Random Facts with… Factory Floor
Over the past couple of years, Factory Floor have emerged as one of the most potent and original live forces in contemporary British music. Based in their own studio in a former sweat shop in North London, the trio of Gabe Gurnsey, Dominic Butler and Nik Void construct a new form that builds on the pioneering rhythms and sonic textures of early industrial groups, the heavier end of techno, and contemporary electronica. A constatntly evolving force to be reckoned with, we have long been admirers here at R$N HQ – from their early recordings on Outside Sound and One of One Recordings, through their DFA stuff and up to their most recent release on Optimo Music. A great live outfit, too, we were wowed by their show at Tate Modern last year so when the chance to share some random facts with them came up, we jumped at the chance.
R$N: OK, let’s get started then… your body sheds 10 billion flakes of skin everyday
Nik: Gabe, can you imagine how many layers of skin youve got in your clothing right now?
Gabe: In my beard. Thats disgusting
Nik: Or how many flakes of skin Dom in his trousers, has on tour. We were on tour for a week, and he has these tracksuit trousers and you know they get lower and lower between the legs they the more worn they get. Hes gonna kill me for saying this, but came off stage once and he got his trousers caught around his ankles
Gabe: Oh yeah, just when we finished playing
Nik: Luckily he kinda assessed the situation pretty quickly and made it ok. it was Hamburg and there wasnt that many people watching us. But it couldve been quite an embarrassing moment as it was quite an intense, serious show.
R$N: Couldve been pretty disastrous
Gabe: Did you say 10 million or 10 billion?
R$N: 10 billion
Gabe: Fuck. My poor Henry Hoover
Nik: Thats my Henry Hoover, I was going to talk to you about that
Gabe: Sold it
Gabe: So 10 billion….thats proper disgusting. Our Tour Managers van must be full of 10 billion particles of each person.
Nik: uuuuugh. Yes but imagine the tube or imagine …everywhere
R$N: Imagine the chairs on the tube
Nik, Gabe, Will: uuuuugh.
Nik: So how big is a particle?
R$N: Im just googling that, what is 10 billion flakes of skin..
Nik: What does that amount to?
Gabe: Your entire back or something
Nik: Oh Gabe
Gabe: I need to get some facts
R$N: Shall I keep going or has anyone else got some?
Nik: If youre stung by a jelly fish, coca cola can be used a treatment.
Can you imagine whats in coca cola? for that to be a treat for a jelly fish sting
Gabe: Yeah isnt there a myth, that youre supposed to wee on yourself? It is actually a myth but people do wee on themselves
Will: Coke is probably the only good thing… The only time I ever drink coke is when I have a hangover and all it does is rinse your insides out pretty much.
Nik: No i have to disagree. Diet coke is my favourite drink of all time
R$N: My girlfriend’s the same. I cant stand Diet Coke. She says she doesnt like the taste of Coke
Nik: no, I cant handle it either
Gabe: How?? Diet Cok compared to Coke? its nasty. So weird
Nik: What are you talking about?
Gabe: Yea, but you like fizzy water and I cant stand that either
R$N: I like fizzy water
Nik: Fizzy water is the way to go. I mean its kinda like, its one of those drinks. Why did I get into it? you know when youre travelling around in the back of a van for such a long time, you feel a bit travel-sick and its really good for that
Nik: Yea thats the thing
Gabe: Whats the thing thats meant to be..this is probably a myth as well, but after an accident didnt street cleaners use Coca Cola to clean the streets of blood
Nik: Yea, streets are actually not dark. Theyre not brown or grey, theyre actually white.
Gabe: Because youve got coca cola all over them. I think it does.
Nik: Especially in Seven Sisters where there is a lot of blood shed
Gabe: I think it just dissolves anything human and organic.. I think its quite a nasty thing
R$N: Theres this test. Its pretty carcinogenic I reckon. Im sure its not particularly pleasant. Anyway..sorry..
Nik: Just for the record, I love Diet Coke. I hope Diet Coke are listening. Weve got a really good track for you.
R$N: The perfect sync.
