Belleruche | Interview

By Mali Shatil

1) So you’re meeting someone mad enough not to have listened to your music before, how do you describe the Belleruche sound to them?

Our first album was called Turntable Soul Music which is how we describe our music. We make our music sampling our guitars, bass, vocals, broken synths, and then relooping, chopping, pitch shifting them to make a kind organic electronic soul music. We all listen to a lot of old Jazz and blues like Lighting Hopkins and Theolonious monk, but aren’t interested in copying this music, we want to use how it feels and translate it into how we hear and feel about music.

2) You guys have been going for a good seven years now. Indulge us, how did it all start?

Tim (DJ Modest) and I have known each other since college and had always been playing around with loops based around scratches and guitar. We got a weekly sunday evening residency at a pub in Angel called the Salmon and Compass where we used to Jam for hours on end. We then met Kathrin through friends of friends and she started coming down to jam as well. By chance we started getting booked for ‘real’ gigs, and thought we better start writing songs. We then found out we really enjoyed writing songs. Kind of felt like we were making the things that we had all always enjoyed listening to. From there we started releasing 7″ vinyl records ourselves and ended up with a record deal with Tru Thoughts.

3) Your new album ‘Rollerchain’ is out on Tru Thoughts in May – what makes the record special?

We’ve released three albums previously but this is the first time we took 6 months out from touring to concentrate on an album full time. As a result of this it has a much more dense sound and I think really reflects us as people for that 6 month period. It’s a very personal album and also we took a huge jump in terms of song writing. We didn’t just stop at an initial ideas and base the songs around that. We’d constantly be reworking the ideas until the songs became the songs the were always going to become. It’s strange but sometimes an initial idea for a song isn’t where the song is going to end up. You have to keep reminding yourself of the thing you first liked about the idea but not be afraid to change and manipulate it.  I guess like anything to which you have a gut reaction, it pays to look at it from different angles, not forgetting that your gut reaction is usually the right one

4) The single ‘Stormbird’ is already out and sounding pretty sweet. Rewind to Reflection, what’s is about? How did the track come together?

Our first single Reflection was a real life changing thing to happen. Tim had always wanted to put out a 7″ vinyl record and Kathrin and I went with the idea. There are so many good things to come out of releasing a record in this format yourself. First and maybe most important is that you it lets you know when the song’s finished and you don’t necessarily get that when working in a digital format. Once you’ve had the vinyl mastered and pressed, that’s it, that’s your song. It’s amazing for you to know that this is the finished song and to push on from there. Also it was a fantastic exeperience to release it ourselves. We made up our own record label, Hippoflex recording industries, sent it out to be reviewed and took it to record shops personally to sell. We did everything and to a certain extent we still work this way as we still manage everything ourselves. It gives you a good realistic expectation of the music industry but also proves to yourself how much you can achieve when you work at something

5) You guys certainly get around, and 2012 is no exception. Any shows you’re particularly looking forward to?

We’re really looking for to our tour in May and June. It’s the longest tour we’ve done going to Switzerland, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium and the UK. Live shows are a lot of fun and it’s been the first time we’ve had the time to rehearse the album tracks properly using the recorded songs as a starting point and working out how to play them live. Even though the songs have been recorded we’re not playing them as they are on the album as there’s a big difference between a studio track in sound and arrangemnent and what works live.

6) I don’t know about you but we’re stoked that summer is finally on the way. If you had to agree on a Belleruche band summer holiday (sandcastles, cornettos, the works), where d’you think you’d end up?

I don’t think it really matters where we go as we’ve had time in places before and just being together with a couple of days off in a strange city is pretty fun. When you work so hard at something together it’s fun just to go out for a beer in the sunshine in the evening and chat watching the sunset. We’ve done in a lot of cities and I enjoyed each time just musing about things but without the pressure of playing that night.