Difficult. Second. Album.
The biggest cliché in music just so happens to be a true on for Technimatic. Not so-challenging-it-took-six-years-and-two-heroin-addictions level difficult, but challenging because the debut did so well… If the D&B-loving world wasn’t already listening to them, after Desire Paths landed in July 2014 they really were.
During the two years that have passed Pete (Technicolour) and Andy (Komatic) have put themselves under self-imposed pressure to ensure they not only hit the same level as their debut but surpass it. The end result of the most intense two years of their life is Better Perspective, a 17-track mission that really explores what music (and the creation thereof) means to them.
Smoother, deeper and more dynamic than anything they’ve done before, it’s release tomorrow (Friday July 15) so we called them up to find out more…
We spoke about your first album exactly two years ago. It feels like yesterday to me. How about you?
Komatic: Sometimes. It depends. Most of the time it does feel like yesterday but we’ve been through so much during this album that when we sat down to things like A&R meetings and artwork meetings then Desire Paths felt like a lifetime ago.
Such is the elasticity of time eh? So, last time we spoke we went deep about your day jobs. Surely you’ve quit and gone full time in music now?
Komatic: Nope, we still work our day jobs. A lot of people go ‘bloody hell how do you make it happen?’ And yeah it’s tough sometimes but there are a lot more positives – our feet are firmly on the ground and music is our escape. It’s our chance to shut the world away and do something we love.
But will you always lead this dual lives like some crazy D&B superheroes?
Technicolour: Who knows? I do wonder how nice it would be just go to the studio and spend huge amounts of time on projects. But if we had the time would we be better? Or have we got this far because we’ve risen to the challenge of pressed-time? We’ll never know. One thing I do have to stress – because this subject comes up in every single interview – is we’re not martyrs! We’re not the only guys balancing music careers and other jobs and it is the way it is.
I like the reality and honesty of any artist being upfront about what they do and how they do. People often hide behind the old cliché of DJ lifestyle and laps of luxury when in actual fact they work part time in Tescos to help pay the rent.
Technicolour: Yeah, if you want that lap of luxury and megabucks then here’s a quick tip: don’t make drum & bass!
Ha! Okay, I’m going to level with you… On first listen, I wasn’t sure if I liked the album. It’s almost a victim of its own smoothness. It took me three or four listens to really catch on to it and hear the subtleties.
Technicolour: This is it. We’ve spent two years on the album and feel we couldn’t have done any more than we have. We feel it’s better than Desire paths but now it’s not for us to decide. It’s out of our hands. It’s a subjective thing that some people will think it’s self-indulgent tosh and some people will agree with us.
Komatic: I’m glad it grabbed you after a few listens, though. Had you put it on and it bowled you over on the first listen would you tire of it quicker? It’s such a subjective thing that if people say they don’t get it then we understand. Obviously it’s great when people like it, that’s what keeps us motivated to keep us writing. The most important thing is that we stay true to ourselves and write music we love.
Was the subtle factor a primary MO during the writing process?
Komatic: Not directly but we have built a sound for ourselves and we did hit a benchmark with Desire Paths. The success of Desire Paths was immense and the people around us were really encouraging for us to write another album. That caused quite a lot of pressure – we wanted it to be better than the first album but we never discussed how we’d go deeper and deeper into our sound we do what we’ve always done; sit there, make music and only pick the tracks we both absolutely love. And I mean love. We’ve made tracks that mates and DJs and managers have all told us is amazing but because we both don’t quite agree on it then we scrap it and move on.
How many tracks have fallen along the wayside like this?
Komatic: 95 I think. But some of those are 16 bar loops. Others are pretty much full tracks. It’s a massive amount of material.
Will you ever recycle that?
Technicolour: Maybe. We do go back and listen to bits but it’s very hard to go back in on old projects and get excited. It’s like resuscitating a dead body. It’s better to go and have sex and make something new.
Ha! You’ve gone sex mad. Where did that intro sample come from?
Technicolour: The wonderful world of music that’s out there which is out there for everyone to enjoy and saviour from the past! It just worked; the idea of the album is escapism and how music is our way of getting away and getting a perspective. That sample summed up where we’re at. I guess finding samples like this comes from knowing your records and researching and knowing where to look.
I hear you’re the sample oracle mate. Everyone I’ve spoken to about samples always talks about you like some type of saint.
Technicolour: It’s all relative. I know some little bits of information but I go on record collecting forums and my knowledge is a spec compared to others. I do love that side of things and I love digging out things that no one has ever heard of but there are people out there who are way better than me.
Komatic: Bullshit. Pete has the Spidey senses when it comes to samples, let’s just leave it at that.
It’s a shame the art of sample comes at such a cost. How did that affect the album process?
Technicolour: We replayed a lot of things for this one. A lot more than we have done before. But we couldn’t write an album without them – they are a part of what we do and we love using them. I’d love to tell you the sources but that’s not going to happen…
Komatic: Moving on…
Tell me about Jono McCleery. He’s a fucking awesome singer who doesn’t release anywhere near as much as he should!
Komatic: That actually fits in with what we were just talking about; in order to stay away from samples we wanted to write more songs. Not poppy songs in any way, just proper hooky drum & bass with real vocals and structure. Hold On, with Jono, was one of the tracks we wanted to get a singer on.
Technicolour: This wasn’t the original tune we sent him. He demo’d on a different track that didn’t end up on the album and we knew his vocal was great and he was great to work with so this happened. He’s mates with Lucy Kitchen who’s also on the album so the connection was pretty strong.
Yeah Lucy’s been on both albums. Nice consistency…
Komatic: And a really nice voice! She’s great to work with and her voice gets your hairs standing on the back of your neck every time. Whatever we throw at her or whatever we suggest she always delivers. It would have been criminal not to work with her on the album. I’m sure we’ll be working with her in the future.
Nice. So give me some beef. Give me a moment when the album may not have happened and you hated each other so much you wanted to set fire to each other and you threw your shoes out of the window but not in a good way. An angry way!
Technicolour: There’s been a moment or two! Some tracks are harder to finish than others. The track Problems fittingly took a long time to finish. Andy almost had a mental breakdown on Out Of Reach. He had to go out and shout at the sky a few times.
REAL beef please chaps!
Komatic: There was a moment right at the tail end of finishing the album and we had a proper argument over the length of the intro. It ended up with us rowing about each other’s attention spans. That’s as dramatic it gets I’m afraid.
Technimatic: We do have little arguments and snipes but we talk it out and get on with things. That’s how we’ve made two albums without killing each other. The hardest thing was generally the feeling that this was the classic second album thing; Desire Paths had done well. There was pressure on and we have to deliver. So that’s the overarching stress.
Komatic: We’ve known each other for over a decade. We’ve been through a hell of a lot in our careers and personal lives so we understand each other too well to have a row. We get each other’s point of view and always find a happy outcome. It just works.
Have you celebrated finishing the album yet or do you do that on release day?
Technicolour: We had a six bender in a strip club after we finished it. It was a real blast.
Ha! And really….
Komatic: We had a little cigar and a few drinks once we finished it but it was all very low-key. I guess we’ll do our celebrating when the album comes out. Let’s see….