TF Archives

Ross Healy

Author: Ben Shepherd
Sunday, January 1, 1995

" I got into experimenting with beats just through listening to records, Kraftwerk and stuff, a lot of the industrial bands. I remember going out and buying a Casio F1Z sampler when they first came out, and I'd been playing drums for 14 years, so I've always been into the beats sort of things.

I bought the sampler and we used to go out and sample sounds and stuff, and it wasn't until probably early 90's when the break beats that I started thing 'shit I should start sampling breaks', and other peoples music which we had never done before, we'd always sampled field noises, or people banging lids. Anything that's got a good groove, but nowadays I'm trying to break them all up and do my own, take bits of one and another a put them together." Ross Healy is a local electronic producer who has been around since the beginning, or to say, the beginning of this whole thing commonly called techno. Ross has been in This Digital Ocean, has been Amnesia and now is now known as 56K, a drum and bass outfit on Creative Vibes, which he co-produces with another Melbourne stalwart, Simon Bowles, who incidentally lended his production and remixing talents to Melbourne's golden boy, White Sirens.

Ross' house is a casual affair, with plenty of CD's and records by the likes of Aphex Twin, Autechre, Squarepusher and T-Power, as well as a plethora of newly acquired jazz CD's bought over the internet, CD's for which he is now paying the credit card crunch. However, he is very particular about his music. I chuck on Tortoise, he likes. Spin Stereolab, he's still listening. Yet the topic of rock is something he despises, and he tells me that once he had plans to bomb Triple M headquarters in ST. Kilda Rd. Yet, the rock element of techno live is something Ross despises. "Techno is not really focused on being an entertainer, its about writing music. The world is very rock and roll oriented and the rock will always sell more, for about another 20 years, because people will still push it. Electronic music more and more people are starting to hear and it will takeover. People like to be entertained, and that's what the record company want, because that makes them all money. I never see bands when they come out because I don't like it, you lose something. If you listen to records with headphones on then you can visualise it, its like a surreal world, but if you go and see a live band then its just a dickhead standing there with a guitar." Despite the unattractiveness of such antics, many groups continue to assume that the road to success doesn't lie with pushing boundaries musically, but putting on a performance, the best example of this being the Prodigy, whose musical output has diminished in quality but there popularity has gone through the roof.

" They were quite clever in what they did, in that they turned there music into an Alice Cooper type theatrical experience. Obviously someone has told them that you sell more records if you get a guitarist on stage and if you've got some guys rockin'. I saw them live at the BDO in 1997 and I didn't like it. Speaking of the BDO, Ross played in 1997 under his Amnesia alias (under what he is recording a new album due late 1998), as well as playing with Aphex Twin at Earthcore, but the BDO was and now again will be Australia's major music festival, and I gots no doubts that Ross will be back again. "The best thing I like about the BDO is getting to see bands you like for free," said Ross, "yet another good thing is people get to see my music, which is a great thing, because a lot of Australian's don't get to hear about Australian artists, I mean there's people like Pieter Bourke, Steve Law and myself who are putting records out overseas but most people don't know who we are here. Because the BDO had electronic music there, like 10 years ago electronic music wasn't categorised as 'real music', and I was like 'well if you can hear it then its music. Nowadays that's not around anymore, people are no