TF Archives

Metamatics on Cornwall, 'Blow-Ins' & Manchester City

Author: Jonty Adderley
Saturday, February 8, 2003
"The locals are alright, but most of the people I've made friends with over the years are outsiders, people who weren't born here. The locals call us 'Blow-ins'."

Manchester born and raised electronica producer Lee Norris (aka Metamatics, Norken and Nacht Plank) first moved to Cornwall, Western England some seven years ago though he's struggled to penetrate to tight local community.

"I don't think I've got one friend who's a Devonian. I've been going to the local pub, which is about two miles away, for about six years and the locals still don't say Hello to me," he laughs.

Lee's chatting to Skrufff's Jonty Adderley about the second part of his remix album trilogy, for his second best known persona Norken. Clearly unconcerned about fitting in to tightly he retains his broad Mancunian accent and equally partisan loathing of the city's best known export Manchester United, more specifically David Beckham.

"I think he's a good footballer, David Beckham, but he plays for the scum, so I could never cheer him on," he chuckles.

Skrufff (Jonty Adderley): your new album for Norken has been entirely remixed by producers you met over the net, how did you choose them-

Metamatics: "We have a Neo-Oiuja chat room and most of the people who visit that room are musicians who want to talk about (music making) equipment. It's all about tech talk really and the usual topic is software. I had this idea for all three projects to use people I'd met in the chatroom and chose them in that way. I sent them each the parts over the next as small WAV files which they could download in a matter of minutes. They got the parts and some emailed me back their remixes in a couple of days, others took a few weeks. It was quite an easy process, actually. 20 people or so took part, they were mainly people whose music I'd heard and enjoyed."

Skrufff: Did the fact you were doing this process via the web affect the end quality-

Metamatics: "Not really, if I was sending low quality MP3 files then it would have done but good quality WAVS are quite big files of CD quality sound. I don't think sound quality matters these days, not to me anyway. As long as you've got a reasonable mix that's all that matters I hate all this perfectionism."

Skrufff: When you're making a track, how do you differentiate between it being for Metamatics, Norken and Nacht Plank-

Metamatics: "I don't really split them, but I don't sit down at the computer thinking 'Let's make a piece of music'. Right now, for example, I'm working on a Metamatics album so I'm channelling all my energy into that project, until it's finished. Once that's out the way, I'll work on Norken. The difference between the two is that Norken uses a standard 4/4 beat, like a techno/house beat, even though it\s not designed for the dance floor, whereas Metamatics is more free-flowing. But then again, there's a connection because the music has lots of strings and melodies."

Skrufff: How was your recent tour of Germany-

Metamatics: "It was interesting, we released a compilation on K7 Records called Mass Confusion with several other electronic artists and they asked me to do a tour to promote the compilation. I hadn't played live for such a long time and I thought it seemed like a good time so I bought a laptop (computer) and set off around Germany for two weeks."

Skrufff: So were you standing behind a laptop in front on hundreds of seated people-

Metamatics: "Yeah, though it was different in different cities. In places like Dresden, kind of run down East European towns, the people would just sit there and clap politely in between songs. You feel a bit of a dick (idiot) standing there by your lap top. Then in places like Berlin and Hamburg, it was completely different with everybody standing up and dancing- it felt like a rave. I didn't feel that I got anything out of the experience and didn't enjoy it, I found it really hard work, all the travelling. I