Big Up Podcast 82 ~ Bambooman

Photo: Nicholas Edmondson

Created almost entirely of field recordings and found sounds, Bambooman’s forthcoming “Dulcet” EP via Sonic Router is undeniably one of the most authentic, original, and exciting releases of this year. Here, in the HQ, it’s on repeat. Unfortunately it consists of only 7 tracks (plus digi bonus remix), and we need more of Bambooman than that. So we asked the young Yorkshire native, Leeds resident, to put together a mix of the music he likes, makes, and plays out. He came back with a mix we’ll be rinsing for a while…

We also chatted with Kirk (Bambooman) about his mischievous field recordings, puppy sounds in his new EP, and his memorable gig with Samiyam.

[toggle title=”Track List”]Felix de Luca – Ass So Fat [Filip Ja Remix] (SoundEsc)
Captain Murphy – Between Villains Ft Viktor Vaughn (BrainFeeder)
Doctor Zygote – Run Out Groove (Zoot Records)
J Dilla – Oxtopus [Boom Boom] (White)
ONOE CAPONOE – MILKYWAY 1311 (Audio Doughnuts)
Heralds of Change – Spotted (All City Ireland)
Bambooman – Knox (Sonic Router)
Strange U – The Cake Is a Lie (Eglo Records)
Andy Stott – North To South (Modern Love)
Seb Rochford & Jehst-Seven Nine Zulu [Hello Skinny remix] (The Leaf Label)
Reginald Omas Mamode IV – Do You? (Five Easy Pieces)
J.angle Pilsner (White)
? – ? (White)
Zack Christ – I Got Hard Wobs And So Many Huneys M8 (Infinitemachine)
Downliners Sekt – This American Life (InFiné Music)
Demdike Stare- Primitive Equations (Modern Love / White)
Airhead – Black Ink (R&S Records)
Blawan – Potchla Vee (Hessle Audio

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Interview by Katya Guseva

In the world of sample packs and lots of similar-sounding music, it’s refreshing to hear your tracks heavy with your own sampling. Tell me more about why you favour this sort of process, which is more time-consuming, I believe?

Yeah, it’s definitely a more time consuming process, but I find it more rewarding when I’ve recorded and processed all my own sounds. The fun part in music for me is just experimenting making noise really. Also, I find making field recordings is always a good excuse to get out of the house and get some inspiration for new tracks.

[quote_left]I always felt a bit sleazy when someone’s favourite track of mine was essentially just good samples, chopped up and layered with drums.[/quote_left]I come from a band background, so when I got into hip hop I didn’t really understand that people sampled bits from other tunes. It’s so obvious to me now, but at the time I just couldn’t figure out how they created this awesome sound. I used to sample a lot and had so much fun doing it, but I felt quite limited in the way I was going about it at the time, and found it difficult to develop tracks past the point of a traditional hip hop beat. And I always felt a bit sleazy when someone’s favourite track of mine was essentially just good samples, chopped up and layered with drums. That way of producing is absolutely fine, but I wanted to make something people would enjoy as much as my sample beats, that was simply all mine. I wanted to feel like I’d put in even 10% of the effort that the bands I was sampling would have had to put in, when writing, practicing and recording the music.

I didn’t actually have the internet for a long time, or decent access to new music to sample, as there were no decent record shops left close to where I was living. So in the end it just made sense to record my own stuff. It’s cool because it gives me more scope to shape sounds exactly how I want them (in theory).

What is one of the most memorable found sounds you recorded? Any favorite ones? Ones you use over and over in your music.

I do remember Venuq and I spending a long 15 minutes smashing bottles, throwing them from my kitchen down the stairs onto the concrete basement floor, followed by the [idiotic] idea of recording ice melting in a pan full of oil. We nearly burnt our faces off and ruined our microphones. I must confuse the neighbours a lot with some of the sounds that go on day to day.

[quote_left]We nearly burnt our faces off and ruined our microphones.[/quote_left] It’s usually just little short sounds that make me smile, for instance the dog bark that’s layered in “Dulcet” reminds me of the evening I spent trying to record my friend’s overly hyper puppy.

Your music sounds quite personal and reflective. Which track on your *outstanding” Dulcet EP is closest to you emotionally and why?

“Dulcet” definitely feels the most original or personal sounding; in terms of techniques and the style of the track, it feels the most honest to me. “Cast” is also pretty personal, but if I explained why it would just sound so stupid.

How did you get hooked up with Sonic Router, and are there any plans for a Full Length on the label?

As a blog they’d previously featured a few of my earlier tracks: a remix I did for my friend Crewdson and another earlier bit called “Moters”. Plus I really liked how they presented the first Torus tape (their first release), so I just figured that with the earlier interest they might be interested in doing something with me and I shot them a message on Soundcloud.

Before Sonic Router was around as a label, I was putting out my own stuff through Health (Sound Healers), as I could never really find a label that I felt fit aesthetically and at the same time was interested in my music. So I was really happy when SR started doing a label and offered to put me out. They really put in the work, promotion wise, and have been very open minded in what tracks to use and always keep me informed with what’s going on with the releases. I do have a lot of music already made, so maybe there could be an album on the cards next. We haven’t really discussed it right now, so we’ll just have to see…

About this new mix you recorded for us. Is this what we can expect from a Bambooman DJ set? Or do you play different stuff when deejaying?

This mix is pretty different than what I’d play out, because I’m not really a DJ. I’ve always just played my own stuff live (or as live as it can be with my set up). The mix is definitely on a darker, more lo-fi tip then maybe I expected, but it’s mainly tracks from friends and tracks that have inspired me, as well as a few bits from myself. I wanted to showcase some of the more beat-centred stuff I’ve been digging and new bits from some great UK MCs.

What’s your studio looking like? Anything special in your setup? Anything you absolutely can’t produce without?

It’s pretty bare to be brutally honest; it’s just a PC with Cubase, alongside quite a lot of shakers and percussion bits, plus a glockenspiel and a cassette deck. My little Zoom field recorder is pretty essential, and I guess whatever microphones I can get my hands on. My friends are pretty awesome with lending me their instruments to record too, which definitely helps a lot.

As a young producer, what was the most impactful live show/gig you’ve witnessed?

Seeing bands like Deerhoof and Battles play really stick out; they both have such a unique sound, and they really pushed the boundaries of what I thought was possible with a traditional band set up. Recently though, nothing beats seeing Golden Teacher play live, those dudes are insane!

As a DJ, what was the most memorable gig you performed at?

I’ve had the privilege of playing some really cool gigs recently; but for me the most memorable has got to be playing with Samiyam at Catacomb in Leeds. It was just so great to have him over here, in my home town. It was a really special gig. 

Where would you take us out to eat in Leeds for under $10? 

L’Oraniase is a really nice Moroccan cafe in Hyde Park. Maybe we’d go there…

Yumm. What’s your snack of choice in the studio?

Bread and hummus. Or Reeses’ Nutrageous. + Yorkshire Tea.

Where do you waste most of your time when procrastinating?

In dusty rooms, thinking I’m about to sneeze but not actually sneezing.

Hahaha, thanks man! Big Up!