The Hotflush boss tells us about his third album, due for release in February.
Paul Rose, AKA Scuba, is ready to release his third LP, Personality.
Rose has been an influential figure in bass music for the past five years or so, both through his own productions and his record label, Hotflush. In the two years since his last album, Triangulation, his sound has expanded considerably. As SCB he's produced a series of 4/4 records and played house and techno sets in clubs. Earlier this year he released the euphoric anthem "Adrenalin" as Scuba, the name he'd previously reserved for more dubstep-inspired productions. This was a "conscious decision," he says: "I didn't want [SCB] to become a dumping ground for my house stuff."
According to Rose, Personality continues on this tack while mostly sticking to non-4/4 rhythms. We called him up earlier today to find out more about the album.
When and where did you record the Personality?
The first single from Personality will be The Hope, which will come out on February 6th with a b-side not included on the album, entitled "Flash Addict."
It was done over the space of last year in Berlin. It's been exactly the same process as with the last records, where it was supposed to take six months and it took over a year. It was a long and tortuous process, and a lot of things fell by the wayside. I must have made about 50 or 60 tracks in total. The Adrenalin EP and the Loss EP were in the album folder. [laughs] "Adrenalin" was #7, but most of the ones that ended up on there were over #40. A lot of to-ing and fro-ing, a lot of different ideas about how I wanted it to sound as a coherent thing. What it actually turned out to be was quite last-minute. It's pretty dancey, but without being 4/4. The majority is about 120 BPM, but there only one or two 4/4 tracks on there. It's danceable, but it's not house—there's not an "Adrenalin" on there at all. But compared with the last album it's a lot more upbeat, more floor-friendly.
So when you're making tracks do you say "This is for the album," even if you don't end up sticking to that?
Well I sat down and said to myself, "Right, I'm going to write an album now." But that just meant that every track I made last year was originally made for the album, although only 11 of the 50 or 60 I made actually ended up on there. When I make a track, I tend not to have that much of a clear idea of what I want it to be, I just try to do whatever feels natural and whatever comes out at the time. Very occasionally I'll have an idea of what I want to do before I go to into the studio. But more often I have to kind of jam and see what comes out. Working on an album focuses you, but it also puts you under a bit of pressure. The reason this album and the last album took so much time and why I scrapped so much material is because I was thinking too much about the wider vision, rather than each track as it came along.
I think it's important to think about the wider context of the music you're making, but if it takes up too much space in your thought process it can be quite counter-productive, you start over-thinking things. With both the last one and this one, I've been pretty happy at the end of the process. I'm actually a lot more satisfied with this one than I was with the last one, I'm a lot happier with the result. It was a year of pain and anguish, but it was worth it in the end, I'm quite happy with it at the moment.
You said the record is more floor-friendly and upbeat than your past albums. Is that a direction you feel you're moving toward in general?
Well, that's a difficult question to answer really, because Triangulation was more upbeat than the first album, and actually that was a conscious decision when I was making it. Generally speaking, in the last 18 months my music has been more upbeat, more dancey. There are still aspects of the first record, and downtempo things like on Triangulation. To be honest I can't see myself doing a hell of a lot more stuff like this—for example I can't see the next album being as dancey as this one. This is just something I'm playing around with and have been having quite a bit of fun doing.
That's the main point, I'm just trying to enjoy myself and do things I hadn't done previously, experiment with things and see what comes out. The results of that have been fairly dancey, quite poppy club music. But I've never been one to take things too far. I've always wanted to take an idea to its logical conclusion then move on to something else. What I'm looking forward to now actually is getting back in the studio and doing something completely different. I'm having a lot of fun playing out the tunes, I'm definitely playing out this album much more than the previous two albums. Which is fun, but I'm definitely looking forward to getting back in the studio and doing some, I don't know, 15-minute drone tracks or something. [laughs]
Were there any artists or records that were particularly influential when you were making this album?
I couldn't really pick out any specific record, but it's all influenced by '80s and '90s pop, dance stuff. Over the last year or 18 months I've been trying to get back in touch with the general vibe of '90s clubbing and also melodic aspects of '80s pop stuff but trying to weld it into a more relevant package. It's similar to the Loss and Adrenalin EPs, I mean they came out of the same sessions and the same kind of mindset and intentions. As a record it sounds different from those things, but I think it's coming from the same direction.
What can you tell me about the title?
Well, on the one hand I'm really influenced by the Pet Shop Boys and I wanted it to sound like a Pet Shop Boys album, so that was one side of it. One of the things that I've said over the last couple of years is that so much of the stuff that comes out is just completely faceless, and one of the things I've really tried to do since I was making Triangulation is to make the whole thing something more than just faceless dance tracks, just trying to stamp some identity on the whole thing. That's one of the things I've really been trying to do in the last two or three years in the studio and hopefully it's worked. So that's what the title refers to—making music that has an identity.
01. Ignition Key
03. The Hope
04. Dsy Chn
07. Cognitive Dissonance
11. If U Want
Hotflush Recordings will release Personality on February 27th, 2012.