ADDICTIVE TV’s ORCHESTRA OF SAMPLES
Top audio-visual electronic act return with innovative new project
Audio-visual mash-up merchants Addictive TV make innovative visual-led music that leads to a full AV experience when they’re doing live shows.
This means that they sample film clips, so that the visual and audio samples run simultaneously.
One of the foremost audio-visual acts, Addictive TV — Graham Daniels and Mark Vidler — tour the world with their dynamic, funny, kick-ass AV shows.
Just lately they’ve embarked on a new project — Orchestra Of Samples. For this they filmed recording sessions with over 150 musicians around the world, then sampled them to effectively make a digital supergroup!
The guys then matched together musical snippets from assorted singers and musicians — putting together things that otherwise you wouldn’t expect went together, by people from completely different countries and cultures. See a taster here:
Collaborators include Bjork cohort Henry Dagg, Laetitia Sadier from Stereolab and the former drummer from heavy heavy metal band Motorhead. With this project, Addictive can use all their own footage instead of sampling choice nuggets from films, TV ads, music videos etc.
Here’s the Star Trek one they did a little while back:
Now they’re debuting their new Orchestra Of Samples show in London next month — on Thursday 26th February at Rich Mix Studios in East London. Their old pal Howie B, veteran electronic experimentalist, will also be performing a live improvised set on the night.
More info here
DJ Mag caught up with the Addictive boys to find out about their new show and what else they’ve been up to…
Hi guys, can you briefly explain what it is that you do?
MARK: “We visually and sonically plunder and pillage the depths of the 'media' barrel, in search of juicy digital morsels of sight and sound, which we then twist and turn into a full-on remixed AV experience. Be it films, TV, popular music or anything that has 'musically visual' qualities, it’s all ripe for sampling.”
GRAHAM: “Yep, that explains it all very simply! We’re often asked though how do we sample, what comes first the music or the images, and the real answer is both at the same time when we compose and construct tracks.”
You were the first artists to use Pioneer’s DVD turntables, what kit are you using these days?
GRAHAM: “Yes, we were – blimey, well over 10 years ago now, we still have the original Pioneer prototype somewhere, it has a big orange sticker on it saying ‘prototype’! We also helped with the development of their AV mixer too, the SVM-1000. But these days we’ve an all Mac-based set-up with controllers and we’re working with the Native Instruments development guys testing unreleased software that’s integrated with Resolume’s Arena for live shows. It’s fantastically portable kit for us, it all goes as hand luggage!”
So what's the idea of this Orchestra of Samples project?
GRAHAM: “Essentially to shoot and record all the material ourselves for a change! The idea being to construct a kind of supergroup of musicians from all over the world by sampling the recordings we’ve made while touring and gigging internationally in recent years. And we're now discovering amazing unexpected combinations of instruments and styles that really blend in ways you wouldn’t expect. We’re not pitch shifting or time stretching, we’re just finding the samples that naturally work together.”
MARK: “The whole project’s been such an eye-opener, meeting and recording musicians playing all manner of instruments from places like Brazil and Mexico but also from countries like Kazakhstan and Senegal. We even filmed some guys in France that make bagpipes from entire whole goats, they were very very smelly instruments!”
You worked with how many musicians and producers on this project? How long did that take?
GRAHAM: “Something like over 150 now, and it’s been five years in the making. Recently we’ve recorded some great sessions with artists like Laetitia Sadier from Stereolab, who sings on one of our new tracks, and even the amazing Bjork collaborator Henry Dagg who created the Sharpsichord that she used in her ‘Biophilia’ project — we spent an evening filming the three-and-a-half tonne instrument, it’s bloody enormous!”
MARK: “I loved working with Lucas Fox, who was Motörhead’s original drummer, he was a real laugh and we recorded so many drum samples with him. The refreshing thing about this project is that one day you’re recording in a fully kitted-out studio somewhere and the next you’re recording with one mic on a rooftop in Istanbul! I love it! We even recorded in a rehearsal studio in Morocco that Bob Marley used to rehearse in — everywhere has a story!”
As electronic artists, you don’t often perform with live musicians, how’s that been with Orchestra of Samples?
GRAHAM: “It’s been fantastic, I guess with this show we’re like a weird electronic multi-media band, and it’s not often you have live musicians playing and interacting with recorded musicians on screen. In fact, that’s one of the things all the live musicians we’ve performed with have said they love about the project — it’s like nothing they’ve ever done before.”
MARK: “For me it’s a bit like being back in a band, I was guitarist and songwriter for Chicane — the shoegazing band in the ‘90s, not the DJs that came later — and it’s great to be on stage with live musicians again. In 2014 we performed the first version of the project with so many different live musicians… guitarists in Russia, Italy and France, keyboard and trumpet players in Spain, and in the UK we’ve performed with a body percussionist, a tabla player, a violinist and a concertina player. I love the fact that we’re taking electronic and acoustic music and messing with them in rather innovative ways! For February’s show we’ll have live sitar for the first time… I can’t wait!”
Where do you know Howie B from? What's he doing at this upcoming gig?
MARK: “I must remember to dust down my 12" copy of 'Angels Go Bald: Too' and take it along for him to 'permanent-ink' his moniker all over. A top quality bit of tuneage from ‘97 and definitely a mainstay in my early DJ sets! He's Scottish too… so that's entirely brilliant as far as I'm concerned!”
GRAHAM: “I’ve known Howie for donkey’s years! We first did an event together in Tokyo as it happens, back in 2003! Believe it or not, it was actually billed as Addictive TV vs Howie B, because in Japan they’re so huge on the whole visuals thing, even back then! It’s great doing something with him again. Just asking Howie for you about what he’s doing on the night… He says it’s going to be a beat-driven dub and tech surprise!”
What else are you up to?
GRAHAM: “Cineworld have just asked us to remix a bunch of forthcoming blockbusters, like the new Kingsman: The Secret Service movie and Jupiter Ascending by the directors who did The Matrix. It’s all for the launch of the UK’s first ever 4DX cinema, the ‘all five senses’ movie experience that’s a bit like a cross between seeing an action film and being on a simulator ride — so hold on to your Coke! So yeah, we’re in the middle of sampling thwacks and punches of Colin Firth hitting people as an action hero and Vin Diesel skidding and screeching around in brightly-coloured cars and turning it into dance music!”
MARK: “We’re playing at the launch event too. But we’re also getting the new Orchestra Of Samples together for February, as the show at the Rich Mix will be the first time we’ve performed this version with all the new tracks, so I’m busying myself working on guitar parts for performing live. The Rickenbacker 12-string is seriously being put through its paces!”