Audio Bullys @ Global Gathering

Photographer:Stephen Franklyn

Sarah Abbott - 01 August 2006

Since the release of their album 'Ego War', Audio Bullys have inhabited an enclave of their very own making on the world map of dance music, one further concreted last weekend with an explosive set at the UK’s biggest dance festival, Global Gathering. Tom Dinsdale’s expertly crafted beats mix with Simon Frank’s lyrics to bring a sound quite unlike any other around. VF caught up with Tom and Simon to get their take on camping, inspirations and all things festival related…

Virtual Festivals: How do you think Global gathering has changed since its earlier Godskitchen days?
Simon Frank: "Well it’s obviously not trance music now is it so it’s obviously got a lot bigger and they’ve started playing more varied music."

VF: Do you think that’s a good thing?
SF: "Definitely, especially as I don’t really like trance music very much. So yeah, definately a good thing."

VF: How about your set today, can you tell us anything about it?
SF: "There’ll be some old stuff and quite a few new tracks as well, it should be good. We don’t plan too much ahead."

VF: Do you have any rituals or superstitions that you have to do before a set?
SF: "Have an argument!"
Tom Dinsdale: "I was going to say the same – have an argument."
SF: "No, no not really, we just have a few beers, stuff like that."

VF:  What makes an ideal set for you?
TD: "A good crowd, we prefer it in the dark. And a good system."

VF: Is a bigger crowd better?
TD: "Not necessarily, but then you can’t beat ten thousand people going insane to your music. So it depends."

VF: How about location, do you prefer playing here or abroad?
SF: "Anywhere really, whatever’s the best gig, but I do like playing abroad. There is something different about it. I think we have put a lot of time into playing abroad and it is nice to do some English stuff as well."

VF:  How do you think it compares playing here to somewhere like Ibiza?
SF: "This is better for us, this kind of thing. Oh yeah we’ve had some good times out in Ibiza but there’s no clubs there at the moment that I’d really want to do. Know what I mean? I think we’ve got to look into it, there are probably some places that would be good but the places we used to do aren’t there so much."

VF: How do you think Ibiza has changed? Is the fact that it has got so big a good thing?
SF: "Yeah there was some stuff that got really shit but I think there has been some good stuff out there recently. It’s changing. I mean I’ve never even been to DC10 but everyone goes on about that, how good that is, and that Cocoon night too, so I think that kind of sound, if I was to go to Ibiza, is where I would go."

VF:  Do you think you’ll catch any other sets whilst you’re here?
TD: "I’ll stick about to watch Norman. I need to see who else is here."

VF: Have you ever done the whole festival camping thing?
SF: "Once, yeah once, at Glastonbury."

VF: Any horror stories or tips for campers?
TD: "Its just crap, I hate it. I remember at the time our publisher was like, 'what are you doing you should be in a hotel'. But we ended up staying up there a couple of days, it was good fun but I think I got back and the tent had disappeared, something had happened, I didn’t put it up right and it had completely fallen apart. So I just left it there."
SF: "As for tips, make sure you bring some of that mosquito spray because we did that Loch Ness thing with Fatboy Slim and everyone was saying about how there was a lot of midges there. It was unbelievable, you’d walk out of a big tent and just be going like that (waves arms) across my face and we got covered in midges. Horrible."

VF:  We can appreciate that, we camped last night.
SF: Fair play, did you get much sleep?

VF: Not bad, about three hours, more than everyone else!
SF: Did you see Daft Punk last night?

VF: Yes, saw the whole set.
SF: Good aren’t they? Cool, very cool.

VF: Speaking about big DJ names like Daft Punk, Carl Cox, do you think that a DJ can ever become too big? That perhaps their name is bigger than their set?
SF: "Yeah I think that did happen with a lot of dance music. Like the whole thing, it became got over commercialised. It was like people were trying to fill too big venues and there was something about it that didn’t ring true anymore. That’s what I like about the whole sound that you’re getting at DC10 and all of that. It is real people that are really into that, like properly into it, whereas you go to some of these things and sometimes you get the impression people are just there because they’ve heard that they should go, but it’s not really cool. It’s like that when it gets too big and commercial sometimes. But I think something like this gets it quite right.

VF: Do you think that perhaps someone becomes more of a brand name than a DJ?
SF: "Definitely. Even now some are doing it so much that they aren’t enjoying it as much as they used to. You have definately got to be careful of that."

VF: Do you think you guys will ever get sick of it all?
SF: "You just have to try and control what you do, make sure you only do the good stuff."
TD: "Yeah, you have to make sure you don’t play too much as that’s what a lot of DJs do. You can see it in their eyes that they’re fed up and it turns into a job. That’s dangerous, you’re meant to be playing to kids and loving it. Every now and again I feel like I need to stop playing because it gets too much. You need a break because you play every weekend and it is too much."

VF: Do you think the crowd can pick up on that negative feeling?
TD: "Of course they do, yeah if you’re enjoying yourself then it feeds off the kids and they enjoy themselves back, but if they look up at someone who’s not really caring what they’re doing then there’s no way that they can get into it."

VF: Do you remember a particular gig or set that inspired you before you made it big?
SF: "The Prodigy. I remember seeing the Prodigy at V festival, the only festival I ever went to before we started playing and I saw them, the last set at V Festival ’97, and to be honest I hadn’t really enjoyed the festival very much. I was just used to going to clubs and I just wasn’t used to it basically. And then, when they came on, it made it all worth it. They put on a big show with all the lights and everything. That definately stood out for me."
TD: "There have been a few, but do you know what I can’t think. I can’t remember a defining moment when I decided this is what I really want to do."

VF: Are you doing any other festivals this year?
TD: "Oh yeah we’re going to Holland to do one, Belgium and Germany, a couple more but I can’t think."

VF: How does the atmosphere compare abroad to here?
TD: "I think they’re all good, I mean English crowds are good and sometimes they get the music more. I mean we did this festival in Greece a little while ago and that was just like a little odd. I think it was one of the first festivals they’d had there in Greece and it was rubbish really. But then like Argentina is amazing, the crowd out there are incredible."

VF: Isn’t Germany meant to be good for the dance scene too?
TD: "We haven’t really done Germany yet, we just haven’t really covered it for some reason. I think the last single did something out there, but yeah everyone’s always saying how good it is out there and that’s where a lot of that sound I’m talking about is coming from. There’s a lot of really good music, so I want to do a bit of Germany."

VF: Do you have any plans for the rest of 2006?
SF: "Just make an album really, that’s our main focus now so. And to focus on the sets and make them really good, just get it all better."

VF: How about a tour?
SF: "Not a tour, not at the moment, we’re playing every weekend but not like a full on tour."

VF: Do you guys ever get intimidated by the size of a crowd you’re playing to places like this, or even DJs that you follow on stage?
SF: "No. We just do our own thing. Sometimes if someone’s really doing a good set in front of you and you’re watching it, then you think 'can I rise to this, can I keep the crowd going?'

VF: Finally, how do you think Global Gathering compares to other festivals?
SF: "See we’ve never been here before, but everyone’s always said to me that it’s the best festival for electronic music and it looks really good. I’m looking forward to it."
TD: "Definately."


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