>> Maff and Ned - Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us and chat about your music.
>>Tell us about the band; who's involved, who does what and how long have you been playing together as The Egg ?
It has varied over the years… everything is anchored by Maff (drums) and Ned (keys) with a different guest musicians.
The new album Galactic Love Machine is a collaboration between us and Az-Ra (Greg Hunter), with us all co-writing and co-producing.
We started playing and releasing as The Egg in the mid 90’s.
When we were young we loved john Barry, film soundtracks etc.. stuff which worked with something visual.
We started jamming scruffy blues with our Mum’s boyfriend’s band. Everybody would be involved around the table tapping cups with teaspoons. And it would get more groovy too. An old upright piano and a drum kit made out of a marching band bass drum with a self made wooden pedal which elastic bands would break every other hit. Tin plates for hi hats. We formed bands in Bristol. I went to Oxford brooks and Maff went to Edinburgh. I started forming bands in Oxford like The Cornflour Concept, which was quite Happy Mondays like and Maff came down eventually. We really tried with that one to get signed and even did a 7 week busking tour around the beaches of France and Spain. Then there was The Circle which was Acid Jazz groove stuff. The Egg was another side project with film projections all over us and us being in the films in white boiler suits. The illegal rave scene around Oxfordshire and so on had something to do with that too. And becoming more electronic in textures, houses, hypnotic etc…. but still always playing live.
We also made lots of 16mm and 8mm films so the two things came together . Like the film would tell the story a singer might do- like making a soundtrack to our lives , but leaving the story open - if no one's articulating it with words you can add your own story over the top like you might do with abstract art - so it’s different every time - erm that’s our excuse anyway !
>>Where and when were your first epic rave memories ?
Flying Rhino parties, LTJ Bukem, Reclaim the Streets parties, some big nights in Oxford, techno parties in funny barns in the country…up till dawn.
Also fighting the criminal justice bill (we made a flexidisc for all the clubs).
Megatripolis was great and us and friends loved it.Techno/ whatever/ cant remember out the front..and the chill out room at the back really appealed to me and ned.
>>You have tracks on more than 250 compilations, which is an impressive number. What was your first release and what came after?
Our first release was an ep with Cup of Tea Records with some brilliant Bristol musicians. It was around the time Massive Attack’s Protection album came out, and Portishead released their first album.
We had a couple of releases with China Records’s sublabel Indochina, then when Warner records merged with Emi the label disappeared, and we just did what we wanted again - not bothered about it being 'egg music’ and we had an opportunity with Backroom Beats on Twisted records to make the downtempo soundtrack stuff we'd been experimenting with. Working with Benji Vaughan we made Venice Beach from what it was to what it is now.. and also Lost at Sea. That's how we came across Interchill too. Then suddenly we had a new deal and then Tocadisco and Guetta's Electro house remix gave us a no3 and worldwide no1 which was another twist - kind of took us away from chill music.. for a while ... hah. We came back though.
>>You just released an excellent album with Az-Ra (Greg Hunter) called Galactic Love Machine. Tell us about the making of it and how you and Greg worked together.
Well thank-you.. we’ve known Greg for a long time and always loved his music, as we worked with his brother Shaun for years, Not just Shaun's live sound but writing music together and learning all about electronic music, laptops, sequencing, live midi syncing and so on. It was fascinating stuff. We spent days/ weeks/ months writing tunes, bits, pieces, whilst on tour, and that all connected back to Greg, They both have the Hunter gene it seems...him more worldly, floaty, and obviously we loved his work with little fluffy clouds, Orb, Subsurfing, The Matrix soundtracks..and so much more.
Psyfunk was the first tune we made - it took ages. Then we got more involved and excited about it all, and we did more, plus remixes/ versions etc.. and he really opened our eyes to more space in the music. Shaun his brother helped us make it all happen. Its been awesome to co write and bring ourselves into a different direction with Greg’s music and make something new together.
He really helped us empty tracks out, bring out the purity of each sound, like the beauty of the moog on its own, for instance in Unfunkd, - when it gets that delicate the subtleties really sing out, and basslines we never thought were basslines but...
Sometimes its hard when you come from a live background to not think of it as 'guitar type sound, or 'bass' or drums. or 'keyboards’. Because when you’re in a band you often delegate that department to that particular musician.. These were more 'sounds'- things were in between 'roles'. You wouldn’t jam it in a room with musicians.. but you jammed it kind of differently.. it worked and had its own rise and fall and interaction between sounds..
A lot of the drums came from live sessions - and chopping up drum recordings can make a filtered question and answer all of its own ..In a way its like a conversation you may have in a verse; a/b mirroring, then a 4 part turn around, counterpoints, juxtapositions, combinations of electronic stutterings and soft piano. It kind of 'rewires the brain' but keeps it 'heavy but light' , playful.... and in some cases beautiful.
We learnt how to play these tunes and some sounds/ loops into our live set which has been amazing, really bringing electronic sounds and that vibe live.. and bringing in our ideas to make it work..
