Australian producer Deepchild is set to headline Peat Ridge 2009's inagural Dub Shack, where three local broken-beat crews—Void, Foreigndub, Sub Continental Dub—will be joining forces to offer up a selection of dubstep, drum & bass and jungle to festivalgoers over three days.
Deepchild, AKA Rick Bull, has spent the last few years living between Sydney and Berlin, all while knocking together a string of LPs and singles for Sydney labels Future Classic and BEEF Records. Back in Australia for the 2009-2010 summer months before relocating to Berlin permanently, Bull has lent his talent to the Sydney-based Sub Continental Dub imprint, releasing the current "Shameless In Seattle" single.
We caught up with Bull last week, where he told us about his experience overseas, early bed-times, and yoga.
You're back in Australia for a few months after year full of overseas touring – what’s it like being back in Sydney over the summer period? Do you treat your stay as a time for rest, or as a chance to get work done?
Traveling between Australia and the EU/US has become something of a regular experience over the last five years, and a wonderful experiment in radically different lifestyles. Increasingly, I've really tried to appreciate the Australian summer as an opportunity to really slow down and recuperate, to connect with friends and family again. This summer, in particular, will be my last in the Southern Hemisphere as I'm relocating indefinitely to Berlin in March.
So, I'm laying fairly low, focusing on studio work and remixes for Trapez, in particular—keeping up a regular yoga practice around five days a week, and basically trying to stay fit and healthy. For the next six weeks or so, it's more-or-less early bed where possible. I feel that it's time for a more substantial break from Australia for me, so these next months are a special time of farewells, before techno-madness in the US, and then Berlin steps up once more. Having said this, I'm leaving behind a small but brilliant community of up-and-coming producers and DJs, who are wonderfully inspiring.
Throughout your recent travels, have you come across a typical attitude towards Australian labels/producers from Europeans? Subsequently, are you ever surprised by the artists or labels they've heard of, or associate Australia with?
Generally, the attitude I encounter in, for example, Germany, is a mixture of being intrigued and slightly bemused, often followed by the question "Why did you leave Australia, it's so beautiful there?" I'm actually continually surprised by the reputation that Australian promoters have forged overseas—particularly toward larger groups like Fuzzy, We Love/Sounds etc, who seem to take good care of their touring artists. I find that, as a DJ, I'm judged very even-handedly in Europe, where the cult of Euro techno-celebrity does not run perhaps so deep as it does in Australia.
I guess this is evidenced by the wonderful lineups/shows I've managed to be included on, which might be a great deal more of a struggle in Australia. Labels like Haul Music, Pinksilver, Future Classic—all have really made great inroads in a saturated scene, and there are more individual artists gaining recognition that I can mention. We have every reason to have faith in our cultural exports, which are far more recognized overseas that they are in our own country.
Do you enjoy the continued traveling? Can you picture yourself slowing down anytime in the near future?
l love traveling a great deal, despite it feeling often exhausting. It's a privilege and a joy to share the lives and experiences of other communities—and one I continue to find very humbling. Like many artists, I guess that I can become extremely introverted and navel-gazing, which isn't always a helpful thing! Travel, and the "techno lifestyle" in general help offer me a pretty valuable wake-up call to look at the world beyond my own experience.
It's actually quite odd, because in another life I could see myself existing quite monastically, tending a vegetable garden and doing yoga. As it stands, its helpful to be pushed out of my comfort zone continuously—to engage perhaps a little more with the lives of others. I don't have assets to worry about—no car, no mortgage, not much "stuff" and no children, and already I'm in my mid 30s! As a result, I've found all these things (houses, families) across the world...it's such a precious thing. I'm sure that in future, things will change...but for me, the priority is to keep offering what I can, as long as it's of value.
How did the release with Sub Continental Dub come about?
Rhyece O'Niell and I are mutual friends with the wonderful Bec Paton—one of Sydney's most talented and eclectic selectors. I recall sending some material to Bec, and then having an extended conversation about more dub-focused work, as I released a great deal of material in the late '90s with a very strong digi-dub focus (influenced strongly by the Chain Reaction / Rhythm and Sound / Monlake legacy), which I wanted to revisit.
I had really been missing having a channel for releasing this type of sound, having become so enmeshed in the world of techno! Bec introduced me to Rhyece, who essentially responded with open-arms—such an unexpected gift to me! The tracks on the SCD 12" were written from a studio in Scotland, amid the drizzle and grey. Strangely appropriate, I think.