In the attic with THUGWIDOW


We get into the attic with producer and fruit picking enthusiast THUGWIDOW. After spending some time in Manchester and London THUGWIDOW now resides in a place called Duran very near to the ‘really long name place’ which doesn’t have a shop, pub or post office – there are however plenty of cars for the youth to burn. In his spare time he works as a baker and does trade offs with strawberry plant merchandise for Victoria sponges. He has spent 17 year making electronic music that sounds some would say a bit like melodic jungle but produces basically everything and has had huge releases with labels such as Astral Black Records. He is currently looking for gifts of new computers with large memory storage as he has too much music taking up his hard drive however obviously there is no post office in his village.

Attic: So tell us about life in the village

THUGWIDOW: I currently work as a baker, today I walked the dog, mowed the lawn and made a cake...
This is the story of a musician in his prime..

THUGWIDOW: a lady gave me some strawberrys plants and im repaying her with a Victoria sponge

Attic: THAT is so village

THUGWIDOW: no money changing hands

Attic: Only strawberry plant currency, you could open up like some kind of strawberry bank

Attic: To be fair we know someone who broke into their neighbours garden to steal cherrys to make cherry wine and they said the overall was value (in shops) was around 200 pounds of cherry merchandise – so it is probably quite a solid thing to get into dealing – fruit

T- underground fruit dealings

A – the fruit web – you’ve got Dierdre just making cakes on the … low

T : so yeah why don’t you ask me a question

A- Yeah lets do that... 

So first we wanted to know what kind of genres you like to produce?

Basically so when I started making music 17 years ago the kind of umbrella terms for me didn’t really exist. I started making what I termed electronica which basically at the time was like basically ambient but a bit technoey and I kinda made that for 2 or 3 years
I also got very much into garage but I always had a bit of an ambient edge to everything. I dont know where this came from but I listened to a lot of post rock and a lot of electro

With the whole drum and bass thing I don’t know why this has really come about but one day I just decided I wanted to learn more about smapling and the only guy I knew willing to teach me anything was a guy who made drum and bass so essentially from fiddling around with a drum machine for an afternoon just kind of got into through processing a few sets of drums and then I just couldn’t stop, and then people kinda termed it jungle I just thought I was making drum and bass. Ambient jungle is probably a good term for it.

Attic: It sounds cool doesn’t it like ‘I make ambient jungle’

THUGWIDOW: Yeah exactly - I wouldn’t term it that though I just term it as like electronic music cos I make like techno tracks, breakbeat and house tracks and then recently what you would call ravier tunes – if that’s a genre

Attic: Yeah I would say so terms are getting broader again, rave, club ..

THUGWIDOW: It goes through phases like it was just about electronica and it become about 400 genres and they all died off and I feel like were getting to that point again

So did you find it quite difficult then to get into producing did it take you a little while or was it something you just went straight into?

THUGWIDOW: it took me a while its honestly taken me years and years and years to get to the point I want to with music production like at school I did music lessons but hated it when I went college the last thing i wanted to do was music I did not know howto make music when I first started trying and I had the dodgiest set up – I had a casio Sk1 and I just tied a load of wires together and funnelled it into an old laptop and I electrocuted myself a couple of times... All I had is some music I downloaded off myspace

Attic: so noughties

THUGWIDOW: so noughties man 

Where do you find inspirations for your sounds?

The cultivation of my vegetable gardens

Its changed a lot revently as far as inspiration goes for yeas I was obsessed with the actual music that was coming out – I find myself listening to less music nowadays and the music I do listen to is metal and folk

How do you decide what samples to use on your tracks? Do they all mean something to you?

As you may have guessed I take a lot of inspiration from Burial and the way they make their music. I noticed that often those little phrases that make it into tunes are really affecting. When you come across them in the wild, in the films or songs they are taken from they create strange little emotions, clashy little though forms. So I started trying to register what was affecting me in the mass of culture. Often I liked the odd, poetic statements made by people in otherwise standard pieces of speech.

Attic: We particularly enjoyed the sample on your track ‘Romanticised’ on Warehouse Rave Records where it talks about music being a tool & how its up to user to choose how to effect people with it.

That quote at the end of romanticized was from a video of Quincy Jones describing a synthesizer programmed by Herbie Hancock, possibly two of the most influential men in electronic music. I really like the sentiment, it has only been with the advent of electronic instruments that the affectation of electronic music has been emphasized to a truly overwhelming point. As Quincy says this is for good and bad, it has the power to empower and destroy, combined with the internet electronic music has the capacity to go from mind to the listener without ever being played aloud, without ever being considered, appealing to markets the other side of the world completely free of any original context. Music may have just gone beyond the point of being considered.
The made-to-shock music of the early 2000’s could no longer compete with the shock of the complexity and aggression that is potential within modern electronic production. My more subversive chilled out music harbours within it a lot of confused, retrospective emotions, it has been a psychiatric catharsis for me over the years yet ironically people seem to get a lot of joy out of it.

How do you think rave / jungle music affects people - how does it affect you?

I love a dance, i always will, i love the way rave and jungle music despite having aggressive, ambient, a-melodic elements yet it is a fun danceable vibe. It almost seems counter intuitive, there is definitely an element of catharsis, in the deep dread inducing basslines is a reality, an inharmonious truth that somehow expunges the pains of life. I always used to leave nights out elated despite listening to fear inducing walls of electronic noise.

What music would you produce if you wanted to piss someone off?

