GetDarker Meets Jack Sparrow
We put Bayfield on the old foghorn to Leeds based producer Jack Sparrow to talk about music, creativity, popular British condiments and pretty much every other topic on planet earth ahead of the release of Forward Forever, the second record from Author; the collaborative efforts of Jack Sparrow and Ruckspin.
Hello matey, what’s going on? You well?
Yeah I’m alright thanks.
Good good. Two seconds sir, just setting up the “recording equipment.”
You sound like you’re in some kind of well.
I’m in our cavernous meeting room recording the speakerphone off my mobile on another battered old mobile… I won’t overwhelm you with the details: it’s all fairly high tech. Anyways you well?
Haha. Yeah man all good. Energised.
Good to hear. What have you been upto?
Errr. Nothing really man. My girlfriend is at work, I’m working from home and just cat sitting so erm… Yeah my life is pretty boring to be honest.
Cat sitting always strikes me as a fairly passive activity. They’re not the most… It seems a little less pressured than babysitting or dog sitting.
Yeah well that’s it. This is like… the highlight. I’m trying to jazz it up a bit but there really is nothing.
To be fair I think it sounds much better than having to look after something that actually wants care and attention. Personally I’d draw the line at cactus sitting.
Haha. It’s good you know your limits.
Right so let’s boot off at the beginning: where did you start in terms of producing? Was it a more music based thing; were you playing instruments or in bands or anything?
No I wasn’t doing anything. I was literally just messing around on a copy of Reason because… I used to just listen to a lot of music and get… really, really stoned with all my mates at school. I ended up skipping out of school and just not going again. I found all this music and whatever and at that time I was constantly being really naughty at school… Basically just not interested. We’d go and get stoned and listen to music and we’d find ourselves endlessly analysing tunes going “oh what about if he did this.” That developed into us trying to make our own noises. At that point I was about seventeen / eighteen and Simon, who is my best friend, was going to music college. He moved in with a bunch of guys, one of who happened to be Rusko, and there was another guy Tom and we were all really good friends in the end. I was the only one who didn’t go to music college but alongside Chris (Rusko) I think we’re the only ones still involved in music. I kind of fell into it, it was never an aim or goal.
It’s funny, so many people I’ve spoken to who are now considered “proper” artists in whatever musical discipline seem to have similarly inadvertent starts. I do honestly feel that’s the best way to begin though: not seeing your craft as a source of income or employment.
It’s a therapy for me. It literally is therapy. If I didn’t do music there are parts of me that I couldn’t get out; in conversation, emotionally. It’s not a case of “I’m gonna do this tune and this promo and rah rah rah”. I write tunes because I need to.
Again though that’s the best place to approach it from: a few people seem to be doing it purely because they saw money in it… Certain genres aren’t quite as profitable as they once were.
Haha “were” definitely being the operative word in that statement.
I can hear your Yorkshire accent and I know you’re based Leeds way now, where are you originally from?
Yeah I’m from Leeds. A place called Boston Spa, I spent some time abroad as a child but mostly Leeds.
Oh I know Boston Spa. I went to university in Lincoln so I spent far too many years lost around The Wash and the midlands.
Yeah you can most definitely get lost there.
I nearly disappeared for a long time.
Where I was was a pretty affluent area, literally just sheep and goats and farms and stuff. Not even any street lamps where I was living, my friends were like an hour away. I grew up in that typical teenage lifestyle of feeling really isolated, I’ve always been really introverted anyway. I don’t really like social situations and stuff. I don’t really get on with… a lot of people. Just keep myself to myself. I have about three friends I can actually ring up and talk to. I love isolation. It’s just part of me.
Also Leeds is pretty … hardcore. If you tell someone older you’re doing music they’ll be a bit like “No. Go and work down the mine” Haha you know what I mean? It’s a career path you can’t really expect them to understand.
