Hey guys, would you be kind enough to introduce yourselves to the readers?
Andrew:I am Andrew Humphries, looooooooooord of the universe. I have run A&R at Organic Records for 2 years, helping Chris Organic to push the label to a more visible position in the world of psytrance. I grew up in Australia playing drums in rock bands and writing for various dance magazines, before moving to England where I have been for 5 years. I've DJ’d all over the world at parties such as Summer Dreaming (Aus), Plastic(Cincinnati, USA) and all across Europe and UK parties such as Return to the Source and Liquid Connective, plus ran a trance radio show on www.pirate-radio.org for 3 years. As well as releasing as part of Voice of Cod I have also released under the names of Mr. Biscuit(The Slim Shady track with Eminem samples was a highlight) and Hammerheads with Chris Organic(watch out for new stuff from us soon)...
Colin:I'm Colin - I'm the good-looking one with long hair. I've been making trance music since 1994 with OOOD, Unconscious Collective and now Voice of Cod too. OOOD and UC are still going strong after all this time which is kind of surprising to me but a very good thing! I was born in the UK and have lived here all my life although I'm also a South-African citizen. I've loved making music ever since I started piano lessons at 5 years old and have played keyboards (mainly) and bass in all sorts of bands from the age of 15; funk, rock, jazz, covers pop... I also play drums, percussion and a couple of other instruments. I've been making electronic music since 1985 when I was using Steinberg Pro24 on the Atari and have been using Cubase on the PC since 1992; although I was working in a 24-track studio when I was 17 it's only in the last 6 years or so (since Cubase VST) that I've really been getting on top of the engineering side. I also teach music tech to school kids.
Some words about what have you been doing before agreeing to answer those silly questions?
Andrew: Hmmm... Well, today I've been cleaning up the flat. I locked myself in the dishwasher for a while to see what it would be like. I found I could still reach the controls, so I gave myself a quick bath. "Hi... I'm Andrew, the one with the very strange sense of humour..."
Colin:I've been listening to some tracks people sent me for production advice and thinking about how I'm going to upgrade/repair my studio computer. I've also been helping my housemate move his sofa out of his room to make space for his new keyboard.
Ha-ha, this is going to be harder than the crazy frog interview I did yesterday.
Colin:Yeah, he told us about that. Apparently you offered him $200 to dish the dirt on what went on between him and Gadi.
Hush, it's classified.
Andrew:*wow* last night I really got into a new tune.I was getting my girlfriend to help me write good riffs that was fun. *smiles*
What is the story behind your name, Voice Of Cod, if any? And what would the Cod say if he heard your music?
Andrew:Hmmm... Well... I think the cod is a kind of being or a life force that brought me and Col together to make music.
Colin:Well we'd just written our first track, 'We Are Free', and were trying to think of a name for ourselves… I was thinking of MFG and suggested 'Voice of God'; we both just looked at each other and laughed and Andrew said "Voice of Cod, more like"... I think if the Cod heard our music he'd approve of what we have to say.
What are your sources of inspiration, and who are your musical heroes if there are any?
Andrew:I find Colin inspirational, I find we get a lot of ideas from talking - we always try to get our tunes to be about 'something' - to have a theme or meaning.. We are free to talk about our ideas and usually the first things that pop into our heads. I love the creative process - it's a lot of fun.
Colin:I'm one of these weird people who doesn't actually listen to that much music apart from when I'm working, except when I go out partying or someone else puts the stereo on. I guess my inspiration for trance comes from the process itself and from the people I work with. So often ideas will come from nowhere, from a conversation or a sound or rhythm that I might hear just walking down the road. I quit smoking a few years ago but I'll have an occasional toke at a party and that's another time when ideas flow thick and fast.I can also get really inspired just by sitting down at a piano and letting rip, especially if I'm in a particularly emotional place like I am now. It's such an evocative and inspirational instrument. As far as other musicians go I've always been a fan of Prince. I saw a home video of him jamming with his band in the studio; with his left hand he was soloing on a guitar, doing hammer-ons and pull-offs and bends and all, and with his right hand he was soloing in counterpoint on a keyboard. Absolutely phenomenal. We also used to play a few covers of his in one of my early bands.
