Considering the amount of time I’ve known Greg Scrase (back where it all started in those glory (sic) days of Reading), there are relatively few releases that have seen the light of day. However, what we have been privileged listen to have been so damn good we really hope you get his bug too. Looking back to his Platz EP we get tracks that melded a minimal style of techno with dubstep markers but really what made the tracks stand out is their structures – the music didn’t sound like things that have come before or after Scrase. Then came Ford a split single on Militant Science with label boss Paul Blackford a mad track of splintering drum and bass, or was it electro, it was something else that was intense and exciting.
Between releases I’d meet Greg at various electronica outings and spend hours listening to tracks he has in the works being completely bamboozled by what he’d concocted of late, privileged to listen to tracks someway down the line in his. It was a year ago now I first heard the workings of his tear up jungle goings on and a longer wait still until his next release on Love Love Records the Silo Fin EP – five tracks of truly exceptional electronic music. From the tear out jungle of Broke to the gorgeous flow of title track Silo Fin I think we’re getting to what makes Greg’s music stand out. He works in all his influences from the braindance of Aphex to the dancefloor grooves of techno and the dark bass of his jungle and dub step influences into something that is uniquely him and carries over feelings when you listen to his tracks that actually this is something special, refreshing and exciting to take note of.
This mix I think represents that and introduces his sound in the best way, including his own production across the board of the sounds he makes. Also check the interview for the background on Scrase’s working processes, influences and all that jazz.
What’s your name and where do you come from?
I’m Greg Scrase, originally from Reading but now living in South London.
Who were your earliest musical inspirations?
When I started at Music Tech course at college years ago I was really into people like Meat Beat Manifesto, Nine Inch Nails and other randoms. One day we had a lesson where our lecturer would play us music and asked what we thought. I decided to stay in the break and not go for food and heard Xtal by Aphex twin. I was seriously moved and it changed my whole feeling for electronic music. I’d heard his music before and liked it but when I heard that track I’d never heard anything that moving and from that point brought that album and got properly into it and everything relating to it. I still love it today and the second tune that is probably my favourite track ever!
Around that time I used to go to a mini rave type squat party in Reading called “Kraked” which really opened my ears and eyes to loads of fresh and mental stuff. The people who ran it where really sound and organized these amazing little intimate events the second Sunday of each month where they would book lots of amazing underground electronic people . You sat listening in front of these big loud speakers on some nice cushions getting baked, drinking beer and eating cake watching strange films which where shown on a massive pile of broken TV’s that where placed all over the speakers. Each TV had its own broken way of playing the films, which worked amazingly with all the music. It was immense! Saw artists such as Venetian Snares, Chris Clark, Leafcutter John, Noodles (visual guy who did well funny set I won’t forget) Zod Records stuff which was mental and Tim Exile before he got signed to Planet Mu doing his improvised live set thing which completely blew my mind at the time! I have never been to anything with that kind of vibe since then.
What are you listening to now, has it changed much?
At the moment I always have a lot techno stuff on. Got into Regis about a year and a half ago and his stuff which led into Sandwell District and the whole Downwards techno stuff which I really like
I really love old school Jungle, my friend Benedict Siddle who did the artwork for Silo Fin and Platz and loads of other mad art who is a mad collector of the really rare hard to find vinyl only stuff from 1994-1995 which is amazing to hear has some amazing groove bass and edits and mad samples that you don’t hear anywhere else:
Aphex twin all the time really, Photodementia :O
I love the DMZ really deep bassy proper Dubstep sound so always got music that on. People such as Coki, Kromestar, Hatcha, Commodo loads more. Loving Paradox his groove and drums are just beyond.
Love Steve Reich’s music and the Vangelis Bladerunner soundtrack incredible! Boards of Canada, Pretty much everyone playing at Bloc this year. Apart from that my own music I’m working on and loads more…. When I was at College about 8 years ago I witnessed a student doing a live jam with lots of outboard electronic music gear and thought it was pretty amazing and thought I really want to do that! I brought an Electrode and K station and just messed around with them recording to a tape machine that my dad borrowed off a mate. The tape machine had a speed dial so you could pitch the synths you recorded up and down and the tape made the crappy K Station sound really analog and nice. You could also put these recorded tapes into a normal tape machine and it made the pitch even slower. I did that for a bit and then got into cutting up breaks in Cubase and through accident just found out if you copied and pasted audio it glitched up! I started putting everything together and made lots of ambient glitchy jungle type music with no real timing just messing trying work stuff out and make these sound collages, I made everything at Collage as I didn’t have a laptop at the time.
At this time a producer called Alan Gubby who ran this record label called Nanny Tango was helping students on my music tech course and asked me to do a remix for his label after hearing some of my tracks. The remix came out on 7″ vinyl of one of his tracks called Heart Machine under my full name and I’ve just carried on from then really. I didn’t really play my first proper gig until this tiny little free party in a rainy field in Devon, which was run by the people who do this festival now called Wattfest. It was wicked!
What sort of parties and labels are you involved in?
