MDC Interview#49 " Maladroit "
Maladroit is Australian breakcore artist. Formerly part of the now-defunct System Corrupt collective. He has released on BRK, Hong Kong Violence, Ketacore Records, and Ende Records.
Q. Please tell us about your hometown. What kind of environment did you grow up in?
I grew up in Epping, a suburban area in NSW Australia, just north of Sydney. It was pleasant to grow up in as a child, but quiet in the way most suburbs are, I'd suspect. Very Australian, there was a pub (bar), supermarket and other shops, train station. It wasnt small but just not very exciting, especially once you were into your teenage years. And only when I was a teenager did I realise that its actually a fairly conservative political/religious area. The Great Church Of Cthulhu (aka Hillsong) was founded a few suburbs away...
Q. When did you first become interested in music? What was the first CD or record you bought?
Both my parents listened to a lot of music when I was growing up. My fathers musical tastes run from old blues and soul to doo-wop and 60s pop like the Beach Boys and Phil Spector as well as a lot of 50s + 60s comedy records. My mother loves stuff such as the Beatles, Jaques Brel and Leonard Cohen. I remember getting several cassette compilations of 80s pop which I loved hugely and which definitely influenced my sampling... when I was a teenager a friend introduced me to Metallica and that led me into a love of heavy metal - Slayer/Danzig/Megadeth/Ministry etc. But I do have a childhood memory of my father bringing home the 7" singles of Walk Like An Egyptian by the Bangles, Dont Worry be Happy by Bobby McFerrin and the Ghostbusters theme by Ray Parker jr.
Q. When did you start making music on your own? What equipment did you first use? What genres of music did you make?
I first started trying to make music around 1997/98(?). My family had purchased a pc so a friend managed to install the fasttracker program on it - which didnt work - then Sonic Foundrys ACID program. I began trying to write gabber/drum n bass and some hip hop kind of stuff. Im not sure I was making a genre of music, I was just making a mess.
Q. Did you go to any Rave or Hardcore parties in Australia? What is the best DJ or Live act you've experienced?
The only hardcore parties I really went to were Bloody Fist shows in Newcastle, and Sydney dance parties such as Freaky Loops, organised by Clan Analogue. So basically parties in Sydney, a few scattered shows at pubs with acts, or the dance music tent at rock festivals like the Big Day Out.
Best dj or live act I saw? Mr Bungle/Secret Chiefs were both amazing, as were Hall and Oates. I played a show with Lightning Bolt in Amsterdam and they were absolutely amazing as well... Metallica on the black album tour, Sick Of It All, Dragonforce, Ice Cube, Passenger Of Shit, Alan Partridge, its too hard to choose one...
Q. When did Maladroit start? What kind of activities did you do in the beginning?
ummmm around 98/99 I was introduced to the music of Bloody Fist records, who were doing shows about 1.5 hours north of Sydney, as a schoolmate was friends with Hedonist, who had released a few records on the label. Some of my mates in Epping had formed a group called the Pilfernators, and we all shared a love of hardcore/Bloody Fist. The first party I played at was in a school hall we had rented in the next suburb, and from there john 556a of the Pilfernators began putting on shows in Sydney at various venues, having a mix of people playing, from gabber/hardcore to jungle/breakbeat stuff. I was usually playing off tracks off a friends laptop or playing my cd-rs that Id burn on the day. The parties were largely in pubs/bars or at squats or occasionally clubs that would tolerate us. Having said that Im sure that there was a System:Corrupt party that ended with a bouncer throwing a SL-1200 turntable onto the road. Everyone is a critic!
Q. I think Maladroit has been making Breakcore since the beginning. When did you first learn about Breakcore? Have you been writing music with breakcore in mind from the beginning?
I came across breakcore on the internet when I was looking for Bloody Fist mp3s. I remember finding some dj Fishead mixes and Venetian Snares ragga breakbeat tracks, as well as Doormouse, Kid 606 and Knifehandchop. Id heard DHR and Alec Empire stuff as well, but id never really enjoyed their drums, or their lack of a groove, so the early european and american proto breakcore was really interesting to discover.
I guess I was trying to emulate Bloody Fist and/or the drum n bass/Aphex Twin I was listening to... I remember hearing some jungle on a moonshine records cd and thinking about how Id program the drum patterns myself etc.
The first time I remember having a live experience of breakcore would have been around 2000/1. I was I was living in inner Sydney, and John 556a of the Pilfernators had been called up by Dj Zeitgeist to see if they were able to play at a beach party not far from the city. They were unable to, so he gave her my number and she invited me. That was the first time I met most of the System:Corrupt crew, I think. It was a great experience to play music to people I actually didnt know, and they seemed to really enjoy it. I also got to see people stripping naked and running into the ocean, which my sheltered youth in suburbia had not prepared me for. So maybe not with breakcore in my mind from the beginning, but I do remember feeling as if I had found an interesting group of people with similar musical tastes.
Q. In the past, there have been several distracks between Sydney and Newcastle. Did this happen in other scenes in the 2000s? Do you think the relationship between Sydney and Newcastle was good when you started out?
I think that this comes from the sheer size and often overbearing nature of Sydney as an almost suffocating presence. The dominant dance music in Sydney was very commercial and pop oriented, which was pretty opposed to the hardcore ethos in a lot of ways. When my friends and I began making music and ended up meeting people such as Mark N, Fraughman and Epsilon they were always totally helpful and great people. As far as this happening in other scenes, I have no idea, but i wouldnt be surprised if there was a similar antipathy.