I get exactly what you mean on that front. I’m from a small seaside town, it’s a similar situation. When you tell people what you want to do they just question why you don’t want to work offshore for the rest of your days.
Leeds has been brought into modern times though, I think it’s now one of the top cities in England for music, shopping and whatever else. It’s very attractive to people at the moment.
Culturally there’s a lot happening there. From an underground music perspective obviously there’s Sub Dub up there… coal mining is not as lucrative as it once was.
It’s all about Yorkshire mustard at the moment.
No no. I’m from near Norwich and the Colman’s Mustard factory so I’m not having that bollocks. Its Norfolk mustard or bust son.
Nah then I’m gonna have to send you some because it’s the best.
We’ll get a mustard clash on the go then.
Right I’m ready for this.
To make it a scientifically fair contest we’ll have to make sure we buy the same brand of sausage to try it on or something.
Why don’t we just combine tools and start a pantry?
Let’s do this. I can handle the design and branding end, you can create some catchy FM jingles… We’ll springboard the launch off the back of this interview.
We’ll unite the rural picnic spread producing counties of Britain. Heinz can fuck off. We’ll body them… So before you became an entrepreneurial titan of the mustard game how did you start off? Did you start under the Jack Sparrow alias?
Yeah. It’s all come around to bite me in the arse essentially.
I’m assuming you were using that name before the Disney franchise took the ten year olds of the world in its financial stranglehold?
Yeah on that front I didn’t even know what was going on. Originally, the way it all started… Right. I used to live in city centre. I found a dead body in the river.
Hahahahah. Sorry mate, excuse the fact I’ve just pissed myself at the possibly traumatic experience of you finding a deceased human in a body of water, can we just backtrack a moment please: You found a dead body?
It ends in a good way, don’t worry!
Does it end in Yorkshire mustard?
Not that good.
But literally, I was walking to work and I found this dead body in the river, just bobbing around. I had to take the day off because CID wouldn’t let me go to work; they wanted to interview me. I had a few days off from work. I milked it. My friend Theo, who ran Senseless Recordings, came over in the days I was off and was looking through my beats; I said I was doing some grime stuff he might be interested in. He checked it out and said they sounded really cool, almost kind of “piratey” then asked if I had a production name yet, which I didn’t. This was about 2005/6. He said I should be called Jack Sparrow, who was a pirate. I thought “that’ll do me” he’s gonna put this tune out, it won’t do anything and so I just ran with it. Then Theo put the record out, I think it sold out and suddenly I had people messaging me and I’d put my Myspace as Jack Sparrow so the name just sort of cemented itself. It’s a name you can’t really deviate from. You can’t do anything with it to make it… cool. I’ve been called all sorts since; Sparrow Boy, Sparrow Knackers. Nothing really has stuck. So that was that.
There’s nothing sadder than a reluctant buccaneer Jack.
So then around that time I met Simon from Sub Dub who has been a major part of my life since 2006 because he’s just been… a massive pain in the arse. He’s given me complete shit left, right and centre to try and spur me on and get better basically. But he’s a good lad. He’s done an awful lot for dubstep: he started one of the first proper nights in England after DMZ. It’s still going too. Overall SubDub has been running about 16 years.
Yeah that’s still one of the big… Well I say “still” what I actually mean is it’s one of the only ones left standing basically.
Yeah and it gets no press whatsoever, but he likes it like that. He’s declined so many interviews and stuff and you know what? I think that’s a very humble thing to do. He doesn’t want the… basically people who know, they know Simon. He doesn’t need a magazine feature because he’s not out there for himself he’s out there for music and as a result that’s always been what I’ve tried to do. But when you’re an artist you can only go so far and then, to a degree, it becomes about promo and whoring yourself out a bit because, personally, although I’m not in it for the money but I need to make a small living out of this.