In relation to this in a quite amusing turn me and Matt really did piss someone off with our music. In response to the Thrashing Scared Alone youtube video a user named Audio Pervert seemed to get real angry. Me and Matt found it quick funny, most artists would just get called ‘Shit’ or ‘derivitave’ instead this guy was quoting philosophy at us, it was funny because we both kinda knew what he was talking about and what he meant but like it’s also at the end of the day just a dance tune thats meant to release people from the existential dread of the subjective-reality.

Quote: “So regressive ... Is what Jaques Derrida pointed out as Hauntology. Trust the old jungle loop, some mindless vocal sample + delay with some random african person dancing. Also a "spectacularly titled debut collaborative project". The clones of Fact Magazine can never actually get to the fact(s).”

I actually ended up reading quite a bit of Jacques Derrida after that and have possibly made more music inspired by the hauntology lol.

How did you get involved with the Blunted Breaks compilation?

I have Alex Eveson to thank for my whole career, i contacted him out of the blue years ago just saying how much i loved the vibe of what he was doing. It was a video he had done, it was just a spinning western lore logo with a mad tune in the background with all these stretched out drums. since then i’ve bombarded him with endless tunes and he’s been piecing together releases for me and just being a great, enthusiastic guy.
I never knew how far that random soundcloud message would get me haha

Anyone who you dream of working with that you haven't yet? Maybe a Britney Spears collab?

I’m here, waiting, patiently for that britney email lol. I love her so much and find her live to be so sad, horrible even. I would love to work with any vocalist again, i love working with other people on stuff, as you can probably imagine some people find my hecticness, work rate and sporadic enthusiasm off putting and a lot of things have fallen through.

Would love to do any vocalist collabs, also one day i plan on putting together a little jungle jazz band, would love to just jam on the piano over some breaks, some real Yussef Kamaal shit.

“I basically send him finished songs, he jams a few layers of electronic madness over the top. I ruin the song completely, we start a new song and i ruin that one but not as much as last time”

Obviously Requiem for a Sesh is a big favourite from astral records. How did you and bruised skies begin that EP?

Omg i would love to hear Matt’s answer to this too. I don’t know why he puts up with my shit. I basically send him finished songs, he jams a few layers of electronic madness over the top. I ruin the song completely, we start a new song and i ruin that one but not as much as last time then old elements from the first song get shoved back in, that gets shelved then six months later i go back to it like “this is a banger though?”

Talking of collabs i would like to do, me and matt sat in a studio actually working on a song together in person, that would be great!!

Did you watch Requiem for a Dream beforehand? - if so did this inspire you to make the album?

Me and my wife often joke that requiem for a dream is a film you should really only watch one but weve both seen multiple times, kinda like when i used to go out and get fucked up on a friday night. Somehow you always manage to forget just how bad it all gets hahaha.

Whats the raccoon thing on the front of that EP?

The racoon thing is like a ‘Slender loris’ that Taavi the designer chose, in retrospect look at the guys eyes, clearly a victim of the sesh.

Thoughts on snails?

I’ve eaten snails, snails now eat my courgettes, do with that what you will.

Which animal is most likely for world domination?

Spiders man, second humans are out of the equation siders got it locked, them fuckers so intelligent man.

Second to that rats, once when i lived in london i cornered a rat in my kitchen that had been living behind the cooker and attacking My now wife Rox. I stabbed that thing with a knife and it didn’t even flinch, it just looked at me like “What are you doing?” in the end Rox pinned it down with a broom and i hit it with a stick over and over again and it was still FINE. i opened the door for it and it just walked out giving me a sly look over its shoulder. Ten seconds later it had it up the drain pipe and was back in the house. Rats are hard man.

Which animals would you like to sesh with?

That big boy slender loris.

What is your ‘attics’ physical form?

More like a basement, there was this house i used to go in fallowfield manchester and the basement of the house was just full of water and ciggy butts and everyone used to get trashed in there for days on end.

What are the thoughts in your attic? 

Right now i’m obsessed with the history of european culture, it’s origins and modern presentations. It goes back to the levant 6000 years ago at the end of the fertile crescent, a beautiful eden suddenly turned into a desert and people went crazy. The effects of this are still being felt now, humans created the idea of Objectivity, of something being true because it is written and we never went back. We obsessively reference reference with no thought for the original context, only that at some point it was considered and that’s all that matters.

How do your more abstract and masked/secret ideas influence your creative processes?

I’ve had a few people comment on my track names, i do a lot of writing and most of my song names are just little excerpts from what i’m writing about, often having no real relation to the music at all.

The songs themselves and pretty much exact imprints of how i am feeling on any one day, my mood is generally all over the place. So i guess it’s a combination of those things, my research into anthropology is not always uplifting, my job is certainly not my ideal, but things are good and i enjoy my life. That heady combo of despair and elatedness is pretty much the sound ive ended up making lol.

What/who is hiding under your bed(s)?

Often my dog who enjoys licking shoes (weird) and loads and loads of shoes, all belonging to my wife hahaha.

The year is 2050, the apocalypse has come and you're stuck in your attic. What is the one sample you are choosing to play continuously? 

Of all the shit burials sampled, the beginning of untrue from David Lynches Inland empire both in that tune and in the film is a haunting horrifying moment. One i feel ive lived myself, that feeling of being lost, of being guided in the wrong direction of looking for hope in all the wrong places and ending up somehow in a cycle of creativity.

“I show you light now, it binds forever (heaven?)” what the fuck is that? Amazing, no idea what it means, it doesn’t matter really. The whole film turns at this point as laura Dern acknowledges the hell she’s been trapped in and slowly tries to crawl her way out.

Actually no scrap that, gimme that first bar of ‘The beach boys - wouldn’t it be nice’ over and over into infinite bro bliss as i lay upon the apocalyptic beach of my mind slowly going insane in the loft insulation.