Interview with Sam Dodson of Loop Guru

Interview with Sam Dodson of Loop Guru Interview with Sam Dodson of Loop Guru

Loop Guru were a firm favorite back in the day and their tunes made their way into many a dj set.  Their album The Third Chamber is an absolute classic and we include one of the tracks on the new compilation Zero Gravity.  Hopefully this will bring back some sublime and deeply imprinted memories for some...  it does for us.  Be sure to check out Sam's art

Sam - thanks for taking a moment to chat about Loop Guru and your art. 

The first Loop Guru single was released back in the idealistic and heady days of the early 90's; can you take us back and talk about how it was from your perspective to perform live and release back then ?

To play it live was precarious to start with, We never ever expected to have to do this EVER! We started out doing really small showcases with maybe just four songs. Basically the music was largely samples so we found away round altering and adding drums etc. The Percussion Monster came into play with Mad Jym to add a visual element to the show. I think we learnt how to play live after touring with Pop Will Eat Itself. We knew what to do after that. They were great!

What were the some of the most memorable high-points for you of being in Loop Guru ?

Playing the Filmore. San Fransisco Nuff said really!!! We had a ball. It was all great.

What first got you into electronic music ? Was there a moment when it all came together ?

When we started out a sampler was about £30.000 so we lined up a bank of cassette machines, used tape loops and had a real grounding in what sampling was all about without ever having a sampler. Some of this early stuff has been released on the cd's. When the first cheaper samplers cam out I guess we'd had such a background knowledge already everything just fell into place.

You played at a bunch of Club Dog and Megadog events back in the day - do any of them stand out for you, and what other bands' sets would you try to catch ?

Always good to catch System 7 and Transglobal Underground, Eat Static, Banco etc. we also toured the States with Meat Beat Manifesto, They were great !! We must have seen them about twenty times

Listening to The Third Chamber I was struck by how it has stood the test of time and still sounds amazing. What was the inspiration behind the album ? Can you tell us about making it ?

We'd just got back from Japan. We were armed with a bank of unusual cd's. That album is soaked in Japan. I still love that cd. It's the most spot on thing we ever did, and I guess it is timeless

Did you have a favorite bass guitar ?

An old Fender Precision Bass. I took the frets out! Probably lost a lot of value? I did it with a hammer and a chisel and filled it with plastic wood.

Remember Radio Four's Desert Island Discs ? What five albums would you take and why ?

Hey we still have that, great programme. My list would alter daily.

Steve Reich - Music for 18 musicians - perfection I can always listen to that
Can - Tago Mago - Always inspiring, I love that album and actually all those early albums fantastic stuff
Mothers of Invention - We're only in it for the Money - makes me laugh and it has a feel to it that touches on a very old fashioned perfection - again all the early Zappa stuff is brilliant.
Beatles - The White Album - hard to choose a fave Beatle album so I'll choose this one because it's longer (and Revolution no 9 is on it)
Which brings me to Stockhausen - Gesang Der Junglinge - Genius

Tomorrow it'd be different. The Fall, Beefheart, Miles Davis, Alice Coltrane, The Beach Boys, ooh the sun just came out!!!

Have you felt the urge to make more music ?

From time to time. I have an unfinished project of about 15 pieces, but it's like I wasn't being stretched any more I was too comfortable with it all, it was too easy. I always wanted to push the boundaries and didn't feel I was doing that any more! So not really.

Your creative journey continues in a different form with collage - can you talk a little about this ?

Well, Loop Guru was always collage to me anyway, except you could dance to it. I started painting again about 6 - 7 years ago and slowly found myself drawn to collage. I was well trained from a past life :-) My artist statement now reads. Sam Dodson trapped in his own collage trying to find a way to break free, which really sums it up for me. Collage has a way of freeing the imagination that no other process does for me, it allows me to warp reality and really stretch myself and be unrestricted at all. It's a bit like free fall, I never know where I'm going next, there is no safety net at all.

What source material do you particularly relish finding ? How do you go about tracking it down ?

Everything from old comics, dinosaur books, vintage paper, old picture frames, anatomical books, old art books. Basically it's a non stop process. I can't walk past a charity shop ever! If a book comes from a charity shop it's already had a life it's been used so I feel I can rip, cut it up and recycle it. AND I'm giving to charity, all good really.

Finish this sentence: ..."The best thing about good art is when...."

there's magic"

For people contemplating following an artistic path - whatever it may be, can you give them some words of advice ?

Do it because you love it! Don't do it to be famous. Never play safe, don't worry if you make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, get up and do it some more. Enjoy it. Love it.