Between your new album, Teamplayers, a remix competition and getting together a live show, you seem to be keeping pretty busy… Definitely, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Does working keep you sane? You’ve hit the nail right on the head there. It’s what keeps me grounded. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in all the fast lifestyle.
You’ve been around for 10 years now. How have you seen the breaks and drum ‘n’ bass scene change? I could do a one-hour interview solely on the change of drum ‘n’ bass scene. The reason we moved into the breaks scene was because drum ‘n’ bass was becoming very “by numbers” in the way it was produced. This had to happen, that had to go there, and if you don’t this guy won’t play it, and if he doesn’t the next guy won’t play it. So you end up following all these guidelines and for us it lost its creative edge. So when we got introduced into the world of Breakbeat in ’99 we were quite excited. We were having a laugh chucking loads of vibes and sounds into our music.
And what road is Teamplayers leading you down now? Musically we have got right into this electro-clash sound, the organised noise of it all, and that is what we were about with bassline sounds.
What about adding more vocals? That’s something we’ve always had a passion for from our days of drum ‘n’ bass. We’ve always worked with vocalists, and Passenger, one of our record labels is always about pushing vocals because no one else is really doing it in breakbeats. More vocal tracks come out of Passenger than any other breakbeat label. By throwing storylines and thoughtful words into the mix, subconsciously that was probably an effort to reach a wider audience and be taken more seriously than the usual new age rave music.
The title Teamplayers is a reference to the amount of collaborators on the record. Tell me about some of the collabs. What about ‘Big Shug’? Well, that was originally recorded in ’97 so that is a completely re-written piece of work. The original version has the Scratch Perverts on it. Coincidently, that was the first Scratch Perverts song, they formed the day we recorded that track.
And what about the Kool Keith track? I’ve heard he can be a bit hard. That was a mad one. That one was a trans-Atlantic hook up. We weren’t fortunate enough to be in the studio with him. Our friends in LA had him in the studio. They just hung out and did stuff together and we were lucky enough to be part of all that.
So after 10 years does it feel cathartic to release an album full of all your contemporaries like Meat Katie, Freq Nasty and the Drummatic Twins – or am I just being a wanker? No, far from it. During the time we were recording it, it was a very humbling experience to have all these people wanting to work with us. Over the years a lot of people have wanted to work with us and we haven’t opened our studio doors and when we did we had all these fantastic people wishing to work with us, and it made us very proud. The proudest moment was when we did the photo shoot and all those guys turned up from all over London on their own free will. And that is a mean feat, to get artists, DJs and producers who aren’t the best time keepers, ourselves included, to turn up at the one time. That was probably my proudest moment in 10 years.
Yeah, that’s quite a compliment. Oh it certainly is, and I will always be in debt to every one of those people.
Aquasky’s Teamplayers is out now on Passenger through Inertia.