Q. You've released on Goulburn Poultry Fanciers Society and System Corrupt. I think these two labels are very important in the Australian breakcore scene. What was the state of the Australian breakcore scene before these two labels?
Before System:Corrupt, Im not even sure there was much of a scene, at least one that was coalesced and recognisable. There were a few parties going on with artists such as Al Corrupt and Mute Freak, the Pilfernators had played a few, but i think Toecutter and Dj Zeitgeist were pivotal in creating a kind of musical gravitational pull that dragged likeminded individuals to their orbit. (???)... GPFS grew out of SY:CO as we did a couple of pop and hip hop compilations, led by 7u? aka Rank Sinatra aka Dj Rainbow Ejaculation aka Fukno.
Q. When do you think Breakcore was most active in Australia? Who do you consider to be the most important Breakcore artist in Australia?
I guess when we were doing our System Corrupt free parties, around 2002/3/4/5... Other cities such as Melbourne began to have similar shows, but based far more around djs playing records from Europe, Bloody Fist, and System Corrupt.
As far as most important breakcore artist Id have to say Passenger of Shit + Toecutter. Both of these artists are just amazing and I was totally blown away by both of them. These two have such an idiosyncratic genius to their work, words fail me.
Q. What do you think is most different about Breakcore and Hardcore in Australia from other countries?
We have a self deprecating cynical sense of humour and I think that combined with a distrust of authority probably influences our music and art. Its somewhat of a cliche answer but i think that theres a grain of truth to it. We were founded as a prison but we still have the Queen as our leader. Thats a pretty twisted sense of humour right there.
Q. Your music uses a lot of pop samples. How do you choose the material to sample? Do you find samples and then write songs from them?
All the stuff I sample is basically things I like or that resonate with me. I might listen to something and Ill hear a good sample, or ill hear something and it clicks in my mind that it will work with sample X. Some samples will cascade a suggestion of other ones in my mind, it tends to be through a kind of musical "playing" that Ill start to create something. However, Im usually starting off by trying to write DNB or Gabber and i just always lose my way far too quickly...
Q. You have a very good way of using samples to create mashups of different kinds of music. You've been doing it for a long time. so, I think you are a Mashcore pioneer, what do you think about that?
I get the feeling that Ive always liked the idea of the intermixing of multiple influences. In a broader sense I think that mashing up art/music etc is a natural response to being surrounded and bombarded by so much of it, as well as having the tool to rework and recontextualise them. For example I love Weird Al Yankovic and Allan Sherman. Both these artists have created satire/comedy songs that are clever reinterpretations of pop music. I also remember hating the Scooby Doo cartoon, but sometimes Batman and Robin would guest star, and this just blew my mind, that they could exist together, this actually mightve been my first experience of a mash-up, I have never forgotten it.
Q. The sound and groove of your Amen Break is very unique, what do you consider most important when using Amen Break? And how did the classic "Amen Motherfucker" come to be?
The Amen is so good... Its a great break to chop up, I find it hard to cut it up and not enjoy the result. The Amen has such a groove and funk to it, I feel that chopping it in a way that brings this out even more is the best method. It has impressed me since I first heard Supersharpshooter and Original Nuttah. And then I realised NWA used it, and Mantronix, and Futurama! The story behind Amen Motherfucker is pretty simple actually, I was living in Melbourne, as was Mark N. We were at a mates place and he told me about this "story of the amen" on youtube that i should check out - and sample, as he knew of my Amen fetish. That was pretty much it - I went and watched it and I think wrote the track in a day or two.
Q. What part of music production do you enjoy the most?
The sampling of course, and the sequencing, where I have collected all of the raw materials together and I get to begin to piece together the track. It may not be a huge shock to people that i do enjoy programming drums a bit.
Q. You released a split with Epsilon called "Dance Like You're Spelling Gurdjieff" in 2007 and toured Europe. What was the most memorable part of your tour in Europe?
That was an extremely fun tour in general, playing the first show in the Netherlands was a great start and it kind of went from there. I really enjoyed my time in Lyon, Leipzig and Prague, but the whole affair was mind-blowing - the size of the crowds and the enthusiasm with which our music was received was just incredible. Overall though, my favourite part of any tour has been socialising with the people and playing music.
Q. What are you interested in besides music? What makes you feel happy?
I studied fine art at university so I originally come from quite a visual art background... I enjoy painting and making sculptures, kind of mixed media pieces, so my interest in collage probably informed my music... I love art, music, gaming, reading, and my collection of football shirts (Marseille 1992!).
Q. Maladroit has released many masterpieces, which ones are your personal favorites?
Such a hard question... all my songs are my favourites when I write them but rarely after that time, if that makes sense? The bass drop in Infidel I like, Amen Motherfucker people seem to enjoy and I like the didactic aspect of it - any of my Ministry remixes or perhaps the newest track I have released - in this case My Life As A Drum - out now on Evil Eye Recordings - Speedcore Massacre Vol 2!!! Look its hugely flattering to have people enjoy my music, much less have someone think of them as masterpieces, so a huge thank you.
Q. Please leave a message for our readers.
You, me, everyone that has ever existed, we are all the same soul living at different stages of its hatching.
We are all in a simulation.
It can be hard to tell
Thank you everyone for your time, its very appreciated.