If things had gone slightly differently, this interview would have happened a year ago…
Originally scheduled for a summer 2018 release, Technimatic’s third album would land, like clockwork, two years after their second album Better Perspective… Which landed precisely two years after their debut Desire Paths in 2014.
But somewhere during the process Pete Technicolour and Andy Komatic went a little off-piste. Having completed the first version exactly a year ago they knew deep down they could do better… So they proceeded to scrap, edit, rewrite, rearrange and rebuild until they were happy with it. By their own account, it wasn’t easy. In fact it seems like it was the most challenging album they’ve written during their 10 years together as a duo.
It sounds all the better for it, though ; Timeless Technimatic in its sense of contrast, soul, warmth and weight, the album covers everything they’ve ever thrown into their melting pot; Through The Hours ranges from naughty minimal midnight marauders like True Believer to smouldering emotional halftime chiller cuts such as Resolution by way of some of their finest straight up liquid in years such as the cascading string sweeps and dusty soul vocal of Sometimes and the current single Holding On.
Both Pete and Andy personally sound all the better for it, too; they seem inspired, humbled and amazed at the reaction to the album so far, what they’ve achieved over their career so far and the busy summer they have ahead… And you get the feeling they’re savouring things much more because of the challenges their new album presented them with. Here’s where they’re at:
It’s been a while…
Andy: Strangely, it was exactly five years ago to this day we sent off the masters for Desire Paths.
Oh wow so this has been a biggest gap between albums so far…
Pete: The plan was that this album was going to be released summer last year but for various reasons that didn’t happen.
Can I ask what happened?
Andy: We thought we’d finished it around last April and we go through a similar process when we finish an album and we came to the realisation that album wasn’t ready and we can do better. That’s the bottom line. As painful as it was to accept that and go back on it and pull everything apart again we feel it’s better as a result.
Pete: Also Andy and I, throughout our career, have never been bothered about taking our time over things. We’ve never felt like we need to get a single out every couple of months to stay relevant. We go at our own steam in a way.
I think it’s hard to battle with your ego when you have to scrap something and tell yourself you can do better
Andy: Kind of. It’s easy to say, but I would like to think that between Pete and I haven’t done that ego thing ever anyway. We’ve never considered ourselves as anything but Pete and Andy. I get your point, but I don’t think we’ve ever gone ‘That’s the best thing ever! We’ve smashed that!’ We’ve done things we’re happy with, but I take your point; it was tough to get to that position where we genuinely felt like we’d done the album but then realising ‘do you know what? We can do better and we need to do better..’
A lot of that can be found in the title of the album. It’s quite a philosophical mindset. Mind you, all your albums have had a similar inspiration behind them?
Pete: It was a time for reflection. Last year was 10 years since we started making music together, it’s our third album, a lot of things have happened in our personal lives that have made things more of a roller-coaster. We asked ourselves some questions; what is important to us in drum & bass? Who are we? What do we want to represent in the best light? And what you get on this album is a bit of everything of us which that title alludes to. The peaktime liquid stuff we made our name with, we tried to get some more jungly stuff and even towards the more minimal stripped back D&B, we had a dabble on that. It reflects everything about us.
True Believer has all of those styles in one track!
Andy: We’ve been staggered to the response to that tune. That one started more as a 3am heads-down vibe, which it still has, but it totally took its own direction and had a life of its own.
Pete: That’s a classic example of a track that writes itself. Most of the tracks on the album date back at least a year or even more of edits, arrangements changing, different mixes. But that was the last track we wrote… And we did it in a day. Some of that energy of that feeling when it all just comes together quickly is encapsulated in the track.
Nice. So those questions you asked yourselves… Did you get any answers?
Pete: I don’t think we came up with anything definitively. But we have been humbled by the fact that we’ve been doing this for 10 years and we’ve managed to take it this far. We could have never dreamed it go like this. To me it still feels as magical now as it did back then. It feels as much as a surprise as it did back then. People buy our music, DJs play our music, we get booked to play festivals. That’s an amazing feeling.
I think that’s wicked. It’s easy to lose that buzz.
Andy: It just spins us out. We were getting excited the other day about some bookings we have in the summer and we’ll be travelling together. Different countries and different sizes of shows. It’s exciting. Hearing our music on Radio 1 has never lost its buzz and spins us out. At times making the album had its ups and downs but the beauty of that is that it’s made us remember why we do this and how much we love it. It’s quite overwhelming.
