Laurence Fisher is the maverick behind Cambridge's only electro night, 'Motherchip Connexion'. We recently became acquainted, so I thought it only polite to ask him a few questions, and get him to do a mix. Read on and fill your boots (as well as your eyes and ears).
What motivated you to start Motherchip Connexion and what are the realities of trying to run a club night like it in Cambridge?
Motherchip started out of complete boredom and frustration at the lack of any electro music in Cambridge. I was staying in for years on end, mixing and listening on my own and one night went out to see an old mate’s event where people were playing eclectic mixes of music on vinyl. I started talking to people there and quickly made some new friends. I explained my passion for electro music and got introduced to a couple of other like-minded people. Seeing others putting on small events in pubs inspired me to get together with the few folks I met who had electro to play and it went from there. The reality is that in this town electro is a bit of an unknown quantity to a lot of people, but the beauty is that people come up to me saying “I don’t know what this type of music is but I love it, it’s amazing!” Crowd sizes can vary, we have had full rooms and single digit figures. A late license at a venue really helps but it is hard to persuade venues to give you one if you can’t guarantee numbers. We take what we can get.
Who are the resident DJs and what are their styles? How do they compliment each other?
There are three residents including myself.
Eddie aka Bovaflux/Nullptr plays a great range of high quality production electro, plenty of solid classics and new releases. His style leans towards tracks with deep moods, melody and emotions, but also knows exactly how to bring the heat when he wants to rock the crowd.
The Subdermic aka Lilly Phoenix is a force to be reckoned with. She plays some of the hardest techno I’ve heard in this town and slides electro bangers in between. It’s always exciting to hear her new unreleased material live and the reaction it gets. Furiously beat matching and fader flipping her way though intense sets, she takes no prisoners.
Purplehands aka myself. I like to play all sorts of electro styles, depending on the time of the night. At the beginning I’ll be slower and playing gentle vibes; middle period I’m playing the classics and trying out new tracks. End of the night I’m ramping up with fast Detroit electro, and squeaky, bleepy and raw sounds from across the planet.
I think we all work well because we are versatile and rotate different time slots. We know each other’s styles well enough to transition our sets together while all bringing our own take on the music and surprise each other. It’s a lot of fun.
What about lighting and visuals? Would you say that coming to Motherchip is an immersive experience?
Coming from a previous job working as a lighting technician the venue space is very important to me. I have a clear idea of what I like for our music, as dark as possible with a few lasers for dance floor motion and immersion backed up by smoke machine. The strobe comes out towards the end of the night usually controlled by myself. The one thing that people seem to like and comment on are the visuals I make, which is nice. I spend hours looking for old science documentaries, sci-fi and technology videos to splice together into 3 to 4 hour long playing videos. No 2001 though, that shit is great but completely played out! I only have basic software to make them with but I enjoy spending nights listening late to records and picking out scenes that compliment each other. It also really helps tie in the subject matter of electro music. It’s also great at the start of the nights when people don’t necessarily want to dance they can just sit back in the dark, listen and zone out to the visuals. There’s nothing I love more than watching missile tests while Fastgraph is being played.
What are your own feelings about electro, and electronic music in general? How long have you been into it, and what got you started?
I came from playing bass in a punk band and mixing and scratching hip hop before I heard real electro. It’s a typical evolution in listening I guess. An old mate put me on to some records he had started buying around roughly 2001 and it just went from there. I just started exploring the underground world, mainly through the Internet. I remember hearing Radioactiveman’s first album being played at a market stall in town, a complete surprise to me at the time that someone else knew it. I said I knew it and the guy at the stall gave me a CDR of DJ Stingray’s - DJ café Mix Rotterdam, back in 2003. When I heard that it changed everything; it was on repeat in the car for ages. I spent many solitary years trying to hunt down the tracks on it and discovering lots of different types of electro in the process.
The genre is incredibly personal to me, it’s the time and energy spent digging to find such amazing music, which solidifies the bond I have for it. The sounds are like nothing else to my mind. It’s full of different emotions and concepts. It can send me into deep thoughts, reflecting on the world and the future. It can also make me want to dance because it is incredibly rhythmic, funky, heavy and sexy.
What I find very interesting is that within a relatively small genre there are a number of artists that have their own original musical styles while still sticking to the essence of electro, it’s very similar to hip hop really, when MCs and beat makers have their own styles and it also feels like there is a bit of friendly competition going on. What’s great is the community of artists within it, I used to message The Advent and Stingray on Myspace asking about tracks and pointers for records. Today it’s great to be able to contact and share information with these artists directly on Facebook or by just chatting to them in person at club nights, there are no egos just hard working, genuine people keeping this scene alive for the love of it.
