We managed to have the priviledge to speak to Taz Modi, the keys-master of the the Submotion Orchestra. We quite like what he had to say, enjoy:
-how are things going? what has been up lately?
Things are going nicely thanks. We just got back from Croatia and the Outlook festival. It rained, we weren't happy with that. Those two days out there were my summer holiday.
-how did submotion orchestra come together?
Tommy and Dom formed the idea of the group after doing a one-off gig mixing classical music with dubstep. it was pretty successful and got them thinking about creating a project that mixed live, jazzier elements with the heavy bass feel. The rest of us came on board one by one - we all knew each other from playing in various different projects in Leeds.
-could you explain the creative process behind submotion orchestra? how do you start writing a song? how did you go about creating your sound as a group?
We tend to work one of two ways. Either one of the band will bring a tune - it could be fully written or just the basics - to the band, and we'll then go about fleshing it out and getting an arrangement together. Or we'll improvise together until something comes about that works. However it's started, the material is always worked upon by us playing live and together with each other, which helps keep things organic and natural sounding - we don't really want to record stuff that we can't play live.
The group sound mostly came about through the year of improv gigs we did at a bar called Hukaz in Leeds. We'd just set up and jam every monday; it took a little while to get it together, but we started to get an understanding of how to play with each other, and a kind of collective sound started to come out of it. And Mani from Hukaz made some lovely curries too.
-what's a day in the life of submotion orchestra like?
It will usually involve, in no particular order, lots of cake, loud bass, some brutal bodily odours, a couple of hissy fits, some more loud bass, and if we're lucky, something productive like a tune, or an idea. And some more bass.
-what inspires you to create?
It's difficult to say. You can sit yourself down and make yourself try to write or play, but nothing will be coming. And then you might be up for a day or two, totally knackered, and suddenly get the urge to do something. It's not possible to predict when you're going to be most creative. One of the best tunes from the new album was made when a few of us were waiting for the rest of the band to turn up to a rehearsal - we should have saved ourselves for when everyone was there but it just came out and there wasn't much to be done about it.
-what is your favourite thing about what you do for a living? if you weren't musicians what else would you be doing?
There's a lot about what we do that we enjoy, we could be here all day if I started to go on about it, and I'd end up just sounding smug. The thing we like most about the travelling - especially abroad - is that you get a different impression of the places than if you weren't working there. You don't get to see much of the place itself - we were in Moscow earlier this summer for a total of 9 hours, which really isn't very long - but you get to meet a lot of people and see the places from a different perspective. It's a lot of fun.
As for what we'd do if we weren't musicians, I can only follow my keyboard playing hero - Viv Savage from Spinal Tap - and say that we'd probably start to get a bit stupid and make fools of ourselves in public because there wouldn't be a stage to go on. What musician can't relate to that?
-What kind of gear is used when you make music? How about when you play live?
Like i said before, we try not to overcomplicate things in the studio, because we want to be able to present the material live in an honest a way as possible. Bobby uses Ableton live, but only for a few little samples and things to fill out the sound - there's no backing tracks, no click track, or anything like that, because audiences really respond to the fully live nature of the band. So in general, we use similar gear on stage as in the studio. Fatty's bass setup is the most noticeable thing - he splits his signal to get separate bass and mid channels. Aside from that, I use some synths like the Prophet 08 and a Moog Rogue, and Dom's got his space echo. Nothing too complicated.
-your blind spot ep is exceptionally dope, can you tell us about it? do you have any other shows or releases coming up? anything we need to know?
That's very kind of you. it's from the new album 'Fragments' which is out at the beginning of October, and we've got a UK tour to tie in with the release - 15 dates all over the country, including Stylus in Leeds and Koko in London. We'll see you there hopefully.
anyone you'd like to shout out?
Hello to Matthew Halsall, Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra, Hidden Orchestra, Floex, Tommy Evans orchestra, Stuart Macallum, Author, and everyone else.
Nice talking to you.