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To shape the future - Scape One interview


For a long time now you’ve been amongst the most consistent and prolific UK Electro producers. How do you feel about the current world scene?

The good thing about Electro is that there are so many styles, there’s something for everyone besides the electroheads. Breakbeat DJ’s can play Electrobass, Techno DJ’s can play Electrix and Satamile releases, there’s also more synth based records like Lowfish, Legowelt and Steril, and there’s the more experimental edge, with artists like Phoenicia, Bitstream and Ben Milstien.

I think the music industry at the moment is going through a similar change to the early 80’s. We had just had the 70’s and that was funky, acoustic, brown, dull…Then we were in the 1980’s! it was meant to be futuristic, exciting, blue, neon and above all Electronic! Now we are 2000’s+ and beyond, there seems to be a similar revolution in the music industry.

Electro has definitely become more rounded and diverse. Where do you see yourself fitting into this revolution that’s taking place?

When I start to write a track I deliberately write something that is not similar to another track that I have done recently. This I find more exciting, it’s all about moods. One day I will write a track at 147 bpm with loads of anger and energy, the next day I would write something at 112 bpm and be feeling completely chilled out.

Most musical styles are constrained by their tempos, production and arrangements. Electro is not, it can be fast, slow, minimal, hard, inside-out, etc.

Do you have particular sounds, samples and equipment that you call on to create particular moods?

Yes, various simple machines. I’ve had my 808 since 1985 and I still use it to this day. I like to layer various sounds on top of each other and I try not to use the same sounds too often, this is what I call biot-screening. I prefer to use an MPC for sequencing submolecular beat perforations, I rarely use a computer as this reduces the ability of my phased cycle biorhythms.

“If you are attracted to the sound of electronic music then the chances are that you will be attracted to science fiction.” 

The imagery and language of science fiction seems to play an ever stronger role in the Electro world. Why do you think it’s so important?

Electro music is about Man + Machine = Audio Frequencies!

When electro began in the 70’s humans were surrounded for the first time in technology, the first computers, synthesisers and video recorders were starting to creep into everyday lives. Never before had anything like it happened in human history. Also you had Star Wars, which made a huge impact on modern culture that is still increasing today.

When the artificial frequencies that are created by synthesisers are picked up by the human brain, the message reads: oohhh! futuristic, synthetic, artificial, the future, androids, spaceships. If you are attracted to the sound of electronic music then the chances are that you will be attracted to science fiction. So when the pioneers of electro started writing music it was the obvious choice to start writing about robots, planets and magnetic fields and it is the element that has become the most popular form of electro.

“Only particular aspects of electro explore science fiction, there are plenty of producers who utilize alternate sources as inspiration.”

Do you feel that science fiction is a limitless source of inspiration or do producers need to start to look further a field?

For myself, science fiction is an infinite foundation for insight, it contains all the subjects I find really fascinating, for instance time travel, future technology, space exploration, androids, etc. But I am also inspired by idea’s about human emotion, what music means to an individual and how it stimulates us.

Only particular aspects of electro explore science fiction, there are plenty of producers who utilize alternate sources as inspiration.

Which sci fi books, films and soundtracks have had the most influence on you as a musician?

For books, anything by Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Ben Bova, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Philip Jose Farmer, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Carl Sagan, Michael Crichton and not surprisingly Philip K. Dick. I often get inspired to write a track when reading, it can be quite distracting.

The list of films is also endless, but here are some of my faves, Capricorn 1, 2001, Contact, Forbidden Planet, Pitch Black, Jurassic Park, Alien, Minority Report, Star Wars, Fifth Element, Solaris, Wavelength, Bicentennial Man, Final Fantasy, Gataca, A.i, Saturn 3, The Black Hole, Terminator, The Matrix, Red Planet, Mission to Mars, Tron, Toy Story, Starship Troopers, Vanilla Sky, Barbarella, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Total Recall and needless to say Blade Runner. I also like classic Sci-fi movies like Rocketship X-M and First Spaceship on Venus, they contain some of the best dialogue ever. I’m a big fan of Ridley Scott, David Fincher, Peter Hyams, Kurt Neumann.

As for soundtracks it has to be the work of Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Jerry Goldsmith, John Carpenter, John Barry, Alan Silvestri, Brad Fiedel and Eliot Goldenthal.

Some of your tracks sound very dance floor orientated, is this a conscious decision?

I design my music for each label accordingly, so for Electrix the music is more dance floor orientated because that is the style of the label. The idea for Electrix is to get Electro out of the back rooms and into the main where it belongs. It’s good to know that techno & breakbeat DJs are playing electro as this will bring the music to a wider audience.

Although I don’t always write for the dance floor as this can restrict me as an artist and a lot of electronic music is for relaxation.

Do you find that using more than one pseudonym gives you more flexibility as an artist and what other areas of music would you like to work in (I think you’d make a great soundtrack)?

Using more than one alias is definitely useful for additional expression, especially for what I want to do, I have so many ideas but they do conflict with each other. For my Retrofit project I aim to revisit the past and reclaim the future, it’s kind of like an experiment with funk and electronics, a kind of ‘what if’ approach to music making, like what if James Brown had used an 808? or what if the Human League had collaborated with Bootsy Collins? What if The Egyptian Lover is actually Anthony Rother’s dad?

