Hello David and welcome to Brutal Resonance! Let’s start off with a favorite question of mine. What are three of your favorite albums of all time and why?
Bull: Hey BR, thank you for the welcome! If we’re talking all-time favourites, I’d have to include Sade's "Love Deluxe" and Marvin Gaye's "I Want You". Both a million miles away from the music I make, but damn these are both such seductive downtempo classics from artists I’ve grown up with and have always loved. For the third one, Mars Volta’s "Deloused in the Comatorium" comes to mind as something that totally flipped my view on music in high school - prog rock isn’t generally my thing, but so much about this bonkers album intrigued me and sucked me in.
You’ve been influential in the Welsh underground scene for the last ten years as both a DJ and producer. How and when did you get you start?
Bull: Initially I started out in Cardiff as a promoter after moving to the city for art school. I’d previously dicked around in local bands back in my hometown but discovered the club scene after moving to Wales. A friend and I got inspired by some of the amazing local club promoters at the time such as Backroom and in 2011 started Studio 89, a club space in a basement beneath a noodle bar. This quickly grew and the parties moved to London and then Bristol over the years. In 2014 another friend and I set up a club night called TEAK which was intended to be more permanently rooted in Cardiff. Over the years of running these parties I inevitably started DJing as a resident and continued to build upon that becoming a regular fixture at a number of venues across the capital.
What was the first band that exposed you to industrial, new wave, synthpop, new beat, and general underground electronic music? What made it so good?
Bull: I’ve always had a super broad music taste and each of those genres have probably had different bands and experiences that have led me further into those worlds. A big one for me fairly early on was coming across Chris & Cosy and hearing their darker take on synthpop which effortlessly combined industrial sounds, sleaziness, great hooks and a ton of dancefloor energy. Those guys are obviously total pioneers and discovering their music led me to the earlier Throbbing Gristle stuff and the other wicked projects to emerge from TG such as Coil.
You co-run both the TEAK and Studio 89 parties which have gained a bit of a cult-following. What is your biggest piece of advice to those wishing to start their own club night?
Bull: Put on parties because you love doing it and want to bring something unique to your local scene and community - don't do it for the money! Unless of course you're happy to put on some commercial or hype bullshit. Also, particularly if you are cis male - be inclusive and be proactive in making your events safe for everybody. It's 2022 and club events and crowds can still be very straight male dominated (particularly in the UK) and this needs to change.
In big news, you’re releasing your debut EP “Body & Beat” via DKA Records. What made you want to launch a solo career? Was it just a desire to create or was there something more?
Bull: Like a lot of people, over the last two years I took a step back mid-pandemic to think about what I really wanted to do, and recording music came out on top. Going solo to make this kind of music has felt like a natural progression and I’m really excited to see where I can take it. I’m beyond buzzing to get the first EP out with DKA!
Give us a rundown of each of the four tracks on the album. What do they represent, which genres do they tackle, what were they inspired by, etc.
Bull: 'Fantasy' is based on archive footage of Gia Carangi talking about her blurred perception of fantasy versus reality. There is a sad story around Gia and in these interviews, her disconnect really reflects that, but there is also something compelling about it. I wanted to try and capture this in the track beyond the voice samples by creating weird musical juxtapositions.
'Body Gum' is probably the main homage to the Belgian New Beat sound - but also veering towards industrial. It’s a big ol' collage of chopped up samples, some of which are obscure and then some are familiar phrases that have been used in a number of OG New Beat productions.
'Possession' is a tribute to the cult film of the same name - I always thought the trailer narration would be perfect in a track, and it turns out that track is an industrial-beat banger.
'Dream System' was essentially taking the sound and vibe of the rest of the EP and channeling it into a more club-ready instrumental. The idea was simple: keep it weird, but make it slap!
Your major inspiration for this EP, as far as I can read in the description of “Body & Beat”, is new beat from ’88 to ’90. Did you record the EP with techniques similar to the time period or did you take a modern approach?
Bull: Total mix really - it was all made through a DAW but with the majority of sounds being chopped up and fed into a sampler. Most of the sound sources are from that era along with some DX7 synth emulation and Cheetah drums added to the mix.
Of the four songs on “Body & Beat”, which is your favorite and why?
Bull: I think 'Fantasy' was the most fun to produce and probably my favourite of the tracks. It was fun combining live bass guitar with chuggy electronic sounds and generally just getting really weird and creative with the samples.
And what else do you have planned for the rest of 2022? Can we expect more music, remixes, or live shows from you?
Bull: I’ve got a couple of DJ edits and original tracks lined up for various comps later in the year, so keep an eye out for those!
Lastly, I’d like to thank you for your time. I wish you the best of luck and leave the space below for you to mention anything else!
Bull: Thank you so much BR for inviting me to speak with you, it's been an absolute pleasure!
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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