I had a job before music. I was a headhunter, working with airline pilots and stuff like that, so I was pretty corporate; wore a suit to work etc and one day I was sat at my desk and started throwing up blood into the bin by the side of my desk. I was like “fucking hell. Smoking has got me. This is it.” Bizarrely there was an NHS Stop Smoking clinic literally across the road from my office, so I ran over there to find out what was wrong with me. The woman there was like “No. You need to go to hospital. Here’s a quit smoking leaflet… See ya” so I just went home instead. My girlfriend at the time said “you’re not very well, you don’t look right” but I was feeling okay again. We’d just moved into this really nice place and life was good, then she left and I was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and it all kind fell apart in the space of a week haha… and that kind of led to my music career. I was surrounded by my family and what have you and I just thought “right, fuck this” and decided to go hell for leather on what made me happy, because if I stayed in a job where I had good money doing something I didn’t care about I was going to end up working for someone else for the rest of my life and never actually do anything.
Yeah I went through a similar process… Except the vomiting blood in a bucket bit. You find yourself standing in a “good” job on decent money and you just feel absolutely nothing.
Exactly that. Also I’m quite neurotic. If I’ve got an idea then I’ve got to do it. I’m pretty stubborn. I know a lot about myself through what I’ve been through the past few years; there’s nothing like getting to know yourself through hitting rock bottom. Then you know what you are capable of doing to drag that all back up. You get to know what it is you actually want to do with your life. You need to hit that rock bottom in order to come back. It’s not like a David Brent sort of thing where it’s this uncomfortable persona you put on, it’s just a drive you find and you don’t accept anyone else into your “thing” because you know that they are not going to share your vision. I know it sounds a bit rude put that way but people come and ask “can I do this for you/can I do that for you” represent you or whatever and the answer essentially is no, because they don’t have what I have and it ends up with people getting in the way. They’ll want to do something and be part of it but they are, in essence, doing it for their own ends, so ultimately there’s no gain for me off that.
I’m a complete nightmare for that exact same thing. My feeling is always that if I handle everything there’s less chance of it going wrong. Letting someone else take on a job is just an added layer of complication.
Yep it’s that trust thing. To be a good manager you need to be able to let go of things and delegate. Letting go, particularly when something is so personal to you, is a big trust thing. There’s only a couple of people that I trust with what I do and that’s Simon (SubDub) and Dom (Ruckspin).
So is that how the Author project originally came about then?
Me and Dom? I had a house party once, Dom DJ’ed and I didn’t even know him, then a few years after that Simon and I were at the record shop and Dom walked in and gave me a CD of something. By this point I’d started gigging locally, I took his CD and listened to it and I didn’t like it to be honest. He didn’t like my tunes either and that’s sort of the way it’s always been. I’ve always wanted to go for a more traditional dancefloor techno set-up with the Sparrow tunes and he’s got a much more musical… theatric rhythm. I can’t really quantify his sound; it’s wild.
He also works with Submotion Orchestra doesn’t he? Again it’s that very musical, theatrical sort of approach.
Yeah he’s their producer & engineer. We were getting Author together, Dom had started coming over, I was living in Oakwood in Leeds at that point… I think it was about 2010, just after my album came out. I think I’d been to Japan…
Christ that feels like a long time ago.
Yeah Circadian came out in 2010. In the run up to that I was here, there and everywhere. It did so well; it got really good reviews and stuff. It was just the right time to release that album. People still say it was quite influential at the time for the scene, for people who wanted something different, like a proper, structured album.
This actually came up in a conversation I had a few weeks ago. That record, along with a few others, is one of the only ones I find myself going back to because it ebbs and flows as an actual album should. It doesn’t just feel like ten 12” dance floor records stuck back to back, which is a common blight in a lot of electronic records.
The mastermind behind all of that was Pinch. Pinch chose the track list. There were about thirty tunes all together and Pinch took them, whittled them down and then sent me over an mp3 playlist of the whole thing. Pinch is all to thank for the track list and final shape of the album. You can’t be that objective about your own tunes in my opinion. I can’t just sit back when I’ve done something and go “that’s fucking great” because if I did I’d be finished.