Pete: On the flip side of that, it has to be said, we had some dark times on this album in ways that we haven’t had with previous albums. There was a point when we were in the studio and said ‘shall we just sack this all off?’
Andy: Yeah like what’s the fucking point?
Pete: Yeah, it hasn’t been easy all the time. But that’s made us appreciate things so much more. The launch party was just another level and we’ve seen the vinyl, which always give you that feeling of completion because you’re holding it there in your hands.
My bait sensors are tingling here when you say it got dark. Can I use a headline like ‘WE ALMOST QUIT!’ here? Were you at one minute to midnight?
Andy: Ha! No that’s not the headline. This was around the time last year where we questioned the album. We go through a process at the end of the album where we’re in the studio working on the final detail of everything and we got to the end of that, listened to it all back through and just felt broken. It had been very intense process in a room with no daylight and we knew we had to do better but we just felt, only for a moment, that we were just spent. Like get us the fuck out of here.
Pete: There was one tune that almost killed us. It was after we decided to fuck it off and bury it we felt we could move on.
Will you ever go back to it? Too soon?
Pete: Never say never… But not right now.
Andy: It has got a great vocal on it.
Pete: It has. But it’s all too raw still. I can’t even bring myself to hear the opening notes.
Andy: I can’t even say its name.
I’m glad the album sounds like you guys. You haven’t jumped on the jump-up bandwagon. Lots has happened in drum & bass since Better Perspective, but you’ve not been swayed by that.
Andy: That’s nice to hear. When you’re in the writing process and making it you still don’t know if the album is good, or if people are going to like it, or if you’ve strayed too far from your sound.
No jump up though…
Pete: We did actually have a little play with something.
Andy: We did. And that ended up on the cutting room floor too!
Like Better Perspective and Desire Paths it’s a proper album. It tells a story, there’s that consistency throughout. It’s a traditional album.
Andy: I think from pretty early on working together we realised albums would be the best place for us to flourish and find our sound. We’ve never been ones to fling out 12”s. We like the storytelling and we like that freedom an album gives you. We’re fully aware that few people, beside super fans and die-hard followers, are going to listen to the whole thing. Most will cherry pick their favourites. But that’s life. The bottom line is that we made something we’re proud of ourselves and can enjoy from start to finish.
Which track can you sit back and enjoy the most? Both answer at the same time….
Andy: Sometimes Pete: Goodbye Kiss
Oooh… Pete you go first
Pete: Goodbye Kiss was made not long after we finished Better Perspective. It’s gone through lots of changes along the way but it’s been in its finished state for the last few years. I’ve played it in every set, Andy has too. I’m not sick of it yet and I love it even though, to us, it’s really old now. It’s classic Technimatic. It’s what we’re about encapsulated in five minutes with a fantastic vocal by Millie Jackson.
Brilliant. That’s a rare one.
Pete: We’ve re-played everything else on the album and it always takes a long time, but we just couldn’t replace Millie. That’s been really satisfying.
How about you with Sometimes Andy?
Andy: I remember when we were sketching the original vibe for that tune it was Pete who’d come up with those beats. That were different and nodded back to older jungle days. It had this crazy blend of synthesised sounds with the old school drums. It felt familiar but at the same time felt like nothing else. It captures the big soul vocal and our roots. I also love I was in my house on a Friday night, having a glass of wine just listening to the radio and on it came. Annie Mac was playing it. I got quite emotional. To hear that on national radio and know it’s being played out in people’s cars, homes… It spins you out. She’s played it over and over again on all kinds of shows. That’s a great feeling; like ‘bloody hell! All those moments we questioned ourselves during the process and there’s our tune on the radio.’ It’s mad and genuinely humbling.
The launch party seemed to have the same effect for you too…
Andy: To sell out the venue is one thing, but the vibe was right off the hook straight away. The crowd makes the party. You can have the best line up ever and the room just isn’t working. But other nights it works like a perfect storm of all the important ingredients. All these amazing artists, the audience were up for it, all our friends there. The smiles and noise and vibes. It was amazing and it made everything worthwhile. When you’re in the thick of it and you’re trying to make it work and it’s tough and intense and it feels like the centre of the universe and it’s emotionally, physically and mentally exhausting but then you have a vibe like that and it makes all of it worthwhile.
Perfect. So… Will we be speaking again about album four in two years time?
Pete: Too soon! We just need to sit back and enjoy it. Even the thought of making another tune is daunting right now but never say never…