Undersound: A Global Transmission
Undersound has delivered something, well it’s literally On A Global Scale. A large array of ideas and depth of scope, delivered from his Welsh base… we found out more.
When did you start writing this lovely batch, what’s been your path?
After my previous EP ’17 Pantomimes’ for Violation Records, which was a lot heavier than my usual sound, I really wanted to put my head down and return to my usual, deeper liquid sound.
I generally work on tracks individually but this time I rotated between the four tracks to really connect the tracks as a whole project, or a bigger picture if you like. So to answer your question directly I think I started it around the end of the summer.
Seems driven by samples here in key parts: did the samples/sounds lend themselves to tunes? That then followed or did they come later?
I didn’t use as many samples as you might think. ‘Tuve que cantar’ and ‘Hopes and Dreams’ are both sample based tunes but ‘The Cover Up’ only has a bit of dialogue before the drop and I don’t think ‘Global Scale’ has any samples at all, just lots of real instruments and synthesised instruments.
But I do like tricking the listener into thinking I’ve used more samples than I actually have.
Does your background as a performing musician help out when you produce?
Yes it definitely enables me to intertwine lots of real instruments alongside samples and synths to enhance the mix and keep it feeling nice and organic.
‘Hopes and Dreams’… that sounds ace and have you heard it loud, through a system? Would be ace at a Hospitality night methinks.
I have heard an early mix of it through a system when a local DJ mate of mine called ‘Screwy’ played it out at Cardiff’s Concrete Jungalists night, which is run by which is run by Cardiff D&B and streetwear entrepreneur Dave Shaw. But I’e yet to hear the masters played out on a club system.
On topic: what’s a hope/dream you’d like to achieve, even if it’s very simple?
Being recently married I am looking forward to fatherhood but I think that’s a little way off yet.
Musically I really want to write a score for a film one day. It’s looking like that dream might become a reality as I have had a few discussions with a really talented film maker friend of mine called Jody Cusack about a screen play he’s been working on.
So watch this space.
Where’s the ep title come from?
Well it’s from the title track, which both the label and me felt was the obvious choice for title track. I was in two minds about it as a title though, because I didn’t want to seem arrogant by suggesting that I’m on a global scale. It’s more about the fact that we are bombarded with news, both good and bad, that affects us and our surroundings world-wide on a daily basis.
Everything seems to be on a global scale these days, if that makes sense. And that’s neither a dig nor praise, just an observation; as you know I don’t like to express opinions too politically through my music.
I just like to observe and express how I see things, not right or wrong. Deep!
And the tune?
So the track was Tobes’ – label boss – favourite track on the EP. So much so he requested that I put another track with Bella on there, but I felt it would tip the balance of the EP as the four tracks were written to all compliment each other. So it’s the only track with absolutely no samples… I think.
After having a track with a Spanish name I also wanted to have a track with a Spanish sound to it, which is why I layered lots of nylon guitar noodling over it.
I wrote the track and vocal specifically with Bella in mind as I knew her voice was perfect for the track and she’d nail it! Lyrically it’s an observation about things political and environmental that are affecting us as a whole world.
It asks the question; could we deal with the outcome if we keep ignoring warnings and would we then finally pull ourselves together and be able to survive in a possible post apocalyptic type world and re build.
Who’s inspiring you in D&B right now… what’s something that floors you?
I’ve recently been going out to a few more local D&B nights than I have in previous years. I watched Makoto play a wicked set in a small intimate venue in Cardiff on a Thursday night, the tunes he was playing were just brilliant.
Really inspirational, super edgy for the dance floor yet keeping that Makoto uplifting vibe, which the crowd lapped up. It was great to see.
I’d sent him my ep earlier that day as well and to my surprise he’d managed to listen to it by the evening and “really liked track two”… which is ‘On A Global Scale’.
Also, our local buddy High Contrast played the same night a couple of weeks after and the place was absolutely rammed. He played a 100% jungle set which was cool. That same night local DJ Kooley played a killer warm up set!
His ‘Bullion’ nights which have been going now for maybe a year or so have very quickly became legendary and he’s the reason why I got back behind the decks.
I didn’t have much choice in that, ha ha, he told me straight “I’m bringing Undersound back into the DJ booth”.
Other local DJs Jack Boston and Screwy are on it at the moment too! So in conclusion, more inspiration from the dancefloor rather than producers, but it’s cool either way.
Besides, I often like to find inspiration where its not most obvious on a day to day basis.
If you could do a video for a tune here which one and why? And if you had UNLIMITED BUDGET what would the video be like? Even if ‘one white room and a chair’ hey that’s cool too.
Off this EP I’d probably go for ‘The Cover Up’ as the intros and breakdowns are dark and orchestral and would lend themselves to a dark horror/thriller vibe.
So would definitely go for a weird horror, maybe even sci fi thing. Ha ha, who knows? Dark sci fi Romance thriller……? Too much? Ha!
Tell us about artwork?
As you know, being a hobby photographer I usually like to get involved with my art ork by providing the background image, but Vibration have a Suffolk based artist called Liam Hennessy who does all their art in a very unique way. The covers are all just art and no words, which at first I wasn’t sure about but once label boss Tobes explained it to me with his enthusiasm I was sold.
It really gives the Vibration releases a look that’s unique to them.
More about the label? Tell us about it?
Vibration is a homegrown UK based label. I’ve been releasing music with them for a few years now and am always well looked after and the releases are always pushed hard by label boss Tobes.
They also host a show on Bassdrive twice a week, one on a Thursday 5-6pm GMT and one at 4pm every Friday. Check them out online
And their site.
As always my wife Ceris for everything, Tobes at Vibration for all the support, Bella for the vocal acrobatics, Dfunk from Bassdrive for his continued support, Gareth ‘Kooley’ Winters for bullying me into DJ ing again. Jack Boston, who I am proud to have worked on collaboration with which will be on his forthcoming EP on ‘Breaks’ Symmetry recordings.
Dan at NexGen music, Oliver and Luv Disaster crew over in Brazil, Dave Shaw, Iwan ‘Screwy’ Graff, Andy Sim at Think deep recordings over in Sydney and Gareth ‘Warmachine’ Hester at Violation Music.