Gabe: Its Breathe In. Its got the sound of Nik opening a can of Diet Coke
R$N: Honey is the only food consumed by human that doesnt go off…
Gabe: It never goes off?
Nik: Honey is a funny thing, because you can buy honey for like 2 pound a jar, and then you can buy honey which is 40 pounds for a jar, there must be honey connoisseurs out there that know all about this kind of thing. There must be a different hierarchy of bees. There are some from Switzerland that are more expensive than say Seven Sisters.
Gabe: Bees are on the decline. Its a tragic thing
R$N: Theres a lot going on around these parts. Lots of rooftop hives
Gabe: Yeah there are quite a few in Hackney isnt there?
Gabe: I looked into doing it. I wanted to get another hobby other than music
Nik: Are these like scenester bees?
R$N: Do they have really tight trousers?
Gabe: I cant imagine the taste of honey from seven sisters would be like.. I might do some hives on the warehouse roof and see what happens
R$N: Are you guys up near the station at Seven Sisters?
Gabe: Were about ten minutes walk from the tube. Do you know where Southern Records used to be, were next to there.
Gabe: Its alright man. Im not sure theres much pollen around here though
R$N: Youre not far from the marshes though
Gabe: Thats very true. I keep seeing parakeets outside the window. Theres the parakeets that are wild…
Nik: Are you serious?
Gabe: Im serius, Zoe has seen them up in Walthemstowe as well . Ive looked outside the warehouse windown and theyre like sitting in the tree and I feel like Im in the Caribbean or something .
Nik: My turn
R$N: Im hogging the fact light here
Nik: The average person spends thirty years being angry at a family member
R$N: I can believe that.
Gabe:Thirty years? Actually Im thirty. Hmm theres my brother
R$N: Yep same
Nik: I have exactly the same with my bother too. Maybe its just brothers. Ive never known anyone whose has a perfect relationship with their brother
Gabe: The amount of times Ive punched my brother in the face, that must amount to around 3000 hours ?? of my time. And hes punched me back of course. Its really weird with brothers though because however big or small they are, youve got the same strength as your siblings.
R$N: Is that a fact?
Gabe: Its not a fact but thats just my experience of things. Sorry, its not a fact.
R$N: My brother has definitely hit me pretty hard in the past and Im a little bigger than he is and maybe youre right on that one. Maybe that is a fact……..There are 22 miles more of canals in Birmingham than there are in Venice.
Nik: Really? Can you imagine Birmingham having the same
Nik: Its quite industrial I suppose but Italy is so much bigger than England.
Gabe: Is it?
Nik: Well not massively bigger but its longer and narrower
Gabe: Is that a fact?
R$N: Thats a fact. Italy is longer and narrower.
Gabe: Ive got a fact: Over 80% of bulldogs are delivered by Caesarian Section. Having been bred with such large heads. Basically bull dogs cannot exist without the interaction of humans.
Gabe: Nik, you still there. Have you gone to sleep?
Nik: Ive got nothing against Vince. Childrens sense of smell is better than adults so never let any young children near Vince.
Gabe: Vince has the most insane smells come out of him. Bulldogs cant exist without human interaction. Its totally mental
Nik:They dont work like a pack of wolves. Like a pack of bulldogs.
Gabe: I dont think there is any other breed of animal so are so stupid that they cant exist without human interaction.
R$N: Lets have a little google on that one
Gabe: That might be complete bullshit. Its quite mad because were sustaining the existence of a certain breed of dog or animal.
Nik: Where did you get that fact from Gabe?
Gabe: Vince just told me.
R$N: I googled the top part of that Is it possible to live without human interaction?
Could anyone ever be by themselves and never get lonely or care for being around people for the rest of their lives?
Then its getting into God. Lets leave it there.
Nik: Isnt that really hard to prove?
Gabe: Whether people could survive without human interaction? I dont think you could. Have you seen The Castaway with Tom Hanks? He was on the verge of topping himself.
Nik: That film is all about survival Gabe
Gabe: No its about a guy falling in love with a fucking basketball.
