B D Crujd & Chalices of the Past: One on One
Following on from our previous One on One interview, we have for you two York alumni: Chalices of the Past / Bewilderbeast a.k.a. Gus Beamish-Cook and B D Crujd a.k.a. Joe Murgatroyd. We got them together over the interwebz, this is what they cooked up:
BD Crujd: Shall I roll our balls? Could you describe the genesis of Chalices of the Past?
Chalices: Well, I wish two things: one, that the first question was part of the interview, and secondly that I had a prepared spiel about how I came to be making the music I’m making now. To be completely honest, I’ve got no idea how I progressed from making videogame tinklers to squishy RnB smoochers. I wish I knew.
C: You’ve had several monikers since I’ve known you, and I haven’t actually understood what any of them are. What does B D Crujd stand for?
BD: ‘B D Crujd’ happened due to an unhealthy love for bitcrushing my sounds, and I wanted the name to reflect this. I wondered what the word ‘bitcrushed’ would sound like bitcrushed, and I got ‘bdcrujd’. I sliced that into an initials and surname format, a small nod to one of my favourite hiphop artists, MF Doom.
BD: When and where does inspiration tend to strike, and do you have a process, conscious or organic?
C: Generally I start by getting together some Rihanna samples and just see what happens from there. Having said that, there aren’t any Rihanna samples on P4TW2.0 (heyyyy that’s and abbreviation of my album Peace 4 Tha World 2.0), so I guess I’m just lying. P4TW2.0 actually started out with an Althea and Donna sample.
I’m mainly inspired by the internet; the idea of second life and Habbo Hotel (but not actually playing them). I like to think of my music as Habbo Hotel simulations of an actual ‘real’ chalices of the past.
C: I’ve heard a pretty limited (but extremely funkay) amount of your new material as BD Crujd, whaassssss in the pipeline?
BD: Yeah, ostensibly I must look dead lazy, but behind the scenes I am compiling a number of beat tapes and mixes, the first of which has just landed. I am also on the hunt for an sp-303, and this will hopefully significantly aid the way I am making beats at the moment, and enable me to get a live set together, a thing I have always wanted but never quite managed.
BD: After a number of superb releases, do you have any aspirations to tour? What does Chalices live look and sound like, and what do you think about the performance of electronic music generally?
C: If I had the money/the fan support to tour, I definitely would. If there’s anyone organised enough to make this happen reading this out there, help me do it.
When I do live shows I normally try and get some level of audience participation because live electronic music in small venues, with small sound systems, is a funny beast. There isn’t quite enough ‘live’ elements (I sing and manipulate vocals and sometimes play digi-steel drums) to justify just standing on stage and laying down a few tracks, and the sound system isn’t big enough for it to just be like being at a club that only plays music by one person.
I want get some glowsticks involved, dinosaur masks, felt tip pens, I have lots of ideas for things that I haven’t done at shows yet. If I could actually manage to persuade people to let me play, I’d put some of these ideas in motion.
C: Your tracks, both as saccades and BD Crujd have been relatively harmonically/melodically complex, so it’ll be interesting to see how you work with an SP-303.
What kind of gear do you use at the moment? I remember you having a keyboard with a big red ‘panic’ button on it.
BD: Yeah, I think the 303 will be an addition to an arsenal, rather than usurping my current set up, which is very basic. The MIDI keyboard with the big red panic button features heavily, and I use Logic as a DAW. Despite this software emphasis practically, my approach is rooted far more in a hardware ethic, and I tend to create much like you would using a sampler and basic synth. I am no purist though; if it weren’t for Logic and the latest developments in music tech I would’t be nearly as free to create as I am now.
BD: You mentioned steel drums, and any avid listener of your music will have noticed they are everywhere in your tunes. It’s a great vibe, but how and why did that become a fixture?
C: Steeldrums just gradually worked their way into most of my tracks. I literally cannot resist them. Pretty much any piece of music with steel drums is like a mind magnet that just immediately draws me in. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I have a theoretical beach in my mind, and I’m just trying to get there.
C: As a full on, decorated and sanctioned music bro, I assume you have your fingers in multiple musical pies. What are their flavours and/or names?
