Clash caught up with influencial breaks artist Tipper for Issue 28 of the magazine. Here you can read the full transcript of our chat.
How would you say your sound has evolved over time, your latest material is markedly different to your early output?
Whilst I seem to have become best known for the more “dancefloor breakbeat” material I have released in the past, there has always been a slew of other styles on the 'back burner of self-indulgence' throughout the last 15 years. For the moment, I feel like I have offered all I can to the breaks “genre” without becoming too repetitious, so it feels natural to now focus on releasing other styles, hence the “markedly different material” you speak of.
As far as the evolution of my sound over time, I would say the most notable change would be better quality production.
As the tools of the trade have sharpened, along with my own personal knowledge of sound production, the constant learning curve we are all subjected to has been on the unstoppable exponential increase. Taking that into account, we could assume that things will continue to sharpen and focus until we all explode in some sort of megalithic crescendo. Wouldn't that be nice.
Not a perfectionist. Just very stubborn.
How has your attitude and approach to making music changed since you started out?
Less Equipment. More cynicism.
As a musical collective...even just as a collective on the human experiential level, we do all seem to be caught in a rut currently. I don't think many people would dispute this. There is not enough focus on simply being creative, which is sad really, as that is the purest foundation of any artform.
What sources of inspiration do you draw upon when you're making music?
Can you describe how you set about creating your latest album?
Pretty simple really. Get up. Make tea and sit in the studio pressing buttons until it feels like my soul is trying to climb out of its disintegrating husk. Then I know it's time to take a break. Then repeat cycle....Ad Infinitum.
Do you consciously set out to challenge people with your music or is it just a case of getting your ideas out of your head and recorded?
Not other people. But certainly myself. Otherwise there's not much point right?
Would you say you're a perfectionist? If so, how does this manifest itself when you're creating music?
Not a perfectionist. Just very stubborn.
What influence do you think you've had on the current breaks scene and does that matter at all to you?
Not much and no.
Do you feel part of any scene, breaks or otherwise?
You seem quite wary of the press. What's behind this? Have you been victim of shoddy journalism in the past?
Hahahaha... Name me someone who hasn't? The only reason I appear weary of press, is because press, like a lot of musical genres, follows a formula that becomes tiresome and repetitious. To be sent the same questions over and over again will start to grind down one's enthusiasm for interesting answers. (Hence the reason I opted to skip a question earlier in this interview :-)....(please don't take offence to that, as none is intended.)
What's your view of the media, the music press in particular?
The previous answer should shed some light on that question.
I don't watch TV, so that particular avenue of “taint” has ceased to tar me.
Does the public perception of you or your music matter to you? If not, what IS most important to you?
Nothing matters right?
Bass plays a huge part in your music, do you hope to affect people through using such loud, low frequencies and in what ways?
I hope it makes them feel all warm and wobbly and enhances their weirdness receptors as we spin around on this strange ball.
How important is the emotional impact of your music on people to you?
As long as people don't throw stuff at me, then I'm not too fussed.
How much more technology is required in surround sound production? How does this approach impact upon your production technique and affect/transmute the ideas you have and how they are realised?
For the benefit of any reader unfamiliar with surround sound, it basically entails the use of multiple speakers (usually a 5.1 set-up) placed around the listener to create an immersive sound environment. So one typically requires 5 or more speakers and an audio interface through which to route them. Other than that all you really need these days is a computer and the right software and you are good to go. The real magic is in the mix, so a huge amount of emphasis rests on the placement and movement of sounds through space-time. Essentially your canvas is now enveloping you, whereas with a stereo speaker set-up, one is sort of “confronted” by the sound instead of “cuddled” by it.
It employs such a different modicum of approach when there is so much more space to fill on your virtual canvas. It allows very full and complex arrangements to sit comfortably in the overall mix. True can be said of the opposite, in that simple single sounds can be used to such different effect, than had one been restricted to two speakers.
Put it this way, it means a lot more hours in front of the computer and a lot less hours entertaining the outside world. Brain cap controlled music software anyone?....please?
You are an incredibly prolific producer. Does that mean you are constantly in a creative zone and bursting with ideas or is it more of a compulsion?
I think it's more of a compulsion actually. I'm not entirely sure what's motivating me to keep sitting down at the computer all day until my body gives in. Let's face it, with the amount of bowel emulations I put in my compositions, it certainly can't be money or fame that’s driving me. The sound of a gastric catastrophe doesn't tend to shift too many units, at least not in the musical sense. As I am sure you are well aware, life is a little on the strange side, so maybe it's the best channel I've found to swim my way through the bizarre soup of reality without losing my shit.
Do you try to detach yourself as an artist from outside influences or negativity (such as other artists, the media etc) so that your work is untainted by them?
I think it's too late. I appear to have already been “tarred with the ole' tainty brush.” Quite liberally.
Confuze-us say: “It's a large pot of taint, that allows tainty brush to paint.”
And paint he will.
Everyone needs to earn a living. As a producer and label owner do you think it's possible to be completely true to yourself creatively and not make any commercial concessions and still make a living?
First you would have to define the parameters of “making a living”. They are clearly hugely different perceptions amongst the cross section of society. I can speak only from my own relative experience and say that yes it is possible, but clearly I am a lucky exception. Don't get me wrong, I am not exactly rolling around in a Bentley with Lobster Bisque running down my cheeks. I do live a relatively humble existence and just manage to scrape by on what I earn from music sales and performance, but it certainly isn't plain sailing. So it's either make do with a minimal income and ride this insanity until the wheels fall off, or go and get one of those.....what do they call them again?....”proper jobs”?
How do you feel about your music being used for film and TV? Does hearing your music in that context change your own perception of your music?
I don't watch TV, so that particular avenue of “taint” has ceased to tar me. Therefore, yes....TV can go ahead and license what it likes from me, just so long as I don't have to be subjected to its tepid wares.
As far as film goes, I've not been able to make much headway into that realm, as it is a very tough egg to crack.
It's something that always has and always will maintain great interest from me and something I’ve always considered myself capable of..... it’s just hard to get the work when there are so many others trying to do so.
Buddha say: “patience”...... I say: “Balls. I want it now...please”
Is there any point in making or releasing music if you compromise on any level?
Sure, of course there is. If it's the “Bentley and Lobster Bisque” lifestyle one is seeking and one simply can't live happily without it, then merely throw enough shit at the proverbial wall of top 40 embarrassment, that is the state of mainstream music today and something will eventually stick. Personally, I just prefer to make strange noises, 'cos I like 'em and they make weird patterns and stuff.