Exactly. In fact of all the tunes that I’ve let go out, I’ve hated every single one of them. Apart from Circadian which I can still listen to now without cringing. There was a lot of work went into that album but in all honesty it kind of came out of nowhere because I’d only had a handful of 12’s out. Simon linked me up with Pinch at Tectonic initially and Pinch really invested a lot of time in me. He really did. At that point my sound was what he was into. We’ve both gone on and done other things in other styles but at that point, in 2010, Tectonic was so strong with artists like 2562, Flying Lotus, Benga, Skream, Loefah… It’s a fantastic label, so influential.
I’d say that was the time where, personally, I was into the Tectonic sound the most. I think I bought nearly everything from that 09/10 era. Along with your album there was Unbalance (2562) and the first Guido LP. I think Guido is one of the most chronically underrated producers around actually.
Yeah definitely. Guido really is a musician. It seems a little ironic now, because he’s doing house & techno, but I got into dubstep through Scuba. The Paul Rose N4 Mix I think it was called, about 2005. Back then on Dubstep Forum there was literally a one page thing where artists could upload their music. It was like an extra page on the forum and you’d have people like Rusko and Shackleton giving away their mp3s and I’d upload my stuff. It was like a communal dub swapping area full of producers. I know it sounds a bit ham but it was a real magical time because there was nobody coming with ego, there was nobody on the site saying “I’m Billy Big Bollocks” or “I’m playing this rave”. Nobody was making tunes saying “right this is going in to the club” or for the purpose of getting a booking. It was very much a personal thing and people really respected each other a lot more. That spirit has been getting less and less ever since but 09/10 was really a good time for the music.
Yeah I’ve got to be honest there’s very little now that feels like it did then for me. I don’t for one second entertain any of this genre politics shite but at the moment I’m just not finding anything in dubstep that I connect with.
I do hear you on that one. It’s lost its spirit a bit but there’s a lot bubbling again of late.
It feels very rote and by numbers a lot of the time now.
Haha that’s basically why we (Author) did the track Paint By Numbers. That’s what a lot of dubstep feels like at present; fucking paint by numbers. When you used to listen to a mix by Youngsta or N-Type the mix would contain a multitude of producer personalities. Each tune would be a representation of the producer’s personality. When, say, a Benga tune came on it was silly, fun, energetic and when a Coki tune came on it was all these bleeps and blobs and there was just something about that tune that made it theirs. A track would drop and you’d just think “that is sick” or it would be more chilled and on the meditative vibe and it was all so colourful. Now it’s just… I don’t want to piss on anybody’s bonfire but it’s very cold and…
Not a lot of things change key these days. If you know a bit about music theory you can listen to a mix and hear: F sharp, E, F, G Minor, whatever, in the production they all hit the right notes so it’s good for a soundsystem but if the music’s well produced then it shouldn’t matter, it will sound powerful no matter where it gets played. Relying on the bass line to drive a piece of music is great but that can only go for so long, it needs other stimulus: synths, chord changes, creating original drum loops, bringing in influences from around the world. In those early days it was much more of a melting pot, which was great for everyone involved. But there’s always going to be a popular sound and there’s always going to be people wanting to emulate that. There just doesn’t seem to be any personal foundation in what people are making at the moment.
I think in a roundabout way the whole thing has shot itself in the foot. It was all so forward thinking at the start, that was arguably the original spirit of the music, so now this current feeling of stagnation seems doubly pronounced. The new generation of producers are so in thrall to the sound of five or six years ago, which at the time was cutting edge, that they are basically making retrospectively forward thinking music… Which is quite a comical paradox.
