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Mix + Interview: Wisdom Teeth [Facta + K-LONE]

Mix + Interview: Wisdom Teeth [Facta + K-LONE]

Popping up relatively early in 2014, the Bristol label Wisdom Teeth debuted with the excellent split single by label boss Facta and the grime wunderkind Wen and has slowly absorbed the skip and slink of garage, road-toughened grime, the stoic stridency of warehouse techno, and the heaving sub-weight that dubstep had left in its wake. With a roster including friends like Acre and Hodge, and an upcoming third release which features label boss K-LONE and Etch, all portents and signs point to a bright future for the young label. I had a chance to sit and chat with both Facta and K-LONE about the killer artwork, the playful yin and yang of what makes a “Wisdom Teeth” track, and what the future holds for the label. K-LONE even threw in a dope mix running the gambit: from glassy-eyed ambient to lavender dubstep to pitch black mongrel musik.

Tracklist:
Suplington – Maborosi (Rhodo Dendron Remix)
Congi – Spoken Word (K-LONE remix)
Cube Face – Quest
Bambooman – I’m Feeling
Vegyn – Trybl
Divided – Iofil
Wen – Lunar Tide Cycle
K-LONE – Dank Feat. Ill Chill
Geode & K-LONE – Celadon
Iglew – Shadow Artefact
Iglew – Rapidly Moving Towards The Shore
Mark Pritchard – Heavy As A Stone (K-LONE Refix)
Asa Greenwood – Tread
Karma – Untitled
K-LONE – Tube Dub
LAS – Pirates
Guido – Korg Back
Geode – A Fortuitous Portal
K-LONE – Limba
K-LONE – Hope Feat. Ill Chill
K-LONE – Aqueous

interview by Jake Zeroth

It’s gotta be done, and I’m sure you guys hate doing it but… Can you let our readers know a little about yourselves? You know the usual criteria 🙂

Facta: Yo! My name’s Oscar – I make beats under the name Facta, and run the Wisdom Teeth label alongside K-LONE. Our label is dedicated to pushing various mutant strains of UK soundsystem music. So far we have done so via the music of Hodge, Wen, Acre, Etch and ourselves.

K-LONE: Easy, I’m Joe and I produce under the K-LONE moniker. I’m from London, currently live in Leeds and have been making music, working on projects and going to nights like FWD>> with Oscar since we were youngsters.

wisdomteeth

With that outta the way, let’s get to the knitty gritty of running the label itself. Wisdom Teeth is such a unique and instantly recognizable name. How’d it come about?

At the time it seemed that, by default, UK labels had to follow the same tired formula – ultra-dark, ultra-sinister aesthetics, ideally coupled with a moody, scifi-referencing name.

Facta: When it came to starting the label, we had quite a clear idea of how we wanted to present it – or, maybe more importantly, how we didn’t want to present it. At the time it seemed that, by default, UK labels had to follow the same tired formula – ultra-dark, ultra-sinister aesthetics, ideally coupled with a moody, scifi-referencing name.

We decided that we wanted to take our aesthetic somewhere a little more playful and colourful. There was no big meaning behind Wisdom Teeth – only that it sounded a bit like the name of a hip hop label or something, and that it lent itself nicely to some cool illustrations.

The label is three releases in and has already set the underground ablaze with it’s unique blend of road-wise grime, techno by way of the warehouse, and the rhythmic tentacles of the hardcore continuum. Was all this thought out or, like most things, just sorta happen spontaneously?

Facta: The sound of the label came about fairly spontaneously, I think. Like most people, we listen to a whole range of different sounds and styles of music, so it wouldn’t make sense for us to limit our output to a particular genre or tempo. Luckily for us, the UK music scene is currently in a state of absolute flux, with lots of cross-genre pollination and a definite loosening of the tribal set up that previously separated dubstep fans from DnB fans, from techno fans, from grime fans, etc… A lot of amazing music is coming out of the grey areas between these different genres, so it’s easy for us to take a similar approach with the label.

Luckily for us, the UK music scene is currently in a state of absolute flux, with lots of cross-genre pollination and a definite loosening of the tribal set up that previously separated dubstep fans from DnB fans, from techno fans, from grime fans, etc…

Following up with that train of thought, what do you guys look for in a track that makes it “Wisdom Teeth” material? I’ve noticed this dichotomy of sonic light and dark within the label’s music, with the atmospherics and the melodic content possessing a fragility to them while behind them lays the razor sharp percs, would you care to elaborate on this (un)conscious aesthetic data or am I just way off base here?

