There are some artists who last for just one musical season and there are some others who had the ability to endure the test of time. Bigga Bush definitely belongs to the second category and can easily bites many of today’s producers.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to listen to a sneak preview of his new album and I was positively impressed by his work. The album is very eclectic, full of interesting and obscure grooves and samples, very enjoyable from the start to the end. It definitely reflect the experience and the musical knowledge of the producer. You got 23 tracks of beats, grooves, orchestral samples, prog riffs, library-esque interludes and widescreen sounds.
I also had the chance to have a short conversation with him about his new project, and that’s the result of our talking:
Q: What is the main idea behind your new work?
There are a few main ideas: the first was to combine beats with orchestral sounds which was definitely influenced by the Suite For Ma Dukes tribute to Dilla released by Mochilla. Watching the film of this concert had a huge effect on me, reminding me of the power of a big orchestra and taking me back to the days of my youth when I used to listen to the Rite of Spring by Stravinsky almost every day. I’d get home from school and put it on the stereo at full blast and just let it take me away. This led to a desire to also revisit some rock and prog rock styles from my younger days. Which was also informed by listening to a lot of Andy Votel’s DJ mixes (eg. Vertigo Mixed), where he will play about 60 different tracks over the course of a CD, so it never gets too self-indulgent or up itself. Just lots of nice breaks and riffs, quick changes for the short attention span!
I also took inspiration from library music from the 60s and 70s, which I once heard described as “music written by the yard” – ie music written to order and put in a library for film or TV producers to use off-the-shelf when they needed a bit of dramatic tension or a funky theme tune. So my method was to work fast, keep the tracks short and the ideas flowing.
Q: I have found the album very smooth and easy, perfect music for chillin’. Where did you get the inspiration for these kind of atmospheres? Do they reflect your actual mood?
I think it must just be the way I am – I very often make a track that I think is not at all chilled and yet people always seem to think my stuff is all laid back. I consciously made some more aggressive sounding tunes on this album (Cyclogyro, Gentle Glurgen for instance) but if you can chill to it that’s fine with me.
Q: Alright, those are banging tracks, no doubt about it! Now, what kind of equipment did you use to record and edit the tracks?
Technics SL1200 turntables, Cubase, Fender bass, Fender and Gibson guitars, Burns 12-string guitar. I’m big into vintage keyboard sounds like Hammonds, Rhodes, Wurlitzer and I got a lovely RMI electrapiano which was a big sound in prog groups and library music of the 70s.
Q: In creating your new album, where did you start? I mean, did you start with a sample, a drum beat or what else? And how did you proceed? Talking about samples, as you probably know, we are really into it: can you tell us more about your choices?
After selling about 2000 records when I moved house last year I felt justified in going out to buy some new vinyl which was great fun. I started going to car boot sales and second hand shops and finding lots of interesting and obscure things to sample which gave me the basis for a lot of the tracks. I usually listen through an album and look for an interesting little change that happens maybe once in the whole track, then loop it up and start building other ideas around it. At the same time I’m always digging for breaks, trying to find ones I haven’t heard before or chopping them up in fresh ways. I also like to put a breakbeat through Recycle, then just use the midi with completely different drum sounds to create a new break. I was really digging an album called Beat Dimensions that has crazy uneven rhythms and of course Dilla and Madlib are peerless in the way they manipulate beats, although their work was created on MPCs which is something I’ve never tried. I got into just moving things around onscreen without quantising, just fiddling around till the feel was right.
Q: Do you have any funny or interesting anecdote about the album?
As soon as I had a few tracks together I would always listen to them on shuffle (ie random play) and as the album grew I realised that this was definitely the best way to listen to it, so you are always surprised by the running order and the juxtaposition of tracks. So I have included an advisory note with the album to always play on shuffle, keep it fresh!
Q: Finally, tell our visitor where they can get more information about your music.
This is my website and you can get hold of all my BiggaBush and Lightning Head releases there as well as read up on my regular blog posts and previous projects like Rockers Hi Fi plus my band the Magic Drum Orchestra.
Thanks a lot and keep in touch!