Kantocast 006 - Biggabush - Legends Of Library Music
Updated: Feb 12, 2019
Glyn "Bigga" Bush is an independent producer and DJ based in Dorset, England. He was half of Rockers Hi Fi for most of the 90s before striking out on his own and recording various albums and remixes as BiggaBush and Lightning Head. He continues to make music as BiggaBush and MDO (Magic Drum Orchestra).
Here is the interview:
1- We think people might want to know how you named your podcast. What is your definition or understanding of library music?
The golden era of Library Music was between the late 60s and 1980. It is music written for use in dramas, TV ads, documentaries, films, theme tunes - what I find fascinating is the fact that the composers would only be given a quite vague brief, a short verbal description of what the music could be used for - and then it was up to a) their imagination and b) the excellent session musicians they worked with. So the brief might be for a car chase, an atmosphere such as a research lab or a power station. The composers and musicians developed a “house style” for the particular library they worked for - notably KPM, De Wolfe and Bruton in the UK. The more you play tracks from these libraries the more it feels like listening to one band, a really tight and funky band who play together all the time, which was really the case as it’s often the same drummer, guitarist, bass player, organist plus strings and brass, doing session after session. And the composers knew exactly how to get the best out of these musicians, over and over again, producing literally hundreds of tracks but without it ever sounding stale.
2- What pushed you towards DJing and producing music? Where did the inspiration come from?
I started as a musician playing guitar (but really wanting to be a drummer!) and got into studio recording and sound engineering in the 80s. When I discovered midi and sampling it felt like a great leap forward as I could make music that would be impossible to physically play, using samples and electronic sounds. Then I discovered acid house and that inspired me to explore dance music and form Rockers Hi Fi with DJ Dick, which ran from 1992-99. We both have really wide taste in music and were influenced by loads of different sounds - starting with house, then adding elements of dub, hip hop, trip hop, jungle, soundtracks, ambient, techno etc. So when Rockers split up I just carried this on into my solo work. The DJing came about because it was really difficult to re-produce our sound onstage, so it was a way of finding a way of performing live without using normal instruments, and sharing the sounds that inspired me with a live audience.
3- Do you think music interconnects with culture? How does the environment you live in affect your music?
Yes of course - music is always a by-product of wider culture and that’s one of the biggest things that inspires me - whether it’s afrobeat from mid 70s Nigeria and Ghana, dub from Jamaica, Latin music from New York, jungle from urban Britain in the 90s, house from Chicago and Detroit and so on. When I was in Rockers I was based in Birmingham which is a large urban environment with a mixed population of African-Caribbean as well as Asian people living and working alongside white people, so that inevitably rubbed off on me. Now I live out in the country with hardly any access to live music that I’m turned on by - but it’s a great environment to walk around and let the music play on in my head so I can get back to it with fresh ideas. But then of course the internet allows us all to delve into music from all over the world at all times now.
4- Do you get inspired by any other form of arts?
Yes I love photography, graphic design, film, plays….loads of stuff!
5- What makes a set a good set?
For me it’s a balance of playing stuff that is familiar to people along with fresh tracks they won’t have heard. In my DJ sets I always play stuff by the Reflex - his re-edits (using stems from the original studio masters) are always incredible and he is a master as teasing out the track and delaying the hook to pull the audience in closer. I like variety in a set, not just one style all night. Mr Scruff is one of my favourite DJs.
6- You seem to have a wide range of sources. Is there any particular era or bands that influence you more?
Definitely the mid-late 60s and 70s are my favourite period for most styles - soul, funk, reggae, jazz, prog. I still love mid-90s drum & bass and jungle and classic hip hop. I should listen to more contemporary stuff but there’s so much amazing stuff already out there it’s hard to find the time. That said I really like contemporary artists like Pearson Sound, Objekt, Seiji, Thundercat, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Madlib, Luke Vibert, Khruangbin, Session Victim, Francis Disco Inferno.
7- What’s the process you follow when bringing tunes together? Is it instinctive only or do you plan ahead?
I get ideas listening to tunes in the car, sometimes shuffle will throw up a combintation I’d never have thought of…with the library stuff I picked my favourite tunes and then just experimented with what tracks worked next to each other. If it’s a party set I’d usually aim to gradually increase the tempo but I’m not tied to any one style. I just try stuff out and if it works I go with it.
8- What would you like to say about your podcast?
Listen to it with your ears open - it’s just incredible music, however it was made. If you like what you hear there’s a huge amount out there to discover.