Could you say what the most popular tunes are at Motherchip? Give us an all time top 5.
The Consumer – Datacare
Shokh – The Man
Randomer – Smokin’
ERP – Vox Automaton
Detroit In Effect – Let Yo Body Rock
When we spoke at the ‘Drexciyan Legacy’ night, you came across as someone who is passionate about what they do, but also realistic. Do you think you’ll ever be able to give up your day job to concentrate more on music, and what is the day job?
Well never say never, it would be great to do, I think that time is more important than money as long as you have enough to get by on. I often get ideas for making tracks while at work and wish I could just go home and turn on the music gear, and then when you get home you’re tired and only have a few hours to get creative. I don’t know if I’m just lazy or my heart isn’t in it enough but I do feel I waste too much time not making music. A valuable lesson I have learned over the years is that stress from jobs kills my creativity. Today I work in hazardous waste management and media production for a biomedical research campus as a lab technician. I have also worked in human anatomy, embalming donors for teaching purposes.
If you could emulate any club night, which would it be, and why?
Scand is an electro night in and around London run by Sync 24 that always inspires me. Its just pure electro all night, they have their residents who are lovely people and they get in the famous names in the scene from around the world. It’s great to hear upcoming releases played by them and you know the crowd is there because they’re really into the music, I have made a lot of friends by attending those nights and it’s good to chat with like minded people about the music. Their last event was at Corsica Studios and was a split night with Neighborhood. It was so great to see electro in charge and in the main room instead of “room 2” which is so often the case; that’s what I’m aiming for too.
What have been your greatest influences outside music?
Space exploration, human civilization, science and, broadly speaking, anything that involves a glimpse into the future. I’m looking forward to the Moon space station, the Moon base and humans landing on Mars, and also a solution to global warming.
What are the top 5 labels and artists that are buy on sight for you?
Stilleben Records in Sweden run by Luke Eargoggle and his brother always put out interesting and crazy banging tracks and have done for years. They’re a must buy for me.
Cultivated Electronics run by Phil (Sync 24) in the UK has consistently strong releases and they fly off the shelves so keep your eyes peeled!
Fundamental Records run by Alek Stark out of Madrid is incredible. He has released artist’s albums and put together the biggest compilations of electro in the world from artists across the globe. These are a buy on sight for me as they contain tracks you cannot get on any other format than vinyl and I treat them like heavy ammo for doing a set.
Jensen Interceptor (Australia) has recently started a label called International Chrome which is taking off right now. He and Assembler Code are putting out some furious banging electro which is a regular listen for me, I’m excited to see where they go musically.
Frustrated Funk is just a classic label and I always have to keep my eyes peeled for new stuff on there, so many great releases over the years.
What is coming up in the future for Motherchip? Is there anything happening between now and Christmas?
Yes we have our CPU Records release party celebrating Eddie’s (Nullptr) EP ‘Aftrmth’, on 19th October at 2648 Bar on Trinity Street in Cambridge. Also 96 Back from CPU will be joining us. Really looking forward to that and in a new venue too. We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds. I have a baby boy on the way so I will be very busy early next year, it’s all really exciting and I hope we can get more people around town to tune into our sounds and grow the crowd. We would like to get some bigger names to play for us and make more connexions! I think perseverance is key and as long as we are enjoying it we can make an impact. To the future!
Cacophonous Bling Podcast 10: Purplehands
Cacophonous Bling Podcast 10: Purplehands
DJ Dijital - Abduction Beats (feat DJ Lenn Swann)
Professor X - Static
Alden Tyrell - Obsession
Luke Eargoggle - Nancy is Data
Kan3da - Scandinavium
Kraftwerk - Computer World
Assembler Code - HAL's Machine Tool
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - Survival
Darren J. Horgan - TB or not TB
Freddy Fresh - Flava
Biochip C - Non-violent
The Advent - Heights
The Other Side Of Space - Techno Drivers
The Consumer - Datacare
T/error - Transuranium
Klorex 55 - Your car is my car
Shokh - The Man
D.A.F. - El que
Fastgraph - ../../
Ultradyne - Suicide Relay
AFX - .942937
Autechre - Second Scepe
Cacophonous Bling Podcast 10: Purplehands