“Famous Lost Words” is the first full length release from Blu Mar Ten since 2011’s “Love Is The Devil” on their own imprint, Blu Mar Ten Music, and it’s a doozy.
I had hoped to have a chat with Chris from Blu Mar Ten, but unfortunately that didn’t work out. However he gave a really insightful interview to the Drum & Bass Arena Blog and did an incredibly interesting AskMeAnything (AMA) on Reddit last week. Sections of each are worth sharing, so with all due respect to each of those forums, I’ve pasted the best bits below.
First up is the Drum & Bass Arena Blog excerpts:
Sir what actually are the Famous Lost Words?
Without going into too much detail, the Famous Lost Words theme is to do with the melancholy of grief and regret but also the confusing feelings of elation and freedom that can be bound up in those low moments. It’s to do with missed opportunities and how to cope with them. The ‘Famous Lost Words’ track itself is quite far-ranging, sonically, but the emotional themes are very ‘kitchen sink’. It’s small-scale drama pretentiously writ large.
I ask as it’s music of travel: it reminds me of soundtracks of films where there’s a journey. Do you get inspired by stuff like that?
Yeah, film audio is always really fascinating, the overall sound design as well as the soundtracks. The 70s & 80s were interesting times in cinema. There were big budgets available for people to take big risks and do quite leftfield things in the mainstream and do them really well, before we ended up in the low-risk homogenisation we’re in now.
In terms of inspiration it’s no secret that we have a very broad love of music and constantly flit around genres and historical periods, as you can hear very obviously on our podcasts.
Photek once said “All jungle is, is whatever you listen to outside of jungle” and I think that’s absolutely true. If all you love listening to is D&B then D&B is probably the last thing you should be creating.
On the specifics, can we isolate ‘Remembered Her Wrong’ and ask about the creation of the tune and also the inference of the title?
Going back to the Famous Lost Words theme, ‘Remembered Her Wrong’ is based around the ideas in the film ‘Solaris’, which are to do with the coping of loss, regret and the drift of memory. This clip elaborates on the title.
Sonically the track reflects these ideas, with the percussion being very deliberately mechanised to indicate drudgery, someone emptily ‘going through the millions of gestures that constitute life on earth’ in order to try and find their way back to normal life after a trauma, trying to find the rhythm of the world where they used to live. The sounds overlaid are deliberately ‘wide screen’ and ethereal, written in a key that indicates a deep sadness but also hope. We massively overused reverb on all the sounds to give a sense of distance and detachment.
And? I hear there’s something very unusual in the pipeline…
We recently regained the rights to our 2003 album The Six Million Names of God so we’re looking at revisiting that with some new music and new mastering. It’s a side of our production that many people who know us for D&B are completely unaware of so we’re thinking it might be nice to reintroduce some listeners to that.
Here are a few of the more interesting questions and answers from the BMT Reddit AskMeAnything session (that saw Chris answering questions for more than 7 hours!):
Question: I’ve noticed a bit of complaining/moaning lately by deeper d&b artists (Doc Scott and Fanu) online about their position in the whole industry. They get less gigs, they are not high profile like the acts on Ram and Hospital. Have you ever felt any pressure to write more commercial sounding d&b to try and get booked for bigger gigs? Or Make some banger tune / remix to try and get on an Andy C compilation or some shit / A spot at a Hospitality night? Or are you content with being in the more left-field side of things with d&b?. Even if that means playing to audiences of 200 people rather than 2000?
BMT: good question. i think the thing is you need to be realistic about your sound. Music like ours generally isn’t suitable for 10,000 people off their nuts at a festival. And we’re ok with that. If trying to be Andy C is your aim there’s no point writing esoteric music, you need to go all out. But no, we have no interest in that. The sort of music they play in gyms isn’t the sort of music that speaks to us. As Morrisey once sang, “the music that they constantly play, it says nothing to me about my life”.
Question: Best moments in your music careers and the lowest points?
What would you say you have sacrificed to follow your dreams?
Also, I see Blu Mar Ten is the height of professionalism as both an act and a label. This, in my eyes, differentiates you from 99 percent of other drum and bass labels. What has your experience been of labels being run properly throughout your career?
Thanks for the great music.
BMT: thanks, that’s nice to hear. The best moments are when you strike a chord with people. When someone contacts you and says they’re using your music at their wedding or at the funeral of a loved one. This is incredible. Also I’d say that doing an activity that allows you to meet people and make friends in countries all over the world is about the best thing you can do. We have many people who we originally met as promoters or listeners and they’ve become great friends over the years. The lowest points are probably when you get dicked around by record labels. We’ve sacrificed many things to make music happen but that’s what you have to do if you want to really push it. You can’t turn up 6 hours a week and expect anything to come out of it. You have to let it engulf you until it sits inside you staring out of your eyes.
In terms of other labels I’d have to say Hospital is the best run label of those we have dealt with. They’re professional and above board 100%. They’re a good model to follow.
Question: Do you guys have jobs on the side? Is the label/gigs enough for you to get by on?
BMT: Yes we all have day jobs as well so the music and label work gets done at night and the gigs at weekends (obviously). Not so much time to sleep, that’s for sure. We possibly could survive from music if we really wanted to, but that’s not an avenue any of us really want to go down. It’s a path that’s littered with compromise and shit synthesizer riffs.
Question: Was B.R.O really an acronym for Bukem Rip-Off? And if so, was it meant to be cheeky? Was LTJ in on the joke or was he clueless? DnB has lost all its dolphins and whales and that’s a shame.
BMT: yes that is a true story. it’s partly called that because it had fragments of atlantis in it, and also that we always considered it a really unimaginative good looking-esque roller – a rip off of the bukem sound, as it were. Hence BRO. We mourn the dolphins too.
While you’re at it, check out the BMT podcast. Episode 15 was recently uploaded and features a wide range of genres and musical stylings.