Bandshell

For Structure 024 in my little guest mix series, Bandshell delivers 45 belting minutes of sonic wonder and bewilderment.

Angus Grant aka Bandshell is hard to categorise. With releases on the likes of Hessle Audio and Charles Drakeford’s impressive FTD imprint, Grant has been crafting his own brand of outsider art since 2011. Bandshell’s productions blend thunderous drums with arid sound designs and perverted jams, creating gloriously mutated grime/dubstep hybrids. His shock and awe inducing selections are on the same level, so I was super stoked when he agreed to put together a mix for SFS.

Tracklist:

TV Is, We Are… (Slacker)
John T. Gast – Son of Thunder
tnc6 – Walking Distances
British Murder Boys – Be Like I Am
tnc6 – Pacifier Habits
The Chameleons – Intrigue in Tangiers
Kool Keith vs. Kassem Mosse
Meat Puppets – I’m A Mindless Idiot
Meat Puppets – New Gods (Demo)
Clipse – Good Morning
Lee Marvin on the set of ‘Gorky Park’
AHC – 0f003
Lukid – The Yips

Thank you for recording the mix, really appreciate it! For the uninitiated out there, can you introduce yourself?

No worries. I make music as ‘Bandshell’ and I’ve been releasing stuff since around 2011. I’ve done records for Hessle Audio, Liberation Technologies and FTD, but at the moment I tend to self-release stuff through Bandcamp.

Tell us a little about the mix. Did anything influence you while recording it?

Not really. I tend to put mixes together in the same fashion as I do tracks, I do it on the fly in one sitting and just see what happens. I find if I think too deeply about something whilst working on it I start to lose interest and it becomes bloated and awkward and stops being fun. I did want to get those tnc6 and Chameleons tunes in there though as they’ve been on heavy rotation recently.

What was the last record you bought? And, where is your favourite spot to go record shopping?

I haven’t bought a record in years so I dunno really. If I want a physical copy of something I’ll just pick up a CD as it gives me a back up I can rip if I lose a file for whatever reason. I’m not too fussed about formats as long as the sound quality is solid so I tend to listen to WAVs (… if they’re available). I think the last CDs I bought were the soundtrack for the third season of Twin Peaks, A Guy Called Gerald – Black Secret Technology, Mobb Deep – The Infamous, PiL – Second Edition, Lee Gamble’s album on Hypedub, Confield and Miles Davis – On the Corner.

I haven’t been to a proper record shop other than the odd charity shop with a vinyl section and I buy pretty much everything online anyway so I don’t have an answer to the latter.

I’ve read in previous interviews and past articles that you didn’t/don’t go to any clubs or raves. I am very much the same these days. For myself, electronic music is more of a solitary pursuit and a form of escapism from the world, and everyone in it. Is that the same for you? Or have you started to go to raves?

Yeah, I still haven’t been to any clubs or raves. They seem great on paper, but I can’t imagine myself enjoying them. I stopped taking drugs years ago, I dislike large groups of people and I’ve always been too self-conscious to enjoy dancing. It’s just not my thing.

What was the last book you read? And does literature influence your music at all?

The last book I read was ‘Chickenhawk’ by Robert Mason – a memoir of his time as a Huey pilot during the Vietnam War – and I’m currently reading ‘Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics’ by Jonathan Wilson.

Yeah, I’d say so although it’s not something I’m conscious of whilst actually working on stuff. It usually comes through via track titles, artwork and once there’s some distance between me and the writing process e.g. ‘Metzger’ on the EP I did with Hessle is named after a lawyer from ‘The Crying of Lot 49’ by Thomas Pynchon.

I also read that you previously became bored of what was going on in radio, well apart from Hessle Audio (this was way, way back though…). What do you feel about the current state of independent radio? Do you think we are in a golden age of underground radio or do you feel its in danger of being over saturated? Also, where does your show for LYL Radio fit in? What made you start a show?

I think I originally became bored with it because I got burnt out after obsessively listening to pretty much everything I could find for a few years. I got to a point where I was just exhausted, I’d stopped finding the music interesting and it felt like everyone was playing the same tracks over and over and running them into the ground.

At the moment I don’t listen to any radio at all, but it seems pretty healthy. When I first took an interest it felt like Rinse and Sub FM were the only stations around playing what I was interested in hearing whereas nowadays there are plenty of options for that sort of stuff, plus the programming seems to have become much more varied which I think is good, particularly given that my tastes have broadened since I was a teenager listening to Rinse.

I haven’t been around long enough to make a qualified statement on whether or not we’re in a golden age of anything really, certainly not underground radio. I’m too young to have experienced any pirates other than Rinse, I only caught the last couple of years before they were awarded the community license and dubstep was the first ‘underground’ music with an active radio community that I was aware of and following. I missed jungle, garage and grime and my only real frame of reference for that stuff is tape rips and so on so I’m not really in a position to make any sort of comment on anything other than maybe the last ten years or so, if that.

With regards to oversaturation, there seem to be more and more stations popping up all over the world and I guess that makes it more difficult for communities to form around particular stations like they used to, but I don’t think that’s an issue really. Some of them will last and have some longevity, some will fizzle out. I can’t really knock people for trying to build something and communicate.

I’ve actually stopped doing my show on LYL now. They got me to do a one-off thing for an hour which I quite enjoyed then offered me a monthly slot which I initially turned down then thought about for a while and decided I should try as most people don’t get the opportunity and it could be fun. I was into it at first, but I gradually felt myself becoming more and more stressed as I didn’t really have enough music to do it every month, following that I stopped enjoying it, started to feel like I was becoming lazy and felt I shouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t doing it to the best of my ability so I gave them a shout and let them know what was going on. They were cool about it and I’m immensely grateful to them for the opportunity, but it just wasn’t for me at this particular time.

I’m increasingly obsessed with film scores. From your mixes and radio shows, I can see you include lots of samples from film. Whats your favourite film score/soundtrack at the minute? And, can you recommend any hidden gems?

I haven’t been listening to many recently, but a few original scores that I often fall back on are ‘Aguirre, Wrath of God’, Michael Nyman’s work for Peter Greenaway, Morricone’s stuff for Leone, some of the Lynch stuff (particularly ‘The Pink Room’ from ‘Fire Walk With Me’), Ry Cooder’s slide guitar stuff for ‘Paris, Texas’ and ‘Southern Comfort’, ‘Blade Runner’, ‘The Conversation’ and pretty much everything of Carpenter’s. The theme from ‘The Third Man’ always gets me too. Soundtrack-wise I’ve always been a fan of ‘High Fidelity’ and ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’, plus the usual of like Scorsese, some Wes Anderson stuff (mainly ‘Rushmore’) and whatnot.

As for hidden gems, I can’t really think of any off the top of my head. I think my score/soundtrack tastes are pretty standard tbh. I liked the score for Altman’s ‘The Long Goodbye’ quite a bit, it’s just the same song played in different styles depending on the context in which it’s used in the film.

Send me a link to a YouTube video you always go back to?

Finally, whats next for Bandshell? Do you have any releases lined up for 2018?

Nah, I stuck a tune up on Bandcamp the other day, but other than that no plans. I need to write some new music first.