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Test Pressing
INTERVIEWS / READ

BULLION / BLLUDD RELATIONS / DEEK

Test Pressing, 20 Questions, Interview, Dr Rob, Bullion, Nathan Jenkins, Blludd Relations, DEEK

Where are you based?Acton, West London.

Is this your hometown?Yes.

What is your first musical memory?Hearing my Dad play “Miss Clare Remembers” by Enya on the piano.

What was the first record you bought?Probably some awful Drum n Bass 12.

What was the last record you bought?A 7″ by Mouth called “Love Me Or I’ll Kill You”. Not as good as it sounds.

Is this the same Mouth who were on Y records? Their “Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea” is amazing. “Ooh Ah Yeah” by them is also pretty good. I`m kinda hoping Bristol Archive will do some vinyl re-issues. It would be really nice to have “Voyage…” on a 12.Yeah, through Y Records and Maximum Joy. Certainly opened my ears up to a wider world of music when I bought the “Birth Of The Y” compilation. I love the artwork on those Mouth singles.

Test Pressing, 20 Questions, Interview, Dr Rob, Bullion, Nathan Jenkins, Blludd Relations, DEEK, Mouth, Y Records

Do you buy a lot of music? I used to buy records a lot, but had to slow it down for lack of money. After a couple of years doing my NTS radio show it started to run a bit dry just playing vinyl. So now I find music mainly through blogs and on the net, and I must say as much as I still love finding the odd wonderful record, out in the real world, it matters less to me, the idea of owning it as an object.

What inspired you to start DJing / making music / the label?Fiddling around with a four-track tape recorder given to me by a friend of my parents. We had a Yamaha DX-21 at home and I thought I was some kind of master craftsman of music playing in sounds and overdubbing until it was one big mush!

What equipment are you using at the moment?Too boring to mention. The usual, software and hardware. I use a Zoom field recorder to do all my vocals, guitars, percussion and it has a lovely bright sound.

How long have you been DJing / making music / running the label?Making music and DJing around 10 years I suppose. In terms of anything I’m remotely proud of making I’d cut that in half at least. “Running the label” about a year and a half.

What made you start your own label, DEEK?The desire to release all the various musical things I’m producing or writing or collaborating on, at my own leisure, answerable only to myself!

How would you describe your sound / the label`s sound?Our tagline is “Pop Not Slop” and that does really sum it up I hope. Pop placed carefully in an odd shaped box.

Who do you have on the label at the moment and how did you meet these artists?Nautic, we’re releasing a new record start of next year, Jesse Hackett, Laura Groves, Otis and me, for now. We all met through mutual friends.

Your own sound has changed a lot in a very short space of time, from a kind of sampledelica, “Too Right” for example, to New Wave Disco (“Say Arr Ee”), to a kind of modern Prog Pop on “Love Me Oh Please Love Me”. Where are you going next?It’s hard for me to be objective about the changes as they are happening, much easier to look back later on and realise. I’m still exploring songs and using my voice rather than making instrumental music. Finding it harder and harder to write music without words now in fact, so I think eventually I’ll come back to that as a new challenge, but at the moment, songwriting is challenge enough!

You have covered Robert Wyatt and I can hear his influence in what you do. There is a very English sometimes awkward honesty to it. How do you approach lyric writing?I think I have quite a small scope of things to write about. My life and experience is fairly narrow so perhaps that’s why I change musical styles a lot, to make up for other shortcomings. In which case, writing songs is more about using words and lines that sound good, focusing on rhythm and melody rather than rich lyrical themes.

Which production / release / remix are you most proud of?I think our Blludd Relations LP on DEEK is the music I’m proudest of. We put a lot into that, Jesse and I.

It`s a great record, as was the “Love Me…” EP. I`m not sure how many people picked up on it. Apiento sent me a link to the “Even Steven” video and I was hooked. I played it to Leo Mas and he loves it. That’s grand! Thanks. “Don’t expect people to get it” is what Jesse said as we were recording.

There seems to be a concept behind Blludd Relations, is there? What`s the green about?Jesse is much better at defining the Blludd manifesto, but essentially no, there’s no real concept. It’s more that we both approach music from the edge, but not too far from the centre. We both love worldy pop, and to strike a chord with feeling.