Yeah it is almost like a parody now isn’t it? You’ve got kids saying “I’m only going to play acetate, I cut everything to acetate” and that’s their gimmick. That’s what they get bookings off…. Youngsta, Hatcha, Distance, whoever, they’ve got dubplate upon dubplate of stuff that no-one else has got as they are the originators. No one can touch that. It’s a synthetic spirit the new guys are creating because they don’t know about the stuff that came before, it’s almost like they don’t understand it enough to truly respect it. The originators built the platform for the guys coming through now, but trying to relive those early days just can’t work. I wasn’t even there in the early days, I was fairly late in by those guys standards. I don’t know. It’s a strange one. It can be very cringey. You chose only the BEST tunes to cut and it was about sound and culture rather than gimmicks.
Nostalgia is very profitable too.
Yeah you can get caught up in that. Last year I got very nostalgic, my feelings were hurt. Circadian never came out on vinyl because the pressing plant fucked up, the first Author album got released, did really well, never been repressed and then last year the second Author album completely fucked up again so that’s only now seeing the light of day. It’s just that age old thing of how many times you can take a hit before you give up and that’s what I went through last year. At Christmas I just said “fuck this”.
Yeah I remember hearing that actually.
I did. I will quite openly admit I threw my toys out of the pram. It’s so easy to do that on Facebook. I was sat there, completely run down, I’d been working all year, touring all year and all this work had come to completely fuck all. I rang Dom and said “Dom. Fuck this. I don’t fucking care anymore and I cannot be bothered.” Nothing was happening for us. My girlfriend said I was only looking at the negatives (which I was) but it’s hard when you’ve put so much in. It’s true, the saying about a producer’s partner, that they’re second to the music in a way. It’s like that mistress that just keeps dumping you then asking you back out again. She’ll break your heart every time. That’s how music feels for me.
It’s always more crushing when you are doing something you love and it goes wrong but ultimately it’s the better reason to do something. There’s always that delicate balance between art and commerce but in my opinion, ultimately it’s about finding a way to live off doing what you love.
Totally. In the past when I’ve had money I’ve had nice things but my head wasn’t in the right place. Now I know my head is in the right place and I’m dictating what happens I don’t need money. As long as my rent is paid, the cats are fed and my studio is all good I don’t really need anything else. Having traveled the world doing this thing and met all these people along the way, absorbing bits of their lifestyle and their culture; it humbles you cause you see the “have and have nots”
I think the other issue is when people start making a bit of money off something they love it’s quite easy to let that inadvertently slip into becoming “the day job” so then, as you said earlier, it’s about “I’m going to make this tune to put in the dance” and so on.
Yep it gets to that point where the thing you used to love doing is no longer fun, becomes boring and you are just doing it to keep the money rolling. It’s at that point I tend to take it all apart and destroy everything. You need to start again.
Yeah sometimes you need to let it die and rot for a bit… Sort of like human composting.
Do you know what? That needs to be highlighted in the interview or in bold or something. Human composting… I think the whole thing with dubstep, when it comes back to real lives, is the music came from the heart of people. Everyone came from different places, different walks of life and they all met in the middle. You had specific characters who would stand out for whatever reason. It’s sort of like a big office; there’s the guy who always puts his foot in it, the guy who always eats lunch at his desk and stinks out the place, but we’ve all got to get along and we’re all working towards the same goal. We’ve all got to respect each other whether we came ten years before or joined a week before. This whole sense of one-upmanship that can creep in is just bollocks. The paranoia that goes with a music career is just crazy and when that paranoia starts to leak out into the scene it can only be a negative. It can destroy a whole fucking scene and I think that’s kind of what happened really. The press had had its day with dubstep, started getting wind of all these negative things and began looking for the next thing, which was deep house or whatever, and we were all just left in this fucking life raft haha. The ship had sailed and we were all just sat there like “what the fuck?” But it seems like we’ve spotted an island and we all need to start rowing that way. It’s about trying to get back that genuine spirit.
Applause for the extended boat metaphor there. It helps now that the majority of the money has disappeared from it again I think. It’s now back to the people who are really in it.
