Five Minutes With: Ulterior Motive

Five Minutes With: Ulterior Motive


After several face-tearing releases on labels such as Subtitles, Critical and Commercial Suicide, Ulterior Motive are once again laying siege to the scene, bringing their unmistakable hard hitting, no nonsense  production to a sound system near you. Following in the footsteps of household names such as Commix, Dilinja and Doc Scott, they have now signed to Goldie’s Metalheadz, with their debut label release of Right Here/Elephant Tune hitting the digital shelves last week. We caught up with Greg to chat about their production philosophies, inspirations and, of course, elephants…

Elephant Tune – care to explain the name?

It basically comes from LX1, the producer/MC. Part of the track is this rising, reecey sound and he thought it sounded a bit like an elephant so we thought, you know what, let’s just call it that. It’s also a bit of a play on some proper old tunes like Flute Tune, Piano Tune etc. so it was either that or Mammoth but Elephant Tune stuck for some reason.

There’s always a story! Is it the first dubstep track you’ve produced?

It’s actually the second one we’ve written, but the first that’s been released. We’ve got another one tucked away which is coming out on J:Kenzo’s label, Artikal. We only sorted that out a week ago but he’s been supporting us for a long time so we’ve got a 12’’ for him later this year.

Moving back towards all things drum n bass, Right Here has been getting a huge amount of support, you must be buzzing at how well it’s been received?

Yeah we’re really, really happy with the response, particularly considering it’s quite a bit different from what we’re known for. I think it’s fair to say that it’s not your normal bread and butter drum & bass tune compared to what’s out there at the moment, a lot of stuff tends to be quite formulaic so we took a big gamble on it.

And a perfect way to announce yourselves at Metalheadz…

Yeah, Goldie was really responsive to it. It was kind of like our way of saying, “this is what we’re doing now, this is our sound”. We’re going to be using a lot more live breaks and concepts from more traditional drum & bass. It’s not to say we’re gonna be writing old stuff but they’ll be no cheesy riffs… we’re just trying to bring back the funk.

There’s a wicked vocal on the track, where did you pick that up from?

It’s all recorded live by a girl called Natalie Gauci who actually won Australian Idol a few years ago! She came in and sang the top line which really helped because a lot of the final vocal pieces purely came from the interaction with the singer, none of it’s sampled.

You put a lot of quality tracks out on TeeBee’s label, Subtitles. Was there any standout reason for choosing to go with Metalheadz?

For us, Metalheadz is a cornerstone of drum & bass. It’s not about writing for the dancefloor, it’s about writing music, experimentation, taking this art form that is drum & bass and making it your own. It’s about drum & bass and that’s what Ulterior Motive is all about. We don’t ever want to sell out thinking that we need to chase YouTube views or because certain DJs will play it. We want to make credible, underground D&B and if it reaches out to a wider audience then that’s wicked. The Metalheadz logo means drum n bass, globally, and as cheesy as it sounds  to be a part of that is something that really means a lot on a personal level.

With this debut project now released, what’s next in line for you guys? An album release?

Yeah that’s still the plan, we’ve started the album but we’re in the ideas stage at the moment. It’s all part of the process – rather than trying to finish tracks we’d rather have 100 ideas down and then say “right, those 15 tracks are going to be our album.” We then finish them to the best of our ability over about six months or so ready to bring it out next year. There’s no two ways about it, it’s definitely happening!

It’s refreshing to see people trying to be different and really take the scene to another level. Are there any artists you look at as having achieved that in the past?

I think D&B-wise we love the old school guys like Photek, TeeBee, Ed Rush, Optical and Kemal. Those guys pretty much single-handedly carved out the sound that inspires us now.

And as far as new artists go, who are you keeping an eye out for at the moment?

Stealth has got some really strong tunes coming through and, although they’re not that new, Blocks and Escher have some wicked tunes lined up. We’re both big fans of Emperor – his ideas are amazing and we’re really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.

Interview: Adam K & Chris D


Right Here / Elephant Tune is out now.
Listen and download. 

Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.