I would love to compose a soundtrack, I often write weird electronic scores, which sadly is something that is lacking in a lot of movies today, while TV documentaries’ sometimes have excellent music.

“More proper electro DJ’s are needed to represent the music as this would make the scene grow as with other genres of dance music.”

 More and more electro acts seem to be doing live shows. Why do you think the live sound is so popular in electro?

I think this is down to a lot of artists being more producers than they are DJs and due to the fact that the technology has got a lot smaller in the last few years.

More proper electro DJ’s are needed to represent the music as this would make the scene grow as with other genres of dance music.

The problem for the industry is that electro needs more DJ’s that are well known for playing electro because these people will become role models for the younger generation who will go out and buy the records to become electro DJs themselves. At the moment they see electro acts performing live and this is more likely going to inspire them to go and buy some equipment rather than records - one big promotion for Roland, Akai, Yamaha and Korg!

Has the live act become cheap and is the laptop replacing the turntable?

Why do you think there are many more electro producers than DJ’s?

It’s probably due to the creative nature of electro artists. Electro has always been part of an elite underground rather than mainstream club culture.

Who do you think is representing the music well at the moment?

There are thousands of talented artists throughout the world representing the various forms of electro at the moment. Volsoc, Radioactive Man, Cari Lekebusch, Carl Finlow, Simulant, Advent, Bass Junkie, Perspects, Freakazoids, Bitstream, A1 People, Ectomorph, Dexorcist, Steril, Lory D, Bolz Bolz, Transparent Sound, Mass 2008, Legowelt, Dexter, Luke Eargoggle, Lowfish, Solvent, Dopplereffekt, Orgue Electronique, Mr.Velcro, Dynamix II, Exzakt, Rother etc. etc. and there are loads more new exciting artists just about to spring up like Freezie Freakie from New York, Dark Vector from Spain, Xerodefx from Miami and Bionix from the UK. What about DJs? At the moment I would say Andy Weatherall, Rob Euroh, Wreck, ADJ, Keith Tenniswood, Exzakt, Billy Nasty, Dexorcist and Bass Junkie.

Are you planning to do live performances in the future and if so what form do you think they will take?

I have written some data for an animate performance that is very ocular and would include a profusion of retrofit technology, a high frequency data influx, a sub bass time vortex and a biot-engineered humanoid, this is still only in the design stage at the moment but it would make for an amazing visual and audio experience. This programme would be controlled from the command module using biot-screening technology to generate a reaction otherwise know as submolecularnanotechrhythmicprinciples.

Considering that the programme would be controlled from the command module, is the presence of the biot-engineered humanoid really needed?

Yes, this would be an irrational oversight as it would cause a feed-back loop in the audio-sensory activity units and would conflict with the development of Neural Implantation.

“With these implants, humans prepared to experience Neural Grafting can enhance many aspects of their audio sensors and physical being, from heightened senses to faster bpm reaction times.”

If you had the chance to use a time machine later today, would you do so?

Yes, I’d like to go back to New York in 1981 when Kraftwerk were mixing down Computer World with Francois Kevorkian at the aptly named Power Station studios. During the time they were in New York Kevorkian took them to clubs like the Loft and The Roxy where they observed DJ’s spinning looped bootleg versions of ‘Metal On Metal’ from ‘Trans-Europe Express’! This was prior to the release of ‘Planet Rock’ - so for me it would be a very significant time in history to visit. The godfathers of electro actually witnessing the birth of electro-funk! (See Pascal Bussy’s book Kraftwerk: Man, Machine & Music)

What can we expect from Kurt Baggaley over 2003?

To begin with I will have a mini LP out on SCSI-AV called ‘Submolecularnanotechrhythmicprinciples’ which uses electricity and videotherapy to combat the side-effects of the butterfly effect. Then the second instalment for Templedog entitled ‘Interface II : Biot-Engineering’ which unlocks the last secrets of human audio genetics. Neural Grafting exemplified crude and invasive techniques, the more refined biot-engineering method arranges a desired genetic audio code directly from the component compounds.

Also, get ready to take Journeys 3 & 4 on the ‘Planet Funk Express’, this time I will be visiting Tokyo, Brooklyn, Toronto, Charlotte, Dublin, Barcelona, Brighton and Atlantis.

I have a remix of ‘Is Anybody Listening’ for The Tomorrow People and a new Scape One EP called ‘Not Human’ both for Tomorrow Records. I have also just finished a new Scape One ep called ‘The Section of One’ and a remix of Transparent Sound’s ‘Eye of The Beholder’ using my translucent 808 pulse generator, both for the re-launch of the TS label.

I also have a Scape One CD release coming out on Foundation Research called ‘Hardwired’. A remix of Freezie Freekie for Satamile and a remix of Dark Vector’s ‘Los Amigos De Lo Ajeno’. I have the track ‘Digits’ coming out on a Hydrogen Dukebox compilation and another track called ‘Spaceless’ coming out on another compilation for new Spanish label Donali.

Lastly I have just finished a 8-track e.p. for Kone Records in Switzerland which is due out this summer.

The future…it will never be the same.

Scape One at Discogs 


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