Published by Alessandro Violante on May 1, 2019
The origins of Gore Tech aka English musician George Liam Flett, based in Manchester an inspired by drum’n’bass and breakcore, have to be searched in the history of French breakcore label Peace Off. This is the same label on which other artists, such as Stazma The Junglechrist, Rotator and Ruby My Dear released some of their music.
The fame of this project grew outside of the breakcore underground scene thanks to the release of the Machine throne EP in 2013, by the now defunct German label Ad Noiseam run by Nicolas Chevreux, and thanks to the release of the debut album Futurphobia two years later too, a work which featured eleven songs. When Ad Noiseam called it quit, Gore Tech founded a project called EXE and released the Proximity Shift EP. Now he’s signed with Ohm Resistance, a label run by Submerged, and has released a new LP entitled Geist Fibre. That’s why we decided to ask him some questions.
Hi George! Tell us something about Gore Tech we can’t find on the Internet! What has influenced your music in the early days of your project?
One fact is I actually play cello on the track Dawn Marker and during the process of mixing and mastering Proximity Shift Aaron Spectre sent some of the basslines I made digitally in Serum through a ReVox G36 1963 reel-to-reel analog tape saturator. Recording on to tape with 11 valves and then back into the computer gives a real gritty human feel to the track.
In the early days I was very much inspired by the emerging dubstep scene that was starting to grow some real teeth here in the UK around 2009, Early Dubstep was dark and menacing and I felt drawn to It as I always favoured groove over the complexity of the IDM and breakcore styles that were around at the time. My first EP Warhound – in collaboration with Llamatron, found its way on to the Peace Off sub-label RUFF in 2011 which I think was a perfect home for the style we were going for.
What can you tell us about Geist Fibre and about your relationship with Ohm Resistance?
Geist Fibre was born to be released on Ohm Resistance, the label has such a rich history of cross-pollinating Industrial Techno sounds with Drum and bass, their back catalogue is littered with iconic tracks from both genres, With releases from artists such as Scorn, JK Flesh, Enduser, Silent Killer, Breaker and Regis yet they somehow still manage to retain a cohesive narrative throughout all their releases. Plus a label with 20 years history prove they’re doing something right.
When I sent the release to be reviewed by Kurt (Submerged) he instantly wrote me back and asked me what I needed to make this happen, Kurt and the team at Ohm have been so very supportive. Their enthusiasm, wisdom and positive attitudes essentially made Geist Fibre what it is. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome and hope to keep working with them on future releases.
During the nineties, also thanks to the role of some artists and institutions, it seemed that Internet, Virtual Reality and so on would have helped society and whould have been a positive experience for people, for example simplifying access to informations and, talking about VR, improving medical science and so on. Unfortunately, these media have contributed in alienating society and in isolating people, also due to Social Networks. Virtual Reality is mostly used by the entertainment industry, to build solitary experiences. It seems this will be only the beginning. What do you think about it?
This is a massive topic, almost too big for an interview as I have a lot to discuss on this matter, I’ll tackle VR and my apprehensions about it as the internet and it’s future is an even bigger topic!
I think VR has the potential to be one of the most widely adopted technologies of our time and I have seen some excellent applications of the technology already. For instance in supporting people with PTSD rehabilitation as well as a form of interactive therapy for people with mental health conditions.
However I think you’re right with ‘solitary experiences’ Often when I’m producing music with my headphones in my studio I recognise how isolating (which is great for introspection) it can be, and I attribute it to being ‘Jacked in’ where my studio is my console, and I’m the cowboy and it is at it’s very fundamental basis a form of escapism.
If we consider VR headsets to essentially be headphones for your eyes then it’s not impossible to see how quickly we could lose our grip on reality, disconnecting from our immediate social circles and retreating into our make-believe digital constructs whenever possible. One of the themes of Geist Fibre is ‘Human liberation’ which is often touched upon in far-fetched science fiction as a idea involving the disconnect between man and machine (or it’s symbiosys), human / cyborg relations etc, but I think it also relates to a very real here-and-now issue.
For instance: with the ongoing climate crisis that will spell-out widespread destruction of our ecosystems, habitats and food supplies and bring around a new era of political instability it’s not too far-fetched to see how widespread use of VR would be an attractive alternative for people to escape to, like a nesercery mass opiate to distract ourselves from the helplessness and futility we all feel about the world, A space in which we could actively build better worlds in cyberspace, whilst simultaneously ignoring the real world and it’s issues. It feels like this has already begin with the way we use the internet.
A VR interconnect into cyber-space could potentially be one of many small surrederings as humans to a throne made by machines, as time goes on. I find this an endless source of inspiration as an artist as well as truly terrifying as a human.
What’s happening now in the underground (and, why not, also in the mainstream) scenario in Manchester right now? What happened after the “Madchester” years?
