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Jasper Clifford-Smith on Polybel

Over what period were the songs on polybel made? What was the headspace for their production? Was it made in the daytime or deep into the AM hours?

Polybel is a weird one because I wrote one of these songs about five years ago and I wrote one of them about two months ago so for a five track thing it was a pretty spread out process. It wasn’t really intended to be an EP or an LP but those five tracks really fit well together. So I guess to answer the question there wasn’t really a particular headspace I was in when I wrote all the songs because they were all written so far apart from each other. That being said almost all of them would have been recorded in the afternoon between 1 and 5 because thats when I do 90% of my recording or rather 90% of the stuff I record that I actually like and want to keep is recorded in those four hours. God knows why.

Is it a different experience making this kind of stuff compared to your hip hop material?

Um. In that there is guitar and bass on some of these songs then yes it is different because I’m playing real instruments but I don’t know really. I started making hip hop after I wrote a couple of these songs because I went from playing in a rock band to fucking around with loops and programming and I was listening to heaps of hip hop and that’s just the way I was going. That said I don’t really like making pure hip hop or genre based music at all because when I do I feel like A) someone else is doing a better job of it and B) I feel like I’m completely limited and not really pushing myself as an artist.

The similarities between any straight up hip hop I’ve made before and the songs on polybel are basically I’ve started off with a beat and built up from there. Polybel is far more psychedelic and textured than other things I’ve done though and less lyrical.

Vaporize is effusive, dodging the listener and shadow boxing. It’s an aurally overwhelming kinda track with a Spacemen 3 vibe in the vocal too. Lots of machinic sounding synths. This is a drug song, right? A “come on inside” kind of thing.

It was a song I wrote about a mate who did too many drugs and didn’t leave the house or do anything much at all. It’s kind of about the web of lies which weaves its way into your life when you let drugs take over. In that respect it’s an anti drug song, as lame and un-rock n roll as that sounds. The music itself was probably me sub-consciously trying to do a Chemical Brothers track without the gear, attention to detail or production know how.

Is it fair to say you’re often out to disturb your listeners? Either through the instrumentation, or in the lyrical content, to make people feel slightly uncomfortable … you know, more of a Come To Daddy than Ambient Works. If so, what’s drives the aesthetic choice to disturb?

I always find the most interesting artists the ones who will try and test a listener’s standards and patience. I don’t mean that in the sense that I always listen to avant garde experimental noise stuff because I don’t ever listen to that kind of thing. More in the way say the Butthole Surfers would start an album off with a track and end the album with the same track slowed down to half speed. It becomes a different song. Or that Drake would rap about things that men often think about but seldom express in their music due to ego. There is so much music out there which sets out to blend in with the avant garde and its just dogshit. I never want to make that kind of thing. As soon as your ego takes over, which mine has in music I have made in the past, then the product is always going to suffer. It’s only when you stop caring what other people think about you that you can get freaky and interesting and ultimately challenge people. But yeah, if I went into the music making process with the intention of ‘fucking with people’ then I guarantee you the music would suck because I’m already thinking about the audience too much.

In This Universe is a jam. Messy, psych kind of dirge. Do you have any intent to make more material in this style?

Yes but that song only really developed when I reversed all the vocals. Before I did that it sounded like a Blur song or something but I only really liked it when I just reversed every single word on the song. Would I do another track where I pulled the same track? No. Would I do another track with heaps of guitars and wah pedals and whatever? I would certainly consider it.

Tell me about No Good. Who’s involved in the label/collective and what kind of things can be expect to see from you guys in 2014?

Well we are a collective of artists who didn’t really have a voice or a banner or a home so we started our own. Simo Soo and Maatzi are both rappers but they are way too freaky to ever feel at home with Big Village or Elefant Tracks or any of the OZ hip hop establishment. B Deep is a long time comrade and he makes the most interesting and conceptual instrumental music of anyone I can think of. His work is on a different level than the current flock of beat musicians in this country because he’s a producer but he’s operating on a million different planets at once and not just making shit that rich kids can take drugs to. Daniel Havas is a film maker who makes film clips and he’s always doing good shit. Slurs is an interesting hip hop producer because I can’t really think of other producers right now who are doing what he does. Tim Snape, Sophie Gillfeather, Harrison Phillips and Judge Demus all help out and I’m the one who kind of gets it all together. We have plans to release music but right now No Good is in its infancy so we are putting on events with artists that we like.

What’s the founding ethos of something like No Good?

We aren’t genre specific we just believe in good music. Simple as that.

What can you tell us about your upcoming album?

I’m writing it at the moment. It’s pretty heavy lyrically. Jasper Fenton (Decoder Ring, Dead China Doll) and Luke O’Farrell (The Laurels) are helping out. It’s fight music. Demolition music.

Jasper Clifford Smith is on the bill with Dead China Doll, Making, Super Galaxies and Phonographics at Oxford Arts Factory on Thursday, January 23. Presented by No Good and Time /\ Space Records.


Dead China Doll at Oxford Arts Factory Jan 23


  • Founder and Editor of Skydreams. Producer of Telepath on FBi Radio.

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