It’s like gold rush fever . You have a town that’s next to nothing, then all the prospectors come bowling in with the family, building houses and what have you, then when all the gold dries up they fuck off. What happens then? People just get on with their lives or have to learn to rebuild. That’s pretty much what we’re going through at the moment. The time for showboating is done. It’s time for work now.
Back to the old elbow grease.
Yeah. If you speak to a lot of the people in the genre who have been through the whole thing: They’re pretty confident about it all. I’m feeling confident about it because the people who have been in it for a while, they can only get better ideas wise. Now the spotlight is off the tension headaches in producers can start to go away and people can focus on the creativity of it all. People need to stop worrying about EQ’ing this and tweaking that and making sure the mixdown is just right. People just need to be concerned with getting out what they want to manifest, the tune and the idea. If you spend ten years EQ’ing one track you’re just going to take the life out of it.
That’s basically a microcosm for the whole scene for me right now. It’s not necessarily bad dubstep, it all sounds really well made and it does what it is supposed to do but I don’t listen to anything anymore that leaves me going “what the fuck was that?!”
Yes exactly. You end up getting to know producers for the wrong reasons. I’m not saying we older folk are the best producers or I’m the best producer, but when it comes to diversity I’ve moved from a techno/dubstep album to a jazz album, pretty much opposite ends of the spectrum. Author was more or less born out of this frustration that everything sounds the fucking same. You can’t force anything out; if Author was going to be born at that point Author was going to be born at that point. Personally it just seemed like we caught the opinion of a lot of the people in the scene at that time.
As with Circadian the Author album felt like it was one complete piece: To be heard as a whole and not just ten individual tracks in a row.
Some of my favourite artists are people like Smashing Pumpkins, Murcof, Jeff Buckley, Massive Attack. Plastikman was a major influence on me… and hip-hop, like Pete Rock’s Petestrumentals LP.
There’s a bloody banger.
Yeah you get an album like that and there’s not one shitter on there. Not a single beat is wasted. Even the worst track on there is still really… bloody good. There are still really good albums being made all over, but I think in the dubstep scene, unfortunately, the emphasis is “you’re only going to be considered successful if people are playing your music in the clubs” but that isn’t especially true because you have the whole of the internet. You’ve got Soundcloud, Spotify, all of that. If you put a track up online and someone likes it or someone shares it, that’s a personal response between listener and artist and that’s a great thing. I really like that. That’s now like what being in a record shop ten years ago was. Besides I’m a very private person, when am I ever going to leave the house to get a response like that? Overall this scene is very much down to the underdogs at the moment. I always favour the underdog in music scenes because the talent is always at the ground floor. As you get to the top you’ve got managers, PR, promoters and all that bullshit. As soon as you realise that you are free. You can do what you want in reality. There’s no pressure to earn a certain amount or sound like anybody…
Yeah some people think my approach to this job is pretty silly and even if I have just spent nearly a year on the dole at least it is entirely my approach.
Maybe we should just start a club for really weird people who don’t want to fit in anywhere.
I’m a big fan of writers like Jon Ronson and Malcolm Gladwell; they’re that kind of people that observe life. There was one story Ronson did about Robbie Williams and how much of a UFO nut he is which was fantastic. You’d never know that about Williams just by looking at his public image; that’s kind of like the soft white underbelly of Robbie Williams. It’s something about him that kind of makes him vulnerable, and when you’re an artist you’re constantly vulnerable. That’s something I’m happy to put out there because if someone knows that I’m vulnerable maybe they won’t be so quick to dismiss me. I try and keep that honesty about me. If I don’t like something I’ll let you know and try and to give you feedback on how it could be improved but the thing that’s important to remember is in the music game everything is entirely subjective. Something I love everyone might fucking hate and there might be something everyone is raving about that I personally think is shit so it isn’t really worth worrying about who is saying what. My advice is if you want to create just throw everything onto the fucking palette and deduct what you don’t like. What you are left with, in essence, is your sound. That is you. Other than that who gives a fuck? Don’t think you have a persona or reputation to protect because at the end of the day that’s just fucking limiting yourself. Look at Miley Cyrus; she’s not protecting anything, she’s just doing what she fucking wants… Albeit in a cringey way. From Disney to Hooters in one fell swoop.
