BIMfest 18.12.2010     BIMfest 18.12.2010     BIMfest 18.12.2010

BIMfest 18.12.2010
BIMfest 18.12.2010
BIMfest 18.12.2010
Portion Control

Portion Control

(UK) from London are often seen as electro & Industrial pioneers and can claim that they’re one of the most famous electronic acts ever. From Depeche Mode, over Front Line Assembly & Skinny Puppy to The Prodigy, they all claim to be influenced by these electronic masters who recently proved with “Violently Alive” that they still matters in 2010.
Don’t miss these legends on this year’s BIMFEST.

Below you can enjoy some live videos of the band and an extensive interview by Didier Becu (Dark Entries Magazine).

Hello John, It feels great to interview a pioneer and legendary musician. Do you see yourself as one?

No. We were around at the beginning of the industrial/punk electronic music movement and continue to create electronic music today - so we have a long history and experience which means we are labeled as pioneers.

It might be because I’m getting old but even if I think there is today a lot of good music, I get the feeling nothing new is being made…
How do you feel about that?

I agree that lots of music fails to take risks nowadays as sales of product diminish I think this will only get worse. Groups have to rely on live performance and much music is created with this in mind. It is certainly much easier and cheaper to create music now than it has ever been which in turn creates lots of competition.

If I see Portion Control, then automatically think of all those other electronic bands who were so influential… Cabaret Voltaire, Psychic TV … Was there some kind of a scene in a sense that you knew each other?

Yes, certainly in the early 1980’s most bands were linked in some way or other. We had a flat and modest studio at 319 Kennington Road, South London within a few miles radius ... SPK, Lustmord, Nocturnal Emissions, Chris and Cosey and Funky Porcini lived...and we all knew each other reasonably well.

Back then, the guitar bands had John Peel…
I know you did a session as well, but was he equally important for the electronic scene?

John Peel was vitally important to the electronic music scene as well as the dub scene he played our singles and we were privileged enough to record a peel session. I discovered lots of music through his shows which i often taped and passed to my friends.

How what it for electronic bands? Was there actually any coverage at all? I mean, you are legendary but if you see the old footage is seemed to be still quite obscure, not?

The whole industrial, wild planet electronic music movement was always small in England with most bands playing across Europe for any recognition at all. The movement was about obscurity the music was often difficult and never translated into any sort of commercial success easily.

You tend to call yourself ‘electro-punk’, so I guess the punkattitude is of great importance to you?

We grew up out of post punk in the UK. The idea that anyone could form a group. This doesn’t seem so unusual now at all but back then it took punk and post punk to really open the floodgates to music creativity again.

You have been name checked by lots of artists some of them who happen to be millionaires by now… How does that feel? I mean in a honest world you should be been there too by now!

Commercial success has never been a driving aim and we do not profess to be musicians. We have aimed to create uncompromising electronic music and single,Mindedly set about this goal. Of course we would have appreciated being better rewarded but we also took a long break to raise families etc.

Historically seen you sort of invented the sampling idea, can you tell us something about that? Was that be coincidence or ….?

In about 1980 we heard about a sampling system called ‘Greengate’ powered by an Apple II computer and bought one of the first of these to be made commercially available. From this we learned the basic principles of sampling and the technology was set to accelerate We then progressed to the akai s900, s950 and finally our pride and main workhorse the s1000.

You know John… I miss that improvising thing in these days music scene, it all seems so (pre-) manufactured now…

Commercial pressure seems to apply automatically now. I think the naivety of the music industry allowed real creativity to occur but with that learning process disappearing creativity suffers. As was mentioned earlier taking risks is much harder now.

Sometimes they say that with todays techniques, everyone can make music…
I say true, but is it any good music?

I think having the ability to create music being so readily available is a good thing it is the punk spirit - but of course the downside is that it floods the market with copycat, manufactured stuff. Good stuff will always be around it just takes more effort than people are willing to invest.

What your opinion about the download-generation? You belong to a scene from which the back catalogues are worth a goldmine these days.

Again we have always pushed for the progressive edge and so we certainly embraced the software side of music production early on as we did with sampling etc. Most recently i’ve looked at using apps like nanostudio and beatmaker for music creation. However many people, including many too young to have been involved at the time - still want to own the original vinyl versions from the scene. I am happy with downloading although it does undervalue the product.

Do you follow the music scene?

Not really, although of course we meet other bands when we play.

The moment you signed to a major label, London Records, you were gone... Coincidence or did the major thing necked you artistically?

The major label thing just never suited our personalities, we were just not confident enough nor did we like the immediate concentration on commercial viability and profit. We had been independent and self contained for too long... this period was our unhappiest and least productive. If you look back at the independent left field electronic acts that went to major labels few, if any, succeeded.

I ask this one to everyone…
What’s your favorite all-time record and why?

The pop group Y, when this came out we hadn’t heard anything like it before. It was produced by Dennis Bovell so had loads of volume spikes, low end, feedback and dub reverbs and delays along with inventive dance oriented tracks and edgy intelligent
vocals. To top it all it came out of Bristol that, at the time, was a UK city smouldering with unrest....

You soon will be back on the BIMFEST, what can we expect?

We have been refining our live set [threat] to be as forceful as possible so expect pure sequenced electronics with plenty of bass, deans vocals, a new set of visuals mixed live into the output.... and a few surprises, of course!

Thank you so much for you time!

Didier Becu for Dark Entries Magazine.

Dark Entries
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