Monday, March 30, 2015

omni trio interview

Rob Haigh interviewed about his long journey through postpunk, industrial-esoteric, minimalism, ardkore, drum'n'bass right through to his current output of meditative piano compositions.  By David Keenan, for Red Bull Music Academy.


"... In the summer of ’89, we opened Parliament Music in Hertford – and something unexpected happened. The sort of stuff that I was used to selling in London [at Virgin megastore, Oxford Street] wasn’t doing at all well in Hertford. Instead, the kids that were coming in were into a whole different world of obscure house and rave imports, and hardcore white labels – and this is where it started.

I began to immerse myself in this music and by late ’89 or ’90 some of it was really connecting with me. The newly formed Warp, R&S Records and Mute were releasing material that made a direct connection with certain innovative post-punk outfits, likeCabaret Voltaire, 23 Skidoo and Daniel Miller. Tracks by the Forgemasters, Nightmares On Wax, LFO, Renegade Soundwave, Joey Beltram and later Orbital, and the Nu Groove label were giving me the sort of buzz that I’d known in the post-punk era.

"The next piece in the jigsaw fell in to place when a customer and DJ told me about a track he’d made on his computer. I was impressed and I offered to put it out – and started a label on the strength of it. I was also intrigued as to how he’d done it. It was all done on a £250 Amiga computer with freeware tracker software. I found this inspiring. It really appealed to my post-punk D.I.Y ethos. I immediately got an Amiga and started to fuse my existing ideas with the new possibilities of sequencing and sampling. Omni Trio grew out of this experimentation.

"Meanwhile, a whole bunch of other people were doing something similar and in a short space of time. Rave had become hardcore – from which a strand called breakbeat house developed. This morphed into breakbeat techno, which became jungle techno. And I turned around to find myself part of a movement that was now known as drum & bass. This further splintered into (labeled by journalists) jump-up and “intelligent drum & bass,” darkcore, artcore, and so on. But the point was that it was always pushing forward; trying out new ideas, never settling on one definable style (throughout most of the ’90s, at least)....


"The early Omni Trio EPs were all done on an Amiga 500 with a copy of ProTracker four-track software and an old TV as a monitor. I already had a Yamaha keyboard, and I got hold of a secondhand sound module. It was a luxury for me to have a four-track studio of my own."

Kind of odd not to have a question related to the single most salient aspect of Omni Trio - the astounding breakbeat science - but a useful bit of archaeology nonetheless regarding one of the oddest zig-zagging trajectories for a musician in the after-punk era.  I'm guessing this story is a byproduct of the new expanded England's Hidden Reverse that is coming out later this year.