a brand new instalment of "And They Say There's No Such Thing As the Hardcore Continuum!"
Robin Howells's interview with postdubstep crew LHF in FACT, August 2010
Howells: People do seem to think your music strongly evokes certain precursors, for example the Metalheadz crew or DMZ. Who or what inspires you all?
Amen Ra: “Growing up I was all about jungle and hardcore from the age of about 12 or 13. I’m infected by a lot of that style, it won’t ever leave me! Also house and garage, 2step, all those old pirate sounds were all me. Broken beat sparked me massively and when dubstep started emerging that was a very deep time too, early FWD vibes. Everything I do comes through that filter...."
Double Helix: “The musical history that London’s streets and surrounding counties hold are important to me as an individual and a producer. I see the hardcore continuum as the UK’s gift to the world – its effect on the way that a massive cross-section of society interacts is huge and can’t be overlooked. Early jungle and breakbeat hardcore pioneers feature heavily in my record collection. Metalheadz 01-50 are quite possibly the most influential tracks that I own, and what Goldie did with Timeless and then Platinum Breakz Vol.1 is actually ridiculous. 90.6 FM under its many names was the home of two crews that without doubt had a massive impact on our sound, SLT and Bass Inject – they always came with new dubs on a weekly, nobody had the tunes they had and it was seriously fertile ground for music. Garage and the significant founders of the early movement that evolved from 2step into dubstep are seriously close to my heart… the beat patterns they came with were an eye opener as to what can be done at those tempos.”....
Howells: If music from what’s often referred to as the hardcore continuum is important to a lot of you, do any of you feel some sense of descent from musicians in its past? Do you think it’s necessary to be familiar with it to understand your music?
Amen Ra: “Definitely, people who do not come from the continuum will have a different understanding of our music – just as valid an understanding as people who have come from there as I think there’s enough to cater for both. There’s definitely a lineage that we feel a part of, from the early hardcore, through to jungle, through to the Metalheadz era; through garage, grime and dubstep, especially when DMZ came around. But things aren’t like what they were in the past, they aren’t as rare and underground, so we kind of have to draw a line under them eras, while remembering them at the same time if that makes sense.”
Double Helix: “It’s almost impossible to avoid the impact of its sonic lineage when you’re exposed to those sounds and ethics from a young age – the way that they interact and resonate with London as a multicultural society becomes clearer the more you look, and it’s a really powerful thing . I don’t think that grass roots familiarity with the continuum is essential to experiencing our music fully, but there will naturally be far more reference points in tracks for people that grew up with the continuum.”
Low Density Matter: “I think it’s inescapable really: if you lived anywhere near the M25 corridor once it was built, no matter how old you were, the continuum would almost definitely have affected your life in one way or another – be it through friends giving you tapes, record shops opening, people talking about the convoys, picking up rogue pirate stations in the car or even the bad press about raves. We’re no exception. The FM dial was rammed full of pirates and a ridiculous cross section of music was on tap, so you naturally develop an affinity with those sounds over the years.”
Solar Man: “We take a lot of influence from styles that have a direct connection to the continuum, and some that have influenced aspects of it without being so obvious, so it’s open to listeners of all backgrounds really. If you check beats by Amen, Helix or LDM for example, elements of garage, jungle and house are all clearly present in the sound they produce, but they’re all fused and punctuated by bursts of Bollywood, jazz, hip-hop, soul and a variety of samples from many genres.”
No Fixed Abode: “You don’t have to be familiar with the continuum to understand our sound, but it helps: there’s definitely a certain understanding of the continuum required to truly get it, I think. I twist the traditional format and bring in other influences that other heads might find too risky, as it goes too far from “UK” shit. I don’t care, this is no time to play it safe and this ain’t the time for those who just stick to what is comfortable and keeps them “in the team”.”
The fact that LHF's music is ruddy excellent is just maple syrup and whipped cream on the Belgian waffle that is their splendid fidelity to the Way, the Light and the Truth.