Published Feb 26, 2014Jack Dunning, better known as Untold, is a producer and label owner from London, UK. Along with imprints such as Hessle Audio and Apple Pips (amongst others), his labels Hemlock and Pennyroyal continue to push boundaries in the overcrowded world of bass music.
Untold's sonic palette has always been taken from the more esoteric end of the sonic spectrum, and this has never been more clear than on his new LP release for Hemlock, Black Light Spiral. It is an unrelenting, claustrophobic and unremittingly dark journey through the lower end of the frequency range. We recently sat down with Jack to talk about this new release, his producer tips for 2014 and how his production methods have recently changed.
What lead you to move away from the more dubstep-influenced releases of the past, and into the more esoteric sound palette you utilize on Black light Spiral? There's quite an industrial influence — what initially lead you to explore that sound?
It's all part of the same journey. The rough textures, static and distortion help get across a sense of pressure and overloaded circuits. I really didn't want to make a clean poppy-sounding record here.
What non-musical influences did you have in creating Black Light Spiral?
I've been reading about chaos and have become fascinated with the science of predictability and how it relates to music. Lots of the tracks in the album were recorded using feedback loops and effects chains, which meant each time they played back, the results were subtly different.
How important are the visual elements of your new live show? Can you take us through it? How important is the role of the visual in your music?
The visuals and music combine to create an intense, glowing atmosphere, something otherworldly. I'm really excited to see how it will work in different spaces. We paid particular attention to how light, symbolism and colour could create a narrative across the set. All visual movement is synced with an element of the music so the result is quite hypnotic. It's gonna be a trip man.
Can you take us briefly through your current studio setup?
I've recently wanted to get away from the computer and be more hands on with making tracks. I've been using analog sequencers, drum machines and synths like the Korg MS10 and Juno 6 to give more instant results. I've also got into modular synthesisers and am exploring how they can be programmed to generate music with endless variation.
Who were your influences growing up? And going further what labels inspired you to start Hemlock?
Before I got into rave I played in bands and was into guitar music. I went to my first rave around 1994 and never looked back. The majority of what I've listened to since then has had its roots in hardcore/jungle/drum & bass. It was long-running "buy on sight" labels like Suburban Base and Moving Shadow, then later DMZ and Hotflush that made me want to start a label.
What producer/artist/label tips do you have for 2014?
I'm enjoying the new wave of instrumental grime artists that are taking the music forward. Logos, Mumdance, Wen, Murlo are some I've been checking. The label Keysound has been instrumental in kickstarting this new phase of grime.
Black Light Spiral is a great "statement" record, it definitely sounds like a Hemlock release. Was it a calculated decision to release it on Hemlock from the start as opposed to one of the other labels you are associated with?
There was interest in a couple of the tracks from other labels, but the more I listened to them the more I felt they belonged together on the same album. At Hemlock we were wanting to shift our focus onto releasing albums and EPs so this was the ideal opportunity.
How do you think Hemlock differs from your newer label Pennyroyal, also what can we expect from Pennyroyal this year?
They are separate entities with different goals. Hemlock has a loosely defined sound that spans multiple genres. Pennyroyal celebrates the power of raw, unhinged techno.
What next for Hemlock, and more importantly for you?
Just to tour the hell out of this record and keep my ears to the ground for new music.
How do you feel about dubstep in 2014?
Memes and memories.