Andrew:I also tend to suggest a lot of weird stuff which I manage to make sound like a good idea.
Andrew:Well, not wanting to steal Colin’s thunder, but like recording the sound of a crisp packet crinkling up, for example.
Colin:Yeah... Andrew's great at suggesting really bonkers things that are a real fun challenge to make work. So much good shit happens when you get two people in the studio, ideas bounce back and forth, increasing in awesome-ness - just like generating usable energy from the zero-point field.
Did that make sense, or did my brain just fall out my nose?
What lead you to Psy-Trance and what still keeps you there after so many years?
Andrew:I love Psychedelic Trance. Can't explain it any better.
Colin:The quick answer for me is Hardfloor - "Hardtrance Acperiance 2". That track changed my life and was the direct inspiration to my first release, on Phantasm in 1994. But prior to that I'd written some house tracks in the late 80s - my first acid house tune was in 1987 and there are so many things that are the same in the style to this day.
Andrew:My experience with trance and trance people has always been so rewarding. I love spiritual connections and am attracted to people from whom I can learn...
Colin:You can download that acid house track on the Voice of Cod website, actually. As for what keeps me there, it's a lot of things; the people and the sense of community that it's possible to find in the scene even these days, the fact that I love making electronic dance music and seeing people freaking out on the dancefloor to something I've written... and the fact that there's still a lot of good music being written if you're prepared to take your genre blinkers off and keep an ear out for something different occasionally.
Andrew:I agree with Colin about most of what he's said there - I loved the Hardfloor track. Love writing music... Love making twisted deep funky music...
Colin:Mainly though, it's the girls.
Andrew:Love working on a tune for 12 hrs one day then 16 hours the next then another 15 hours the next day. Love going fucking hard.
Colin:Yeah... a good studio session is fantastic... following that thread of inspiration wherever it leads.
Andrew:Dancing around the studio till I almost collapse... Remember when we knew that Bakelite Satellite (a tune off ‘We Are Free’) was finished Colin...? When I was jumping around so much in your studio that your CD shelves collapsed.
Colin:Hahahahahaha Yeah... the sign of a good track is studio devastation.
Colin, a question for you. What or rather who are O.O.O.D and who are Unconscious Collective. A quick search in Discogs.com revealed that there were some serious changes in the ensemble of Unconscious Collective, when the only constant is you.
Colin:Not just me - Stevie has stayed strong all the way through too. In fact Nigel played with us quite recently too but that's by no means a regular occurrence as his life has diverged from ours now for a few years. Anyway, O.O.O.D and Unconscious Collective are two sides of the same coin. O.O.O.D is the dancefloor side; UC is the chilled/eclectronic side. The current members are me, Stevie, and new conscripts Ramsay Melhuish and Ryo Potier - both old, old friends of ours and two of my favourite DJs.
When UC plays live we change the format from pure electronics, adding a live drum kit, guitar, percussion and three singers; this is how we played at the Glade festival this year.
I can't tell you how satisfying it is to do a live Psy-Trance set with 4 people on stage - the opportunities for messing about are endless and there's so much inspiration and improvisation. It's even better with UC as the tracks give more scope for individual expression, and we have just the tools in our hands to do that.
Andrew, a question for you. I hear you built a studio with your own hands, can you tell us about it?
Andrew:Well it wasn't just me… Definitely... There is a very good friend of mine who helped building a wall... I live in a basement flat in London with a big outside area, we built a wall across one of the sides and lo... I have a big studio space with room for a couch... Me and my mates can rock in here all night with the tunes pumping!! Then we did the sound treatment with acoustic tiles etc... Colin actually helped with that part. It has taken a few months, got some flat screen monitors now and it's all looking and sounding excellent.
Where do you work mostly, at your place or Colin's?
Andrew:Voice of Cod stuff was 95% done at Colin’s, in Bristol. It's about 2 hours on the train. Now I've got this place I've had a lot of producers say they want to come and work here... Doing a track with Nick from Error Corrective at the moment.
Colin:Almost all our music is written in my studio - it's a fantastic sounding room and I know it very well; I'm very quick at getting good results there. The only track I've finished that hasn't been done at my place is the one I did with Ott a while ago; I much prefer working here than anywhere else to be honest, although I do want to get out and about more as time goes on.