R$N: On the subject of heads an ostrichs eye is bigger than its brain.
Nik: I believe that. Isnt their brain about the size of a pea.
R$N: Its pretty small.
Nik: I do like ostriches.
Gabe: They are quite mad, have you ever ridden one?
Gabe: I think you can actually ride them
R$N: Yes you can
Gabe: Thats a fact. They are quite frightening animals. Im adding XXXX with ostriches.
Nik: I guess they dont think before they act because they dont have much of a brain. They are quite heavy birds
Gabe: Yep. They are so prehistori. Such weird creatures
R$N:Im going to hog it again, its physically impossible for pigs to look up at the sky.
Nik: Nooo! Thats sad
Gabe: And bulldogs
Nik: Do they lay on their sides? Because their eyes are quite…you know if you look at the profile of a pig, their eyes are on the side of their head like bird. Are they? No theyre not. Yes they are, they are not at the front are they?
R$N: Google Pig heads
Nik: If they lay down, they can see the sky right? So thats not a fact
R$N: But they cant actually look up at the sky, that must be a bit annoying like Ah look at the bird in the sky Oh no I cant
Gabe: Do you think the other farm yard animals are joining in? Oh look at that owl, oh sorry.
R$N: Keep forgetting, sorry
Gabe: You useless pig
Gabe: I need another fact, wait a minute.
Gabe: When a duck quacks, it doesnt produce an echo and nobody knows why
Nik: It doesnt produce an echo?
Gabe: I guess if its in like a cave. Yeah within a reverberating room.
R$N: Thats interesting
Nik. Im going to check that out. Im going to find out if thats true. Im going to take it to a cave. Make it quack
R$N: Make it reverberate
Gabe: It might at some insane frequency. I dont know
Nik: Through my delay peddle
R$N: I bet theres a Wire article in there somewhere
Gabe: definitely I can picture the photograph as well with a duck with some wires coming out of its head and a modular synth in the background.
Nik: A person had a sneezing fit for two and a half years breaking a world record
Gabe: That would kill you. Obviously not but I get sneezing fits. Does anyone else get this where they walk into bright sunlight and you start sneezing?
Nik: What are you a vampire? You need to get out of the warehouse more Gabe
Gabe: No seriously I get it and its really fucking off. I cant tell if its from dust related or what but its quite annoying because when you get on the tube after, you look like a total idiot. In fact Ive got a fact here which says every time you sneeze, your heart stops a second
Nik: Then that person wouldnt have had a heartbeat for two and a half years, surely theyd be dead?
Gabe: Can you imagine if they were arguing with their siblings and all the time was ***pent up.
What a life.
R$N: An Octopus has three hearts
Nik: Wow. Does that mean they can have three relationships all at one time?
Gabe: (laughs). Theyve got enough tentacles for comforting their loved ones. Three hearts, is that a fact? Have you seen those insane Octopus that are camouflaged? That is fucking mental. Its like proper alien. I dont know why people are going up to space to discover alien things because theres some really weird shit in the ocean. Why dont they just get in a submarine and go check it out.
Nik: I dont think people go to space to find aliens Gabe.
Gabe: They go and find other strange life-forms . Yeah alright
Gabe: They go fix all the bloody satellites for the shitty mobile networks
They go and explore for other life.
Nik: ET Phone Home
Gabe: The Octopus has the sharpest beak in the animal kingdom
Nik: Really? I suppose they eat shell fish maybe?
Gabe: I think they do actually . Youre telling me thats not an alien life form living in our oceans. A beak and its got three hearts?
R$N: Its pretty odd
Nik: But who came up with the concept of an alien . Is it scientific or what?
Gabe: Who cares. Its too deep for me man
Nik : Yeah, its getting too deep
R$N:Lets go off subject quickly. Studying music primes the brain to comprehend speech in a noisy background. Children with learning disabilities or dyslexia who tend to lose focus with more noise could benefit greatly from music lessons.
I dont know about that .
