Dusted is the project of a certain Mark Bates. Ok, not exactly a household name. But let me tell you that Mr Bates is an ex keyboard player in FAITHLESS and joining him for Dusted is Faithless mainman Rollo. With a critically acclaimed album of ambient bliss behind them from last year they look set for domination in the year 2001. We talk to Mark about the new single "Always Remember To Respect and Honour Your Mother (Part 1)" and how they escape the ambient traits of waves and seagull noises.
Q: Obviously you knew Rollo from
your live work with Faithless. But how did the Dusted project come about?
A: I'd been playing live with Faithless for the first couple of years of them touring and then I sort of got to the point where I just thought "essentially I'm playing somebody else songs" and I wanted to write some of my own songs. I had a fantastic time playing over Germany but I decided to stop touring with them and work on some backing tracks.
Rollo doesn't play any sort of instrument at all, he can't play a note of anything so he always needs musicians around. When Faithless went away on tour again he was a bit stuffed and I'd got these backing tracks that I'd started anyway. he just suggested to me that we do some down tempo things and when Faithless go away we'll see what we get. We started from there and it was always going to be a down tempo kind of thing, its got lots of Orchestral samples and it just started like that.
He promised his manager that he would give him something
to release on his label by the end of the Millennium. Obviously all the
Faithless stuff went out on Cheeky, his manager who was getting all his
remix work runs Go Beat. He said "you've got about a year left" so it naturally
became the Dusted album we released.
Q: On the single, where did the
idea come for a 12 year old choir boy?
A: We were looking for melodies actually and Dido, Rollo's sister, was saying "Oliver". We couldn't nick it directly so we adapted it a bit and because she's got quite a high voice we thought it would sound good with a choir boys voice. We tried so many ideas with the vocals and a full on song just took away from the beauty of the music. The whole album has got a little bit of a theme about childhood anyway, so that fitted in perfectly anyway.
Q: The album focus' on the specific
them of childhood. There's not many dance acts that would look further
than the tunes. Was it always the plan to have specific theme through the
A: When we decided we were going to make a down tempo album, alot of the ambient collection albums you just find that you get a drum loop and a bass line and it never progresses anywhere. We definitely wanted to make it more song based and have the instrumental bits in there as well. We decided that we were going to make all the tracks segue into each other and to keep that connection going we had a theme to make it easier.
The story hopefully doesn't get in the way of the music,
you're not missing anything if you don't get the story. Rollo said the
only person who will ever properly get it is his mum because lyrically
most of the ideas came from him - he was the one with the twisted childhood.
Wave noises and beats are all very well and its fine if you just want it
as background music, but we wanted something people could get lost in.
Q: Mirwais and William Orbit
have recently made the move from the underground to the mainstream with
production duties for mega-stars. Would you consider producing a big name
act like Madonna or Michael Jackson?
A: Rollo's fortunate enough in that everyone has at one point asked him to produce or remix their tracks, Madonna's probably one of the few that haven't as yet. It would be lovely to produce a whole album for Madonna, it doesn't get much bigger than that.
Dusted is what I do full time and for Rollo who's got
his fingers in so many different pies, it give him the opportunity to express
himself differently. Doing the second Dusted album he hasn't got to find
a huge house hit like he would have to with the Faithless album, or if
he's writing with Dido he's not got to do a pop thing.
Q: Do you think dance music can
be quite clique and fashion led, rather than guitar based bands?
A: What I've never understood is people who say "I listen to house and I can't listen to anything else", by doing that you're missing so much. People who are making music generally listen to a lot of music.
When you're buying records you want a bit of everything - Oasis, Bob Marley and all the rest of it. Madonna has been the queen of re-inventing herself, but at the same time her songs are always good. Being a guitar player is a lot more limiting than the keyboard so you're bound to experiment more with synths.