In this one-off feature, Nottingham noiseniks Cantaloupe give us an insight into the behind the scenes machinations of what it takes to write, play and perform live electronica in this intriguing and rare glimpse into the intimate workings of one of our favourite new bands...
"These videos were filmed in Travelling Man, a comic shop in Manchester, in November last year. Our good friend Ben Pitman, who organizes incredible gigs under the moniker Bad Uncle, put the show together, whilst anarchic store manager Haroon Mushtaq oversaw the whole event with good grace and an industrial quantity of low-grade booze. We had the pleasure of playing alongside one of the UK's finest pop bands, Cowtown, and the whole thing was recorded, filmed and edited by Evan Wilson and Nick Steedman of Super Smash Records."
Dave: The genesis of this song came from Aaron listening closely to production on Welcome To The Pleasuredome and emailing Simmo and I the insistent bass throb and a beat. That fed a longstanding desire of ours to create a straight-up dance track that gave you that pure rush of energy, like Joey Beltram's Energy Rush.
This was one of the few songs that we worked on in a rehearsal room, working out how to intertwine the synth and guitar parts and tweaking Simmo's structure for maximum effect. I really enjoyed making the guitar sound like another synth on the majority of this track, but then playing it as choppily as possible. The crescendo melody at the end is total 16-bit end of level boss meets Harold Faltermeyer.
Simmo: This is probably the only song we've ever written that came out more or less exactly as I imagined it. Usually the start point and end point are miles apart, but here we pretty much knew exactly what to do from the moment Aaron sent over the drumbeat and bassline. For me, it's very much a tribute to the Hi-NRG stuff coming out of the gay scene in New York and San Francisco in the early 80s. We were aiming for that preposterously punishing euphoria.
Dave: Holy Cow was born out of a twist on the classic Purdie Shuffle; Simmo originally came up with a very different-sounding demo with 3 separate but linked sections. The version that ended up on the LP is drastically different, inspired by the static groove of Bowery Electric but trying to make a swing of it.
Simmo: Usually it takes me a long time to turn initial ideas in to a full demo of a song, but this only took one night to come together. The whole song is based on two different interpretations of the drum beat: one emphasizing the swing, the other playing it straight. Even though it sounds nothing like it, I had Shellac's "Didn't We Deserve A Look At You The Way You Really Are" in mind when writing it, which employs similar tricks.
Dave: The track continued mutating after we finished the album sessions; this version (only the second time we ever played it live) is slightly rearranged and we've kept on developing and changing it as we've spent time how to play as a quartet.
Dave: The guitar on this track is inspired by four separate players, all of whom I greatly admire. Firstly, Mick Turner (Dirty Three/Tren Brothers) and Dylan Carlson (Earth) - both of whom have incredible command of space but incredibly different approaches. Then the tremelo abuse of Kevin Shields (MBV) and Stef Ketteringham (Shield Your Eyes) - seeing Stef play live for the first time a couple of years ago was jaw-dropping. He approaches the guitar in a completely different way to pretty much anyone else I've ever seen.
Simmo: I really wanted the bassline to sound totally rave on this song. Probably shouldn't have gone for something in 6/8 then....
Dave: This is an old track, taken from the Splish 12" that came out on Hello Thor a couple of years ago. We often enjoy digging this out one out live - piling on the layers of bass distortion through the second half of the song is always a pleasure.
Simmo: I think this is our proggiest track. I dislike most prog, but that said I occasionally stumble across bits and bobs that are absolutely amazing. After coming up with the initial ridiculous melody, I wanted to do something that embraced prog's pomposity but did so with humour. After all the tricky silliness, the song deliberately resolves with the dumbest riff we could come up with.
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