Ingen & Boris Noiz are 2 great electronic producers whose “Rituals EP” drops this May. While living 1600 miles apart, one based in Scotland and the other the former Yugoslav republic, I was fortunate to meet them separately at gigs over the years and instantly got on with their no-bullshit, music-focused attitude. One day out of the blue, a bunch of killer tracks landed in my inbox, which became the “Rituals EP” on Combat Recordings.
Coming from different ends of the spectrum, the former from techno and the latter from old skool hardcore, they have managed to combine forces with brutal precision over 4 tracks that cross the techno / breakage divide, solid and confident in structure yet flexible enough to find their way into DJ sets of either camp. Ransom Note offered me the opportunity to interview them; being their label guy I could ask random stuff + grill them at depth, giving a more insightful conversation - so here you go:
What have you been up to in the past 6 hours?
Ingen: Coffee, Yoga, listening to the new test vinyl for the Savagen release and eating spicy eggs with my friends Papa Slavers and Gregg (Savier/Savagen).
How spicy were the eggs? Was this in any way related to the recent Ghost Chilli “incident”?
Ingen: Very spicy! I have an obsession with chilli. They were made using a Hell Hot Habanero paste, mixed with some Naga and some honey. Not nearly as hot as the Ghost chilli incident. I have a whole new respect for Ghosts. (don’t eat them dry, your stomach won’t forgive you)
Boris: I was downtown to pick up my repaired watch from the watchmaker's, had a long stroll to form some ideas for the upcoming releases and live acts, practiced some chords and after that I went to meet up with my mate Damir for the studio rehearsal of our drone/ambient/post rock project called Bezdan.
So you play in a band as well. Tell us about it?
Boris: Bezdan is very much a duo that was formed spontaneously through improvised studio sessions. Damir, one of my best mates and a manager of Studio 11 in Subotica, had the idea to meet up in the studio and just jam without any pre-plans.
Most of our influences draw from brutalist architecture, childhood memories to various landscapes. But the main reason of our studio rehearsals is to mentally switch off from the everyday tension.
The other tracks got included in the first album for an alternative rock/hardcore band where Damir is the vocalist/guitarist. It's called Nebo Je Crveno.
Describe your backgrounds, how did you start getting into music?
Ingen: I grew up in the borders of Scotland. Not much to do there, apart from throwing tatties at cars and smashing windows. Luckily, I found going out and drum and bass. From that, I also discovered techno and moved to Edinburgh. Started Djing at a club night called Split every Tuesday at Cabaret Voltaire. They played DnB and Techno, so it was great.
Have you always made techno?
Ingen: Pretty much, if you could call it that.
Boris: I got into discovering music genres and learning to make music very much on my own because I don't come from a family with a musical background. As a kid I was obsessed by CGI. Thus around 1994 I started to pay more attention to electronic music via parts from the X-Mix series that were occasionally played on MTV.
Yes I remember X-mix. The first track in video 1 was a atmospheric hardcore tune (Skysoaring). Bit naff/cheesey seeing them now, but those videos were pushing something new at the time. And then FSOL appeared and shifted the goalposts.
Boris:Luckily, there are lots of X-Mix videos in full length now on youtube. Well, I don't remember hearing "skysoaring" but I heard it now and it sounds like a crossover between early 90's IDM techno and some sort of ambient breakbeat hardcore. It's good. I have to agree that some parts of the animations were also insipid back then, but it definitely brought a new form of presenting electronic music to the world. To this day, my favorite and most influential X-Mix is the electro one from Dave Clarke. Especially my first encounter with that mental track from I-F. What a tune!
Speaking of FSOL, I had no idea what were they up to back then and the only thing that I remember from that period is the "Cascade" video which I liked and still do. Anyway, I started to get interested in their work in late 90s.
Later on, I got some pirate techno, acid and gabber cassettes that contained parts of someone's mix or a track from a certain compilation which I found out the ID for years later. In 1997, I got a CD with one of those 4-bar sample based music programs where you couldn't do much additions because it didn't contain any virtual instruments. There was no success in realising my ideas on such programs, but in 2002 when I had a part time job at the lumberyard and interior design center, I found a demo version of Reason which was installed by one of the former employees. From that point on, I got more focused on making and releasing various music.
You have a wide range of projects, all very different sounding. Did you have to refuse some ideas and deliberately push other ones for this collaboration?
Boris: Sort of. I was insisting on this collaborative project to have an accent on reshaping field recordings and combining it with heavy basslines and different rhythmic structures compared to my earlier work.
What kind of field recordings found their way into the tracks? Any interesting stories?
Boris:It would be great if the listener could try to figure out what sounds we used. One interesting fact that I'll mention is the bassline for "Symbols" which was made out of a humming sound from the car wash machines.
From your own point of view, how would you describe the EP?
Boris: I see it as a certain psychophysical preparation for confronting challenges.
Ingen: Total horrible fun.
Boris, you’re involved in a killer project called Ontal, which has been getting strong support by those that push harder sounds (Perc, Surgeon, AnD, Fausten etc) Tell us about that?
Boris: Dekode and I formed the project and recorded our first tracks in his flat which was then in Novi Sad in late 2011.
The unlimited freedom of expression is one of the crucial things for Ontal. I guess that it has something to do with the fact that Dekode's flat was located between the flats that were occupied by half or completely deaf neighbours.
Anyway, we're very happy so far about the support and the reaction to our stuff from various listeners to really big names.
Any particular tunes from your history that you could say were influences for this EP?
Ingen: Not really. Probably loads, but subliminally.
Boris: Maybe some bits from my older releases. But again, I try not to think about my past work as I want to experiment and develop my sound.
What particular clubs or events (if any) have shaped your outlook on music?
