Ugly sounds

Hakan Lidbo is one of the hottest techno and electro producers on electronic scene. His last album - "Robots And Rebels" - recorded together with american vocalist Quasimodo Jones smashed his fans with brilliant mix of rock and electro. We talked to him about this special album.

- What is interesting for you in rock music?

- I think rock is interesting, because the second half of the 20th century has been totally absorbed by rock in different forms and the myth of rock and roll is the strongest myth there is. The myth of smashing up hotel rooms, having sex with underage groupies, take heavy drugs and drink bad alcohol... To rock... What is that? I'm intereted in this, because I make music on a computer, that is the opposite of a rock and roll instrument, it's the guitar of the geeks, you don't stand there screaming on stage, while the crowd go nuts, but you stay home in your bedroom and create glitchy electronic noises, listening carefully through your headphones. When I met Quasimodo, we rist discussed, just in theory, what would happen, if we merged our two different styles, his punk, garage, surf and rockabilly influences with my techno and electro sounds. Our first attempts didn't really work out as we hoped for, we had to try several times to merge it into this new sound, which I think it's quite unique. I mean there are other artists, that take electronic into rock, like Felix The Housecat, Miss Kitten, Peaches, Das Bierbeben, but I think we hit something different, it's so sleezy and it's such a wild mix of styles, it's like a history book of every style of rock there is and maybe every style of techno, electro and electronica as well... Our record is an extremely conceptual album, it started off just as a thought, an experiment, but the result is extremely emotional, not very nice emotions, but still... emotions. Soul... rock and roll!

- Have you any experiences in playing rock music?

- I started plaing in some very crappy bands in my old hometown Malmoe in the very south of Sweden, not very far from Poland actually. I played keyboards, but I often patched them through guitar distortions, pretty much like Daft Punk is doing on the new album. But my early bands never made it, they never even did any records. Luckily. And I got so fed up with dealing with sloppy, poorly motivated fellow musicians in those bands, so I bought myself a synth and a small portable studio, so I could do it all by myself instead. And the rest is history.

- What are your favourite rock groups and why?

- I have a very open definition of what rock is, but... anyway:
1. Kiss - was my first big heroes, the walls of my room as a kid was completely covered with Kiss' posters, when I grew up I discovered, that they also did some really good songs... and some very bad ones as well.
2. Sex Pistols - when I first heard "God Save The Queen" on my little radio in 1977, when I was a kid, I tell you, it was one of the biggest musical moments of my life, maybe one of the biggest moments in all... When I first heard punk, it blew my mind. I grew up in a small town of Malmoe, so I never heard New York Dolls or Iggy Pop and all that until after the punk explosion.
3. Motorhead - they combined the speed of punk with the heaviness of metal. One fo the most important rock bands ever.
4. The Jam - maybe more off a pop band really, but their late 70's albums were really good, not silly poppy like the all "Mod Cons" album and not over pretentious, like Paul Weller's solo albums, but smart, political and pretty dark.
5. Joy Division - needless to say... Extremely influential, so well-produced and the mood fitted the mind of trendy, pale, suicidal kids in the early 80s. I wasn't suicidal, but the totally pitch black hopelessness they expressed, together with The Cure's "Pornography" album, really touched my heart. And it still does. I never saw them on concert, but then I saw New Order live in 1981... It was one of the greatest musical moments of my life.

- What have rock and techno in common?

- Lots. It's white man's version of black music. Rock and roll took the energy from rhythm and blues, techno took the energy and rhythms from tribal african music and black disco. All good music in the last 50 years has been about black and white. Soul that is all black is boring, rock that is all white is boring, not to mention techno, where every drop of black blood has been drained out of the music (lots of dutch and german trance), so there's nothing left, but white tastelessness... That's very boring. It's when black and white meet it becomes interesting. The kind of rock background Quasimodo has, lots of gritty, noisy, trashy stuff is very simlar to what I'm looking for in my recent techno and electro productions. I'm not looking for the most crisp and elegant production, I'm not looking for beautiful sounds and fat, impressive sounds, today it's so easy to do that, I'm looking for the ugly sounds, bad mixing, noise, crackles, humming, distortion. We're both into that and that's a reason we could work together.

- Why did you decide to mix rock with techno and electro?

- As I said earlier, we started of just talking about it before actually meeting in the studio. It began as an experiment. I wanted to see, how far I could take my trashy electro, Quasimodo wanted to expand his rock and make it dirty in a new way, hard and electric.

- Where did you meet Quasimodo Jones?

- We met in Stockholm, I was at a friend's party and then I bumped into this rather dangerous looking character. But he didn't kill me, he just said "Hi" and then we talked about music for a few hours and got drunk.

- What is your opinion about him?

- He's a very cool guy. Extremely talented, he has a unique guitar sound and a unique way of writing songs and lyrics. It all comes straight from his heart and that's the definition of a true musician. He's also a very clever guy with opinions about most things, that are going on in the world today. When we speak about the big issues, I agree most of the times, but in some respect we don't share the same viewpoint, I guess we come from very different background, but I always respect his ideas.

- Is he really exist?

- Of course, the computer graphics isn't good enough to create a fake character like that. I know that I've used many pseudonumes, before when I've released records, but in the techno and house genre lots of people do that, so I'm not different from anyone else. But again - Qausimodo Jones does exist - and he is deffinately not me, the album is a collaboration between the both of us and it could never have happened, if I didn't have the fortune of getting to know Quasimodo and get invited into his musical universe.

- What is interested for you in american white trash subculture?

- Not particularly. I know Quasimodo comes from that sort of background and he's been involved with some pretty nasty characters earlier in his life, so I guess that's where the inspiration comes from. To me it's just a different angle, when you make electronic music you often find yourself using the same inspiration over and over again, sci-fi novels and films, influences from 60's and 70's black culture... but never white trash and trailer parks. I just think it gives the album a nice flavour and it proved to me, that electro can merge with rock and sometimes be more rock that rock itselves.

- What did look your work with Quasimodo Jones in studio?

- We did all the songs in different ways, some started with the lyrics, some with a guitar line, some with a beat, some with a concept or a theme. But all the tracks were made pretty fast, intuitive and we never got stuck polishing details. It's a rock album and it needs the nerve and energy, that you can find on stage.

- Why did you decide to release "Robots And Rebels" in Shitkatapult?

- Well, we knew T. Raumschmiere's "The Great Rock and Roll Swindle" album, which is techno, but with a rock approach in sounds and beats. I already released my "Clockwise" EP on Shitkatapult, so knew they were very open minded and willing to try new things. But most important, I know music industry today. No one is picking up something, that doesn't sound like something, that's already on the charts. No one can afford to take any risks and release something, that doesn't sound somewhat familiar... except Shitkatapult.

- Are you going to perform concerts with Quasimodo Jones?

- There are plans for live performances, but then Quasimodo will do his things on his own and I will do my live set separately, hopefully we will get booked at the same club and the same night, but if not, he will do the shows, and I know that he will rock the crowd!