We did a lot of textural making; many keyboard parts with Kaoss pad style sound development. Lots of editing. Pacing and detail. Often one or two of us going for hours on the computer and editing and moving >>parts in the arrangement while one or two are asleep on the sofa and floor. And then circulating around taking turns. Many into dawn and beyond sessions. Saw the leaves develop with the seasons and moisture in the air or shafts of sunlight.
Our friend Jerry Bewley we'd played with for years in South Africa and UK parties [mostly gigs from 5am to 10am] played lovey slide guitar, you can hear that on Orangenie ,plus on other tracks on the album, and we also made another track with Ulrich Schnauss's synths , plus our live musicians, Matt White, Ben Cullum, Sophie Barker, all brought together via Greg.
The track that we licensed from you for our compilation Zero Gravity is called Orangenie and has a great sample from William Segal. Tell us about him and what drew you to include his words.
That’s a great sample eh
The sample was Greg’s idea really but we all love it... Its about really focusing on what your doing, clearing the clutter out the way and bringing out the depth.
Will Segal was a poet writer, self taught painter ,-he’s talking about painting in the quote, but really I think everything creative has that choice, to skim the surface, or really get involved.. Funnily enough when we’ve written tunes, it feels the further you go into depth, you bring people with you, generally they feel the journey you’re feeling- if you get it right of course...
>>What's the most memorable place you've played a set at ? (high on my list was the Chill Stage at Samothraki with a 28K custom sound system from the Athens Conservatory - you were there too, right ?)
Oh yeah we were ... I remember Samothraki.. . Pretty awesome place .. the ground was shaking..
USA gigs were all great.and we went 14 times .. - we did loads of gigs in the USA jam scene, and toured with those bands. Some highlights; Camp Bisco, Nokia theatre in NYC with the Disco biscuits, and sold out Highlne ballroom . Boston, Buffalo, Many tours with Lotus, with our dear friend and tour manager, Mike Kappelli
Burning man, Joshua Tree Music festival [ we’re going back this year], Envision.
>>The future music tour in Australia too, touring with Josh Wink, Fedde le Grande, Danny [LTJ bukem] who we'd been fan of them all already - was amazing.. we flew between 5 cites in 2 weeks,
Brazil was awesome too.. Porte Allegre in front of 9000 people, and the Big Chill.. jeez too much too much...
Secret Garden Party last year - Crazyness .. half naked fans doing acrobatics in the tent.
The gigs at Youth's Space Mountain were also wonderful, not just the vibe because we got to jam the next day with the likes of Jah Wobble, Matt Black, Gaudi, Roger Eno. and on mixing desk was John Leckie
And we are working on putting a live set together with Greg involved, we've talked about it a few times. I'm sure it'll happen...
>>Please finish this sentence: Music is...
erm... Music is a. Mix of muesli ...and brick
Music is my first love, music is my last
Music is my future music is my past
>>Desert Island Discs time.... so you're marooned on an island but somehow can play music to keep your sanity... what 5 albums do you bring and why ?
Ulrich Schnauss - A strange and Isolated Place - amazing sound.. like forwarding 50 years into the future and looking back 10.
>>Blue Lines / Protection - Massive Attack. The deepness, the underlying feeling, it was really beautiful and warming,
Dark Side of the Moon - the lyrics.. its not just about boys and girls. The chords… and its emotionally driven. In the studio Roger would say “something needs to happen ....now” .. and it did.
Abbey Road. The ability to be truly creative..and a great reminder of our childhoods
Anything by John Barry. ‘The soundtrack to your life.' You can put this music on with headphones and watch the world go by like it was all a planned movie. It made everything look better too.
What were you listening to before you got into electronic music - i.e. early influences
We grew up listening to the Beatles our Dad was a huge fan of Abbey Rd /White album/ George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord (& he eventually went to India and meditated for 7 years )
Supertramp [ Child of Vision]
Captain Beefheart- our parents record collection.
DJ Food, Fila Brazillia, Cup of Tea Records
Lou Reed - Transformer [he was an Egg fan- he told us too]
>>What's next for The Egg ?
We will likely do an alternate version package of this album soon too, we already have enough tunes.
We’re finishing a tune with Ulrich Schnauss . Sounding amazing ..:
Working with producer/Dj John Monkman on some deep house stuff. Very nice.
and Robin Twelftree who produced Woodstock etc with us..
And had a couple sessions with Youth on new material - we hope to finish soon.
We also made a really beautiful Floyd-esqe mellow tune with Matt Black whilst in India recently
We've got some gigs coming up too. UK festivals, and Ibiza in June and California in October, Hope to see you there..
>>What question did I forget to ask that you'd like to answer....
Ok then; which came first the chicken or the egg ?
Oh thats easy . the egg .. they were around for millions of years before chickens. Lizards , crocodlies, and dinosuars laid them
[Mixmaster Morris told me that funnily enough the Bible makes no mention of Dinosaurs , but plenty about unicorns]
“What do you think of Time Travel?”
>>Thanks to Maff and Ned for taking a moment to chat... the new album is well worth buying - check it here: