by Chris Oldaker
Recently, I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Luke Vibert via e-mail. However, not being able to come up with more than a handful of interesting questions myself, I decided to open in up and recieve help from my fellow Vibert fans. I sent an email out to the sites mailing list, giving them the chance to ask Luke whatever they wanted. And while I was't able to use all of the suggested questions, I did ask quite a few. He was even kind enough to send alonfg some exclusive mp3s as well. Here is what he had to say:
Luke Vibert : First Iíd like to say, ďHello everybody - thanks for asking/listening.Ē
-Wagon Christ Source : What are you listening to now?
Luke Vibert : Mp3ís from me lappy. Iíve put lots of my records on here. This crazy disco one is playing now. Itís called ďTiming, forget the timingĒ by Black Devil on Out Records from 1978.
-W.C.S. : What are you most proud of musically?
L.V. : Hard to say. Depends what mood Iím in. Right now Iíd say some old tape 4-track stuff I did with Jeremy Simmonds between 1989 and 1993. We had fuck all gear, and had to play basslines on keyboards live, etc, but loved doing it and I still love listening to it...itís like the closest thing I have got to a time machine...Iím right back aged 17 not quite knowing what Iím doing but having a top time.
Iíve been trying to put the best tracks on DAT recently, which I shouldíve done years ago, cuz Iím having to mix/arrange them all over again, and thereís lotís of mistakes, but then maybe that human ďmistakeĒ element is the main reason I like them...so much stuff I hear [on the radio or whatever] is quantized computerized synthesized, etc. so it makes a change I sípose.
-W.C.S. : Letís settle it here and now; the whole ďdrill ní bassĒ thing, who was doing it first, you, Aphex, or Squarepusher?
L.V. : I feel like I helped to start something, but Iím never sure what really. You can call it anything, but for me I just wanted that jungle rush vibe in my own cheezy mewzick. I loved [and still do] hearing and playing with cut-up beats...and I wanted to cut them up in different ways, but so did everybody else really, so god knows who was first! I remember no one else really played jungle except jungle DJís until mid 1995...it took a while to be accepted in ďnormalĒ clubs. In that respect, the Rephlex clubnights at the time were pretty pioneering...playing mash-up jungle with AFX or hard techno or hip-hop or acid or whatever.
-W.C.S. : When did you make your first track? What was it like?
L.V. : Depends really...in bands I was in we recorded songs of mine 1985 or whatever, but in the bedroom with keyboards/drum machines, etc. was 1989. In all cases, the tunes were fairly shit. For an example of my 1989 band called Bank, see:
For an example of some 1993 bedroom stuff, see:
-W.C.S. : What is your favorite book?
L.V. : Hmm...thatís a hard one. Got me! Pass...
-W.C.S. : What are you working on now and what can we expect to hear from you in the next year?
L.V. : Jungle EPís on Rephlex under the name Amen Andrews:
12Ēs and an LP for Warp under own name:
Wagon LP on Ninja Summer/Autumn time:
Some disco music I made on an undisclosed [so far] label [hush, hush]:
LP with Blurum13 [rapper] hopefully...
Planned releases of old Vibert/Simmonds material on Rephlex, too.
-W.C.S. : What is your favorite city?
L.V. : Well, London cuz I live here, but Tokyo and New York and Paris are great too.
-W.C.S. : What is your favorite record store?
L.V. : Records and Tapes in Falmouth, Cornwall.
-W.C.S. : I know you have a powerbook now, what sort of programs do you produce with? Have you gotten rid of your hardware and beloved atari?
L.V. : Just Reason, chopping/effecting my samples in Peak. I never throw stuff away, so the Atari is dusty and sad [and slightly missed sometimes!]
-W.C.S. : I hear you did some tracks with Jean Jaques Perrey last year; what was it like to work with him and how did it happen?
L.V. : It was great fun and a massive honour. He felt kind of like my dad [not my real dad, but yíknow...]. Heís a damn chilled, very interesting old chap. Doesnít partake anymore, but used to smoke tons of fine Moroccan Hashish. Iím sure he did some other shit, too.
It all came about through me and Jon Tye getting contacted by his English manager [he seems to have managers everywhere...DJ Shadowís girlfriend is his American manager!].
Anyway, we jumped at the chance to meet him, let alone jam for three days, which is what happened. It was lush seeing him play...heís still got it, by jove. Damn hard making anything from the jam sessions though...still trying. Quite far off, that one, I think...gonna try and get him to record some more stuff for us, too.
-W.C.S. : What happened with that Blurum project?
L.V. : Still coming Iím afraid!
-W.C.S. : Does it bother you that you donít get as much attention as some of your friends and peers; Aphex, Squarepusher, U-Ziq?
L.V. : I donít think about it, but I feel the amount I do get is very nice!
