Friday, 4 February 2000Downright Dishy Dolls - Nicole Skeltys and Kate Crawford have emerged as two of the more pre-eminent electronic musicians in this country after touring with the Beastie Boys, signing with Murmur, and working with Julee Cruise. As B(if)tek they're a force to be reckoned with and Inpress found out more from the erstwhile Nicole.
How long have you been making music, both by yourself and with Kate Crawford-
"I've been doing pure electronic stuff ever since my geek epiphany in Canberra at the end of 1994, when I was asked to play at my first Clan Analogue gig. The sounds and sheer talent blew my head off! Shortly afterwards, I abandoned my indie/crossover band and plunged headlong into a life of black boxes, twinkling LEDS and low bank balances. I met Kate through Clan in 1995, we released our first album Sub Vocal Theme Park with the help of Geekgirl in 1996, and the rest is history . . . I think . . . "
What keeps you inspired to make music-
"What keeps me inspired are people who can write stuff that really opens up these corridors of pleasure in your mind that you never knew were there; local underground label people and record shop owners and fans who get right behind local electronic stuff; people with positive energy and integrity . . . absolutely, these people are the real stars."
How would you define B(if)tek-
"B(if)tek at the moment is electro-eclectica, with a space-pop edge. We Think You're Dishy is a slinky, Moroderesque disco-electro homage. When we've played it at clubs, we can't help but notice it makes people dance in a happy and suggestive manner!"
To someone who's never caught the B(if)tek sound before, how would you describe what you do and the music you produce-
"Well, imagine its 2020 and you're in the lounge of an orbiting space resort, and this muzak starts to pipe out over the modular furniture and it kind'a sounds familiar - a bit like all those background sounds your appliances make - and it has this soothing, regular, pulsating backbeat . . . the sound of the womb, in other words, so it's kind'a deep and reaches into the old brain and has few hooks woven into it as well . . . yeah, and We Think You're Dishy is like the track you'd hear in the disco at 3am in the morning, when you've had too much oxygen."
What kinds of music and other producers are you into yourself-
"Locally, all releases by Clan Analogue and the Melbourne Underground Konsortium, which combines Melbourne labels IF-, Seraphic and Angel's Trumpet. From overseas it'd be all releases by Pharma and Basic Channel/Chain Reaction, Maurizio, Porter Ricks, Monolake and SND."
How do you find that the distance between the two of you affects your work together-
"Distance makes the sampler grow fonder . . .! I think it means we approach each track as a special thing, and bring a fresh approach and excitement to working together; we've had time to absorb different influences in different cities, and when we get together again it's like 'hey . . . get a load of what's new in my head!"
What other projects are you both involved with and how do these differ from B(if)tek-
"Kate has this really cool, kind of dubbed-out minimal thing going with Bo Daley from Dark Network, and it's called Clone. I hope they release an album soon - their tracks are on Clan Analogue releases, including 20 Disco Greats and MUK's very own Stoner Classix series. I do solo stuff as Artificial. It's trip-disco-funky-acid-electro-lounge music. I released an album last year called Electro Lollipop Explosion through MUK/Shock and am heavily involved in the lo-fi stoner house sounds of the Stoner Classix vinyl and comic series at the moment."
You've now signed with Murmur, which is Silverchair's label. Tell us about that.
"Well, we had a few offers from some majors early in the year, and decided to go with Murmur 'cos they seemed genuinely interested in our sound and Tags