Photo: Shitkatapult



+ Gielareck - Asfalt
+ Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U. F. O. - Mantra of Love
+ Jah Wobble & Deep Space - Five Beat
+ Asahito Nanjo Group Musica - Contemporary Kagura-Metaphysics
+ Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U. F. O. - The Penultimate Galactic Bordello Also the World You Made
+ Howlin' Ghost Proletarians - Dead Roads
+ Minamo - Shining
+ Rhodri Davies/Robin Hayward/Julia Eckhardt/Lucio Capece - Amber
+ Kazushige Kinoshita/Masahiko Okura/Masafumi Ezaki - Kenon
+ Stefan Keune - Sunday Sundaes
+ Venetian Snares - Rossz Csillag Allat Született
+ Le Plastique Mystification - In The Land Of Melancholt
+ Lifend - Innerscars
+ Forsaken - Anima Mundi
+ The Magic Carpathians Project - Sonic Suicide Ethnonoise # 1
+ Ethnica Music Project - Etnika
+ Ulvens Döttrar - Värm ditt blod
+ Machine Men - Tears and Wounds
+ Advent - The Dawn
+ Eddie Zarook & Casio Casino - Haluzengenic
+ XLover - Pleasure And Romance
+ Vavamuffin - Vabang!
+ Variete - Nowy material
+ Four Tet - Everything Ecstatic
+ Like A Stuntman - Fresh Air Is Not A Worst Thing I Town
+ Stealpot - Mass Mess Age
+ Signaldrift - Girl
+ The Remote Viewer - Let Your Heart Draw A Line
+ Daft Punk - Human After All
+ Experimental Products - Glowing In The Dark
+ Band Of Endless Noise - Riders On The Bikes
+ Ruben Montesco - Slave To The Darkness
+ Peepol/Ludzie - Proffessioneller Klang/Live In Porgy And Bess
+ Water Lilly - Sputnika
+ Marc Leclair - Musique Pour 3 Femmes Enceintes
+ Lali Puna - I Thought I Was Over That: Rare, Remixed And B-Sides
+ Kości - K
+ Kiko & Gino's - Electric Boy
+ Christopher Just - Roland Flick Fairmont Princess # 1527
+ Grace Jones - I've Seen That Face Before
+ Isolee - We Are Monster
+ Jay Haze - Love For A Strange World
+ Fenin - Grounded
+ Diakof - Piloty 2
+ Delons - Wersja z napisami
+ Charles Atlas - Fabricate
+ Juan Atkins - 20 Years Metroplex 1985 - 2005
+ Ai Records 2000 - 2005
+ Adult. - D.U.M.E.

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+ Paul Plimley / Barry Guy - Sensology; Mats Gustafsson / Barry Guy - Frogging
+ The O'jays - Imagination; Chaka Khan - Classikhan
+ Albert Ayler Trio - Spiritual Unity; Live on the Riviera
+ Bronnt Industries Kapital - Virtute et Industria
+ Lee Ranaldo - Music for Stage and Screen
+ Fernanda Porto - Fernanda Porto
+ The Dynamic Duo Rashied Ali & Arthur Rhames - Remember Trane and Bird
+ Kyle Gann - Long Night; Rick Fox - Fade; Jim Fox - Descansos, past
+ Adult. - D.U.M.E.
+ Various Artists - The Meta Collection; Asana 3 - Peaceful Heart
+ Kandia Kouyate - Biriko; Tartit - Ichichila; Abyssinia Infinite - Zion Roots
+ Various Artists - Run It Red Mick Hucknall Selects from 10 Years of Blood and Fire Classics; Dennis Brown Presents Prince Jammy - Umoja / 20th Century DEBwise
+ Jack Wright - Up For Grabs; Michel Doneda / Jack Wright / Tatsuya Nakatani - From Between
+ William Parker Quartet - Sound Unity; David S. Ware Quartets - Live in The World
+ Anthony Milton - Sirens & Where The Coloured Planes are Rafts; Seht - The Voice of the Taniwha; Brasil And The Gallowbrothers Band - The Band Plays On, The Diunes Move On (You Caught me with my Eyes Closed)
+ Thurston Moore / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 1; Thuja / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 2; Jackie-O Motherfucker / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 3; Jim O'rourke / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 4; Christina Carter / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 5; My Cat Is An Alien - On Air at Sound Projecting; My Cat Is An Alien - Through The Reflex of the Rain; Roberto Opalio - Chants from Isolated Ghosts
+ Christ. - Seeing and Doing; Kyo Ichinose - Iontano; Prhizzm - Prhizzm EP
+ Chris Brown - Talking Drum
+ Basil Kirchin - Abstractions of the Industrial North

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+ Ugly sounds - Hakan Lidbo - wywiad
+ Audio-visual assault - Quasimodo Jones - wywiad