This year saw the release of their first entire drum and bass album, "Natural History" which has been a whirlwhind success topping a variety of dance music charts. We caught up with the boys to see how 2009 has been for them and what they have to say about dnb, djing and their future plans...
EXAMPLE: So guys first off, hows 2009 been for blu mar ten?
[them]Chris: Busy and focused. One of our best years yet[/them]
EXAMPLE: Your new album "Natural History" has been causing a bit of a stir. What was the idea behind your album? what sort of statement did you want to make?
[them]Leo: Broadly, we decided a while back to limit ourselves to a strict 170bpm template, veering away from the genre hopping we used to do. This limitation is a freedom so I think we've done better music and made progress faster. The album is the first batch of results from this new path.[/them]
[them]Chris: Even though we've been making d&b since 1995, and despite this being our fourth album, we'd never made a proper d&b album from the bottom-up, so we thought it was about time. We didn't want to make something that sounded like much other d&b that's around, we just wanted to make something we were proud of. We don't really care if it does or doesn't fit with what else is going on in the d&b community, we're much more interested in appealing to a broader audience than that.[/them]
EXAMPLE: Did you expect the reponse that it's had?
[them]Chris: We didn't really know what to expect, but the response has been fantastic. It shot up the charts in all the online stores and it's just been listed as one of the best dance albums of 2009 on iTunes..So yes, we're pretty happy with that. I think the fact that we've been around a long time and written more music than just d&b has really helped us reach different sets of people, especially in places like the US where d&b isn't very popular at all. [/them]
EXAMPLE: Where do you stand on the vinyl or cd or serato debate?
[them]Chris: Really don't care. It's completely irrelevant to us. Personally I only play vinyl, and still cut dubplates because that's what I love, but then Leo plays CDs because that's what he likes. But it really doesn't matter. People who worry about it really need something better to get worked up over.[/them]
EXAMPLE: You asked for some interesting questions and nothing gets peoples attention more than a bit of controversy, How do you feel about the "Bishigate controversy" a few weeks ago? .
[them]Chris: Again, not really that bothered. The only problem I can see is a mismatch of expectation. i.e. If 500 people come to a club expecting to see one thing and you do something completely different then i think that's a bit unfair. If people *knew* that you might be doing something different and had the choice about whether they want to pay to see it or not then I really don't think there's an issue. The reality is, (whether you like it or not), that outside of a few internet forums the vast majority of people who go out to clubs have no idea about this whole episode, and even if you told them they wouldn't care. To most people, getting two records that sound more or less the same to run in time with each other is a complete non-event.
Personally I wouldn't do it, but then I enjoy the whole chaotic process of mixing and performing, as opposed to objecting to it on some weird moral grounds.
Quite a few people started complaining about producers DJing and how they shouldn't if they're not very good, but this is one of the realities of our time. Piracy on the scale we have now is often justified on the grounds that producers should now make their money from performance as opposed to sales, and so we have people out on the road who, years ago, would have stayed in the studio making music which is what they're best at. People often forget that there's no actual link between sitting at a computer and making music, and getting up in front of a thousand people and smashing up a party - they're completely different skills and just because you're good at one there's no reason at all that you should good at the other. So if you force people into a performance situation (which can be very nerve-wracking at times) things like this are going to crop up from time to time. It's inevitable.
Solution? Support the producers by buying their music, then they won't have to take gigs they don't really want to do in order to make ends meet and the 'good DJs' can get on with doing what they do best. [/them]
EXAMPLE: How did Blu Mar Ten come about?
[them]Chris: Leo & I met through a mate in 1995 and started putting tunes together. It worked really well and we had a release about 8 months after our first studio session. We sent some stuff to Bukem who liked what we were doing, and after we did a remix for Erykah Badu's first single we got signed to Good Looking. I'd known Michael since around 1993 and when he moved to London he started sharing our studio and gradually became absorbed into Blu Mar Ten.[/them]
EXAMPLE: You branched out into other genres what made you want to spread your wings beyond drum and bass?
[them]Leo: We always listened super widely and we still do. But listening widely and writing widely all the time aren't necessarily the best paths. Hence the 170bpm comment earlier.[/them]
[them]Chris: If you really like music and you enjoy making it you're constantly looking for interesting new sounds and ways of working. Drum & bass isn't so interesting that it can satisfy you completely so you need to branch out from time to time. I never really trust people who only listen to d&b...It just displays a bit of a lack of imagination. We pretty much never listen to d&b ourselves..there's too much other interesting (and better) music out there.[/them]
EXAMPLE: Which labels and artists are doing it for you at this moment? also who can you see being the bright stars of 2010?
[them]Chris: There are loads of bright stars out there right now. Newer names I'm enjoying at the moment are:
Mr Sizef & Unquote
and a whole load more...[/them]
Couple of mixes where you can hear some of their stuff:
[link url= http://www.blumarten.com/home/drum-bass-mix-sep-2009/ target=_blank]
[link url=http://www.blumarten.com/home/category/mixesandpodcasts/ target=_blank]http://www.blumarten.com/home/category/mixesandpodcasts/
[them]Leo: Well, I can do the non DnB stuff. Recently liking:
CFCF "Call Girl"
Bibio "Bones & Skulls"
Wild Beasts "Hooting & Howling"
Jon Hopkins "A Drifting Down"
El Perro Del Mar "Change Of Heart"
Washed Out "Feel It All Around"
Darkstar "Aidys Girl's a Computer"[/them]
EXAMPLE: What was the first ever piece of music you bought and also the last?
[them]Leo: Blondie "Heart Of Glass" / Clipz "Download (Original Sin Remix)"[/them]
[them]Michael: David Essex "A Winter's Tale" and Kelly Clarkson's album "All I Ever Wanted"[/them]
[them]Chris: 'Iko Iko' The Belle Stars / 'Where the Wild Things Are' OST[/them]
EXAMPLE: Now that your album is out and youve been touring whats next?
[them]Chris: We have a remix we've done for Bop coming out on Hospital early next year together with other reworkings of his stuff from Lynx and Subwave.
There'll be the final single from our album coming out sometime as well - we're just sorting out some remixes at the moment but it should be great if it all comes together.
And we've already started work on the next album which will be out....at some point in the distant future.[/them]
EXAMPLE: When can the mancunian fans next catch blu mar ten?
When a Mancunian promoter books us!
[link url=http://www.blumarten.com target=_self]www.blumarten.com[/link]