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Naked Objects – New Artist Q&A

Ziz

 

How did you first get involved in the Underground music scene?

Thinking back, it was when I was about 9 or 10. I had a few old underground compilation tapes that I’d picked up from the record shop in Banbury. At the time I was mainly into East Coast hip hop and grunge but these tapes were unlike anything else I’d heard. I didn’t know it at the time but they were my first taste of rave music and I really, really liked them.

The first time I found out what rave music culture was like was an episode of Morse! Some kids were at an illegal rave in an old country house somewhere. Even though it was staged for TV, I saw it and it totally stuck with me. The vibe and the sound – having a huge party in a mansion – sick! It was like putting two and two together: the old tapes I listened to when I was younger suddenly had another dimension added to them.

It was then when I was around 14, back in 1992 when I was at boarding school and kids were listening to tapes of some raves that they copied off their older brothers did I get my first taste of happy hardcore, breatbeat techno and jungle although jungle beats blew my mind, they were so hard to follow, it kinda didn’t make sense but it had wicked bass lines. Then I saw a few videos of raves and that was it – I wanted to be there, shacking out!

Free parties and pirate stations filled my years from 15 to 18. Tapes from the classics like Don FM, Dream FM, Rude FM & Weekend Rush were commodities at school. We could just about receive Kiss FM and Capital FM which would play jungle and hardcore late at night.

What made you get into the producing side of things?

It’s all John’s fault. He had decks at home, he taught me to mix and I got hooked on mixing first. A couple of years later we started messing around with Music on the Playstation. John was already familiar with the concept of making multi-tracking and making tunes – having been in a band at school and living in New Mexico for a year on an exchange project with a guy who had a fully-fledged studio out there.

We clubbed together and bought Reason. I think it was still Reason 1. We stuck at that for about four years, it was a good DAW to get to grips with sequencing and mixing down. After that we got our hands on Cubase and that changed the game. We’ve been using Cubase ever since, although John still uses Reason for writing midi parts when he’s on the move.

Can you tell me more about Naked Objects? How did you meet?

John couldn’t have said it better: Naked Objects is a loose collective of friends, musicians and artists that revolves around the core members of John, Joss and me. John and I originally met through mutual friends in a field outside Banbury to have a smoke many, many moons ago. A few years later when I was living in Brighton, I became good friends with Joss’ older brother Jethro and so was eventually was introduced to Joss. The rest is history. I guess the name Naked Objects is a play on William S. Burroughs “Naked Lunch” as we aim to distill complex musical ideas into something way more minimal.

What influences you when making music?

Wow, I don’t think that I get influenced, I get inspired. It really depends what kind of mood I’m in. Sometimes I feel aggy and want to make a stinking tune, other times I’m in a chilled mood and something really light and musical comes out.

Often I hear a sample and then a riff and vibe just pops into my mind. Other times I’ll hear a track and really like what they’ve done and take their approach and mold it into one of my tunes. More recently, I’ll be commuting on the train and listening to podcasts and some sick tunes are playing and I’ll think ‘yeah; I’m gonna go home and start a tune like these!’

The only influences on our music are one another’s feedback and that of our friends. If people tell us something sounds whack or not right then we’ll go change it.

Can you tell us about your production process?

80% of the time it starts with the beat, but not always. If I’ve got a sample or a riff in my head I’ll get that down and then write around it but mostly it’ll start with a beat. The beat is so instrumental in setting the tone for the track.

We live in different places in the UK now so we tend to work on a track and send it round for feedback. Often we just bounce a track down and send it to one another and we all write parts for the track at home.

We still get together in the studio to mix tracks down, it’s the best way – it stops lots of toing and froing and we arrive at a mutually agreeable mixdown way faster than if we were all working remotely.

What makes drum & bass different from other genres?

I believe that we all have our own tempo. Mine is 175bpm! That tempo just connects with me in a way that no other music does. I love the huge scope and variety that D&B offers. I love bass. I love bass – I’ll say it twice. There’s no point listening to music if you can’t hear anything below 130hz.

Who are your favourite Producers?

