Tuesday, 18 December 2007
Plastician Interview (as featured in ATM Magazine Nov 07)
As I trawl the Internet looking up some background on the UK’s premier grime & dubstep DJ and producer Chris Reed aka Plastician I am directed to a new blog page from his myspace. The Royal Artist Club is a new marketing gimmick from a company called Frukt, “I thought it sounded like a laugh”, muses Chris. I am treated to short video clips of Chris back flipping into a swimming pool in full city gent outfit, introducing the Alchopop monstrosity called the Randomiser and catch a glimpse of the multi-coloured, costumed group of misfits called Wotless. The man behind classic grime tracks Venom and Cha, and a key conduit in crossing grime from car boot mixtapes and the bleak tower blocks of east London to the record collections of electronica and bass addicts through his input on the Rephlex grime compilation in 2004, is both consummate professional and dead-pan scally wag. With his long awaited and much maligned artist album dropping before the years out, Plastician waxes lyrical on the LP set backs, why he’s happy to be back at Rinse, and doing a porn film.
The Radio One gig has come to an end. What’s the next step for you?
I’m back on Rinse. As much as being on Radio One is brilliant, it’s not as fun. Pretty much everything I did on Radio One was pre-recorded, and that interaction with the audience was lost, and that’s a real buzz when you are on the radio. The next step is doing good shows, good gigs and putting more music out.
The album has had it’s fair share of dramas and set backs.
Yeah, there were loads.
You had Problems with artwork, mastering, pressing and barcoding. Then it got leaked.
It’s happened to me so much now that when I see it now I’m like, fuck, what can I do? I don’t think that it’s gonna hurt, there hasn’t been massive topics on internet forums and the quality of it was poor, so whoever ripped it didn’t rip it at a high quality. The people who will buy it (the Album) are not just supporters of the music, but of you as a person.
What’s behind the name of the Album?
Just people talking about “is it Grime, is it dubstep?” For me it’s just a combination of all the music I listen to. Dubstep is really energetic now, but when I started making certain beats on the album dubstep was more atmospheric and about the weight, rather than the beats. It was like listening to a film score, but with bass, in a club. I took the mid-range, melodies and energy of grime and mixed it with the weight and structure of dubstep. My main inspiration to make music is my mood and what is going on at the time in my life. It’s just me trying to make music differently to other people and not trying to fit to that blueprint of the Divinche stab or a Coki wobbler bassline. It’s music that works in both genres but it’s not the same as anyone else’s music.
Do you think a lot of people will be surprised that there aren’t a lot more MC’s on the record?
I think the grime heads will, because they are used to buying mixtapes and it’s back to back MCing. The whole MCing side of grime was not something I’ve fully been into myself. Even in the early days on Rinse FM I never used to play that many vocal tunes. And still now, I only play ones I really like or they have a really good concept. So it was more a representation of what I was into. I did a few tracks with MC’s. Real Things is a straight up grime track, and then you’ve got Intensive Snare, which is almost like hip hop, but really weighty and dark. That’s one of my favourite on the album.
If we go into the tracks in more depth….I can’t believe its not Benny?
There’s a story behind that right? That was me listening to a lot of Benny Ill, Kode 9 and really deep early dubstep stuff when I built that track. I wanted to build that track that sounded empty, but that had a lot going on in it almost subliminally. It was almost like a tribute to Benny Ill and Kode 9 coz that was the vibe I was on at the time.
Violent has that classic grime sound, but with added weight, as does Shallow Grave, which is an update of an old track isn’t it?
That’s right, the original was on the back of Cha that came out years ago. I really like the beat and the energy, that’s why it made it onto the album.
That’s why I like Badboy, because it really tonks along.
It’s ridiculous; a loud, noisy in your face energy burst 8 bar track. And a track a lot of people have picked out of the album.
I think the album has great fluidity.
We tried so many different combinations with the ten tracks, but I always wanted it to finish with Japan, coz I though that closes it out nicely.
How did you get involved in making a soundtrack for a porn video?
It was random, they’re a London based company and they got in contact with me through Myspace about the possibility of me working on a soundtrack. I was like, why not? It would be quite interesting to see what happens in that industry. I met up with all the guys and they were proper sound, really nice people. I did a 2 hour-long soundtrack with 5 or 6 tracks that are about 20 mins long. It’s something I’ve always been interested in. It’s just funny that of all things to do, it was a porno.
Did you get a free copy of the movie?
Yeah, it’s upstairs somewhere (in his house). I don’t know where, one of my mates has probably nicked it.
Explain quickly what the legend of Wotless is.
Wotless is just me and my mates. The whole prop thing came from lads on holiday. Stupid shit, like let’s wear armbands and goggles for no reason. Then we were like what do we do next? Now it’s so serious, people want to be the best.
Was the gimp suit just the next step in costumes?
I was looking for an outfit to wear in Zante, I was just scowering Ebay, and I had an idea to goes as a gymnast. So I typed in leotard and unitard came up. It’s like a leotard but It covers your face. I had to give my height, my weight and it got sent over from Hong Kong. When I walked through the door no one knew what I was gonna be wearing. Still to this day I have never heard or seen laughter like it.
Plastician’s Beg To Differ album is out soon on Terror Rhythm. Check the Terror Rhythm show on www.rinsefm.com Monday 11pm -1am and www.myspace.com/plastician for gigs and the infamous Wotless crew antics..