those sounds as the ba­sis of our com­po­si­tions. I think it was Digidesign Sound De­signer II that we used – only two stereo tracks. We used the de­struc­tive pro­cess­ing in­side Sound De­signer to change th­ese files, and when you wanted to add some­thing on top, you had to merge the files. I learned a lot about sound de­sign, and at the same time I was mak­ing wannabe jun­gle tunes at home and us­ing this stu­dio more and more.

“After univer­sity, I went to In­dia for three months as a trav­eller to find my­self. I missed all my tech­nol­ogy and stuff, but in a re­ally good way! I sud­denly re­alised that I had a thirst for it and came back, and that’s when I ap­plied for a load of jobs and ended up work­ing at Sound of the Un­der­ground Records.”

: What did you learn work­ing at SOUR?

MC: “I learnt how peo­ple who are ac­tu­ally suc­cess­ful at re­leas­ing records made them. I started do­ing teas, copying DAT tapes for com­pi­la­tions, sort­ing out the store­room, go­ing on trains to get new tweet­ers for the NS10s, do­ing lunch runs… I was sit­ting in on ses­sions and soon peo­ple dis­cov­ered I could play chords and make tunes. Be­cause it was such a small com­pany, I man­aged to get in pretty quickly, and peo­ple started us­ing me for ses­sions to play stuff and knock up drums. I got heav­ily into en­gi­neer­ing and the whole mix­ing side of things, and at that stage what I wanted to do was be an SSL en­gi­neer – ba­si­cally mix­ing and record­ing in big, shiny stu­dios. I did ac­tu­ally get of­fered a job at Me­trop­o­lis stu­dios, but you had to work on night re­cep­tion at week­ends in­def­i­nitely, then work in the tape room be­fore you could even be a tape op.

“SOUR was a much more low-key, ramshackle in­de­pen­dent la­bel. I made a choice at that point to go with my heart, be­cause they were mak­ing DnB, which I love.”

: How did you dis­cover garage? MC: “SOUR opened a new stu­dio in Dal­ston and teamed up with a pi­rate ra­dio sta­tion, Lon­don Un­der­ground. I was one of the engi­neers there. They had lost DJs play­ing on their shows, so they were like, ‘Right, let’s get some guys that are on the ra­dio mak­ing some tunes.’”

: It’s sur­pris­ing that garage wasn’t your first love. It must be weird to be so syn­ony­mous with a genre that’s not re­ally where you come from. MC: “It’s al­ways sort of been like that. It’s not like I dis­like it or any­thing! I kind of re­alised more and more, ac­tu­ally, hav­ing tried dif­fer­ent gen­res and try­ing to go in dif­fer­ent ways, that I do feel a love for [ garage]. My mu­si­cal be­gin­nings were piano and all that huge amount of mu­sic study that I did un­til I was 18. It was pretty full-on: I had a mu­sic schol­ar­ship to school; I was in all the or­ches­tras; I was play­ing piano three, four hours a day; I was go­ing to mu­sic col­lege ev­ery Satur­day. It was an im­mense amount of train­ing, and re­ally, that’s my back­drop.

“I’ve never re­ally been in­volved so­cially within a mu­sic scene. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I’m into garage so I wear th­ese train­ers, and I drive this car, and I tie my laces in this style, and I wear Burberry, and I eat at this place’. It was never any­thing like that to me. There’s a close con­nec­tion be­tween who I am and mu­sic. I’m a geek, ba­si­cally, and a mu­si­cian, and that’s re­ally where I get my thrills.”

“I’m a geek, ba­si­cally, and a mu­si­cian, and that’s re­ally where I get my thrills”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.