Scottish producer Drums Of Death demonstrates the art of noise on this week's RA podcast.
Think Scottish electronica and what comes to mind? The chart bothering exploits of minor celebrity Calvin Harris? The sample-heavy electro house of "will-he-ever-release-a-second-album" Mylo? How about the early electronic moments and twee vocal stylings of Belle & Sebastian? Colin Bailey, AKA Drums of Death, is the snarling antithesis of all of those that have come before him: intense, raucous and a touch confrontational, Bailey has been an oft-discussed force for the last 12 months now, thanks to his frenetic live shows, chumminess with electro trash queen Peaches and, of course, the "voodoo-zombie" persona he adopts every time he climbs on stage.
Hailing from Oban, a small fishing village on the west coast of Scotland, Bailey promptly upped sticks and headed to Glasgow during his late teens. It was in his twenties, and time in Glasgow, that Bailey’s thirst for live performance was quenched through an involvement in hardcore and punk bands, before eventually turning his hand to solo electronic experiments, and moving to London.
Bailey aligned himself with the Berlin-based Greco-Roman imprint late last year who released the aptly titled Drums of Death Steps Into the Ring EP which will be followed by a full-length album though the label at the beginning of next year. It has been in the live arena, though, where Bailey has caused the most carnage; touring with Hot Chip and Peaches and appearing at a multitude of dingy low-ceilinged basements and festivals. Speaking which, Bailey plays the Bloggers Delight at Field Day this Saturday which will be the next opportunity to catch his rambunctious live show. For his RA podcast, Bailey throws together a heady concoction of crunchy electro and full-bodied techno into the blender; garnished with warped sample snippets and plenty of wtf!? moments, which would be best enjoyed with a can of Iron Bru at the Sunday dinner table. That's our take at least. What say you, Mr. Bailey?
What have you been working on recently?
My album and some remixes. My debut album is nearly completed. It will be out in January 2010 on Greco-Roman. I'm calling it Generation Hexed, a cursed generation...perhaps an update on Richard Hell's Blank Generation...or maybe just a good title. I appreciate a good pun.
How and where was the mix recorded?
I decided to make a partly weird mixtape and a low-slung techno mix. I recorded some music from vinyl and then edited a lot of the tracks in Ableton Live. I got some synths sounds, took samples from them and various songs and computer games and other sources. I made three rather different versions in the end and all-in-all it took around three weeks (this includes working on the aforementioned projects as well). The mix was made mainly in my kitchen at night, in London. I would like to thank coffee for its assistance during this project.
Can you tell us a little about the mix?
What I wanted to do was to create a strange little world; a mix of music i love. Some modern, some not, and wrap it all up in a strange mixtape form, or like some late night radio show you stumble across. There's dance floor parts with some work by Audion, Tyree, Jesse Rose remixing my next single, and others...but it's all tempered with, for instance: Tom Waits, eerie vocal recordings, and cello music in there too. This is not perhaps like a DJ set of mine. When I DJ I play rather more frantically.
How long have you been rocking the voodoo-zombie look?
Eighteen months. People gravitate towards it. It's a tool to assist in both the performer and the audience to leave their comfort zones and for the shows to be as crazy as possible. Believe me though, I'm just getting started. The tour with Peaches across all of the States and Europe was where I first got to take my music into a rock club or band environment. Leaving the safety of late night club shows was really valuable. I'm leaving my fortress of solitude and taking the word direct to the people. Ha ha ha.
What can we expect from your forthcoming album? We’d heard there will be a few well-know names making appearances?
Ha, yes there will be some surprises...this album though is very personal but I wanted to make it sound big and raw. It was important to focus on the initials in the production, first instincts, first ideas...work fast and keep the momentum. That's how I've approached it. I want to capture the energy of my shows and that's been really hard. And I still don't know if it's worked: I'm too close to it to tell. My motto for the record is, "love songs and rave horns."
Is your Kaput night still going?
Our little night of noise, darkness and smoke in a basement club in Glasgow is gone. We three played our favourite krautrock pulses, freaky swamp rock & roll, no wave and modern classical. And more importantly people responded with dancing and sweat and got pretty crazy. Of us three, I'm too busy wrestling with Drums Of Death, one other is in the band Dananananaykroyd and the third got tired of the routine. He never called himself a DJ, but he played some truly great sets. It was a great club and we ended it at the right time.
What are you up to next?
I'm writing this at 05:30 in the morning and I'm about to sleep. I'm playing a festival tonight, lots of festivals. This is my first year of playing them and I'm enjoying it. I'm remixing Steve Mason's (Ex Beta Band/King Biscuit Time) new single; his new music is luscious. My remix for Franz Ferdinand is out soon too. "Got Yr Thing," my second 12-inch single is out in September. We've just made the video for it. I've been working on the Drums Of Death live band too. A tornado of noise, it's still a work in progress but we'll be playing shows soon. In the meantime I'll be touring through a city near you as my one-man rave horns and love songs badself. Thanks to everyone for listening.