Nik: I do find when people talk to me when they have tinnitus if you are having a conversation with them, they cant concentrate on the conversation if theres another noise going on. I guess you cant prove that a lot of children have hearing disabilities unless they go through a lot of tests but I mean ..yeah I dont really know what Im talking about really. Im trying to be all serious but its not really working. It depends on what type of music they are given. Hang on, theres a helicopter going by.
Gabe: What are you talking about?
Nik: I dont really know. Im wondering what kind of music they would use.
R$N: I guess its referring to music education in sort of early life
Nik : aaaaahhh
R$N: Studying music early primes the brain to comprehend speech
Nik: I guess it helps them use their brain in a way they maybe able to remember things. With all these rhymes
R$N: Music education propaganda
Nik: Its just trying to make music lessons more valid so the government dont try and get rid of it like they did last year.
R$N: Thirteen Thousand people have recommended it on Facebook but I dont even know what that means anymore. Also, Monacos orchestra is bigger than its army…
Nik: Wow, thats a lot of instruments
R$N: I would like to find out how big its army is…
Gabe: Thats a bit worrying isnt it? I dont know anything about that to be honest
R$N: Move on! Did you know that Beastie Boys is an acronym for Boys Entering Anarchist Sages Towards Internal Excellence?
Nik: Someones made that up
R$N: Mike D said that apparently
Nik: Oh ok haha
Gabe: Really? Have you ever seen them live?
R$N: Yes I saw them at Brixton Academy years and years ago, they were absolutely amazing.
Gabe: What are they doing now? Are they still existing now? They still doing stuff?
R$N: : What since he died? Ummmm….
Gabe: oh fuck. Well that shows how much Ive been in the fucking studio
R$N: He died like April / May last year. April I think
Gabe: Dont put that in the interview, that makes me look like an ignorant bastard.
R$N: Leanne is getting it transcribed.
Gabe: Ive got of fact. Sound can travel through a vacuum
Nik: Cleaner hahahah
Gabe: A Henry Hoover . No it can travel area of empty matter
Nik: I dont understand that. I dont get it
Gabe: Sound is vibrations, right?
Gabe: In order to cause vibrations, surely you must need some type of air or something. But sound can travel across a non existent area so theres no matter. A vacuum. So theres no air, theres no atmosphere in a vacuum. Not a vacuum cleaner. A pocket of something. How the fuck do they know that?
Gabe: Where is there a vacuum? You can create vacuums in a jar or something like that.
R$N: Is that the next Factory Floor album then, youre going to record it in a vacuum?
Gabe: what other facts you got?
Nik: Sharks are immuned to cancer
R$N: Ive had that one before
Nik: Its from Google Facts
R$N: They seem to keep regurgitating, that is interesting though
Nik: Do you think they smoke. A lot?
Gabe: haha, theyve got some type of immunity. To smoking. No, didnt they do some research on it though?
Nik: Yeah I reckon
Gabe: Shaaad up. I was going to lead on to something really inspiring.
Nik: Wasnt it in Japan, no one had cancer untill they started eating meat, which is quite interesting because sharks eat meat, dont they?
R$N: Im pretty sure theyre not vegetarian
Gabe: They eat seals and that.
R$N: No, leek and potato so Ive heard.
R$N: Jay Z hasnt written down any of his lyrics for more than a decade. Timbaland has claimed to have the sounds from every drum a machine ever made.
Nik: Bet he hasnt
Gabe: I bet he fucking has. You can buy a sample cd on ebay for a fiver
Nik: Thats nothing to brag about
Gabe: He must have every drum machine ever made then surely
Nik: Do you think he sat in a studio and sampled every single drum sound from every single drum machine in the world?
Gabe: Probably yeah. Even Morris wouldnt do that.
Nik: Ive got ‘rapper Snoop Dog has an IQ level of 147’
R$N: Is that high?
Nik: That is extremely high. Its the same as a gifted genius
Gabe: Snoop Dogg? Leave it out.
R$N: Im going to question that one
Gabe: Im definitely going to question that one. That is ridiculous
R$N: The surname of the late Robert Moog, inventor of the legendary Moog synthesizer is actually pronounced Moag rhyming with Rogue but its been mispronounced for so long that no one bothers correcting it anymore. Thats interesting
Nik: That is interesting yeah.
