KODE 9 TALKS
- Hyperdub label head and all round purveyor of fine sub frequencies Steve Goodman aka Kode9 has a new Rinse album about to drop Rinse:22 Kode 9… Initially inspired by the "hardcore continuum" – a term coined by the excellent Simon Reynolds for the stragglers out there, read it here – Goodman was one of the founding members of the early dubstep scene. Hyperdub has grown to become one of the most highly revered and one of our favourite labels of recent times putting out tracks from artists as diverse as Laurel Halo, Kyle Hall, The Bug, Zomby, Ill Blu and one of favourite's of recent times Darkstar's Aidy's Girl's A Computer…
Not only does he play mighty fine records and have an incredible label he has a Ph.D. in philosophy and has published a book, 'Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear.' We had a catch up with Mr Goodman to hear about the number 9, Scallops & Black Pudding and to fnd out if he's got another book in him.
Where are you from, where are you now?
I'm originally from Glasgow, and I now live in Camberwell, South London.
- The music of your teenage rebellion was…
Acid rock and acid house
- You became known for your original and early dubstep sound that really crafted its own groove in the scene. What inspirations did you draw on for this sound?
Dub, Dancehall, Wu Tang, jungle, grime and garage
- How did the name Kode9 come about and did you know that Code: 9 was a hidden camera reality tv show?
No I didn't know that. I must find it and sample the shit out of it. I was just into the number 9 for a while – it kept appearing everywhere to me. The Kode bit is complicated – I had a thing about the letter K and yeah, it never really makes sense when I try and explain it.
- Other than FWD>>, which nights do you think were integral to fuelling the early scene?
DMZ obviously was the one that took it to the next level. Metalheadz, although it was the previous decade played quite a role, because a bunch of us had all been there getting schooled, without knowing each other- so the ghost of Metalheadz was definitely in a lot of us.
- How did the first collaboration with Daddi Gee come about?
He was a friend of a friend that I ended up living with for a few years around 2001, and we just started making music one Sunday afternoon. That first day we made 'Sine of the Dub'. He'd never done vocals before. I just asked him to pick out one of his favourite records and read the lyrics. Turned out it was Prince's 'Sign of the Times' . The rest is history.
- So onto your record label, Hyperdub… The majority of the first Hyperdub records were collabs between yourself and Daddi Gee/Space Ape. Did you always launch the label with the vision of releasing other artists or was it initially as an outlet for your own work that grew into something bigger?
Yeah, initially it was just for my own stuff with Spaceape. Hyperdub started as a webzine in 2001 covering dub and dancehall influence on garage, grime and early dub step. Burial was a fan of the site, and used to send me letters and CDs from around 2002. I realised I was still listening them a couple of years later, and decided that I should release his music as it fitted so closely to where we were at musically at that time.
- Did the success of the music in any way change your approach to the label?
- Sure, it allowed me to release a broader range of music and not worry too much about what would sell and what wouldn't sell.
- I remember seeing you play at Fabric around 2008, it was a predominately a Dubstep night but you'd started to push more of the sound which was tagged "UK Funky" at the time, what was your reason for that transition?
I'd just got a bit bored of the direction dubstep was going in at that point, and wanted a different vibe, more drums, less space, more bumpin instead of just the half-step skank.
- Did you feel much backlash from your change in musical direction?
I don't really see it as a change of direction, just and evolution of the vibe I'm after, which cuts across genres. There is always a backlash though. i remember a period when I was playing house and UK funky to dubstep crowds in 2008-2010 and they just weren't having it. 3 years later I think they've got it, but for me uk funky was more interesting to me than a lot of the house kicking around just now.
- When playing out these days do you ever reach for any of your early music, either your own productions or early Hyperdub?
Probably my most recognisable track, 9 Samurai sometimes gets played, but usually mixed with hip hop these days. Burial's 'South London Boroughs', Cooly G's 'Narst' and The Bug's 'Skeng' still get occasional rotation.
- First and last record bought?
First record was Adam and the Ants 'Prince Charming' album and last record bought was some Gherkin Jerks 12"s (Larry Heard).
- Artists to keep an ear out for this year…
We've got big Hyperdub albums coming this year from Walton, Ikonika, DJ Rashad, Morgan Zarate, Laurel Halo and a new artist Jessy Lanza.
- Where next after Rinse:22?
Well I'm pretty excited to play in Cairo, Egypt in early June. There is the rinse 12 also out early June and hopefully I'll have an EP out in the second half of the year. But I'll be touring in Europe, North America and Asia like a crazy man for the rest of the year so hopefully I'll have time to get into the studio.
- What's your cure for hiccups?
- If money was no object what would you be eating tonight?
Scallops and black pudding.
- Any plans for writing another book?
There is actually one coming out shortly that I co-wrote with my partner in crime Toby Heys in our sonic research collective AUDiNT. It's called the 'Dead Record Office' and should be out over the summer. It tracks the militarised use of sonic hauntology.
- Are you a kick drum, hi hat or a snare? And why?
Obviously I'm a sub, because I'm generally silent and invisible.
- What are you obsessed with at the moment?
Sam, the chubby Buddhist Triad boss from the Hong Kong film trilogy, Infernal Affairs.
- What's your answer to everything?
Kode9s Rinse CD is out now.
The launch party takes place at Hidden in Vauxhall. Full details here
Terror Danjah vs Champion
10pm – 6am
Hidden, 100 Tinworth Street, London SE11 5EQ