Manchester has never been stronger, We have some fantastic creative people here generating amazing art, music and events. To name a few we have Drone at the now legendary White Hotel playing host to some of the best Industrial and Techno music around, We’ve got acts such as Andy Stott and Demdike Stare hosting their Modern Love events as well as the LVLs crew creating amazing music with the help of Metrodome, Dub Phizix, Biome and Zed Bias. EXE project is working hard to bring Manchester’s DnB scene together and facilitate the talented producers and DJs from our city. (shameless plug)
BBC Radio 6 Music is based here and have a good foothold into the Manchester International Festival. We have amazing electronic space-rock groups like Henge as well as great psych-punk bands like GNOD the list goes on. Perhaps following the later ‘Madchester’ years we’ve had an amazing squat scene I was proud to have been involved in back in the early 00s as well as a number of now iconic GASH raves that live on forever in the memories of those who were there 😉 , Viva 0161.
Listening to your new LP and thinking about Futurphobia, I think something has changed, and you’re exploring new areas of electronic music, you’re experiencing a maturation, and I agree with it. Is mine just a feeling, or do you agree with it?
I can agree with that, I’ve always favoured having something to say as the primary mission, and the the way in which it’s said being the secondary, This is why I like to explore other sub-genres quite frequently in my work, because the message is the same, the ideas and concepts have always been linear but how they’re said is in a constant state of flux, I know it sound pretentious and almost cliche to say but ‘heavy music’ has never been about what BPM its in or what ‘Genre’ you classify it as, but instead it’s about the feeling and the atmosphere of the message you’re trying to portray.
I think in a lot of ways Geist Fibre is very similar to Futurphobia in it’s style but I think there’s more of a refined delivery in this album that was perhaps lacking in the my previous work, I also have a better understanding now of what I want to achieve as well as a closer relationship with those in charge of the post production to ensure it’s managed correctly up to the final product.
How much has cyberpunk literature influenced your music? If I remember correctly, William Gibson is one important source of inspiration for you.
Massively. I can eat books whole and absorb a lot of inspiration from a good space opera, surreal graphic novel or a cyberpunk noir thriller, but none more so than I do from William Gibson’s works. Gibson’s writing style warrants a slow read, like sipping a vintage wine, I often find myself re-reading lines multiple times over as he delivers them in such a poetic manner, something I find that is lacking from other authors, perhaps it’s an outdated or pretentious medium these days.
Literature offers a music producer all of the inspiration without the worry of plagiarism, I think If I listened to other people’s music as a sole source of inspiration I would invariably end up imitating them, Literature gives you all these insane ideas and concepts and all you have to do is convert that into audio.
On another level reading is the original consensual hallucination. Except with a paperback, you aren’t required to login with biometric data, offer your consent to the book to pass on your details to third party advertisers and books don’t track your location.
You’ve released the Proximity Shift EP on a USB device. Is there a particular reason behind this Choice?
Budget restraints (haha) We didn’t have the relevant infrastructure in place to be able to press a large quantity of records and not have them piled up here in the EXE office for months to come. Equally we saw that a lot people were playing shows with USB sticks in CDJs or media players and thought it would be cool to release the EP gig-ready. They also have a cool futuristic feel to them as well as it being a physical and tactile product.
We later released Aaron Spectre’s Building The Panopticon EP on USB complete with a user guide contained in a silver zip-lock sleeve usually used for shipping computer parts as part of a concept EP. We believe that a release is ultimately more than just the audio files often it works well to put an importance on the delivery of the music as much as the music itself.
Talking about music formats, you’re releasing Geist Fibre on vinyl and digital files, but not on CD. What’s the reason behind this choice?
I don’t think it was a conscious choice, I recognise that CDs do well in some countries and not so well in others, the Japanese market for instance still buys a lot CDs. We’re still in talks with partners regarding licencing a CD version of the album for other markets so Geist Fibre may have a CD release yet to come.
We chose vinyl mainly because it’s a format myself and Ohm Resistance prefer to release on, equally electronic music still has a large community of vinyl DJs, and electronic labels could be hailed for single-handedly keeping the industry of pressing music to records alive during the 90s / 00s before it’s more recent resurgence as a dominant format for music.
I personally buy a lot of vinyl from bands and producers of all genres as I recognise it’s a statement of intent by a band to say: ‘Yes!, here’s our work!, we believe in it enough to immortalise it onto a physical format!’ and I have to say I admire that.
Nowadays we’re experiencing a renovated interest for tapes. Some underground labels are adopting that format to release their music.
Yes, It’s certainly cheaper than pressing to vinyl and with all music worth listening to being independant it’s necessary for bands and musicians to have a physical stock to sell to keep afloat. You get the same analog quality from tape as you do on vinyl. I have a tape deck here and a number of recent tape releases from acts all over the world, I also have some awesome Black Sabbath bootlegs I picked up over the years as well as mixtapes made by friends years ago that are only on tape.
Some bands will go to the effort of recording their music using analog desks and equipment and recording to tape, it makes sense for that to go onto vinyl or cassettes rather than at the last stage have it digitised and sent to Spotify for instance, As I mentioned earlier, we’ve recorded parts of Geist Fibre using tape, I think it’s good to remain open to new (or in this case old) ways of releasing music,
Thanks for this interview! If you want, greet our readers and invite them to buy your new LP!
The new album Geist Fibre is available now on 2xLP and Digital directly from Ohm Resistance and can be found here: https://ohmresistance.bandcamp.com/album/geist-fibre