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Bogdan Raczynski - Interview

  by Mark Rowland

published: 12 / 4 / 2002

Bogdan Raczynski - Interview


One of the Braindance label Rephlex's more notorious and well known acts, Bogdan Raczynski has now recorded five albums of skewed electronica. Mark Rowland gets behind the mind of a maverick genius

One of Braindance label Rephlex's more notorious and well known acts, Bogdan Raczynski's music is for the most part a combination of clattering beats, skewed drum 'n' bass basslines, eccentric Japanese rants and heliumised screams. Since 1999, Bogdan has released five albums, '99's 'Boku Mo Wakaran' and 'Samurai Math Beats', 2000's'Thinking of you', 2001's'MyLoveILove' and most recently, '96 Drum 'n' Bass Classixxx', as well as EPs such as 'Ibiza anthems volume 4', and a fair number of remixes. He has also made appearances on compilations. The odd one out of all those releases is 'MyLoveILove', a much more organic sounding album than his other efforts. The clattering noise you expect from a Bogdan record is replaced by tinkling harp sounds, jazzy brass parts, and - brace yourself - regular drum beats. Shocking, and yet strangely genius. In fact, it must be said that anything Bogdan touches seems to turn to genius, like his answers to my normal everyday questions in this very interview. Read it,and find enlightenment. Or at least buy his records. PB : Your recent album, 'MyloveIlove', shyed away from your usual beat-orientated approach. What was your state of mind at the time of its recording? BR : What was your state of mind when listening to it? That's what's important, methinks. PB : Your latest release, '96 Drum'n'Bass Classixxx' is a return to the style of your earlier material. Was 'MyLoveILove' a one off? BR : '96 Drum'n'Bass Classixxx' was a collection of ancient material. I subscribe to the approach that everything in life is a one off. Music to me isn't about wicked sounds. It's about beautiful moments, good food, bad weather, good friends, love,and lots of bad shit that comes in between all that. I'm content with imperfection and my source sounds tasting as dirty as the air in subway stations. I don't believe in man-made dynasties and man-made clean sheen. 'MyLoveILove' wasn't a one off. It was a collection of moments. cuddling and screaming. What I apparently didn't communicate very well was how shit I am, how imperfect i am. PB : On the albums 'Boku Mo Wakaran' and 'Samurai Math Beats' especially, there is a heavy Japanese influence to your music. What first got you into Japanese culture? BR : I lived in Japan for a bit, and did some silly subway spelunking .It was a grand time filled with days of silence, sans the roar of the marunouchi or the yamanote lines zipping past, pachinko machine ching still echoing in my head from minutes past. That said though, I don't think there's a Japanese influence on those two albums, anymore than anybody concentrates on how an album from North America may have been influenced by the city or country it was made in. Or perhaps I'm just lying to myself. The influences were everything, and in every stone. Japan was dreamy. Japan was shit. There is antiquated racism in Japan just like there is in America and everywhere else. Spousal abuse, murder, love, happy couples holding hands in spring, being awoken by birds in the morning, temples, the black asphalt mountain roads all over town, the wind, gyoza, yasai itame teishoku, blissful buffets, the discovery of curry, pokky sticks, the underground homeless communities, silent Yakuza territories, progress so out-of-control people were becoming mutants, sleazy sex hotel escapades, 24 hour konbini, orgasmic onigiri. I could go on..... PB : Can you speak any Japanese? BR : Enough to save my pinky from a provocative position with a prostitute promenading as an interested party, Yakuza pimp patrolling nearby. PB : You tend to release a lot of albums and EPs over short spaces of time. How long does it normally take you to complete an album? BR : 1 day. PB : Rephlex label albums are on sale now in a lot of London art galleries, Do you think of your albums as collections of songs or as works of art? BR : Braindance in galleries? Haha, serious? That's a jiggle on the ole joystick. My music is my temporary panacea. The fact that Grant and rich at Braindance wanted to release it and somebody wanted to listen to it is a pleasant bonus. PB : With titles such as 'Ibiza Anthems Vol. 4' and '96 Drum'n'Bass Classixxx' you seem to mock mainstream dance culture. Are these titles actually derived from a contempt of mainstream dance culture or more from the irony that your music is far from mainstream? BR : Mock? Not at all. I'm a big fan of tippy-toe trance in fact, and Drum 'n' Bass saved my life at one point. My Beef with Ibiza was my disgust with England's imperialism over Ibiza the island. They've been at it for hundreds, if not thousands of years and they're still at it -- enter, take over, fuck the place up, have a good party, leave the trash behind on your way out. That's been the means, what do they have to show for it ? Yeah, maybe 10 Boss Trance anthems out of a million. perhaps that's fine enough? PB : It is very difficult for lone electronic artists to put on a dynamic live show. How do you get around this problem? BR : I hire professional dancers. it's a mix between the Prodigy's pre '96 shows and and Nsync's shenanigans. But what would a good show be without killer choons? I hire a selector to hand me only the freshest ingredients from my back catalogue at each moment during a set. This yields a unique and dynamic mash-up at every opportunity. PB : 'MyLoveILove' and 'Thinking of You' are more concerned with relationships than your other releases. Do you think of yourself as a romantic person? BR : They're all equally concerned with relationships.I am a romantic, yes. It will be my undoing. PB : Are the individual tracks on those albums love songs, or should they be considered 'love' albums? BR : What's the difference? You've lost me sire. PB : While 'MyLoveILove' seems like a wholy positive album, 'Thinking of You' shows a more negative side to love. Does the difference in mood of these albums reflect your life at those different times? BR : I've always tried to come to terms with how inadequate, overbearing, stifling, jealous, indecisive, suffocating and childish I am, through my music and through all my food fun attempts. ' Thinking of You was written when I was battling rats on the Piccadil'y line. "MyLoveILove was written when I was battling guilt and heartbreak on the bloor-danforth line. Both albs are hateful, guilty, respectful, regretful, resentful, sad, happily in love, looking for adventures and enjoying the leaves. PB : Some of your tracks have quite a lot of vocals in them. Is that all you, or is some of it sampled from other things? If so, where do you tend to look for samples to put into your music? BR : It's my voice, blabbering on. PB : What are your plans for the next year? BR : Stop being so damned serious. Love is beautiful. Everything about life is amazing, even the fights and arguments and cancers and broken limbs. I'm no longer afraid of loving and I no longer fear not living. I've seen amazing things. I've been fortunate. I have beautiful people in my life. There's nothing else I can ask for. PB : Thank you More information about Bogdan Racyznski can be found at his website www.bogdanraczynski.com

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Bogdan Raczynski - Interview

Bogdan Raczynski - Interview

Bogdan Raczynski - Interview

Bogdan Raczynski - Interview

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A recent addition to the Aphex Twin's Rephlex label, Bogdan Raczynski is an angry man. 'Samurai Math Beats', his second album, follows on from where his previous release 'Boku Mo Wakaran' left off, an

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