BD: I’ve been playing the clarinet and sax for 13 years now, and I love my jazz, which I play most regularly with a quintet called Stories, led by another York graduate, Simon Roth. We have been in intensive rehearsal for a few months now, and we have our debut gig in April, plus a couple of recording sessions. I play a lot of improvised music too, and have worked in collaboration with what is now becoming a significant number of other musicians, spoken word performers, dancers, comedians, visual artists etc. Alongside that I have soundtracked a few independent films, occasionally play in pits for shows and teach the clarinet a bit. Plus I produce music for a day job too, so I think in total there are more pies than fingers, and it’s a case of tactically relocating the fingers into the relevant pie at the relevant time. It can be overwhelming, but it’s what I love, and I make it my business to surround myself with music making as much as I can.
BD: Do you have any advice for producers just starting out? The goblets to your Chalices, perhaps…
C: If I was going to give any advice (not that I’m particularly qualified), it’d be to keep trucking, doing whatever it is you think is good. I’m fully aware that the music I make most definitely does not appeal to the majority of other people (be it Bewilderbeast, Chalices, Teen Wolves or Parents Evening), in fact I’m surprised daily by other people enjoying some of it. I make it because making music is what I do. When I’m not making music, I’m listening to music or thinking about music.
Also, you don’t need labels, money or the latest controllers or whatever to make good tracks. You just need Rihanna samples and steel drums.
C: Music aside, some people might be interested in your talents as an occasional funny typer. What are your plans as a writer? How did the novel go?
BD: The novel died a savage death. I think perhaps one of my weaknesses is a lack of sustained vision, which is ok when I am making beats, but when you set out to do something as herculean in task as novel-writing, an inability to persevere with a single and extended piece of work is undesirable. With the music I make, I tend to work in very intense bursts, and when I start something new I am obsessed with it until the next thing starts at which point almost all my attention becomes focussed on that, so the fact that I hadn’t the time to spend solely writing a novel meant it was doomed from the start. The comedy writing continues however, and my blog Mustard Kerb gets updated once in a while, plus I have a possible stint with a new magazine from yet another York graduate Maks Mickiewicz, Tremors. Keep them peeled.
BD: Who are your spirit guides in the world of sound? Who would be your ideal mentor, living or dead?
C: The guys who I look to most consistently for inspiration are Lucky Dragons. Might seem a little weird considering the music I actually make, but they kind of get me fired up and thinking in the right way about music. Also, I’ve been listening to this Flamingods tape (Away) a lot while I’ve been doing my drawings.
Gay Against You used to be a massive influence, but I’ve kind of moved away from that now.
I listen to so much music in the average day that I almost oversaturate my brain. Everything eventually comes bubbling up in a song somewhere, but I don’t ever consciously try to immitate or appropriate elements of an individual producer’s tune, mostly because I probably wouldn’t be able to locate who or where it came from. My music listening technique is just to kind of let everything wash over me in a constant stream. Everything comes back up at some point.
If I could have one mentor I’d probably have R Stevie Moore, just because I can identify with him in a creative production kind of way; you know, just constantly making music because there isn’t any other way, but not really having any ‘central vision’ or aesthetic. Lots of atomised creation, all made for pretty much no one but yourself. I guess we’re kind of similar in that sense (you and me), having to do lots of different things at once and finding it difficult to concentrate and refine one idea.
C: Who would you choose as a mentor? Have you got any fresh-ass music recommendations for me?
BD: Fresher than fresh, I feel, is Samiyam. His release last year Sam Baker’s Album is a real zinger, plus Rap Beats Vol. 1 from 2006 is a beat bible for me. There’s also a little known belgian hiphop producer called Cupp Cave, and his beat tape Garbage Pail Beats is unbelievable. In response to the mentor query, with regards to beat making, I would love a session with Madlib, even just to see him at work.
BD: Same question.
C: Have to check that Samiyam stuff out. I’ve never properly given him an extended listen.
A guy called Sea Things is putting out some pretty next level shit at the moment. I HIGHLY recommend his ‘Jaws EP’. Also Cats’ Dusty Garage Joints Vol. I and Dusty Garage Joints Vol. II and Waking Kyoto are all huge albums full of all the fuzzy, wonkular, sticky bud dust garage/hip hop mushies anyone who knows Cats has come to love and expect. Serious blown-out kick abuse on Waking Kyoto (‘What’s Your Name?’, ‘Breaker’s Way’ and ‘Jessica’ are all favourites).
I’m currently listening to B D Crujd’s first beat tape and I have got to say that it is sounding pretty fucking hench.