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si begg - noodles

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NEW LINKS:

si begg 2006 style here

neil landstrumm

little nobody

si's homepage

cristian vogel

 

[ANACHRONISTIC ORIGINAL INTRO]:

Practically zilch at all is known about this UK-based artist down here in Australia, and a majority of his releases have never made it through customs - let alone into one of our more adventurous record shops. But the few bits and pieces that have bobbed to the surface have been remarkable takes on electronica, from his work under the aliases of Buckfunk 3000, Cabbage Boy and Noodles to records recorded as just plain Si Begg. Ken Ishii rates him as one of the world's best producers, Sublime can't get enough of him, he's best mates with Cristian Vogel, and he's obsessed with Cybermen iconography. Is this the future face of electronic muzak?

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[this was a slack email chit-chat between Si and Andrez published in Zebra magazine in Melbourne way back in 1999 - read on, McDuff...]

When did you first start making electronic-based muzak, and what inspired you to do so?
"Around '86, I was in various bands, playing guitars, drums, keyboards, et cetera, and I've always been into the weirdest music I could find. It seemed that the most experimental stuff at the time was in electronic music. Also you could do it on your own - it was hard to find other people who were into making experimental
music."

What was the first electronic-based record you ever heard?
"Probably Jean Michel Jarre, my uncle used to be into his stuff and used to play it in the car. My brother's mate's dad also had 'Tubular Bells' and stuff like that. I remember being really into all the sounds and noises, the total futurism. And I was right into 'Star Wars' and 'Tron' and all those kind'a kids' sci-fi things."

What other artists and/or labels continue to influence you, or at least challenge your artistic sensibilities, as the current millennium grounds to an over-publicised halt?
"Lots of stuff. Negativland are one of my all-time favourites and still continue to influence me. Where do I start? Serotonin in the USA, T-Power, Cristian Vogel and all the No-Future crew, Tanzmuzik in Japan, Stock, Hausen and Walkman, UR are still going strong, Eerie records in the USA, the Cheap Records posse in Austria, all the turntablists - Kid Koala, Scratch Picklz - basically all the scientists out there who're trying to do something new..."

How would you describe the sounds you make to someone who'd never heard them before?
"That's really hard, because it's so hard to be objective about your own work; just the other day I did a remix that I thought was probably one of the most commercial floor-friendly things I'd done but a reviewer said it was really hardcore, challenging and extreme. All I can say is what I'm trying to do, which is make futuristic funk and sounds you've never heard before."

What's the best reaction you could hope for when someone hears your music? "...any reaction for starters; the worst thing is if someone finds it boring. I don't know. It depends on the track, if it's a club track then of course to dance and get down. Other stuff I don't know, I guess just to listen, you know, as opposed to just hearing. Actually listen..."

Here in Australia you're considered part of the more anachronistic electronic groove set that includes people like Jamie Lidell, Neil Landstrumm, Cristian Vogel, Surgeon, Tobias Schmidt, Dave Tarrida and Russ Gabriel...
"Me and Cristian go way back and we're buddies, we've been running Mosquito [the record label] together for years and we hang out and DJ together so people are bound to talk about us at the same time; we actually went to the same school, and I guess we both make music in the same new school if you know what I mean. Neil, Jamie, Tobias and Dave are all great people - we met over the years and we all seem to share a common attitude more than a sound, we check out what each other are doing and chat a lot so it's cool to have other people with the same vibe who you can talk to about ideas and stuff. I know Russ, me and Cris met him back in the early days of Ferox. He was putting out stuff that was really deep, really good. I've met Tony Surgeon - he's a great guy, we have different styles but we all respect each others' work."

Some people would call your music 'techno'. How do you feel about this, and how would you describe it yourself with just one word if pressed to do so - like now?
"Some of my stuff is techno but some of it blatantly isn't, like the Cabbage Boy album I just did for ntone/Ninja Tune - there's nothing on there with a four on the floor beat or that's over 110 bpm. In a word I guess by definition I make music; if I can have two words then it's electronic music..."

What's the difference between music produced under your own name and the sounds that grace the Buckfunk 3000 project?
"Buckfunk 3000 stuff is released on Language, and Tony Thorpe who runs it chooses pretty carefully what kind of stuff goes out under that name. We talk a lot about the music and the concepts, what direction to take it in. It was basically meant to be a fresh take on techno, which has become quite stagnant and formulaic over the last 5 years."

So why the name Buckfunk 3000?
"It was meant to be the kind of funk Buck Rogers would listen to in all those weird bars and clubs on space stations you see on 'Buck Rogers In The 25th Century' on TV. I started putting stuff out under this name about 4 years ago."

You've entered into the field of remixing as well. I recently heard your Co-Fusion remix - what do you find interests you in the art of reshuffling other artists' tracks? "I've done loads of remixes recently, I enjoy it, I like the concept of working with these parts that you didn't choose yourself, and trying to make the best of them. I try to keep enough of the original so's that you'd recognise it; I don't see the point in doing a whole new track."

There're lots of Cybermen references on your album 'First Class Ticket To Telos' - and Telos itself is the home-planet of those silver wetsuit-clad cyborgs with the fatal allergy to gold. So, the most vital question of all: are you a Dr Who fan?
"Since I can remember... simple as that. I totally loved it as a kid and still think there were some great plots and concepts..."

There also seems to be an element of mischief or at least an undercurrent of warm humour in most of the grooves you cut - the Stir Fry mix of 'Fried Funk & Microchips', 'Buckfunk Discotheque' and 'All Night Session' are good indications of this, with 'Fried Funk...' in particular somehow making kitsch sounds into classy ones. Am I reading to much into your work, completely missing the point, or is there a touch of tongue firmly in cheek when you make music?
"I love humour; without humour, I think humans are nothing. I can't stand it when people get so 'serious' and go straight up their own pretentious arseholes. You can say and do more with humour too. I think many comedians know this and use it to the max. I like using things that make people go 'is he taking the piss? ...or is he serious?'"

The UK currently boasts some inspired labels across the board of electronica and beats, from Warp, Pussyfoot, Ninja Tune and Rephlex through to Mosquito, Sativae, Ferox, Language and Blue Planet. How do you account for this diversity and quality of output in the one nation, andis there a noticeable down-side to all this?
"I guess we're just a nation of mavericks. Someone said the other day that London is the Hollywood of the music industry so I guess it's inevitable that there's gonna be a lot of labels in the UK. The weird thing is that a lot of the labels you mentioned get little respect in the UK."

What's on your own agenda, musically speaking, over the next 6 months?
"Too much, man! My ears are tired, but I'm going on holiday now... my Cabbage Boy LP is out in October on ntone/Ninja Tune; I have an album for Sublime in
Japan, a new Buckfunk 3000 album, lots of new crazy shit, the second Noodles release..."

What's your favourite piece of music-making equipment?

"At the moment my Apple Mac running Peak with all the plug-ins, also a program called Vocalizer; generally though a fucking good analogue, like an EMS or a Pro
One, et cetera."

...and, most importantly, how do you like your mushrooms cooked? 
"Either raw in salads or with butter and garlic, or oriental style oyster mushrooms with the fat udon noodles. I love mushrooms..." 

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Here I might include a picture of the interviewee... doh!!