Boris: In the last few years: Unconquered Town & LED festival in Karlovac, Croatia (especially in 2009 when it was located in the ruins of the (now-demolished) hotel Korana), Subland in Berlin, La Raffinerie in Brussels, Drugstore in Belgrade and Exit Festival to name a few. As usual, there are different reactions due to the fact that I don't play one sound in my sets. Most of the impressions are positive, though.
Ingen: Playing for THEM at Corsica Studios in February. Really nice to play to a big crowd, who were all totally into the music. A real buzz, great bunch of guys and a really welcoming and friendly atmosphere.
I remember that. We ended up discussing Scottish independence with Shackleton, and missing the sets downstairs! Was it the first time you had played in London? How do you compare the crowd to say up north?
Ingen: Yeah that was fun. Some good debate! That was the first time I played in London. Maybe not quite as mental as say Glasgow or Edinburgh, but still totally up for it. It seems to all be about scale in London. Just the sheer amount of people in the city and the amount of really passionate people involved with music. It left me overwhelmed, and wanting more. What more could you want?
So, how did you guys “meet”?
Ingen: I had heard of Boris before with his solo production and been blown away with the punchiness of his sound. I then heard Ontal on Darkfloor’s Mantis Radio and I just knew, if we combined our two styles, we could come up with something pretty good. I contacted him asking if he would ever be interested, and to my surprise he was. We were working on stuff really quickly after that.
Boris: I was up for it because I liked the sounds and structures that I've heard in Ingen's tracks.
Shortly afterwards, we swapped some sounds and parts until we formed the first result of our work - "Rituals".
Is there any methodology to your production? How is it different when producing alone, versus collaborating?
Boris: It sometimes depends on the audio/visual influences, but more recently I just start working on stuff without any pre-ideas. Apropos of collabs, it's definitely much easier and faster when you have the right person to write the track with.
Was there any direction you had in mind when working together?
Boris: Probably a fusion between electro, breakbeat and techno. To be honest, we hadn't discussed about it as much as we tried with different rhythms and seeing what fits with the rest of the elements.
Ingen, I saw you on playing on Dommune radio the other day. How's Tokyo, any funny / weird stories?
Japan in amazing! I feel like I'm home. Yeah, gig with Surgeon and Rok Da House at Dommune. A bizarre and happy experience. Turns out that Ingen in Japanese is the word for string Bean! Dj String BeanSan!
Is it true you were once a bike courier?
Yes. The best job I’ve ever had. (apart from music)
Ingen:The feeling of freedom, friends you make, fitness and the fact you get payed to cycle around the city all day as fast as you can whilst listening to techno!
Noiz, is there any particular track of Ingen’s that you want to talk about?
Boris: Ingen's "Snap The Tilt VIP" is a perfect example of the sound that I had in mind for the EP. Precisely constructed percussions out of field recordings, seismic subbass, an industrial atmosphere in which the listener gets occasionally attacked by a swarm of glitches and the most important element, a rhythm which could be easily mixed with techno, breakbeat, electro and if you're even more creative, you'll mix it probably with some other genres too.
Ingen, has Noiz done any track that sticks in your head?
Ingen: Anodyne - Empire Of Light (Boris Noiz remix) It blows me away every time. It’s that kick drum. Powerful stuff.
Which other artists do you find interesting, and why?
Ingen: At the moment, Dead Fader, Kamikaze Space Program, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. All because they make stuff outside the usual framework. And make me freak out in one way or another.
Boris: Quite a lot to name at the moment, but the reason is that they make good music that will stand the test of time.
From the top of my head, a batch of the current names that I'm listening to in the last weeks are: Orphx, Kangding Ray, Helena Hauff, DMX Krew and Pulse Emitter.
There seems to be an increase in harder-edged music recently, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say the harder techy industrial sounds are getting more hype at the moment. What are your thoughts on this?
Boris: Yes, that's correct and I don't mind that. I hope that the material that gets made in this period and during this hype will also sound good in 10+ years. A good ear can notice the difference between the sound of someone with years of experience in that field and someone who described the sound as "too much" now currently trying to fit in the picture with their poor imitations.
Ingen: More hype maybe, but it’s always been there. It’s just easier to see. I’m glad people seem to be digging that sound more at the moment. I’ve been enjoying it for years, and it seems like the sound is evolving and getting better and better all the time. Ride the wave.
Who else can you mention, who is pushing a similar type of sound?
Boris: I really don't know with whom can I compare our sound.
The EP’s tracks seem to have different structural disciplines. Rituals and Spikes, for example, are repetitive and evolve gradually in a way that “normal” techno is accustomed. While Symbols and Root & Stem have a more beats-drop-beats-switch-beats structure that’s closer to say oldskool hardcore or drum & bass. Can you tell us about that?
Boris: It's just something that we didn't want to think about in the first case and we also didn't have the intention of putting the EP under one structural discipline. We just went with the inspiration flow without overthinking and we're happy with the final result.
What else is in the pipeline?
Ingen: A solo release with Tribal Waves is the next thing, then releasing a couple of Vinyls alongside Savier (Raw Village Hall) as Savagen, and another Ingen EP with THEM records.
A few exciting gigs yet to be announced and looking forward to more collabs with Boris.
Boris: More Boris Noiz releases and remixes for various labels during this year as well as more collaborative releases with Ingen. Expect quite a lot of tracks and remixes from Ontal this year to be released on various physical formats.
More of my releases under the Lost In The Sound alias are waiting for confirmation and there's also more Bezdan stuff which will be recorded and released during this year.
Ingen & Boris Noiz “Rituals EP” drops on the excellent Combat Recordings this month. Listen and purchase this fine specimen here:
Watch the video here: