Instra:mental's Al Bleek introduces us to his new production project Boddika. Consciously mixing original hardware synths with modern production techniques, Boddika is Al Bleek's latest expression without musical boundaries. Word!
1. Boddika sees you producing as an absolute solo artist, coming from such a collaborative background working with the likes of Kid Drama of Instra:mental, dBridge and Skream it must be liberating having full control of your productions. How does your approach differ as Boddika?
Its a great feeling to work alone and have total control. It took a bit of getting used to but when it clicked into place, i loved it. Working alone, i think the main thing that differs is the amount of time i like to spend on different ideas while working on a track, if im in the studio with my partner (Drama) decisions get made quicker than i would like them too sometimes, so it's nice to sit back and try a variation of ideas without feeling like someone else in the room is bored, but i guess this is comonplace in any partnership. So, having total control over your ideas is a good feeling.
2. You mix together classic Roland drum machine rhythms and vintage synths with todays production etiquette, what are the key influences behind Boddika from both the past and present? What has been the musical evolution within yourself that has led towards Boddika?
I dont think it's a secret that people know that we as Instra:mental use alot of outboard equipment,it makes our sound, and also makes the Boddika sound what it is. I grew up in a studio full of outboard equipment and have never really shook my love for outboard synths and dynamics, for me it's all about the sound i get from the machines. I don't like overly clinical sounding music, it just doesn't sound like it has a soul. All of my productions have the human touch in them,i do alot of things live and record them as im doing it, this way i use the studio as 'hands on' as possible, and i get really cool results working like this, i wire synths and effect units through guitar pedals and make some really fun sounds also. Ive always been influenced by old school electro, aswell as electronic music from the 90's. The 90's were an amazing decade for electronic music. The main reason Boddika was born is because i was left to my own devices while my partner was away for a month. I will be continuing to work as Boddika and will probably write a solo album next year which will have an eclectic selection of electronic music on. I will be experimenting without limits on the Boddika project.
3. Since your releases as part of Instra:mental on Darkestral in 2007, you have been archetypal in leading the way as a multi genre electronic artist, breathing new life into drum & bass while re-establishing a place for the heavy use of hardware synths within modern british dance music. How has the cosmopolitan nature of digital music sales and a more open minded audience effected you as an artist in this respect?
I think the fact that we have payed no attention to what people want, and what's hot, over the last few years has been the main reason we became so well known. People were sick to death of hearing the same formulated music day in day out. We didn't have a plan when we set the studio back up, we just knew we wanted to write music again. The internet and digital music is a good thing as much as it is a bad thing. This is the worst time to be trying to make money from writing music, you have to be doing because you love it. This is all i want to do with my life and will continue to write music for as long as i can as Instra:mental and now Boddika aswell.
4. If you could site a few records as key influences for you as Boddika, what would they be and why?
The Other Peoples Place - Lifestlyes Of The Laptop Cafe - WARP - My favourite album of all time, just perfect from start to end.
AFX - Analord Series - Rephlex Records - Because i love acid!
Drexciya - Grava 4 - Clone Records - This is one of many many classic and genius Drexciya releases.
Derrick May - Innovator - Transmat - So much magic lies in this record.
5. What can we expect next from both Boddika and Instra:mental?
I have Boddika releases coming out on Naked Lunch at the end of October (Boddika's House/ Syn Cron) , i have 3 tracks coming out on Swamp 81 (Electron/ 2727/ Rubba) before December and i have signed 5 tracks to Darkestral which will be coming out early next year. I'm also writing a Boddika 12 for Nonplus as we speak and working on more music for Swamp 81.
As for Instra:mental, our album will be finished by the end of October and we hope to release it at the end of Febuary on Nonplus We've moved on alot from where we were at the beggining of the year and i think the album is going to show this, it's written between 115 and 136 bpm. We are also going to release an album with dBridge next year on Autonomic,with lots of 170 music we wrote but never released,alot of stuff from the Autonomic Podcasts.
Nonplus has new releases coming from LOL, Skream, Loefah, Actress, Kassem Mosse & Lowtec and possibly Skudge. Jimmy Edgar is in stores now!!!!