Randomer Interview: Making things bang

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Randomer talks to John Thorp about music theory, jungle influences and that time Tiga bought him a Bugatti.

16th Feb 2016

Image: Randomer

From his atmospheric earlier cuts on scene-defining UK labels such as Hemlock, through to his relatively experimental work for U.S. imprint L.I.E.S., and outright madness-inspiring outings on Clone, the past five years have seen North London’s Randomer steadily compiling an inarguably killer back catalogue of releases.

Taking influence from classic UK techno, jungle and experimental electronica, while never folding to nostalgia, Randomer’s productions and understandably high energy DJ sets unashamedly bang in all the right ways.

Prior to this weekend's set at Project 13 at Hidden in Manchester, Randomer caught up with us for a brief but illuminating chat covering spectral beings, trendy meat and of course, music.

Revisiting all of your productions in chronological order, from 'Real Talk' (above) through to the more recent L.I.E.S. material, your productions have really developed in some unusual directions, but they all tend to pretty consistently ‘bang’, for lack of a better term. 

Thank you. I like to make things bang. I also like unusual directions.

I’ve just read an old interview with you, circa 2012, where you describe yourself as ‘25/M/seeks repetitive, druggy music in loud environment’. You’ve released a bunch of records since then, but age aside (naturally), has much changed in terms of your artistic approach?

I wrote that half to try and be funny, and half because I try and rep the idea of not taking everything too seriously particularly when it comes to music.

I mean, kind of ironically I’m obsessive about music theory and I love to geek out about production but all the 'pomp' around artistry gets on my nerves. Let the music do the talking. DJ fashion as well, what the fuck is that? I’m wearing black because I have no taste in clothes, not the other way round.

Artistic approach-wise I’m always changing how I write. There are always new things to experiment with. For me, it’s always about experimenting and trying to solve challenges - new ways of doing things. I go from making fully energetic dancefloor tracks to tripped out percussive wavers in the same session. Most of what I make is pants though. You’re lucky to hear only the good stuff.

You’ve been forthright in the past about your lack of interest in making an LP, and I do think you’re an artist whose style suits the single or EP format better. What else is good about taking an ‘as and when’ approach to releases, whereas most producers are always working towards an LP, what do you think you’re working towards instead? (If anything.)

I think one day, I will write something longer than a single/EP. I’m working on my craft until then, and the result of my work is what comes out in the records I guess.

Do you think there’s a mindset among rave producers to make ‘deeper’ work as they perhaps feel insecure that their teeth grinding, 4/4 material is somehow considered disposable or people literally might not remember it? 

I think it’s more likely that they make both because no-one is going to enjoy making the same stuff all the time. And then it’s nice to have an outlet for both if you’re happy with the results.

Jungle always seemed to have been an influence on your work, and in the past 12 months, breaks, if not always pure jungle, have reemerged in the dance music underground with a fuller force than expected. If it’s bandwagon, it’s not one you seem to have immediately jumped on, but what have been some recent highlights for you away from house and techno?

I don’t really see that recent emerge in the last 12 months. I’ve been playing around with jungle breaks more in my DJ sets. Well maybe not playing more jungle/drum'n'bass, but finding better ways to fit it in with what my audience expects to hear. Trying to give some of my influence to the set without it being purely throwback. 

Recent highlights? Outside of dance music I’ve really been enjoying listening to film music particularly Bernard Hermann. Infact I’ve been studying his music a bit on my own. I find orchestral music is a great antidote to electronic music. They’re both pure, but in very different ways. 

Your love of meat and dancing is explored in-depth on your tune, ‘Meat and Dancing’ (above). Dancing aside, there has been a lot of trendy, on-brand meat fetishism in London the past few years. It’s certainly going stronger dancing industry in the city. What are your personal tips?

Haha! I’ve been cutting down on red meat a fair amount due to sustainability and health reasons, but when it’s time for a steak it’s hard to beat Hawksmoor. Meat fetishism is a slightly weird idea. I named the tune 'Meat and Dancing' because the idea of a club full of people dancing covered in raw meat made me laugh. Kind of sounds like a Tim & Eric sketch.

Here’s a comment from ‘Rossman’ on the YouTube video for 'Bring' - “dark shit on vinyl back in 90s in cottage in highlands, like this - tracks with malevolent entities and poltergeists an shit” - Rossman asks (presumably), have you ever had any experiences with malevolent entities yourself?

Well that’s a great comment because half my family is from the Scottish Highlights and indeed I spent a good deal of the nineties up there visiting them. Darkness is an idea that is fun to play with, it’s an idea though, ghosts and spirits are bullshit. Infact there’s a great book called Paranormality by Richard Wiseman about the science behind why we are pre-disposed psychologically to believe in such things.

Is it true that Tiga heard 'Ruffa' and immediately offered to buy you a Bugatti in exchange for signing it to Turbo? And if not, can you just say it is regardless?

Yes. I got really excited. When it arrived it was actually just a Bugatti branded Biro. Still, best damn Biro I ever used... Thanks T.

Read more: Jeremy Underground at Hidden Manchester review

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