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BOTW Interview: Bobby Tank

As part of our Band Of The Week feature, Planet Notion talked to the lovely Slugabed about maximalism, classic influences, multi-instrumentalism, and Kelly Brook obvs.

Describe your sound in 3 words…
1. Shiny
2. Unicorn Moustache Ride
3. Progressive

Youve been championed by a lot of DJs recently… so, being an ambassador of new music, what would you say differentiates you from your contemporaries?
I honestly can’t even begin to comprehend the amazing amount of support I have been getting from everyone, as well as the immense support from radio DJs. Being placed under the category of ‘maximalism‘ is fantastic because up until now I wasn’t so sure what to call my music! I think what sets this style of music apart is how it captures so many different melodies, structures, progressions and dynamics all packed into one setting – it almost shares the same characteristics as progressive jazz funk fusion but with a solid 4/4 frame.

How do you go about composing or writing the material you produce? Is there a certain formula you use for each track or does it depend on each one how you shape and build the music?
Being a multi-instrumentalist really helps, and I’m grateful that all those years stuck in my room practicing and studying has finally paid off. Drumming is my forte so I’d say 70 per cent of the time I start with the drums and work around it, but there have been many times where I have been struck with fairly obscure ideas and I’ve had to work around a certain vocal part or chord structure but those tracks usually end up in the bin.

Digital, analogue, or a mix of both?
I would love to own some hardware synthesis, but need to save my pennies. So my music is made using predominantly digital equipment right now, which is actually really great at the moment because I’m kinda tight on space.

What is it about production/DJing that first attracted you?
I used to dabble in some hip hop production and scratching records with my nails, so I guess it all started from there. I used to listen to a lot of Premo and Madlib, which then led to Dabrye, Prefuse 73, Edit and early Machinedrum. In particular, the more abstract IDM side of music really intrigued me and had me wanting to learn more.

Do you have any favourite acts or key influential artists from when you were growing up that you still draw upon?
MJ, hands down, was the most integral part of my childhood alongside Prince, The Weather Report, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, and The Police – all of whom I still listen to today.

When you make your music, what are your essential aims for the final products? For you is it about taking risks, or pleasing your audience or anything else…?
Most of the time I do have a set idea in my mind when I start a project, but it usually ends up sounding fairly different. I tend to approach my tracks full on, with minimal structure at hand, constructing it like how I hear it in my head – so it ends up having quite a rebellious feel to it. I kinda dismiss the element of how it will be received by a particular audience, but I usually tend to change up the composition near the middle and end of the track to make it more accessible because it usually is just too crazy.

Are there any things you make sure you do when playing live that youd do differently on record?
I’m currently working on a full live set where we incorporate live drums, synths, bass and electric guitars, vocalists – the whole shebang. But it’s gonna take a good 6 months to get that all in full effect, so I’m currently doing my live sets off my Mac alongside my keyboard triggering a shit load of fx, and occasionally dropping some synth shreds.

Whats the best gig or live show youve attended? Is there anyone that really stood out from memory of seeing them perform who had an effect on how you perform today?
Had the privilege of seeing MJ twice. ‘Nuff said.

If you had to choose between gigging in the dive bar, the club or the festival which would it be?
That’s a tough one. To be honest, though, I wouldnt mind all of the above. A gig is a gig and I love playing live. Though Sonar would be nice.

What things apart from other artists inspire you?
It can range from an amazing sunset to movies. Mainly films from my childhood such as Bill and Teds, Big Trouble in Little China, Robocop, Blade Runner, The Quiet Earth, Iceman, Ghostbusters, Firefox, Flight of the Navigator… I could go on all day, really! But yeah, anything can trigger creativity for me.

If you had access to Aladins lamp, what would your three wishes be?
1. A time machine
2. Waking up next to Kelly Brook every morning
3. A tricked out studio

Is there anyone in particular youd like to collaborate with this year?
There are so many great artists I need to team up with. There was talk of a possible collab with Com Truise in the future, and I really want to work with Slugabed because we have similarities in our sound and I think we could create some scorchers.

Plans for the rest of 2012?
Live shows lined up, and my Afterburn EP was released on June 4th. I’ll release another album around September time, and then an album.

-Bronya Francis / Alix Blankson

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