Nik: Its like the Bose speaker
Gabe: Yeah how do you pronounce Bose, is it Bose Bos-ai Bosey
R$N: Boss. Boss mate
Gabe: So the Moog Rogue is an actual synth isnt it?
R$N: That makes a lot more sense
Gabe: It does yeah.
R$N: Jah Wobble, post PiL worked for the London Underground. He Alledgedly made an announcement over the PA system at Londons Tower Hill underground station I used to be somebody. I repeat I used to be somebody
Gabe: (laughs) I think Ive heard that before actually. I think that is a fact. Hes carved his niche in history hasnt he?
R$N: Hes an amazing bass player
Gabe: He was a legend on was Metal Box. That was amazing. I wonder what he was doing there, poor bastard.
Nik: So when you go to when you Seven Sisters tube and you heard Gabe Gurnsey on the tannoy going I used to be somebody youll know what happened to Factory Floor.
Gabe: Id do that now anyway. I havent quite reached that point.
R$N: The drum machine on the recording of New Orders Blue Monday, acknowledged as the best selling 12 single of all time had to be reprogrammed after the original was lost after a power lead was knocked out. The band has said that the first beat was better apparently.
Nik: We know all about this dont we Gabe?
Gabe: We do yeah. Stephen told us all about this yeah. Hes got some good stories from that era.
R$N: what like?
Gabe: Did you see that Guardian piece and Gillian was chatting about them whilst they recorded that Blue Monday, they were experimenting with a sampler, they were just making fart noises in it for like three days and then they got Blue Monday out of it. But obviously there are no fart noises in it.
R$N: The one with the pink cover with the sheep noises in it?
Gabe: Which one was that?
R$N: I think it was Technique.
Gabe: Was it all sampled stuff?
R$N: Its pretty out there on some of that album. I love that album.
Gabe: Sheep noises, I can imagine them going around Macclesfield.
Nik: In a tank
R$N: I wouldnt deny that at all. Whats that album called?
Nik: Is it the one with the statue on the front?
R$N: Yeah yeah yeah .Thats my favourite album by miles. So he remixed one of your first singles didnt he?
Nik: Yeah Real Love
Gabe: No he produced that Nik.
Nik. Yeah he did a remix of Wooden Box
R$N: And youve worked with him since then?
Nik: Yeah and then he produced Real Love after that which was out on Optimo Records. And we found this studio in Norfolk. It wasnt a posh studio and he came with a couple of boxes of microphones and recorded us and then live. It was fantastic, he was really enthusiastic and then we went back to Macclesfield and spent another six months kind of doing it. Putting it together.
Gabe: Why did it take so long?
Nik: I think we just liked talking to him and being involved with him.
Gabe: Hes a great guy and Gillian as well. They are such down to earth people and their just such a legendary band.
Nik: Theyre working on a new record right now actually with Tom from the Chemical Brothers.
R$N: Are they, thats interesting…So Stephen didnt produce your album did he?
Nik: No we did it ourselves
R$N: I havent researched about this. I love your music .I was geeky about you guys at the start
Gabe: And then you got bored?
R$N: No I didnt get bored at all. My friend Joe Clay from The Times…
Gabe: Ah Joe! Hes a friend of Doms.
R$N: Joes a really good friend of mine. Him and I used to work in Our Price back in Bath about twenty years ago so hes always fed me my Factory Floor information so Ive never had to bother researching anything.
Gabe: Our Price. Fucking hell.
R$N: Someone added me to an Our Price Facebook group of all things
Nik, Gabe: (giggle)
Gabe: I used to work in HMV warehouse. It was the fucking worst time of my life.
R$N: Our Price was fucking shit. I got to meet Joe which was good. I think thats probably it . Is there anything else you wanted to get in there – any final facts.
Gabe: this is another one of Leannes: Hypos milk is pink
Nik: hahah With that one, I think we should close the conversation>
R$N: I think thats a perfect fact to end on….
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