Asusu Interview Part Two

INTERVIEW START - Back in 08/09 there was much hype surrounding the Bristol/Berlin Dubstep/Techno crossover, while Stennett may have been labeled as an artist working in that short-lived movement, his work never slotted neatly into the box. His early work on Dubkraft may have been fairly middle of the road but his sound quickly grew into its own. Two-step rhythms garnished his tracks that appeared as the first release on the Project Squared label without ever meandering down the ‘future garage’ cul-de-sac. He had a string of releases, starting with the debut record for Project Squared in 2009, swiftly followed by a 12 for Immerse and back to PSQ for their 4th outing. Then things went quiet and frequent checks of his Soundcloud proved fruitless. About a month ago the Tape-Echo designer was asked to make the next stamp for Livity Sound, and the brief said it was by Asusu... That’s all it took. Emails were rapidly exchanged and soon enough I found myself lost in a suburban sidestreet in Bristol, trying to hunt down the 22-year-old Cheltenham-born, Bristol-based producer at his home studio, on one of his rare days off from the self-described tedium of his 9-5. As a TDK 90 is unwrapped and slotted into the tape recorder, Craig fiddles around with a project file that’s open on the screen in front of him…The tape counter starts rolling as the record button is pressed. So how did all this happen?, I ask. What was it that got you into making tracks? ‘‘Through Hip-Hop’, he replies with a grin. “Firstly the American stuff, Dj Premiere etc and then later on the UK stuff, Jehst & Braintax…Then I started rapping. ‘I have some on the computer I’ll play you.’ This idea, sadly, is quickly dismissed as he moves on. ‘From there I started bits of beats that I wanted to loop to rap over basically, I used to make loads of CDs with Nero CD burner, It’s a wave editor as well, similar to sound forge. I just taught myself really, I didn’t know what I was doing. Just by chance I dropped a tune in there one day and I realised that the peaks [in the waveform] corresponded to the beats, so through that I figured out how to loop bits and chop them into my own, erm, edits, kind of, y’know, just making mixtapes. Then I got into Boards Of Canada & Downtempo stuff, then Dubstep.’ Quite a different entry to the world of dubstep from most. For many, it seems, Drum ‘n Bass was the busiest gateway to 140, ‘No, no, I’ve never really been massively into Drum n’ Bass’ he says. ‘I buy it on vinyl occasionally, but I’ve never followed the scene like I have with dubstep & techno. Burial was what got me straight into it, and at first I didn’t really like anything else I’d heard. After that, the first stuff that really got me going was things like ‘Magnetic City’ by Kode 9 and ‘Put You Down’ by TRG, that sort of era, early 2007 when things started to get the garage and techno influences.’ The A side of his Livity Sound record, ‘Sister’ is built around an impatient and skippy rhythm that shows some traces of his earlier output. ‘Does 2-step still influence your work?’, I ask. ‘The thing is with Garage,’ he says, ‘I was always more interested in the old stuff, I wasn’t that fussed about a lot of the ‘future garage’. The production on new garage is completely different from like, you know, old EL-B and stuff, when it was all hardware.’ A lot of future garage is a bit vapid, I suggest. ‘Well, it’s a bit too clean and digital. I think that’s why EL-B, his stuff now just sounds so different. I think part of the thing is as well, I thought the dubstep/techno crossover thing died down a lot, I might be wrong, I don’t really follow it that much now, but it seemed that nobody was really making it any more. I got to a point where I was just stuck in a rut and I needed something new to listen to because I was trying to push out this garage/techno kind of stuff but by that point I think I’d become to aware of the conventions and limitations of it. ‘I think with ‘Sister’ anyway, there definitely was [the garage influence], because that was one of the first tracks I did just as I was coming out of making the more garagey stuff… ‘I don’t think with the B-side, I only made that about 3 or 4 months ago so I think that one is more representative of where I am now… its more influenced by straight and darker techno by Jeff Mills and stuff like that… I used a lot of classical samples in that one as well and that was pretty much solely [Influenced] by Biosphere.’
Asusu 'Too Much Time Has Passed' (Livity Sound) by punchdrunkmusicdotcom