A.I. - Interview For K-Mag - 21/10/2010


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Artificial Intelligence, aka Gambit & Glenn, need no introduction to drum & bass fans. Their deep and soulful sound propelled them to the upper echelons of the scene in the mid-00s but for the last few years they've been quietly working away on their much anticipated debut album, Stand Alone. It's taken longer than expected but it's finally been released and it's definitely worth the wait. We spoke to Glenn recently to find out all about it...

Tell us about Stand Alone in your own words...

It's a lot more than a collection of tracks, we've tried to show as many different angles of our production, showing our own take on many different styles. It's something I want people to listen to from beginning to end, it's more of a journey through different styles and sounds. A lot of thought went into every single process, even down to the artwork that came together after six months of going back and forth.

Why has it taken so long?

We use fully outboard equipment, loads of samplers, synths, effects units and a big 32 track mixing desk, and a lot of it was down to technical difficulties. Things went wrong with the equipment and we had to buy a new DAT machine and samplers that were exactly the same so we could finish things off. This just slowed and hindered the process.

We feel using outboard equipment has made a big contribution towards our sound, which makes it quite distinct as well. For this first album we wanted to stick with the formula of how we've been making music all this time and it is very time consuming.

Working with vocalists was another reason. There were a lot of vocalists we worked with that we couldn't feature on the album due to things like contractual reasons and the tracks not really working in a drum & bass context, some pretty big name people too. That was a long process.

Is it a relief to be finally getting it out?

A massive relief! There was a lot of pressure on us personally. A lot of the ideas are things we've been working on for years, slowly developing them. The past few months have been really enjoyable, going back into the studio and having fun again. We've got a lot of different projects lined up now.

Did the extra time help you get it exactly how you wanted it?

Maybe for us with the momentum of releasing things it would have been slightly better to have got it out a year ago, it would have made more sense release schedule wise for a label but there's no time limit in these kinds of things. It's our debut album and everyone's supporting it that we were hoping for and I'm happy it's coming out now and hopefully it's the right time for it.

Tell us about some of the production collaborations...

dBridge is a really good friend of ours and we get on well on a musical level as well as socially. Three's A Crowd was an interesting track as normally when Gambit and myself make a track there's never a point in time when only one of us is in the studio, we do literally everything together. Originally Gambit started it off with dBridge on his laptop at home and then handed it over to me and I put the bassline in and continued developing and arranging it. Then we all got together in the studio and finished it all off together. It was fun how it all came together. It took about 18 months from start to end.

The Krust track was similar, we're both huge fans and good friends. He came to our studio with this crazy computer keyboard sampler kit and we already had some breaks ready. He put it through his machines and totally screwed it up and made it sound quite different. Once we had that going we watched the French film La Haine and we used a sample from it that developed the whole idea. With the basslines we spent a session just messing around with sounds through our equipment, putting it through his equipment and resampling it.

Which vocalists did you work with?

We met Steo through Zero T and we love all the different styles he has, he does a lot of cool hip hop stuff. We thought it would be good to try something with him. This is the first time that he's done a full vocal drum & bass track and it came together really quickly and easily.

We did a track with Jenna G on her first album so we stayed in touch. We had a track and felt she was ideal for it and that was one of the last things that came together. We recorded the vocals and that fitted in easily as well.

DRS came with two separate ideas and we went along with one of them and it worked out well.

Is the album all drum & bass?

We both make other types of music but the album is all drum & bass. It's all different styles and sounds though. I know there are a lot of other albums that cross different genres but for this particular album we wanted to make a drum & bass album but in our own way.

We've been making all kinds of other music though. From house to dubstep but we're just playing around and seeing what comes naturally to us. We don't have any labels in mind yet but we've started putting some stuff aside and we'll see what happens from there.

Is there anything on the album that might surprise people?

The most obvious track is Pigeonhole, it has an old V style, a little bit jump-up but still deep and different. A lot of people have us pigeonholed as liquid and in the beginning we had to go down that road to get it in but we just wanted to show people we can make all different styles. There will be more things in the future on that kind of tip but we just want to keep trying to make a bit of everything.

What's happening with your Widescreen and Integral labels?

We're looking to restart Widescreen and really focus on that in 2011 but here and there we'll continue to contribute to V and other labels that have approached us like Breakbeat Kaos and Metalheadz.

We don't have any particular release schedule with Integral but it's doing really well. If we hear something we like then we'll back it. The next release is System's Sci-Fi and after that we have a really cool DKay 12". We also have a compilation album lined up for next year so there are quite a few bits and pieces coming.

You must have put doing remixes on hold because of the album, you must be looking forward to doing these again...

Definitely, we haven't taken on any remixes for the last year and a half purposely, apart from one for Goldie. We had an interesting one come through from Sony recently and another for Boy Better Know and I can't wait to get stuck into them.

What's next for you?

We're following the album up in February with a single or an EP and that will consist of remixes and some brand new original tracks we're currently working on.

Words: Colin Steven