Q1 Could you tell us something about yourself and your artistic background?
Yeah, My name’s Gareth…originally I’m from a small town in Leicestershire… been making a noise since I was about 11… I’m 27 now.
Was well into music from pretty early on because of my two older brothers. Both in bands and they listened to some pretty way out shit I guess.
It was cool to be exposed to stuff like Drexciya and Aphex from a young age…
I started drum tuition when I was 11 because my best mate did… though I was never really content with the normal drum sounds, so did stuff like mic up my mum’s biscuit tins and got a Yamaha drum machine for more weird noises and bass drum sounds. I then started recording stuff down to cassette tape. I used to make tracks out of all sorts, from my mates older sisters rave tapes to mega drive menu sounds. I never used to tell anyone though, just thought people would think I was weird. Especially as all my first shit sounded like horror film music. The direct result of watching too much Stephen King.
It all escalated from there really, it was post rave time around 94′ and a lot of Techno was coming out. I used to listen to that stuff Beltram, Thomas Heckman and AC/DC lol who I love, my first love musically… or just whatever music that was coming out of my brothers room… usually ‘The Cramps’ lol. I’ve been building up my studio since then, strippin it away again etc… I still like to get on the drum kit when I can too!
More notably, I spent some time as assistant sound engineer with the ‘Lo Fidelity Allstars’ in their Brighton studios… I probably gained the most knowledge about making music properly during this time. Now I’m based in trendy East London, haha
Q2 Do you work on your own? What collaborations do you participate in (label, musical partners, etc)?
‘robot for brains’ is me on my own… it’s a name I have stuck with for a while now. When I started out however…I was never really happy with my tunes. Hence me only ever really showing mates, which looking back is perhaps a little dumb of me, as it turns out people quite like a lot of my old shit I’ve got of a lot unheard stuff, some of which will be released now, others I will be posting as and when I feel to my Soundcloud/Facebook page. I’ve only just put it up, you can check it out…
I’m also part of a collective of DJ’s and producers called the ‘FM Press‘. We have started putting on nights in East London, the last one was with Mark Rae, it was great! Here I DJ as ‘Fantastic Damage‘ along side Dave Chambers, the founding member of the ‘FM Press‘. We also produced tracks together, though this stuff is really about a party vibe and having fun… you can hit us up on Soundcloud or Mixcloud… we just did a bootleg of Ramadanman & James Blake which we really like…
I’m also making some other techno stuff with Dave, It’s the first time in 10 years that I’ve made Techno and we’re both really excited about it. It’s sounding awesome and a lot of fun, but it’s hush hush for now…
Q3 Something you want to share about London music scene, some insights or recommendations?
I’m still getting my head around the London music scene… enough said !
Though I can highly recommend a night called PLEX @ Corsica Studios. I went to the first one back in 2006, the guys there are really dedicated. I now help them out a little, I did the lighting at the last one… which was wicked! So if you’re into electronic music you should get down to Corsica. Oh and not forgetting the ‘FM Press parties’ @ Star of Bethnal Green, a venue which punches well above it’s weight in my opinion… check em’ out !!!
I can also recommend a really nice French restaurant in Angel called Le Mercury… ha ha
Q4 What equipment do you use / what is your favorite piece of equipment?
Hardware & software… I love the Nord Lead 2, for anyone getting into Techno etc just get one… it will not only help you learn hands on synthesis but also provide you with perhaps the only synth you will ever REALLY need ! in my opinion…
I also like the ‘Audio Realism’ Bassline… because it replicates a hardware TB-303.. great for acid on the go!…. oh and Massey do some great free plug-ins… get them all ! This gear is all over ‘The Hard Way‘ EP.
My fave bit of hardware though is the Rokk stereo mixing console… I’m convinced I’m the only one who still actually has one haha!.. I found this weird 8 channel mixing desk in a second hand shop, they let me have it for like a tenner because only the left channel worked…. I fixed it, and it’s now great… love running shit through, that’s probably my favourite, because it looks really nice and was just a tenner
Q5 What is your work process?
With the ‘robot for brains’ stuff, the musical idea or vision is usually inset in my brain first… I see it, and it will over take all my thoughts for a few days until I get the idea down… it’s distracting from real life in a way, consuming. I’m into raw production values I guess, I think ‘robot for brains‘ is a rough sound. In the past I’ve always had my reservations about using pre processed samples, drums & loops etc… So would spend ages recording shit down and then messing with eq’s & compressors till they sounded spicy enough. Having felt like I have gone through a bit of a right of passage with that now, these days I’m not so bothered, and it’s just about doing it, time and shit…
Most of the sounds get put into Ableton first and arranged, maybe a bit of re-amping here and there, a lot of the synth parts on ‘The Hard Way‘ are re-amped or processed with some hardware in someway…then mixed in Protools after. A lot people moan about Protools, but I happen to really like it for mixing tracks.
Q6 What was the last record that you bought?
The piece of Vinyl…Mad Professor dub me crazy pt.3…. last download… ‘Andy Stott – Tell me anything’
Q7 Which artists have influenced you the most over the years?
I hate this question… let’s just say…Luke Vibert and Liam Howlett & leave it at that lol
Q8 Who would be your dream artist to work with?
Probably the GZA ha… ‘I’ve got this little fantasy… I’d quite like to make an Acid Hiphop album one day…GZA on the mic obviously !
Q9What are your next gigs and where can we preview your works online?
I’m Dj’ing as ‘robot for brains’ in Leeds, London And Glasgow over the next coming months, which is pretty bonkers for me…also the next FM Press party is 28th May @ Star of Bethnal Green.
you can check out these links below…
as ‘robot for brains’
as ‘Fantastic Damage’
Q9 Any plans for the future you want to announce here?
If the world makes it past 2012… all I can say is watch out for some jokers that go by the name of CRACK!
Thank you Gareth and all the best!
(..interview by MNanotek)