Homemade Weapons: Filling The Negative Space

Photo credit: Tom Parash

You know that rumour, the one where if you typed ‘how to make a bomb’ into Google, you would get MI5 coming to pay you a visit? Thankfully however, a search for ‘Homemade Weapons’ doesn’t result in such rumoured consequences. Although, it does provide the details on how to build tools for self-defence and survival on a budget and rather usefully, on how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. That being said, a more refined search for Homemade Weapons yields a very different result, and that being the music of Andre Delgado’s musical alias. And when you’ve got Homemade Weapons in your arsenal, you’re going to want to be listened to.

Delgado has been going strong for some time now. After his debut release under the Homemade Weapons name in 2011, his music took shape at the fore of the emerging ‘militant, half-speed’ sound. A sound that was becoming of the ever-evolving drum and bass genre and one of an artist of his calibre. Industrial, raw and yet ruthlessly rhythmic, Delgado’s brand of stripped back 170 has seen him become a permanent fixture in Samurai’s main label directory, chiefly after it’s relaunching last year.

Homemade Weapons’ last two outings on Samurai, the Clarion Call and Sleep Terror EPs, in 2013 and 2016 respectively, were two expert examples of his key-hole precision of the use of breaks, heavy kicks and the most definitive aspect; the ability not to over do. To jettison all that is not needed, to focus on the empty space.

These are just a few examples of Homemade Weapons’ unique abilities, as he launched his own label Weaponry this year, to showcase his own heavy artillery alongside frequent collaborator and fellow west-coast producer Red Army. With two 4-track EPs already on Weaponry and a further 4-track on Samurai this year, 2016 has been anything but quiet for the D&B mercenary.

Hailing from Seattle, a rainy city with a community of close producers, Delgado’s evident skill as an artisan has seen him create and perform ‘extreme music of all intensities’, from death metal to rap in the past. Focused on drum and bass production, for now, his new album and latest installment on Samurai, Negative Space is a 12-track cannonade of superbly measured, atmospheric and raw drum and bass. Drawing on inspiration from his hometown, film scores and even the tapping of a hollow water bottle, Delgado’s industrious approach and militant mind-set towards his craft is devastating on seismic levels.

From the tribal drums in Spasmolytic, to Tidal Track’s heavy-laden breaks, through to Conduit – a stone-cold roller, the consistency of mood and soundscapes of a not-to-distant dystopia in Negative Space seeks you out in the darkest corner of the darkest club and stands you to attention. Now let him see your war face! The familiar names of Red Army and Gremlinz offer their opinions on Retina and Jawbox – two tracks that allow you to do just that. With staunch support from Seba, Ant TC1 and John B alike, Negative Space is a ten-tonne heavy-weight that takes no prisoners.

With no time to rest, Delgado plans to roll through straight into the new year. With all of the above and more in mind, a few words from the man himself would only seem appropriate.

What’s good, Homemade Weapons! First up, this is your debut album; how does it feel getting an album together and having it released on Samurai’s main imprint? 

I’m very pleased with it’s reception, and looking forward to it’s release this week. The final product Samurai has presented is amazing.

It rounds off a busy 2016. How do you feel now this year is coming to an end? 

Grateful for the opportunities and determined to tackle what’s next. It’s been a learning experience, and I’ve already determined ways to improve my output for 2017. There’s more to come!

Tell us, what’s in the name; Negative Space?

There’s no real significance to it. It’s just a title I’d always wanted to use. I’d wrestled with the idea of making a gimmicky title track with silence in place of snares and kicks, but went with a different approach instead.

The tracks on the album are all instrumental and similar in atmosphere. Is this something you set out to achieve before recording the album?

The momentum came from a batch of songs I’d presented to Samurai after the release of the Clarion Call EP. Everything else that followed creatively was intentional to the completion of the LP. There’s no immediate concept implied throughout the album, rather a consistency in mood with some use of familiar sound – Like listening to an industrial or metal album.

You’re collaborating with Gremlinz again on Jawbox, it’s always a big result when you guys meet, especially on 2013’s massive After Dark featuring Collinjah. What is it you think that works well between you both as artists?

I think we have a similar goal as an end result, so it works out. Jawbox is colder and more withdrawn than any of our previous efforts.

You launched Weaponry this year. What was the thought behind starting your own label?

I wanted to release my own material that didn’t have a home rather than shop it around.

Anything exciting lined up in the new year for yourself and Weaponry?

The third Weaponry release will be announced soon. If everything works out as planned, we’ll be seeing an early 2017 release. Aside from that, I plan to be doing some touring during the first half of the year.

…any plans of coming and playing in Europe any time soon?

Yes. If everything works out as planned, a formal announcement will be made soon.

You’re based in Seattle, how is the D&B scene in the city at the moment?

Similar to other cities in a lot of ways – There are weekly and monthly events that consistently bring through international tours and pack floors. The talent here is what I think sets it apart. The bar is set pretty high with an abundance of great DJs and producers, so even a night with a local line up will be impressive from start to finish.

Do you feel the city of Seattle has shaped your sound and the sound of the album?

I’d say the obvious community of producers here have definitely helped to some degree. We’re all pretty close. Otherwise, it rains so much that it’s easy to stare at a screen and forget there’s a world outside.

On that note, enlighten me please on any other Seattleites making good music right now…

Quadrant, Iris, Kid Hops, Dubtek, Dstruct, and Demo are all from Seattle and have had success with their music in recent years.

I feel your music is influenced by other forms of art and creation. Outside of drum and bass, where do you look to to draw inspiration from? 

It varies. TV / film scores and other forms of music not necessarily jungle or drum n bass typically spark something. Other times it could be something as simple as the tone of tapping a hollow water bottle.

I hear you previously played in a post-rock band? Tell me what caused the transition from playing in a band, to making this style of drum and bass. 

I’ve been involved in various music projects over the years ranging from rap to death metal. I enjoy creating / performing extreme music of all intensities. One advantage to making electronic music is I don’t need to rely on others as much to get things accomplished unlike being in a band.

Back to D&B, what’s your favourite part of your studio set up?

It’s tidy and free from distraction. I have a shortening attention span and I’m most productive without clutter.

The tracks on the album are perfectly crafted for the darkest of clubs. What are a few of your go-to tracks in the bag at the moment when playing a set?

Third Rail, Spasmolytic, Ironhead, and Malice.

Any final words?

Shout to the obvious and everyone that’s supported the Samurai and Weaponry releases. Thanks for the opportunity.

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