Facta: Yeah, I think you’re right about the whole light–dark thing. We’ve always been into fairly moody music in general, but both got a bit sick of overly-dark, monochrome music that was just dark for the sake of darkness. Listening back to early dubstep, grime and jungle, the music is undeniably moody – but it’s also slinky, jazzy and filled with weird melodies, grooves and splashes of colour. This is the sort of balance that we’re looking to strike with the label, I think.

WSDM002_A_side_Final

For me at least, a big part of any vinyl release is the artwork, and each release’s artwork is stunning abstraction of a glitch or some still of an old VHS tape, can you point a man in the direction of the artist(s) and why you choose to go with their artwork?

K-LONE: Cheers! I produce the colourful glitch images that make up the A-side of each record. I’ve always been interested in the outcomes of digital mistakes on image and sound – there’s something very real about the fact that these occur accidentally and in real time. If you miss the moment once, you’ll never get the same result again. I also feel that there are a lot of parallels between glitch art and sampling: utilizing someone else’s material and completely changing its context.

We also work with London-based illustrator Cressida Djambov, who produces our logos, fonts, B-side labels and club posters.

Ok, let’s shift gears to the label’s third release, the first release without the core stable of Wen, Facta, Hodge, or Acre, rather it’s split between Etch and K-LONE. Care to explain why?

I suffer from the classic tendency to dislike anything I've made within 5 minutes of finishing it, which generally means I have to finish tracks in one session or it'll stay on my computer forever.

K-LONE: We were both really keen to sign “Toxin” [Etch] as soon as we heard it – it’s quite a switch up from the rest of Etch’s productions, and we thought it would sit particularly well on Wisdom Teeth. I just love how sludgy and wet it sounds – almost like something melting. Plus it sounds incredible on a system.

We’ve been trying to put out some of my music since launching the label, but it’s taken a while to find something I’ve been happy enough to put out. I suffer from the classic tendency to dislike anything I’ve made within 5 minutes of finishing it, which generally means I have to finish tracks in one session or it’ll stay on my computer forever.

So yeah – after a lot of deliberation, we decided to go with my track “Broke” alongside “Toxin”.

You [K-LONE] have experimented with different tempos and styles, from darker, moodier sonics to an organic, Chord Marauders tip (side note: your remix of Congi’s “Spoken Word” is still crucial!), but for WSDM003, you’ve overhauled your sound to something that fuses both of your sonic particulars. Has that been a long process? Has being around the mandem helped at all?

K-LONE: It’s probably the product of going through a lot of phases of musical interest in recent years. At the time when the Chord Marauders stuff came out, I’d been obsessed with artists like D’Angelo and gospel-inspired slow jams. That group brought all of those harmonies and fruity melodies to a 140 template, so we worked well together.

Another factor, as Oscar already mentioned, is that genres have been merging and blurring in the UK recently. I think this has meant that I’ve started rolling with whatever tempo or vibe I’m interested in, rather than keeping in mind whether or not it fits with what I’ve done before. Hopefully consistency is sustained by my production style and sound palette.

I’ve recently been working on some very different stuff in collaboration with a female singer, which I plan to put out under a different alias. I’ve also been working on a bunch of tracks with an American MC called Ill Chill, which are all pretty different from the Wisdom Teeth record sonically.

What does the future hold for yourself and the label? Care to share any forthcoming secrets??

Facta: We’ve got a bunch of exciting bits signed up and ready to go – it’s just a case of being patient and pacing ourselves, so that we can dedicate enough time to giving each record the time and space it deserves. Broadly speaking, though, our plan is to continue releasing split 12”s until WSDM005, which will be followed by a big double pack compilation with a bunch of new tracks and remixes.

K-LONE: We’re also planning to get the WSDM nights up and running on a more regular basis. Plus our illustrator Cressida is working on a bunch of designs for Wisdom Teeth tees and merch…

Last question here: who’d you like to Big Up before we wrap up this interview?

Facta & K-LONE: Too many to mention! Big Up everyone sending us music, playing our music, buying our records, selling our records – you guys know who you are.

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