This year has already seen a great deal of excellent LP’s released. Highlights include “Full Circle” by J Majik on Infrared, “Bobby” by Lenzman and Agzilla’s “Cats Can Hear Ultrasound”, both on Metalheadz. When you look at this list you realise just how diverse the current scene is, “We’re All Disturbed” by Response and Pliskin further confirms this.
The LP sounds like nothing I’ve heard before. Seven tracks in total with the shortest at around 8 minutes and the longest clocking in just shy of 13 minutes, four-fours are front and centre and it tackles subjects like social injustice and knife crime.
We caught up with the Mancunian brothers, Response & Pliskin to find out more.
Before we get into individual tracks and themes, what’s the concept behind the album and how did you approach making it?
Pliskin – Initially, there wasn’t a concept in mind however over a period of 2-3 months when the tracks were being produced one developed, that concept being social injustice and unfair treatment of the common man! We had just made “Tangled Web/Plastic Face” so the tracks on the album followed on from these two and given that they are very long tracks it just seemed like the right progression to create more with a similar feel. Deadman’s Chest was totally into them and could also see a similar concept developing so it was a fluid process.
Fair play to Alex he has shown some balls in putting out this album as other labels would of just shit their pants and run for the hills saying “it’s weird”, “it’s too long” and “it doesn’t tick the generic boxes”. Well, fuck that, dance music to us is about having an open mind and not going round in circles which unfortunately most knob heads in dance music do…
It’s certainly doesn’t tick the generic boxes, which why it stands out from a lot of other stuff around at the moment! It avoids the typical drum and bass cliches, no big amen tracks or hands in the air moments for example. It fits right in with the Western Lore sound without being a carbon copy of previous releases. There is a certain grit the label has that I love… How would you describe your sound and how did this develop?
Response – Let’s have it right we ain’t reinventing the wheel, its all been done before and probably to a better standard… I guess the arrangements stand out, maybe it is a skill to make a 12-minute tune interesting but that’s decided by the ears that are listening to it. I ain’t gonna describe my sound as you end up sounding like an arsehole. Honestly, I sit in a room for a bit and stuff comes out. I have done this for many years and will continue to do so as its fun and passes time positively before I die. The less thought that is involved in making music is better for me. The arty term is surrealist automatism, creation without a thought. But, I do understand in relation to making music that doing that in its true essence is impossible.
The techno and ambient influences really stand out to me that was integral to the creation of the rave scene but are often overlooked for the more amen-fueled days of the golden-era. A lot of labels would shy away from putting anything out with a four-four whereas in a lot of your productions it’s the driving force. I’ve mentioned 1992 in the past when describing the LP sampler, with classics like the remix of Nasty Habits “Mayday Mayday” springing to mind for comparison. What influenced the sound of the LP? Any stand out tracks from the past?
Pliskin – There are many musical influences that we could draw from including heavy metal, rock, house, jungle, techno, rap, dub, ambient stuff, film scores etc. We basically like every type of music which is again about having a diverse ear, I mean I don’t know much about folk music but if I was to listen to shed loads of it I know there would be stuff in that particular genre I would like. People who only listen to one type of music to me are absolute morons and all they are doing is narrowing their minds where surely minds need to be expanded, you can’t do that by just listening to one type of music. Many people into drum and bass claim to be open-minded but when you dig a bit deeper and scratch the surface you realise that if it hasn’t got the garbage generic rave stabs or overused reggae vocals and crap rewind samples then they tend to shy away and continue to go round in circles, which I guess comforts people. Using the 4×4 drum just added different energy and it suited the tracks for this album however it will be something different in the future I’m sure! We wouldn’t want to get pigeon-holed like a pair of dicks.
Alex has really created something unique with Western Lore, similar to Next Phase out of Holland the effort put into the presentation and sound quality is something else. How did you guys hook up and can you expand on this “fluid process” of how the project came together?
