“It’s time to put our flag down…”
With eight years of releases on the most respected and influential labels in the game and ten years together as unit, Ulterior Motive have found themselves in the right time, place and creative headspace to make the next logical progression and launch their own label – Guidance.
The label goes live July 7 and is rooted in the deepest Ulterior Motive history. Named after their event they ran for almost two years in their hometown Bournemouth during the mid 2000s, Guidance was a place where they laid the foundations for their music journey. Now it’s set to be the place where they build their future.
Channelling their years of experience at labels such as Metalheadz, Subtitles, Shogun Audio and Critical, Guidance is a chance for Ulterior Motive (aka Greg and James) to showcase their sound without constraint, to take risks and explore new ideas and to welcome like-minded tech-aesthetic souls and develop their own family of artists.
Another major moment in the current groundswell of exciting artist-fronted independent labels, Ulterior Motive’s Guidance follows the likes of Alix Perez’s 1985 Music, Breakage’s Index, SpectraSoul’s Ish Chat and Lenzman’s Northern Quarter as part of a movement of second generation drum & bass artists who emerged in the early 2000s and are now ready to develop the genre on their own terms in their own way.
For Ulterior Motive this mission starts with Guidance 001: a four track EP that represents the duo’s widest sonic scope from the SP-fronted loose limbed analogue bassline roller ‘The Wobbler’ to the spaced out eastern-inspired halftime odyssey ‘Kamakura’. Elsewhere you’ll find Icicle joining them for the ride on the gritty angular stepper ‘Anode’.
He’ll also be joining them for the official label launch. In keeping with the Guidance party roots, they’ll be launching the label with a sick line-up at one of the biggest festivals in the world: Glastonbury. Ulterior Motive will be taking over The Clash stage in Shangri-La from 3am until sunrise on Saturday night with Icicle, Skeptical and SP:MC.
Firm foundations and a solid statement of intent: Guidance has been in the pipedream and planning stages for years. Details have been considered, designs have been drawn. Here’s how it’s going to go down…
10 years of Ulterior Motive!
Yeah we’ve been making music together for 10 years but we didn’t put out anything until we were ready. We started writing tunes and started the Guidance parties to contribute towards the scene and work with the DJs who were really inspiring us. It feels right to bring it back to where it’s at now.
Take us back to the original Guidance nights. Who did you book?
We had Klute, Bad Company, Noisia, Ed Rush & Optical, Calibre, Marky, Fierce, Breakage, Phace, Break. We had Renegade Hardware nights, Quarantine nights. All the guys who were making the sound we were into.
Did it build up a following?
It did well while it lasted and we had some great parties. The club, Dusk Till Dawn, had a Funktion One rig and the vibe was really cool. But it was a mad period in time. It was just before the economic crash in 2008 and loads of clubs were open and there was a lot happening. But after the crash everyone realised they were spending borrowed money, they stopped going out, clubs were shutting down everywhere. It was a hard time to be promoters. So we made a conscious decision to focus on our music and leave Guidance on a high.
Was it always part of the plan to bring back Guidance?
It’s been something we’ve been talking about for a long time but it’s never been the right time. We wanted to focus on our album first and then we wanted to get a body of work together. We’re in a good place creatively, everything is self-sufficient, we’re comfortable as a unit to do what we do and build our own audience and family. We’ve got full autonomy on our music with our own label. Whereas when you make music for labels sometimes they won’t sign something because they worry it won’t sell or won’t work on the dancefloor. If we believe in it we can put it out. Sales and thinking about what works and what doesn’t apply.
Guidance joins an all-star cast in your discography; you’ve worked with only the most respected labels…
No one’s got a completely clean sheet but we have always strived to put out what we feel is our best music at the time. Our back catalogue isn’t huge. We haven’t put out a 100 tunes. It’s quality over quantity and knowing what to put out and what not to put out. Labels will take things they know will sell but you don’t have to release everything you make.
Have you spoken to any of the other guys who have set up their own labels lately?
We talk all the time as friends and peers who support each other and want to see each other do as well as possible. Guys like Alix, SpectraSoul, Breakge, Lenzman, us, we’ve all been around for 10 or so years, we’ve studied the craft and developed our own sounds so it’s our time to put our flag down. It’s our time to make a message. We’ve all got different visions and ideas and plans but we all help each other out and support each other.
Had you been sitting on these particular tracks for the first EP? The Wobbler is a fine piece of work…
Thanks. SP:MC likes it it too. We actually had him down to work on a different track but he heard it at a Cyberfunk night, it got rewound three times and he was like ‘I want to do that one’. That kinda sums up everything really; we just want to do what we want to do. It’s like going back to our first releases on Subtitles in many ways; back to when there were no expectations and we could do what the fuck we liked basically. ‘The Wobbler’ is actually a great example of that, it’s just a good old fashioned analogue bass Ulterior Motive tune. We love writing music like that and there really aren’t that many labels releasing and supporting that type of drum & bass.
Will you be looking to expand the family as time goes by?
Definitely. The idea is to do a few of our own EPs, invite our friends to release music if they’re up for it, start hosting events and really put our own mark down. But first we need to establish it and remind people what our sound is about and what inspires us. This day in age there aren’t that many people releasing the type of music me and James write. They’re not willing to take that risk. No one wants to put out a tune that sounds 90s from a young person. So we want to encourage this type of sound and see what comes back. If there are young artists out there who think their sound fits with what we do then hit us up!
Guidance 001 is out July 7: Pre-Order