Wow. You can’t ask me that! Too many to mention. I think there are some ridiculous producers out there. I’ll list a few that I can think of right now: Noisia/Annix/ Decimal Bass/Konichi/Break/D Bridge/Lynx (& Kemo)/Dub Phizix/Dom and Roland/Spectrasoul/Tech Itch/Icicle/Serial Killaz/Sensai/A Sides/Netsky/Cammo and Krooked/Alex Perez/Heist/Slum Dogz/B-Complex/Calyx/Teebee/Commix/Logistics/DJ Sly/Cyantific/S.P.Y.

Who are your favourite DJ’s?

Now, I’m a turntablist so I’d have to take my hat off to DJ Friction – he blew me away a good few years ago with his crazy juggling and mulit-deck shit. DJ Craze, Kentaro, Brighton’s own JFB who introduced me to the joys of Serato 8 years ago, and Brighton’s secret weapon: Dj Dan Tuf.

As for the mix and blend skills I’m really feeling Alegria from Poznan in Poland (check his Drum Obsession show on Bassdrive). Then there’s Futurebound, Sigma, DJ Jamie G and Brockie, Komatic from Technimatic, Bryan G and Logistics.

How do you feel about the Drum & Bass scene today?

The D&B scene’s still alive and kicking, and the oldschool is coming through again which is sick. It’s always an exciting time in D&B, there’s sick new producers and DJs coming through constantly. It’s also one of those genres where if you like it you really like it, you don’t tend to get many kids thinking it’s cool to be at a dance – they go because they want to dance.

Talking of kids; there’s also nuff old gits at raves too! When I was raving pre ’96 you’d see the occasional old person there, usually a scared parent who was looking after their kid, but occasionally some 40-something on the proper charge, stomping away with their eyes in the back of their head but nowadays there’s nuff 40-somethings at dances just kicking back, drinking beer and soaking it all in. It’s nice to see the audience getting broader. It means there’s more people out there who will support D&B.

As time goes on there’s more niches, more specific sounds. I guess it’s getting a little like House now in that the genre’s been around for long enough for some really strong sub-genres to emerge which have their own mini-scenes.

Do you have any advice for other up & coming producers & Djs?

I wish I’d taken the time to listen and learn early on. My sound would have advanced so much faster than it actually did.

You should find some producers who’ve been at it for a few years and ask them if you can sit in on a few sessions but I’d recommend that you make sure they’re using the same DAW as you otherwise you won’t pick anything up and it’ll just confuse you.

You absolutely have to check out Pensados Place on YouTube for some pro tips:

https://www.youtube.com/user/PensadosPlace

When you think you’re serious about taking it to the next level, invest in some half-decent monitors and a sound card. Treat your ears with respect. If you’re going out raving, or even to a pub playing loud music, wear ear plugs. Seriously, I mean it. You may not notice it now, but by the time you’re 35 you’ll regret those times you stood next to the speaker stack.

Also – have confidence. The few people we knew who were only starting out but had confidence have gone a long way. But, there’s a fine balance between confidence and acting like a twat. Just have the belief in what you’re doing but never think you’re better than other producers – everyone has a unique approach and as someone who makes music you should respect that. And never, ever think you’re a badman just because you make tunes. Anyone can make tunes.

What has been the most memorable time since your involvement in the scene?

Oh man, probably playing at free parties in Oxfordshire. All the crew there, such wicked, wicked times. Working on the album was one of the best experiences. I’ve learnt so much about the process of finishing tracks, mixing down and mastering. We found a real resonance and were able to take long-distance collaboration to the next level. It proved that we can work together as one unit whilst under pressure.

What are your future plans on Default Recordings?

We’ve got some sick tunes lined up. There’s loads more in the archives which are ready to be reworked into 2014 standards. There’s always room for improvement so we will be honing our skills further.

There’s some exciting collaborative works with Four Eyes and some talented new vocalists we’ve discovered.

We hope to keep a steady stream of tunes coming out on Default, we love the ethos and vibe from everyone at Default and are stoked to be able to be a part of a great label and work with people who are all about the music.