Andrew:Colin suggested that it would be a good idea if the album was all recorded at his place, to get the same sort of sound for the whole thing.
Colin:Yeah, I think you need consistency of sound for an album to hang together. It can be done in mastering but if you get it right at the start it's much easier.
What's up with this Ott tune btw? Will it be released at some point?
Colin:It will be released on the forthcoming O.O.O.D. album 'Free Range', as well as a possible compilation release after that. It's such a beautiful track - I don't need to tell anyone how talented that man is - and has really raised the spirits on every dancefloor I've played it on. I DJ’d at his birthday party a little while ago and when I played it he came rushing up to me and said "it sounds great! We must do another!
Congratulations on releasing an album with the most bizarre cover art ever. Is there any meaning behind it?
Andrew:Is it bizarre? I guess in a lot of ways Colin and I are free thinkers, free spirits, not trapped by any rules... Except our own egos. Meep.
It’s bizarre in the good way. Definitely better than the usual fractal Shiva covers.
Andrew:Colin suggested it... The 2 dogs pic... It was done by a friend of his.
Colin:Hehe... I've never thought of it as bizarre; to me it fits perfectly. It's different to normal Psytrance covers, sure, but that can only be a good thing! Those two dogs are us - they have so much personality, each one different, and look like they're just jumping off the paper. I fell in love with it when I first saw it - I knew exactly what I wanted to use it for. The original is only 5 cm.
Andrew:It's like we alternate between the two characters of the dogs... You know... I'm a moody git.
Colin:...and I'm a naive, bumbling grinning lunatic. ...and then one day I’ll be all RAAAAR and
Andrew is there with the gormless grin.
How do you explain the fact that such a cloudy and ill weathered country as yours keeps releasing the most optimistic, not to say cheerful music. If I’d live there I’d probably produce some Dark Night Psy-Trance. You really are optimistic creatures or is it some magic that keeps you smiling?
Andrew:Erm... Optimistic music? I guess we just want to lift people up.
Colin:It's the chemicals the government puts in the water. We're all fluoride junkies with holes in our brains like Swiss cheese. I think maybe there's been more thought in the UK about the purpose of psytrance than in other places; personally if people are going to put themselves in an open and vulnerable mental state whilst dancing to our music then I'd like to give them a positive experience. Although I'm sure that there are many people who would disagree with me on all of that!
Andrew:Honestly I’ve had enough bad acid trips to try to inflict that on someone. Sometimes when I'm Dj’ng I’ll play some dirty twisted stuff... I do like that music… Like Digital Talk... Sheer nightmare music but soooo well done... there's a place for it, sometimes.
Colin:I can't understand why people try and give each other nightmares with music - they say that you need the dark to appreciate the light but I think that's bollocks. There's some good 'dark' stuff out there, don't get me wrong - I've recently been mastering some great tunes out of Portugal - but it's just a different level of intensity. I can't honestly think why people want to hear bone-crunching noises in tracks when they're tripping. You have to be very careful what sensations you put in your head. But I guess society is very sick in many ways and the music people produce can do nothing but reflect that. It's no surprise to me that a lot of dark music comes out of Russia, for instance.
Andrew:Yeah I'm with you Colin... I don't really like horror films which I think is the same sort of thing... It's a part of my personality... I like good feelings...
Are there any other projects that you are working on currently, aside the completion of the debut album?
Andrew:I've mentioned the thing with Nick from Error Corrective, also doing another track with Chris Organic, and writing stuff on my own. I enjoy working on my own when I'm inspired and I am gonna attempt to write an album of my own stuff... Apart from that I'm DJ’ing a bit, playing in NYC on the 23rd, and doing Cod live sets, which we want to really hone to perfection.
Colin:I've been fiddling round the edges with the O.O.O.D album while we get the VoC LP out of the way; The artwork is 80% there and we have all the tracks; some need to be mixed again to bring them up to scratch but it's going to be great. We've also got more than enough chilled tracks for an Unconscious Collective album, probably to be titled 'You See', although we don't have a label for it yet. My main project at the moment is to fix my studio PC so I can send Andrew the final mix of the last track for the album!
Andrew:And of course more Cod tunes at some stage.