Yeah regardless of her music I quite respect her… In all honesty I respect anyone who runs about with a load of midgets though. Even if it is all just for attention fair play to her; it takes some guts and it’s got us discussing her in the middle of an interview for an underground music website. I just love mischief.
Things like Twitter really have shifted the emphasis to areas where it isn’t needed in music but it’s useful for promotion I guess.
Yep definitely. Through no fault of his own as well people like Burial have triggered a bit of that too. Now you get all these people running about giving it the whole “oh I want my music to speak for itself, it’s all about the music” but in doing that they’ve instantly constructed a gimmick and persona. Music, electronic or otherwise, is made by humans so I don’t see why it is suddenly the dun thing to hide the person behind it.
You’ve touched on something intriguing there; about people doing certain things to fit a public persona. I’ve met people in the past after speaking to them on Twitter, where they’ve been all mouth and bluster, acting all rudeboy, then you meet them in real life and they barely dare to shake your hand. If you are closed off on the internet and that’s how you play your game that’s cool but don’t come with a fake attitude and then be the complete opposite in real life. Even if the rudeboy thing is a facade at least maintain it. There’s no point putting on a face just to sell records because eventually your fans are going to meet you and realise it’s all rubbish. That being said don’t expect me to turn up to a set drinking rum or demanding prostitutes… I don’t even drink booze!
Well then you’re a responsible artist and a terrible pirate. It’s exactly like these people who have really doctored “selfies” on dating sites: you think they look alright and then when they turn up looking like shit it just makes them look twice as bad. Twitter is essentially now a dating site for producers and their customers. You spend 6 weeks on there chatting people up, posting “cool” photos etc, then once you’ve reeled them in you hit ‘em with the “click to purchase” links.
Haha it’s almost like a credibility problem they have. Twitter seems to be the new way to prove who you are… I’m guilty of it too don’t get me wrong.
It’s like that one mate we all have, who, when you go round has all their “classic” arthouse DVDs like Man Bites Dog on display and all his obscure techno records out by his deck, but you know the minute you go home he’s banging out Rio by Duran Duran and watching Jason Statham films with the rest of us.
If you want to go make a big chart busting tune: bloody do it. Do it and be proud you did it. If you want to make underground music for personal reasons then great, if you want to go make Deadmau5 money then great. Just be honest. It’s the same issue when people sign to a major label and suddenly fans go “oh well I’m not listening to them anymore”. If you don’t like the music fair enough but you can’t write someone off before you’ve heard what they’ve done.
Dom (Ruckspin) is living through that very problem at the moment. SubMo have just signed an EP to Circus Records and everyone is going “what the fuck you doing? That’s a brostep label” but at the end of the day what the fuck does it matter what label you are on if they are allowing you to create what you want? If, for example, I thought Deep Medi had my best interests at heart I would sign all my stuff to them. If I thought they didn’t but Skrillex did I would sign all my stuff with Skrillex. That’s what real artists are looking for; they want to find homes where the people believe in their music. Basically we are all running around like headless chickens looking for approval and acceptance. It’s why we all swap tunes. When you start swapping with other artists and you are out touring constantly and producing and gigging there isn’t always time to sit down and reply to the creator saying “I really enjoyed this bit about it”. It’s almost just the standard to say “yeah I’ve been playing that out” and that’s enough. There are tunes that you play out that function and then there’s tunes you keep playing that you LOVE. Recently I’ve just not had one piece of dubstep fall on my lap where I’ve gone “shit. This is absolutely astounding.” I’d rather play tunes I absolutely love that are a few years old than play something that’s fresh and upfront but doesn’t really move me. There’s so many great unheard bits from a few years ago that everyone is missing because they are concentrating on the freshest all the time. I’m not going to try and like it because it’s current. I’m not going to listen to it ten times to make myself like it. I know firsthand what I like and it’s a pretty straightforward system. Maybe music grows on you but I think you just become comfortable listening to it… That might be a bit militant of me. I don’t know.
