Catching Up With
Boddika, His Music And His Nonplus Label

Even people who've achieved a hell of a lot in their chosen field feel the need to constantly prove themselves. They have to. Without that drive they'd just stagnate and end up propogating the exact same message over and over and over and over again. Al Green - a producer who's found success making music as half of Instra:mental, one third of Autonomic and alone as Boddika - is a living embodiment of that fact. Changing tack to pursue precisely the things he wants to do, he's taken left turns, right turns and sidesteps within his own music and that which he chooses to release through his label venture, Nonplus. But, throughout it all, Green's retained his reputation as a markedly deadly producer, one who's grasp on driving machine music is pretty hard to match, let alone beat.

He may have made and released shades of drum & bass, house, techno and electro but he's always managed to leave that easily recognisable Boddika stamp across all of it - punching hard and with an unrivaled clarity of purpose. So it shouldn't really come as any surprise that his label's latest venture is a re-mastering and a re-imagining of some of the most influential and defiantly English electronic music ever made by Source Direct. A heavily analogue production duo back then, the thread that binds Source Direct and Boddika is, honestly, kind of obvious when you consider Green's involvement in the d&b scene with Instra:mental and his hands on method to making music, but what isn't at first obvious is the real harmony in both of their ideals. As fiercely individual producers they've both helped mould and shape certain aspects of modern electronic music in their own way and to this day they still remain wholly committed to the very idea of that initial ideal.

With Boddika's appearance in Room Two alongside Terry Francis and Clockwork looming this weekend, we caught up with the producer to ask him about his kinship with Source Direct and his plans for the project, his label and whether we might be able to expect any new Boddika productions in the middle distance...

So Al… it’s been a while (like, years!?!) since your last interview with us. How’s tricks?

Boddika: I guess it has been years… Everything is good thanks.

Your last Nonplus release came from Eduardo de la Calle. How did you come across his material? What jumped out at you to make you wanted him to have a record out on Nonplus?

I used to listen to a lot of his Analogue Solutions material and a few months ago I started listening again. I love how weird and wonderful a lot of it is, I’ve always enjoyed unpolished analogue driven electronic music and thought I’d approach him for an EP.

What influence are people like him having on the direction of the label? Has its focus morphed at all since you started it?
I don’t think this kind of release will come to any surprise to anyone who has followed the label – [if not] check past releases by Kassem Mosse, Skudge or Actress to name a few. Nonplus has the same aesthetic as it’s always had. I release good quality electronic music. I’m not at all influenced by other record labels because Nonplus is all about what I want it to be.

We’ve heard rumours (which have since been confirmed) of a new project forthcoming between you and Source Direct – could you tell us a bit more about that? Like is it skewed in a techno direction or does this mean you’re looking back to drum n bass?

The rumours are true. Jim (Source Direct) and myself have decided to remaster and re-release the 'Source Direct Recordings' catalogue. I’m approaching select artists to do remixes of tracks from the SD catalogue which will then be released as individual 12”s with the remastered original on the flip. After I’m happy we’ve had a run of decent remixes and singles, we’ll be putting together a package to house the original catalogue with remixes in. This will also include a couple of unreleased SD tracks from the ‘90s and it will be the first time the catalogue has been available digitally.

When I listen back to this music now, I hear an unbelievable body of work and each track flows beautifully into the next. It was (and still is) pioneering music that a new generation needs to have easy access to. I’m trying to keep the remixes varied by having artists from various scenes and genres use the original samples in whichever way they want. But to answer your question about d&b, this Source Direct project is its own thing - it has nothing to do with me looking back to drum & bass. As I’ve always stated, Nonplus is an electronic music label that does not just release one style of music. Techno, house, jungle etc… it’s whatever I like.

Can you tell us what else have you got forthcoming on the label?

By the time you read this, Eduardo De La Calle’s EP should be out, followed by a 12” by Redshape. There will be two Source Direct 12”s out by the beginning of summer featuring remixes from Blawan and Demdike Stare. Radio Slave's massive ‘Don’t Stop, Don’t Sleep’ is getting the remix treatment by Robert Hood, Roman Poncet & DJ Deep, Tale Of Us and myself. And I also have an EP lined up from the illusive Marcellis, which is still going ahead. It’s going to be a busy year for Nonplus.

Are you and Pete (Joy O) still sharing a studio? Are you still working on music together? When we spoke to Pete last year, he was quite open about how cracking out the machines and just jamming was quite liberating for him… Is that process still an influence for you too?

It’s more than an influence, it’s just how it is and always has been for me. When Pete and I write, we write at my studio (The Zoo). We’re still writing together around our touring schedules. That makes things move slower both of us being on the road all the time but we make an effort not to just write and finish music for the sake of it. We’re working on something extended for later this year and we have a few tracks finished already. One is doing the rounds at the moment which is a kind of voodoo acid track called ‘Severed Seven’ which will be forthcoming on our label Sunklo.

"I wanted to move away from the ‘UK bass’ side of things. I wanted to play more techno/electronic music in my sets, without feeling pressure to just do what people expect of me."

Also it’s been quite some time since we had a Boddika record drop have you still been spending time on your solo production?

I’m always working in the studio; I’m always writing and making noises. Since my last release I’ve been on the road a lot and decided I wanted to move away from the ‘UK bass’ side of things. I wanted to play more techno/electronic music in my sets, without feeling pressure to just do what people expect of me – though I never just played crowd pleasing records anyway. There was always more to my sets than that and I wanted to take it further - into a different world for more challenges and experience. Since then, I’ve played so many amazing parties from DC-10 in Ibiza to closing the dance stage at Lowlands Festival to Berghain, Italian techno Festivals, parties in New York and beyond. I’ve had an amazing few years on the road playing with some real legends and people I look up to.

Because of this change, I had felt a bit lost in the studio for a while, [there were] so many different thoughts and ideas that it really fucked with my head and I became very indecisive about what I wanted to do, musically. About 8 months ago, I got heavily into modular synthesis (Eurorack) and that’s been a lot of fun for me. It’s really changed the way I work and I plan to have a new EP ready for this year. I’m nearly back to where I used to be mentally, which is writing whatever I want and not giving a shit or overthinking things. When I was part of Instra:mental we wrote house, techno, electro and Autonomic music and that was years ago! I've written a lot of music under Instra:mental, Boddika and with Joy Orbison and I guess I’ve just been taking a little breather to find myself again. I will not finish music and just pump out stuff I’m not 100% happy with.

What else have you got coming up this year? How’s your summer shaping up?

Well I’ve been focussing a lot of time on my record label and I’m going to continue doing that. I want to do more Nonplus branded nights and stages at festivals. I’ll also be working hard throughout the rest of the year in the studio, as I’d like to have an EP released before the end of the year. Other than that, I’ll be on the road as usual and enjoying my eclectic DJ sets.

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