-W.C.S. : The Plug eps; a De La Soul reference?
L.V. : The name [Plug] came first [a knickname at school], but yes, I couldnít resist.
-W.C.S. : What percentage of tracks you make actually get released? Is it usually your choice to not put them out, or a labels?
L.V. : God knows. 20% gets released maybe? Something like that. Usually it is both our choices which ones get released, and I just canít release all of em, itíd be 2 albums a month!
-W.C.S. : Will you ever retire from making/releasing music?
L.V. : Nah, donít think so. If I do stop making it Iím sure Iíll do something else that will occupy the same part of my brain, so Iíll be happy anyway. But I love releasing stuff too...it feels great to put records etc. out.
-W.C.S. : What are the reasons for releasing on so many labels? Why donít you just stick to one or two?
L.V. : To see what theyíre like, I sípose...trying different ones to see if theyíre better...I think Iíd be frightened to put all my eggs in one [or two] baskets...
-W.C.S. : I know that you are a drummer and I was wondering how you incorperate your live drums into your music? Do you use an electronic drum set? Do you sample live drums and loop them? Do you sample individual clips or hits from recorded drum performances? Or, do you leave drumming as a seperate art from the music that you release?
L.V. : Iím not really a drummer, but I can just about hold my own with the sticks of drum. Programming really is my game, sir. I usually sample single hits that I like from old or dead peoples records, clean them up a bit, then arrange them in an ear-pleasing [to me] groove...other times I use a whole loop from an old or dead person, in which case I usually place all other rhythmical sounds in the track into that original loopís groove. I love grooves. I have hundreds of unfinished grooves Iíve made, cuz thatís my favorite bit to do, really. It gets harder after that, with the melody and arranging aspects...
-W.C.S. : Your music has always contained a subtle layer of inovation vs. the often heard blatant experimentalism, is there a sort of push and pull that you experience between these production techniques?
L.V. : Well thanks, but not at all mate. I only make what I enjoy making and stop doing it if I donít enjoy it. Some tracks are really cheezy/poppy or whatever, others are weird/hard/noisy, etc...for me it seems natural, though. Iíve always made lots of different stuff...maybe cuz I like loads of different music and always have, maybe cuz I have a very low attention span, or sometimes to just try and do ďa speed garage trackĒ or whatnot. I like those kind of challenges, you know. If I find it fun making one like that, then Iíll probably want to do more. Like recently, I couldnít stop making disco, mainly cuz Iíd be finding so many nice old disco records/mp3s, etc. and it inspired me to make my own. Itís usually that sort of thing.
-W.C.S. : How do you achieve such a clean and crisp sound? Samples and beats seem to occur in the same room within your sound...
L.V. : Well, thatís mighty decent of you to say so, my selector. I donít think I have any tricks or anything...I just tweak until it sounds as good as it can to me at the time. Having good starting materials is fucking helpful, though, like nice beats/percussion/hits to sample/play or a tight drum box like a 909/606 or whatever. Anyhow, I used to be pretty stupid...and I still remember when I thought you could take a beat like ďFunky DrummerĒ or whatever, program it on a drum machine, match the kicks/snare/hats, etc, and itíll sounf good...!?!?
Of course I never thought about the live, ever changing sound of the drums/mikes/rooms, etc, or that the groove the human was playing was actually really loose, impossible to do on a regular drum machine. It wasnít until the early nineties [93-ish] that I started really diving into Cubase and pulling all the individual hits/samples out from their suggested computerised positions [S.C.P.] and placing them in new slightly loose/funky territory! [N.S.L.F.T.] Not that thereís anything wrong with robotic beats, of course...in the right place at the right time [quite often, actually]
-W.C.S. : When are we going to hear some collaborative works between you and Ricky James and Tommy Jenks, rumours have always circulated of you guys sending tracks back and forth and working together on things, is any of this true and how can i get some? please!
L.V. : Yes weíve all worked together, individually and apart, but have no plans for releases, Iím afraid. Have a couple of clips on me, though, to bide you over:
CLIP I Me and Rich.
CLIP J Me and Tom. Yes, thatís him playing the live disco bass.
-W.C.S. : Will there ever be another Plug album or at least a compilation of unreleased/rare Plug tracks to tide us over? I know you've said before that it's unlikely, but perhaps you've changed your mind since?
L.V. : Um...I might release some oldies some day...there are abosutely shitloads of them...anyway, check the Amen Andrews stuff I've done and hopefully you'll like that. It's not really like Plug, but at least the rinse factor is very high..!
-W.C.S. : I got a motorola mobile telephone that has got a sound similar to one you've used in two of your songs. Have you ever sampled this kind of sound?
L.V. : No.
PEACE OUT - ENJOY YOURSELVES. THANKS FOR LISTENING.