Black Dog Productions' Genetically Modified Unsavoury Beats
Author: jonty adderley
Monday, 28 April 2003
Granting 100% creative freedom for an entire album of remixes might be a risky proposition though when the producers involved include 808 State, CJ Bolland and Jimmy Cauty from the KLF the chances of disaster are dramatically reduced. Not that avant-garde experimentalists Black Dog Productions would be too concerned either way, judging by their position on Unsavoury Beats, their 2002 released album from which Genetically Modified has been based.
"Unsavoury Beats hasn't earned us a single cent to date, even the non-standard packaging we wanted wasn't financially viable, but we went ahead anyway," band spokesperson Keir told Skrufff.
"I don't expect we'll ever earn any money from Unsavoury Products, but that wasn't the point. Just like 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts'(David Byrne and Brian Eno's seminal album from 1982) the album will sit around, for decades, and be discovered by the people that are seeking something different."
Keir was communicating by email (maintaining a never breached policy of no face to face or telephone interviews) to questions posed by Skrufff's Jonty Adderley.
Skrufff (Jonty Adderley): By what criteria did you choose the album's remixers-
Black Dog Productions (Keir): "We sorted out the remixes by Jimmy Cauty, 808 State and CJ Bolland ourselves because they're all mates, while all of the other choices were down to Doug at Hydrogen Dukebox (Black Dog Productions' record label). We didn't have any input beyond that really."
Skrufff: How much direction did you give them-
Black Dog Productions: "None at all. To be honest, there's nothing worse than being asked to complete a remix and then being told what to do (and I speak from personal experience). The only input a remixer might have (and only if they happen to ask) is a guide to the purpose of the remix - i.e. if it's intended for radio play, then an 18 minute psychedelic dub extravaganza probably won't fit too well. Every remixer should had free rein to do whatever they want... anything less and you're not really respecting their talent in the first place."
Skrufff: When someone else remixes your song radically, does it still feel like yours-
Black Dog Productions: "I think that often relates to a degree of ego on the part of the original artist. Although it's a rather basic metaphor, remixing should be like cooking, we provide the original ingredients, but the final meal can be very different, depending on the talent and inspiration of the cook. At the end of the day, some original flavours may be very subtle in the final dish, but they are still there, and without them the meal would taste different. We don't really care what ingredients any remixer uses, as long as the results are ultimately tasty."
Skrufff: One reviewer of last year's original album Unsavoury Beats described it as 'genuinely disturbed' and another as 'commercial suicide'; were you satisfied with its results in the end-
Black Dog Productions: "We're absolutely delighted. And I'm sure, with hindsight, both will be proved completely correct. But the question automatically assumes we care, or created Unsavoury Products for commercial purposes. That reaction says a lot about today's industry and the media reaction to it. Unsavoury Beats hasn't earned us a single cent to date, even the non-standard packaging we wanted wasn't financially viable, but we went ahead anyway. Did any of the Beat writers sit down and say, 'Hey, I'm going to write a best-selling paperback novel next'. No. I don't expect we'll ever earn any money from Unsavoury Products, but that wasn't the point. Just like "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" the album will sit around, for decades, and be discovered by the people that are seeking something different."
Skrufff: How do you see your album compared to othe Tags