Det er efterhånden længe siden, Regnsky har haft besøg af en gæsteskribent. Men det er det tid til at lave om på nu. Vi præsenterer her et interview med den engelske drum’n’bass duoen Instra:mental, som om nogen har stået i spidsen for den moderne drum’n’bass, der vægter melodier på linje med rytmens drive. Intervieweren – eller samtalepartneren for at være mere præcis – er den danske drum’n’bass soloartist Beastie Respond aka Tobias Pedersen, for hvem ville være bedre til at interviewe Instra:mental end ham? Svaret giver sig selv, når man læser samtalen mellem de to.
Under sommerens Strøm Festival havde Dunkel fint besøg af den ene halvdel af den populære producer/DJ duo, Instra:mental. Instra:mental har siden 2006 haft stor indflydelse på drum’n’bass-scenen, og på det seneste også Dubstep og andet elektronisk musik i den mere bastunge afdeling. Instra:mental spillede til arrangementet Ottoman, som har sit fokus på eksperimenterende ende af den bastunge elektroniske musik – hovedsageligt inden for drum’n’bass. I den forbindelse snakkede undertegnede med Al Bleek fra Instra:mental om hans overvejelser omkring deres historie, musik og succes.
The brief history of Instra:mental, explained by Al Bleek:
“When we where younger we happened to meet Jim from Source Direct (drum’n’bass duo, red.) at The End in London. My partner and I had some studio equipment, which we were messing around with – but we didn’t know what we where doing as such. We hooked up with Jim from Source Direct, and started writing music together. We learned some stuff from him and we became very good friends. We where young, and we were partying really hard. And I got a daughter – certain things happened. We all decided to have our own ways for a few years. And it wasn’t until after a few years I realized that I wasn’t doing anything, I wasn’t really happy with my life and the one thing that was missing was writing music. Me and my partner realized that is what we’re here to do.
So we got all the old studio equipment out, we rented a space, we spent a lot more money on a lot more equipment and set it all up. That was about the summer of 2006. From there we wrote this one track called “Naked Zoo”, and we gave it to our friend DJ Lee who passed it on to Marcus Intalex (of Soul:R), who wanted to release it on the DAT-music project. We realized that we must be doing something right, and decided to continue to do what we’ve been doing – thats how we got this point now.”
When you listen to some of your old tunes like “Boomer” and “Yo Bitch” and then the tunes you made after starting up again, you hear something that’s really different in sound and style.
“ Definitely! You are talking seven years before we stepped back in the studio – we’ve grown up and listened to so much music. By that time, after all those years, we realized what we liked, it wasn’t just a sort of a guessing game no more, we realized what we really liked and what we really wanted to do. We got different ideas when we started up again. We where kids when we first started, but we came back as men.”
There is also a change in sound and style from you started back up till now.
“ Basically it wasn’t a conscious decision, we enjoyed messing around with beats and tempo and sounds – we never felt like we wanted to stand still and just write one thing. So I think the progression from where we started a few years ago and up until now is just evolution. Sounds are just evolving and we’re just having fun with different things; different drum machines, different synthesizers, different techniques. Its natural progression – we just do what we want to do, if it sounds good we will finish it. Thats why theres about 200-300 tunes that won’t finish – because we don’t think they’re good enough. We’re perfectionist – I’m still not entirely happy with everything we’ve put out until now. A couple of my favourite tracks that we’ve done are “Pacific Heights”, ”Let’s talk”, “Vicodin” and “Watching you”. There are tunes I”m happy with, but there is also things that I would change about them, but you’ve got to let them go. Let them breathe and then carry on. I’m forever learning, forever teaching myself.”
Instra:mental has made a massive impact on the drum’n’bass scene and sound, in quite a short period of time. Both with your productions and you teaming up with dBridge and creating the Autonomic-concept. What do you, yourselves, feel about these achievements – both influencing drum’n’bass as well as dubstep and other electronic genres?
