With just under a week to go before the release of DPPLGNGRS debut album for Hottwerk Records, the wave of plaudits and big-name support shows no sign of slowing. Both DJ Magazine and XFM’s Eddy Temple-Morris have made suggestions of DPPLGNGRS being in the same lineage as The Chemical Brothers and Simian Mobile Disco, and Mixmag pronounced the album as “electro of the future”.
We collared intrepid music writer Henry Spencer and locked him in a room for a bit with DPPLGNGRS to chat about the making of “Black Market Heart Surgery”…..
A recent feature in DJ Magazine postulated that the album title might be “having a pop at an increasingly privatised NHS”. Was that really the line of thought there?
Not initially. The title actually came from Dan Stratford, a friend of ours, during a rather odd conversation. The mental imagery that the phrase conjured at the time was quite amusing – a Keith Moon-esque character (you know the one, sunglasses, flat cap, missing teeth, a plethora of watches and other hooky gear stuffed into various pockets in a grubby mac) performing DIY operations in an alleyway behind a pub….
That said, what the government seem to be doing to the NHS at the moment is disgusting and unnecessary. The whole section at the Olympics opening ceremony devoted to the brilliance and importance of the NHS was sadly casting pearls before swine.
Was that a subtle “Animal Farm” reference?
How do you feel that your sound has developed since your earliest works as DPPLGNGRS to the material on “Black Market Heart Surgery”?
DPPLGNGRS was born of a semi-official remix for Crystal Fighter’s “I Love London” (which never got released in the end); we were both wildly eclectic producers then and very much into big wobbly-bottomed electro and huge terrifying synths – I think our sound developed as we worked together and got to know each other a bit more, over time it developed a much more techno-centred focus and direction, but still without being too concerned with genre boundaries. When we first got together it was a case of throw it all in with the kitchen sink and make a huge big-arsed sound, but now I think we’ve honed our sound to have elements of techno, house, disco, electro, dub, breakbeat, early rave, funk, all manner of things in there, but now there more distilled, more measured, wielded more carefully and with more precision. It took a while to come through our formative sonic honeymoon period and end up with what became “Black Market Heart Surgery”, but the end result is very now – all of the tracks were still being tweaked and tinkered with right up until the end! It very much documents where we are right now in terms of our sound, and hopefully will stand up as a body of work in the future.
Was “Black Market Heart Surgery” approached as an album project to start with? Or did it emerge like most first albums – a selection of the best of your early works?
Kind of both, really. The idea of doing the album started life about two years ago. The tracks on the album include previous singles that have been reworked and given a new feel as album tracks [“Invaders”, the “acid redux” of “Spoons”, and “Musicboxx (Version)”] and there are tracks that were made for the album that have been, and will be singles.
We always wanted the album to be a cohesive listening experience that hangs together well. Rather than just a compendium of club bangers culled from previous EPs.
The album certainly hangs together well – there certainly seems to be the vein of a distinctive “DPPLGNGRS sound” running through there. Do you think that this is why you’ve been given the big shoes of The Chems and SMD to fill? How do you feel about these comparisons being made?
Thank you! Glad you like it. We’re hugely flattered by being compared to such behemoths. We’re both big fans of those guys, and they’re both definitely inspirations for where we’d like to take this whole thing.
Both the Chems and SMD have ploughed their own furrows without compromise and without being too bothered by constraints of fashion or genre. That’s definitely our aim too.
What’s next for DPPLGNGRS?
We’ve got DJ gigs and live shows all over the place to support the album, which should be fun. We’re currently working on another EP for the Arcade Pony label, and a couple of big-name remixes, and we’re just waiting to hear from one of our favourite labels about a three track EP that they might be signing – which, if they do, will make us very happy! We’ll probably start thinking about another album next year for release in 2014, but until then expect more remixes and releases.
Black Market Heart Surgery is out 1st October on Hottwerk Records.