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John

 

How did you first get involved in the Underground music scene?

I was only 11 when the Second Summer of Love was kicking off but Helter Skelter were based in the village I grew up in and so I was exposed to the rave scene through girlfriends who were going out with the older boys. I was also involved in a community music project that fused loads of different styles of music (I played guitar in bands at the time), street dance and VJs. This was in 1990 so the  project (Technodrome) was really ahead of its time, not to mention  run by excellent mentors  including Steve Harris of Pinksi Zoo (R.I.P) and Eamon Murtagh of Sub:Trance.

What made you get into the producing side of things?

During the school summer holidays, I’d always somehow manage to convince our music teacher that I was trustworthy enough to borrow the music department’s multitracker for a few weeks so we could learn how to record our band and produce demos. One day, someone played me Goldie’s “Terminator”on a tape and my best friend at the time (also a drummer) suggested we record him playing his drum kit so we could speed the beats up and make our own tracks in that style. One set of drum samples and a copy of Octamed later and I was completely hooked!

Can you tell me more about Naked Objects? How did you meet?

Naked Objects is a loose collective of friends, musicians and artists that revolves around the core members of Ziz, Joss and me. Ziz and I originally met through mutual friends in a field outside Banbury for a smoke many, many moons ago. A few years later when I was living in Brighton, I became good friends with Joss’ older brother Jethro and so was eventually was introduced to Joss. The rest is history. I guess the name Naked Objects is a play on William S. Burroughs “Naked Lunch” as we aim to distil complex musical ideas into something way more minimal.

What influences you when making music?

It really depends on the context. If I am coming up with ideas on my own, I’ll look to my immediate environment or some memory to evoke an atmosphere. If we’re all together in-session, I get massively influenced bouncing ideas off one another. For me, working with other like minded people always ends up producing the most inspirational and unique concepts and sounds because it forces you to look at everything from a number of different perspectives.

Can you tell us about your production process?

We all live in different parts of the UK these days (some of the extended members of the collective live as far away as the US and Australia) and so we do a lot of our work across the internet. We either start with a fresh idea or something from our library of bits and pieces that we’ve collected over the years. Then it’s a case of developing the idea online, arranging recording sessions for instrumentalists / vocalists we would like to be involved and, finally, meeting up for some proper weekend sessions to bring everything together. It’s quite a long process but our sessions are sacred because of it and help us remain inspired.

What makes drum & bass different from other genres?

Personally, out of all the forms of electronic music out there, I think drum & bass music is some of the most techically challenging music to produce. It requires you to think about all the individual elements in so much more depth than a lot of other genres – even just getting an authentic sounding drum break together can take weeks and weeks of work sometimes. The live drum feel of Drum & Bass also allows the style to gel really well with lots of diverse influences – that diversity can also be seen in the genres it has influenced too.

Who are your favourite Producers?

Such a difficult question to answer. There are so many producers both old and new (across a range of genres) that I have huge respect for – I could quite easily reel of a list of a hundred or so if I had the time! Here’s a small selection  – Nico, Ed Rush and Optical, Matrix, D’Cruze, Bad Company, Cause 4 Concern, Bulletproof, Dom & Roland, John B, Decoder and Substance, Ram Trilogy, Adam F, TeeBee & Calyx, Spor, Noisia, Black Sun Empire,The Upbeats, Gridlok, Kraken,  Blu Mar Ten, Calibre, PFM, Seba, Wickaman, Break, Komatic and Technicolour, Broken Note, Amon Tobin, Om Unit, Hybrid Minds, Baron, Koan Sound, Reso, Eat Static, P.O.B, Slacker, Leftfield, Fluke, Orbital,  Joey Beltram, Squarepusher, System 7, The Boards of Canada, etc.

Who are your favourite DJ’s?