“ I’m definitely proud of it, but to best honest I don’t think about it too much. It’s still like, I don’t feel that I, or we, as Instra:mental, have done our best work. I am proud of what we’ve achieved and the recognition we get. Its not why I do it, I do it cause I love it. I’ll always be pushing forward.”
When listening to drum n bass now and maybe two years back, you’ll hear that many new artists are obviously inspired by yourselves.
“Like I said, I don’t think about it too much. The thing is, I can be quite arrogant sometimes, I think my ideas are good – I believe in what I do. We’ve got original ideas and I think it’s right that people have taken notice – I believe in what we do. It’s a beautiful thing – all I ever wanted was people listening to my music, enjoying it – music is a part of your life. I hear music that I absolutely adore, it takes me back to a certain place in time, you get nostalgic. And to think that people are getting that from my music that’s pretty much why I do it. ‘Cause I’ll never die, when I’m dead my music will always be there.“
Plans for the future: finishing the autonomic podcasts, the Instra:mental LP, and Nonplus+?
“The podcast are being done now (11 out, 12 still to come). One of the podcasts is going to be 170 and the other is going to be multi-genre, multi-tempo – slower obviously. Once we’ve done the 12, I think we might leave it to that. Not sure. The Autonomic label is going to keep going – but I think we’re just gonna maintain what we said. We’ll do 12 podcasts. As far as the album, we are in the middle of writing it right now. Where about 2/3 of the way through. If I can ever be happy with what we’ve done it should be out for next march. At Nonplus – the label’s running strong. Latest release was Kassem Mosse (now Jimmy Edgar). Number 10 release is going to be an Instra:mental release. It may even end up being a sampler for the album. There are loads of new Instra:mental material written. And at the same time there’s a lot of new Boddika being written. There’ll be a Boddika release on Nonplus sooner or later.”
Can you tell a bit about Boddika, your solo-project?
“ My partner went away for 4 or 5 weeks – and I was left to my own devices in the studio. I wrote about 10 tracks, 5 are coming on Darkestral, 2 coming on swamp81, and the other 2 on Naked Lunch. They’re kinda my favourite labels out there at the moment. I like to keep it tight – I don’t want to release music on too many labels. We’ve wanted to keep it locked down to friends and people we believe in. Obviously Darkestral is where we (Instra:mental) started, Naked Lunch is a very good friend of ours from Ireland, Micky, he’s got such a passion for electronic music and what he does. He is running the label, but doesn’t make a lot of money from it. It’s because he loves it, so I am so happy to support Naked Lunch. They are also getting some really cool artists on board. And Loefah has become a very good friend of mine over the past year, I really much believe in what Swamp81’s doing and there is an Instra:mental 12 coming on Swamp as well. That’ll be followed by a Boddika 12” later in the year. It will all be out by the end of 2010.
Boddika was just me left to my own devices, and most of the stuff is much more sort of club orientated but it’s club on a level I can handle. It’s on a nice level without getting silly. Me having fun with my electro and house influences.”
If should point your finger at one word that describes the Boddika music, what would it be?
“ You know what? I can’t. ‘Cause if you hear the stuff on Darkestral you’ll be really like “what the fuck is that?” It’s very cinematic and the soundscape extremely dark. Rico (from Darkestral) came in and sat with me, had some concepts, and we went in on the sound design of a couple of things. There’s one track called “Last train to Lexington” that he wanted to sound like a train. I think when people here it, and they hear the concept behind it, they’ll really get the tune. I had Goldie trying to signe it from us the other week, he wanted to put out on Metalheadz, the whole project, but it’s staying at Darkestral. This is what I mean, I can’t sum up the whole body of work from Boddika up in one word.”
Where did you get the name from?
“Well, Boddika, Clearence Boddika, the baddy in RoboCop – it’s just a name that always stuck with me. Boddika suits me as well. For people that know me, it kind of suits me. I got a great love for 80’s films – I’m an 80’s kid.”
Instra:mentals LP er klar til udgivelse omkring februar 2011.