Wednesday, 12 January 2011
INTERVIEW: Randomer [Super]
Randomer’s music bangs; and it’s a testament to his artist name and personality that his music can bang in such different measures. His early work on Hospital Records offshoot Med School trod a darker more rolling jungle sound set (hence the release on a d&b affiliated label) but his newer stuff – including collaborations with Fife and Adverse – seems to be on more of an energetic house tempoed carnival kind of tip. His recent work on Soul Jazz and Brighton label Tru Thoughts has been of the highest quality, those glossy, high energy, full clip kind of tracks that unleash themselves across any dancefloor. Catching our attention from the off, they’re measured to perfection, with thick stabbing FM bass and at times (‘Zabu’ put out on Tru Thoughts is a case in point) the melodic emphasis is simply stunning.
With a release out on Raffertie’s Super imprint this week, a release that features a couple of collaborations and remixes from HomePark and Greymatter (previews of which are embedded below), we figured it high time that our geographical bedfellow Randomer took the reigns of our mix series, so we set him the task of curating our first mix of 2011. Now we get to bask in the results...
SR: Can you provide those who may not know you with a bit of background info?
Randomer: My real name is Rohan and I’m from north London. My first release was in 2008 on Medschool and since then I’ve had music put out by a variety of labels such as Hospital, Soul Jazz, and Tru Thoughts.
Outside of music who are you? What do you do on the daily?
There isn’t really any outside of music to me. I decided to concentrate on music production full-time about a year ago and have been lucky enough to get by so far, with short spells of teaching music to help me along. I spend most days from waking to sleep working on writing music or discussing it with my flatmates who also write.
How did you first get into making music? What was it that infected you to do so?
I’ve been making my own music in one way or another since I first picked up the guitar aged 12, and started making electronic music at the age of 15 on Cubase and Fruity Loops. I couldn’t honestly say what made me write music, I’ve just always been more interested in making my own than learning other peoples. I think it was my first proper experiences of rave culture (both chemically and physically) in my late teens that made me so passionate about writing electronic dance music.
What’s your production set up like?
I use Ableton Live on a PC which I recently switched to from Cubase - the workflow in Ableton is amazing, it really suits the intuitive way I go about writing music. I have Mackie HR824 monitors and a large midi keyboard also. Occasionally I play live bass or guitar on my tracks and I’ve been saving up for a decent microphone to record more live sounds.
How would you describe your sound?
My sound is pretty random. I mean at the time of thinking of the name ‘Randomer’ I have no idea what came through my head, but I’ve stuck with it because it seems to suit my music. I write in a really intuitive way, usually depending on how I’m feeling on the day and what is inspiring me then will dictate the music that I come up with.
My music from one track to the next can be pretty bi-polar. I think the two most prevalent things that determine how I sound, are a kind of quirky, tongue in cheek energy and a deep, dark and sometimes aggressive vibe. It’s those parts of my personality that compete with each other to come alive in my music.
SPR003 : Randomer & Adverse – Alizé
I remember getting a zip of the tunes you did with Fife (that ended up on the Soul Jazz 12”) and it was a departure from that Med School tip – only one of the files worked and I was gutted not to get both haha – it was such a pleasant surprise to hear something on much more of a soca tip. Do you listen to a lot of that type of music?
I listen to all kinds of stuff from all around the world, old and new. Discovering other sorts of music is another thing that makes it all worthwhile. Whether I was listening to soca or not at the time I don’t remember, but what I do know is that there was a lot of sun in 2010 in London and that seemed to have quite an effect on what I was writing at the time.
As my discography is a little disjointed it can be sometimes be hard to work out how the Medschool and Soul Jazz stuff fits together, but they’re all basically part of this two-sided thing that I elaborated on in the last question. This may have hindered me commercially a little as it can be hard for first listeners to pinpoint where I stand, but it also has the advantage of giving me distinctiveness. And excuses the fact that I called myself ‘Randomer’...
You share an affinity to the kind of impact that Untold unleashed with his eski sounding Stop What You’re Doing era work. What are the really important elements to your music? i.e. Bass, melody etc and why?
Jack is constantly pushing the boat with his production and everything he comes out with I find inspires me, so I’m glad that my work comes across with an affinity to his.
I love percussion. Sometimes simple stomping rhythms do it for me, but I also like complex cross-rhythms and syncopation. Melodically, I have perhaps gone too far in writing overly complex melodies in the past, due to my background in jazz improvisation, so I’ve recently been simplifying things to give some more coherence. It’s a balancing act.
Your beats have been picked up by the DJ elite, from Ben UFO beyond, do you feel comfortable making music for dancefloors?
I enjoy the limitation of writing music that has to be mixed by DJs. It means you have the challenge of being as creative as possible within a fairly rigid structure. I don’t want to repeat what has been written thousands of times, but you can’t put across in words how great the collective experience of a properly tuned soundsystem with a good crowd and skilled selector is.
What is an inspiration for you?
Other people’s music. Although I did hear this street cleaning machine while walking down Wood Green high street the other day that made the sickest sound. And there is this broken fridge in the Tesco express in Hornsey that makes the DARKEST synth noise.
I read that you consider yourself something of a synth geek? What is it about them that you can loose hours in/on do you think?
I’m a music geek. Synth is part of it. I really enjoy making weird sounds from scratch, its proper satisfying when you spend hours warping a sound until you create something that you’ve never heard before. But it probably ends up being so weird that you could never use it in a tune.
Are there any producers you rate that the world should know about?
Blawan has some fire coming this year. He’s got ridiculous skills. Also I hear something about there being a militant gabba collective called Hornsey Terror Corps that will be making waves.
You’ve just put out a 12” on Raffertie’s Super imprint. Can you tell us a bit about that and shed some light on what people can expect from you in 2011...
The release on Super is a pretty quirky collection of dancefloor tracks that I wrote during some sunny and probably hungover days. ‘Alizé’ has a bit of a vintage 2-step feel with cut up vocals and some bouncy synths and ‘Five’ is a bass heavy stomper with some marching band stuff going on.
In 2011: I have a collaboration I did with Foamo last year which is coming out in late Jan / early Feb on Fat!. Remixes in February for Marla and the Nightshifters artist Magnum and following that there will be some more stuff with Super, and later in the year I’ve got some tough dark vibes coming out but must remain hushed about which labels as it is still a bit secret.
Tell us a little bit about the mix you’ve put together for us…
The mix I’ve done represents where I am at musically at the moment. It’s a mixture of UK bass music, house and techno, a bit of a musical journey. One tune I had to put in the mix is the opening track.
I found it on my laptop desktop and had thought Joe had left it on there but he denies this, and there’s this strange vibe to the track – the whole thing is a bit mysterious.
I have included some exclusives which are so fresh that I have to keep the artist names secret for now, I’m sure you will found out what they are and who wrote them in the next few months.
Any words of wisdom, for our readers?
Work hard, play hard, take the piss.
DOWNLOAD: Randomer – Sonic Router Mix #64
Jason Havelock - The Fusion
Olantunji - Jin-Go-Lo-Ba
Cristian Vogel - Bopx Bocx Variant 1
Batida - Puxa (Randomer Re-edit)
Green Velvet - Pursuit
Gregor Salto - Just for Fun
Manare - Voodoo
Talk - Holy Mountain
Apster Firebeatz - Cencerro
Dj Gregory & Gregor Salto - Vem Rebola (Instrumental)
A Made up Sound - Rear Window (Shattered)
? - Lavender
? - Lost Everything
Blawan - Bohla
Randomer - Brunk
? - Obtuse (VIP)