The green comes from Even Steven, this half-cut sleazeball character with a green face we dreamt up. Since Jesse played Steven in the video, I had to do a cameo, and having a blue face made it less embarrassing.

How did you meet Jesse?Through a friend, Selom.

How does the collaboration work?Jesse plays some boozy, bendy keys until we’re both laughing or frowning then we record and chop til it’s got some shape. Then either one will come with a vocal idea and I’ll spend more time shaping, we’ll overdub more sounds, guitars, piano, guest solos and then final gloss.

There are echoes of Prince, Arthur Russell, particularly on “Cold Like The Baron”, and `80s Pop, crossed with highlife. To me it sounds very much like when Post-Punk artists started owning up to liking more than Sex Pistols and Ramones singles. You`ve called a track “Devoesk”. Is this musical period an influence on the project? What did you set out to make?I got into Devo through Jesse. “Devoesk” is by his group Elmore Judd. I did a version using lyrics made up of Devo song titles off Discogs, without even hearing half the songs. Silly stuff really.

Which production / release / remix would you most like to have done?Cocteau Twins` “Heaven Or Las Vegas” LP. The combination of it all, perfectly done I think.

What are your favourite places to play / hang out in?I don’t DJ all that much really, but I had a great time playing at a battered old hanger in Gdansk once. The promoter got horribly pissed, kept fiddling the EQs on everyone’s set then fell off the stage on his face.

Have you played any live gigs? Any plans to do so?You mean as Blludd Relations? No. And on my part, certainly not.

What is your favourite place outside of a bar / club / record shop?Portobello Road.

Do you see yourself as part of any scene?No

Who does the label`s artwork?Otis Marchbank, mainly.

Test Pressing, 20 Questions, Interview, Dr Rob, Bullion, Nathan Jenkins, Blludd Relations, DEEK,

How did you meet Otis?Through Jesse. He was in the middle of shouting into the microphone at NTS radio for their Pipe Down show and I walked in all sheepish and sat quietly in the corner.

Who is your favourite visual artist?Robert Crumb

What do you like about Crumb`s work?The snarl of the whole thing. He’s so irritated and offended by the world. I find it quite self indulgent, in a good way. Anyone who’s offended by it is assuming he makes it for them, I reckon he makes it for himself. There’s one softer strip called “Walking The Streets”, it’s just him and his brother walking round their local neighbourhood at night, it’s very sweet and about nothing very much.

Test Pressing, 20 Questions, Interview, Dr Rob, Bullion, Nathan Jenkins, Blludd Relations, DEEK, Robert Crumb

Test Pressing, 20 Questions, Interview, Dr Rob, Bullion, Nathan Jenkins, Blludd Relations, DEEK, Robert Crumb

Who are you currently working with?Nautic (Laura Groves Tic and me), Jesse Hackett, but mostly on my own, finishing my album.

Will the album be out on DEEK? Are you still working with R&S, One-Handed or Young Turks?Hopefully. We’ll see. Nothing lined up with anyone else at the moment. DEEK is my priority.

Who would you most like to work with?Mica Levi

What do you like about Mica? Her voice and style. She has no interest in the reaction to her music as far as I can tell. That’s quite rare.

Does playing and making music pay the rent?It does since I moved back home..

What sites, if any, do you regularly check on-line?iPlayer and Discogs.

What was the last book you read?Just making a slow start on “Immortality” by Milan Kundera.

What is your favourite book?I haven’t finished many, I’m a bad reader. Jah Wobble’s autobiography is one I’d reread.

Any chance of a collaboration with Mr Wobble?Not sure he’d like me, middle class chap living with his Mum and Dad in Acton. Me that is!

What was the last film you saw?A film called “Lift” recommended by Lukid.

What is your favourite film?The Burbs.

What is your favourite piece of music? If that`s too difficult, what`s your current favourite piece of music?Sandy Denny & The Strawbs` “Stay Awhile” has been my favourite for a few years.

Can you name 3 records for sunset / sunrise?

John Martyn / Small Hours

Ennio Morricone / Malena (OST theme)

Guru Guru / Wunder

Can you name 3 records to start a party?

Devo / Working In A Coalmine

Malcolm Galaxy / Fever

Little Eva / The Loco-Motion

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