Pliskin – Western Lore is definitely the correct label for this album Alex has done a fantastic job in building the label. He provides what we want as fans, proper artwork, heavyweight vinyl, tapes, stickers etc and decent forward-thinking music. I do not understand labels who put out records in just a plain sleeve on flimsy vinyl.
It’s not the fucking 90s anymore where labels were pressing 10,000 records, so, if you are going to put out records today do it properly and give the record buyers a solid product.
We initially met Alex at an Ingredients Records club night in Manchester, Response and Eveson were playing at the event as Clive the label owner was putting out tracks by both music makers at the time. Alex was supposed to stay at a hotel after the gig and then make a tune with Response the next day, that didn’t happen. What did happen was we all piled back to my flat and got plastered on booze and drugs for a couple of days listening to music and having a laugh, it was an enjoyable session.
Alex came across as a very genuine person who was amusing and knowledgeable regarding music and life and he didn’t shy away from getting his hand in his pocket. We sent him a few tunes and he got back to us about a year later saying he liked them, he had just started Western Lore and was keen for us to do something for his label so that’s when he took “Tangled Web” and, in my opinion, the not so amazing “Plastic Face”, although it’s a decent track it’s not as good as “Tangled Web”. The process for the album was a fluid one due to Alex sharing the same desire as we had for the tracks that were being created and the fact that he is a Space Lion who doesn’t take himself ultra seriously, simple as that really.
On to “We’re All Disturbed”, the opening track “Stabland” confronts two of the biggest issues the UK is currently facing, knife crime and gang culture. Elsewhere on the LP vocal samples are used to great effect to question the role of news media and the control they have over our thoughts and opinions. What made you decide to address these topics and where did you dig out the samples from?
Pliskin – Addressing and highlighting such topics should be a responsibility of everyone, unfortunately, the majority of people choose to bury their heads in the sand and pretend it’s not happening. We have always gravitated towards music that questions society and all the horror that the human race creates. Many of the samples were taken from Heavy Metal and Rock musicians who rightly speak out and question dickhead politicians, twisted businessmen, pathetic royal family fox hunters and the bullshit media machine which is designed to sway opinion through spin…
It’s refreshing to hear drum and bass, which was once the music of youth, dealing with these issues. It gives the LP additional meaning and purpose plus helps with the narrative of a nine-minute plus track. You said you didn’t want to describe your sound but can you give us an idea of what you want the LP to stand for or achieve?
Pliskin – It doesn’t take a genius to realise that very few people have the opportunity or motivation to change society, but everyone has the chance to change their own mind and if enough people set out to do this society will change.
This is what the album stands for… so stop starring at screens, wake up fucking robot human being pissing about on social media taking pictures of yourself, fucking embarrassing state of affairs…
You have very clear views on the dance music world, what’s your take on the current drum and bass scene?
Pliskin – What do I think of the current drum and bass scene? Erm, well I’m not a scene man so I wouldn’t know but I am aware of the structure of a scene and it basically involves a load of people just licking each others arse to get ahead and then slagging each other off behind closed doors. A scene is a scene I guess.
Musically, in my opinion, today’s dance music cannot on any level compete with the past, simply because it’s not new anymore, it’s lost the true edge. And the fact that it has been bent over, rinsed out and shafted by commercially minded twats…
Just go back to the 90s, do your fucking research and don’t get too submerged in current dance music as it ain’t that good mate…
Finally, are there any particular tracks from your back catalogue that you would recommend for listeners who are only just discovering your music?
Pliskin – I would recommend “Spinster” on Skeleton Records, “Tangled Web” on Western Lore, “Light Years” on Function, “Hard Times” on Ingredients, “Stolen Keys” on Rupture, “The Chisel” on Fresh 86… And “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood…
Thank you guys for the insight to the LP and cheers for the chat…
“We’re All Disturbed” is available now on digital and 3 x heavyweight (180g) black vinyl, shrink-wrapped & housed in a full art gatefold sleeve.
Direct purchases from Bandcamp come bundled with a two hour digital mixtape containing tracks from the album and forthcoming music on Fresh 86 and Northern Front by Response and Pliskin.
Buy: Western Lore