Nucleus & Paradox Break Out
‘The real time vibe is paramount and that’s how intricate flicks and tricks materialize… ‘
The world of Nucleus and Paradox is the world of b-boy culture, breakbeats, science and pure mystery… and after reading this you may add certain phenomena such as ‘breaks that breathe’, crusty breaks and Russian record stores to the alchemy as well. It’s basically an ethos drenched in some of the best history imaginable yet is breathtakingly forward-thinking… a perfect snapshot being’Blade 9′ and ‘Break North’, due out on Headz. So we went in, in depth.
Nucleus & Paradox: I feel you are always at work and never stop! is that the case?
N&P: Yes to an extent. We’re always sourcing sample material as that’s one of the time consuming aspects when writing our tracks.
We recently re-launched our vinyl label Esoteric Music too so we’re busy scheduling for 2016 already. At the end of the day we still pride ourselves on making b-boy bedroom music.
This release is SO damn good, it just makes me feel great, so many great sounds and such incredible energy, can you tell us when the two of you started to work together on this?
N&P: We were writing the tracks late last year and once we completed them we had an idea that Metalheadz might dig them so we sent them in and Goldie and Ant signed them.
The schedule at Headz is always pretty hectic so we knew it would be a mid 2015 release so we just put them aside and got on with other studio projects. The design and manufacturing took its fair share of time as this release featured extras including an A2 poster.
And you have worked with Headz before so is this a continuation of sorts?
N&P: This is our third 12″ for Headz and we hope to do more. Metalheadz is like the son of Reinforced which is the label that gave us a platform as Nucleus & Paradox, so when we released our first 12″ for Headz it felt quite natural really.
The whole Reinforced era was magical.
The label really shaped our sound and we look back on our vast titles with immense pride. We found out that Goldie designed our infamous ‘R’ logo after our first N&P release was signed in 1996 so you could say we have come full circle.
How does it work out that you co-create in general… is it an enjoyable process?
N&P: We never do internet collaborations – we can’t work like that.
The real time vibe is paramount and that’s how intricate flicks and tricks materialize. Sitting in the same studio involves flight costs so like I said before we prepare source material beforehand which puts us in a better frame of mind once together in the studio chairs.
Luckily we’ve been putting out vinyl collaborations for over 20 years so we’re used to each other’s train of thought.
Nucleus & Paradox 12″ releases are what we look forward to writing but it isn’t all plain sailing in the studio and we have our arguments. Sometimes mental block stages are frustrating but the benefits of a long-term partnership means we know eventually it will all fit into place.
Can you take us through ‘Blade 9’? Can I get an idea of what the title means too?
N&P: The breaks from ‘Blade 9’ are sampled from early 90’s b-boy hip-hop records and that’s basically what Nucleus & Paradox is about.
When looping the ‘Blade 9’ drums a screeching background noise cuts through, which is where the Blade title idea came from. You mentioned earlier it’s full of energy, well that’s true in the A side.
Usually we do more gradual peaks but it seemed to work with the sharp breaks on this title in particular.
I am personally transported back to a certain era in D&B for this and I was wondering if
you wished to hark back to certain sounds in this?
N&P: We don’t think that the tracks signal a significant era in D&B, however the breaks we used haven’t been used before within the scene and that’s something we pride ourselves on… which brings us to the aspects of breaks in D&B which are quite healthy today.
There was a time when funk breaks played second fiddle to synth leads but the pendulum has swung again in my opinion and Metalheadz is a good example with Mako, Digital & Spirit and others.
We saw one artist on a forum complaining that there are no crusty breaks out there but that’s false – you just need to search for them. Plenty of good drum works out there.
‘Break North’ is amazing: it’s so all-encompassing and all-enveloping. Does the ‘North’ refer to something cold and icy or is it a city reference?
N&P: ‘Break North’ was inspired by a Boogie Down Productions (BDP) album and retains a swing to its drums that might seem two-step but they are the complete opposite. The title was sampled from an Ultramagnetic MCs album that has influenced us both a lot.
‘Break North’ is quite minimal compared to ‘Blade 9’ as we ended up stripping it down to let the backbone of the break breathe.
We were surprised Metalheadz signed it which was refreshing.
Headz aren’t afraid to release b-boy culture.
Back to that transportation question if you could go back to a certain time what would it be?
N&P: We have two: The Metalheadz Blue Note in 1996 was insane production-wise and a weekly haunt for us so it hold a special place.
But if we had to choose It would be 1973 for both of us. The creativity in Funk was incredible. We were both born in 1973 unfortunately so we were robbed.
And do you incorporate the old and new in the studio?
N&P: Our rackmount hardware studios are pretty archaic in comparison to today’s all-in-one boxes but we incorporate both whilst focusing on grit in our productions. Once we’re happy with what we’ve put down and pre-mastered we take to our mastering engineer Emery and that’s where we embrace more modern technology with our analogue stuff.
What’s some tunes on the BEATS front that come to mind that may have inspired these tunes? Ones that may have gone into the inspirational pot at some stage in any sense.
BDP ‘Illegal Business’… break sampled in ‘Break North’.
Ultramagnetic Mcs ‘A Chorus Line’… break sampled in 1st Headz 12, ’12 Bits’.
‘The Wrath of Kane’… D&B from 1988!
‘Rebel Without A Pause’… needs no introduction.
Finally what music do you check on a regular basis, and how do you check?
N&P: We hunt at record fairs, Russian record stores, car boot sales for breaks and samples – basic junkie stuff. We listen to Detroit techno, Soul, Disco, Soundtracks and Rare Groove… the list is endless really.