Love Love who have just released my EP Silo Fin. Militant Science an electro bass label run by Paul Blackford. Two 2 tracks of mine came out on there that you can download for free of the website called “Stakker” and “Ford”. I’m good friends with Delete who run a wicked Techno night in Bournemouth . Also a new label called Organic Analogue which should be putting out some records and starting a new splendid night in London.
You’ve gone from producing techno to all out jungle, personally I think you have your own significantly unique take on music within your trax – do you think when you start putting a track together it’s going to be this particular style, this bpm this vibe or not at all? how does that process work for you?
It’s just a mixture of listening to lots of different music that I like. Mixes, recorded live sets, going to gigs, music friends give me, and watching badly recorded live recordings on Youtube and getting inspired by what blows me away and making sounds inspired by that stuff that excite me. Mixing all those things together and hopefully making an entire song happen if the sounds I’m making have a strong enough vibe to them. I jam out loads of different noises and have a big library of loads of random sounds tones hits and loops that I’ve made over the years and add these to the tune as it slowly builds up until its done. I don’t really think about what I’m doing apart from having a bpm at the start that I set. When I’m making something the sounds just sort of lay out a vibe and set of rules that structures it into being something finished. If it doesn’t get finished I just sample or process it and try something else.
Can you run us through your studio set up?
I’ve got two Macs one really old desktop and a quite old Mac book pro that’s dying that are both joined in a loop of outboard gear so I can write something in the main one, a track, noises, loop or just solo tracks in the tune I’m making and sample the sound on my other computer and then send that through my gear. The audio goes through plugins, different boxes and effects that dramatically or subtly breathe life into something that would have been a boring and plastic before. This makes new sounds that give me more ideas that I sequence and then I just repeat the process. I use an Electribe ER-1 , 2 broken Kiaoss Pads (2 and 3) , Guitar Pedal, Akai S2000 and S2800 samplers, SH-101, K-Station, Jomox kick maker. My crappy mixer just died so I’ve lost some really nice effects and reverbs.
I’ve just had all the same gear for years so really know it all inside out. There’s tons of different features and setups you can do with each thing if you use all the outputs, inputs and midi. The Electribe is an amazing drum machine and my favourite, the things you can do with that are immense! It’s already died once but has been brought back to life!
You’ve told me at stages you got a compressor but then on some older tracks you feel there’s too much compression looking back now – what would you say to date is your biggest lesson in production you’ve learned?
I just make sure to use some sort of outboard gear effecting or adding to the tracks as a sound as it really makes making music with a computer and lot more fun. It also helps in getting sounds that would take ages of wafting around to do in a computer take seconds.
You’ve told us that you’ve learnt some new DJ tricks that have gone into this mix tell us more about them…you’re using Ableton right?
I wouldn’t say I have any tricks! I’ve just been really trying to get into DJing in Ableton in the sequencing screen instead of the clip screen in the last year mixing without warping the tracks at all. Its well good but I would love to get Traktor for playing out instead as it’s a lot tighter and the EQ’s sound nicer. My computer won’t run it without updating loads of crap which I can be bothered with at the moment as I’ve got everything working music making wise the way I want it.
Can you talk us through some of the track selections for this mix?
I just wanted to do a mix that got faster as it went along so I could put loads of my music in. As it’s all at different speeds that was the best way and its good as I can play all the different music that I like.
What are you working on right now?
Loads of stuff from Jungle, techno, electro to melodic sh-101 type epics, noise, bass music and random remixes for fun.
What do you have planned next?
I’m good mates with Oli Warwick who runs the Bristol house/bass label Schmorgasbord Records. There should be a rather strange house track I’ve made coming out on vinyl with a remix and track by a artist from Bristol who music I really like on it, plus a remix of his track by me. Will be an epic record! Hopefully a free EP split between me and Paul Blackford for Militant Science. Also playing a gig in London on this date at a night called Mandembrot on the 28th April , a festival in Oxfordshire in July called Hodgepodge Festival and if it happens a special back-to-back set at a big free party with Paul Blackford which will be epic.
- Scrase – Monoforiscra
- Scrase – Silo Fin
- Fis-t – Night Hunter
- Scrase – Sopg
- Scrase – Ov adk
- Paradox – Dystopia
- Scrase – Alopog
- Regis – Blood Witness
- Jerome sydenham – Darkroom + added noise
- Digital Mystikz – Eyes
- Aphex Twin – Blue Calx (Scrase Remix)
- Loefah – Disko Rekah
- Scrase – Bonestep
- Objekt – The Goose that got Away
- Scrase – Pilon + Scrase – Aregal 1
- Scrase – Watch your step
- The Bug – Skeng (Autechre Remix)
- Commodo – Eastern Bloc
- Mossman – Tamazigrad
- Galaxian – Warhead
- Scrase – Blackford Jungle
- Skeng Gee – Connections
- Splash – Soundboy
- Plug – Drum N Bass
- Scrase – Para
- Scrase – Broke
- Scrase – Devon + Scrase – Ice Exploration Party