The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

News

INTERVIEW: Shift Work
Laurie Tuffrey , July 14th, 2014 11:56

With their debut EP just out, we talk to Mark Harris from the London electronics duo; listen to three tracks below

Today, Optimo Music release Scaled To Fit, the debut EP from London's Shift Work. It's a set of pulsating, arpeggiated bangers that they've coaxed from half-heard vocal samples and synths (linked up with "some very tidy wiring", they're quick to add) working at full pelt. Alongside three original tracks, it opens with a rework of 'Patience' by Optimo boss JD Twitch - listen to that alongside the title track and 'Associations' above. We asked the duo's Mark Harris to tell us more about the Shift Work, so have a read of that below and get hold of the EP either on vinyl or download via Boomkat here.

What is Shift Work?

Mark Harris: Johnny Rivo, myself, mid-priced synths, low-end vintage effects, endless improvising, experimenting, recording and equipment buying/selling, sample-searching... and more re-recording.

Fill us in on the tracks on your EP.

MH: About half of these tracks - 'Patience', 'Associations' - were written relatively quickly, in that mysterious way when one minute you have a half decent set of sounds and the next the whole track has fallen into place and you have no idea how. 'Scaled To Fit' is probably the oldest and took quite a while to form, we were moulding and editing that for quite a while and it only really took shape when left to rest for a bit... Johnny returned to it with fresh ears, redid all the drums to the mental percussion you hear now and it was finished. '[Less] Merchandise' was our attempt to remix another 16-minute track we'd done called 'Merchandise'; we just spent a few days recording odd sounds and experiments, along with whispering and shouting ad-hoc phrases loosely based on the central sample - a guy narrating some prose about merchandising and how to create a good window display. I then took the whole thing home, ponced about with some pads and that was that. It actually doesn't sound like the original at all.

In terms of influences, the first track we ever discussed when we met was DAF's 'Der Mussolini'... I think that's been in the back of our minds ever since.

What are your plans?

MH: We would like to write another, maybe two, really tight, coherent EPs, maybe some longer tracks on 10" and then a really great long-player, along with playing some live shows. We have both always thought dance music can be a little one-dimensional live sometimes. We've both played in bands before and we do in fact think of Shift Work as a band, so we'd like to try and translate some of that performance and energy you see with bands into a more dance aspect; two guys twiddling knobs for an hour can be a little boring to watch, and we're always aware of that. We're planning to put on a show in late August with two really talented video artists that we have recently started to collaborate with - we see them as a visual extension of the band, so it should be quite exciting. Stay tuned for details.

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.