The Black Dog - transfiguring creative collective, vanguard for non-conformists and enigmatic production trio. The group has been a pioneering figure in UK techno for two decades. From their debut album 'Bytes' on Warp Records, under the guise 'Black Dog Productions', to the most recent 'Liber' releases on Dust Science Records - their eclectic sound reeks of rebellion and underpins the cause they stand for. Mime spoke with Ken, Richard and Martin ahead of their performance at Dystopia this weekend.
Describe to us the current line-up for both production and live performance. We sit with our machines across six different locations making the music we want, for live work we use less machines and fewer people.
Describe to us your approach to both production and live performance. There no real difference, we want to connect and have a good time, it's that simple. In a live setting, we are trying to make sure that people enjoy themselves, and get their money's worth for the ticket price. In the studio, we always write to please ourselves, more than other people. That's how we might see any difference, anyway.
Explain to us the characteristics of your domicile city and your opinion on the impact that environment imposes on creativity. Ken - I don't live in a city anymore. London was sucking me dry. Both in my wallet, and in my humanity. City folks can be so cold towards each other. So it was time to move out and find a more natural way to live. Creatively, if you have money, cities can be great. There are definite heartbeats and energies that you can tap into. But they are not the only places such energy exists. I think if you wish to be creative, you can be creative anywhere. Some places it will be easier, some harder. A person with imagination can just close their eyes, and can be anywhere they choose.
To delve on your political standpoint - what does the future outlook of people like Huxley and Orwell mean to you and how relevant are these visions to modernity? Ken- I think they were men of incredible vision, and we can see many aspects of their writing in the world today. This is obviously a tremendously sad thing, to the people who are still awake, and not skulled out on soma. One thing the modern world possesses, which they did not foresee, is the internet, and the blogosphere. Resistance is not futile, and there are more of us than them!
You all seem fairly detached from the scene and the distracting trends that often drive it off course - is this a conscious decision and where do your core influences lie? Ken - I can’t speak for Martin and Rich, but I made the conscious decision to detach, because I believed it's up to the next generation to pick up the vibe and run with it. After 23 years, I don't have to be at the front anymore. That's not to say that I'm lethargic, lazy, or not experimenting with sound. What I mean is that, I am comfortable and happy with the niche we have carved for ourselves, through diligence and hard work. We don't need to follow trends to become ‘popular’, because it was never about that. Popularity lasts for one minute, and then people are off for ‘the next big thing’. Superficiality and shallowness is all that lies down that road. So I'm really not interested in going there. On the issue of my ‘core’ influences. Well, those are the same as ever. That humanity doesn't need to be governed, farmed, taxed, squeezed or told what to do. Wise men many millennia go, said that if left alone, everything will seek and find its own level, and harmony will ensue. We may still be a thousand years away from that, maybe more, but there is always hope. In the meantime, we can bang drums and dance around without a care in the world. Much like our pagan ancestors did. And that makes me very happy indeed.
What are we to expect at your upcoming performance at Dystopia? There will most likely be beats. And some bass. A few melodies in there too. Some old tunes, and quite possibly some new. What you can expect, is that we will try very hard to make sure that people leave the room with a smile on their face.
Where next for TBD? Upstream, possibly.
The Black Dog will perform at Dystopia, alongside Andy Stott and Ø (Phase), on the 18th of August.
Listen to The Black Dog on Pulse Radio.
start selling tickets with ease
start sharing your music for free