Again, so many good DJs out there, some of whom have been honing their craft now for literally decades – it’s ridiculous:  Timecode, LTJ Bukem, Nookie, Ash-a-tack, Darren Jay, Andy C, Trex,  Dope Ammo, Jaybee, Alegria, Komatic, Drumsound, Annix, Hybrid Minds, Fret One, DJ Craze, The Skratch Perverts, DJ Matman, The Psychonauts, Adam Freeland, Jeff Mills, Carl Cox, Chris Woodward, Jonathan Watts.

How do you feel about the Drum & Bass scene today?

To me, the scene seems more fragmented than it used to be. However, being a father I’m probably not the best person to ask, as I don’t get the opportunity to go out to that many nights anymore (in addition to having time available for the studio). That being said, the scene still is really healthy in terms of output and progression of the sound.

Do you have any advice for other up & coming producers & Djs?

Learn as much about the physics of sound as possible – here is so much information out there on the internet these days, there is really no excuse! Apart from that, enjoy what you are doing and be prepared to put in the hours. Like with everything else in the world today, it takes something exceptional to make people pay attention to and, most importantly, remember your work.

What has been the most memorable time since your involvement in the scene?

I have very fond memories of the early 00s – they were an awesome few years. We were all living in Brighton, deep in the local scene and involved in a lot of free parties back home. At that time, we started to have the opportunity to hear our tracks on loud systems and get a bit of crowd feedback too. I remember when MySpace eventually exploded thinking how crazy it was to be getting  so many messages from random people who had heard our mixtapes – even though we had done absolutely nothing to promote ourselves! Those were very special times.

What are your future plans on Default Recordings?

We will be working hard to try and ensure each release tops the last. I know that’s a tall order (and subjective too) but, production-wise at least, we want to stay on top of our game and hone our style. We are really amped to have been signed to Default and hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with some of the other label artists when we have rounded off our first releases.

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Joss

 

How did you first get involved in the Underground music scene?

I had 2 older brothers who were in the rave scene when it first appeared in the UK and they were DJ’ing, MC’ing and running a pirate radio station.

What made you get into the producing side of things?

From the age of 10 I was making music on the computer and my inspiration came from my brothers who had a large passion for Jungle DNB.

Can you tell me more about Naked Objects? How did you meet?

I was introduced to John and Ziz through my brother as he used to make music with them and then we all clicked really well and found each other’s strengths and weaknesses in producing. By bouncing ideas off each other we have this driving motivation to make something powerful, unique and original.

What influences you when making music?

For me it’s to let my mind flow freely and express what feelings or thoughts I feel I need to express. I enjoy making music and I always get a kick out of it! (cheesy, laugh) The influences are too many to list and to tell the truth, life itself is my main influence.

Can you tell us about your production process?

Almost each song we make starts from a different source being a drum beat, vocal hook, lead sound, bass sound, riff or a random sample. From there we focus on the rhythm instruments and get them complementing a melody or vice versa depending on the songs characteristics. After we have our main motif we move onto the arrangement and bring the song to life to take you on a musical journey.

What makes drum & bass different from other genres?

It incorporates almost all other genres and styles of music and transforms them or incorporates them into its own fast beated, drums and bass heavy sounds.

Who are your favourite Producers?

LTJ Bukem, Bad Company, Goldie, Noisia, Konflict, Tech Itch, Pendulum, DJ Die, Congo Natty, Prodigy, Break, SPY, to name but a few..

Who are your favourite DJ’s?

Nicky Blackmarket, Aphrodite, Bryan G, DJ Randall, DJ HYPE.

How do you feel about the Drum & Bass scene today?

Well its lost a fair amount of it’s ecstasy rave vibes and the bass lines turned less melodic and into complex, fast paced wobbles but recently it’s been getting more minimal and intricate with Neuro Funk on the scene and it’s getting some jungle vibes back in place too.

Do you have any advice for other up & coming producers & Djs?

If you enjoy making music then just keep going and going and don’t let anything put you off. If you manage to make a living from it then it’s a bonus but that shouldn’t be what makes or breaks.

What has been the most memorable time since your involvement in the scene?

All the people I have met along the way.

What are your future plans on Default Recordings?

To open up a whole new chapter of DNB music.

 

25 February 2014 Artist Interview Naked Objects