We last spoke to The Black Dog in May 2013 about their album ‘Tranklements‘. Having successfully raised enough money for their Kickstarter campaign to help fund, develop and produce their CS X51 USB/MIDI Control Surface they’ve also started to release their “Sound Of Sheffield” 4 part series, aimed specifically for the dance floor, using the sounds of the city to echo Sheffield’s heritage in creating electronic music. Their mix for Inverted Audio features music from Arthur Oskan, Mike Parker, Cosmin TRG, Furfriend, Sigha and many more.
Tell us about the mix you’ve recorded for Inverted Audio. How was it recorded, what was the reasoning behind the track selection and the overall feel of it?
The mix was recorded on two MacBook Pros with a mixer in between and each of us selecting and mixing tracks. It’s all recorded live and gets a tad aggressive towards the end due to scaffolders outside making a shitload of noise.
We last spoke to you about your album Tranklements. How was that album received? Were you happy with the response?
The album did really well for us and a lot of people really enjoyed it, which is always good. We try not to get too caught up in every opinion, good or bad. We ultimately make our art for ourselves and if people like it then that’s great. We can’t control what people think, so why worry about it!
What have you been developing since then?
We’re still working on the next Sound of Sheffield EP’s, developing more material for a side project called ‘Application’, music and sound design for a couple of short films and trying out new ideas for the next album. We never stop working on music.
Tell me about the Sound Of Sheffield series – When did you start writing the tracks and how is the series a reflection of Sheffield?
We wanted to celebrate the city and reflect it with a series of EPs spread over a year. It’s certainly not a reflection of the whole city, just a snapshot of what we see and interact with. It’s a great place to live and work, but you can’t escape the fact that you’re right next to some heavy industry yet still only a couple of miles from the Peak District. A living, working paradox if you will.
Last year you launched a Kickstarter campaign to help build and develop your CS X51 USB/MIDI Control Surface. Having raised £29,801, how have you used the money to further the product?
We used the money to help us finish the final prototype and to make the first machines. It’s rather heart warming that so many people offered to help. We are now in the final stage of building and testing the units before shipping them out to our backers. After that the CS X51 will be available to the general public. It’s been a long, interesting and sometimes frustrating process, but we’re really happy with the final product and believe it’s one of the best controllers on the market.
Do you have any further developments for the product, or even more products in the pipeline?
Yes, we have a couple of controllers and synths in development at the moment but we really can’t say much until we have the final prototypes running.
You’re also working with photographer Shaun Bloodworth – How did you come to work together and what direction did you give him for the The Sound of Sheffield?
We’ve known Shaun for a while now and we enjoy working with him because he’s an excellent photographer with a keen eye and we trust him. He’s always open to new suggestions and ideas and over the years we’ve grown to really trust him. We’ve just finished the music for two of his short films actually, they’re both very good.
Track 3 on Sound of Sheffield Vol. 2 was recorded live at Panorama Bar, Berlin. Can you expand on that night, how you felt, the crowd, the experience of recording live?
It was a bit of a risk putting us in there because we don’t really play “happy clappy” house so we did take it a bit darker than usual. We had that track broken down into all its parts so we pretty much remixed it live. The final recording was then used without any further mixing, just the mastering stage from Simon Francis.
We often record things live as we can see how differently things work in a new environment. We’re always teasing new tracks to see how they work outside the studio.
What albums or producers have you been listening to a lot this year?
Some of our current favourites are: Manni Dee, Happa, Huxley, Phase, Inigo Kennedy, GoldFFinch, Sigha, Shifted, Kyoka, Mark Fell, Russel Haswell, Pye Audio, Geiom, Beneath, Call Super, Alex Smoke, Falty DL, Ital Tek, Objekt and Lone.The Black DogDust Science RecordingsTechno