The only thing I’d disagree with there is the bit about music growing on you. I’ve gone back to things that I haven’t been feeling in the past and it’s suddenly like I’m hearing it for the first time… But then again I regularly dismiss things just for the sake of it… And I listen to a lot of stuff for the first time when I’m drunk, so maybe that all has something to do with it… I like Phil Collins, I know that much.
A lot of the time it depends on the emotional state you are in. For instance if you are madly in love you probably won’t find yourself listening to Burial too much, but when that same girl dumps you and you put on Gutted or Pirates I’m sure you’ll suddenly connect with it a lot more.
Yeah everyone has the “sad day” playlist haha. It’s always the sad stuff that sticks with people too. Humans love misery it.
Yeah everyone has that really personal, miserable playlist… I’m just trying to find my space on that playlist haha.
I’d like to think Burial is just a group of cheerful people perfectly reading that market. All that selfie stuff at Christmas was bollocks; that was just the next layer of icing on the financially profitable cake.
I like to think Burial just sits in the sun somewhere contemplating.
I like to think he’s actually some new wave producer from the eighties now living in Miami or Las Vegas who happens to be a bit of a production don and he just bangs out an EP over 48 hours then spends the rest of the year doing coke and 22 year old prostitutes in the back of his helicopter. Then, when the money gets low as he’s had to pay off a bunch of lawyers to hide another dead call girl, he hops on the blower to Kode9 and they quickly put out another record. Or he is just the lead singer of REO Speedwagon on a side project. Or Avicii… Or Pitbull. Or a consortium project of all of the above. Basically I think this needs to be the truth. The world just needs that big reveal of one amazing artist actually being a horribly cynical marketing ploy to remind them that they are all a bit too bothered about the wrong part of the music… Maybe if Thom Yorke was a music making robot fuelled on MacDonalds or Starbucks skinny lattes… I’m just going to start saying that’s true. Let’s become those conspiracy nuts you see in Jon Ronson books.
You essentially just want it all to burn don’t you?
Yes. Why not? And if I can misquote you in this interview I will happily use you as a pawn in my sick little game.
Yeah man… I’m down with that.
Obviously once it has all crumbled all that will be left is our mustard shop.
Yeah the pantry has to stay open.
Apocalypse Pantry will never fall! How long does it even take for a jar of mustard to go off anyway? It’s not like all these hippies doing fresh fruit and veg with three days of shelf life. They’re fucked.
So long as we make sure everything is sealed properly we’ll smash it. The Melton Mowbray: never let you down.
We can keep a clutch of records too and after it’s all gone we can hand them out and, much like religion, just deny anything else ever existed.
We invented music therefore we are music.
Perfect. We can just have a picture of Zomby, obviously he won’t have a face, with a jar of mustard and some BeeGees records. Anything else is punishable by death.
Then we’ll just put people in little tents and force them to carry on society in our image.
Yeah this is going to be fucking fantastic. Loads of little fat, mustard fed apocalypse children running around with bling Zomby masks humming More Than A Woman.
I’m actually down for this man. 100%.
Well half the country is under water at the moment… Can you actually sail a boat? You may have to learn how to sail a boat.
I can actually sail. We’re saved… Were there any questions in this interview you wanted to ask me specifically?
Not that don’t involve mustard no. I couldn’t give a shit… Erm what do you want to sell the people reading this?
Oh the new Author album. That’s out Monday March 10th on vinyl.
That’s job done then. Thanks for your time sir.
Author’s new LP Forward Forever is available now via the Author website
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