Album Cover Design: Adam Pizurny
After a series of dark and deadly remixes and collaborations released on imprints like Subtle Audio, Sound Sphere, Dysfunk Music, and Dubkraft Records, the duo known as Centaspike and Indidjinous have most notably blasted out of the gates with an epic full-length LP on Tech Itch Recordings that had even the legendary king of dark, sci-fi tech himself in awe of what he was hearing:
“We receive many demos that are either not the right vibe or are just not up to our standards. We certainly don’t receive demos that immediately spark our attention and prompt us to sign them after the first listen. Centaspike and Indidjinous managed to do so by delivering an outstanding album, professionally mastered and ready to go.”
Harkening back to the classic tech-step days of yesteryear, Centaspike and Indidjinous’ Primordial Resistance LP manages to capture a hair-raising vibe that is both primeval and dystopian at its very core. With Centaspike hailing from Australia and Indidjinous calling San Francisco home, the album is even more remarkable in that the pair had never even met in person until halfway through the production process of the album despite years of collaborating online through the web.
Once it slips that Indidjinous’ is an accomplished player of the aboriginal didjeridu, you may think that it served as some kind of shared interest that brought the crew together when actually it’s a mutual love of alien sci-fi horror flicks and the golden age of techstep drum & bass that brought them together. No matter what mysterious forces brought the duo together, the results speak for themselves and to get a deeper sense of what kind of future primitive dreamscape the duo are emerging from, we thought we’d spend some time traveling through the synaptic paths of their hive mind to see if we can get a glimpse as to what kind of dark visions are still to come.
First off, introduce yourself to the masses.
Centaspike: I be Centaspike, also known as Anfo. Born in ’86 and been living in Canberra, Australia my whole life. Indidji and I mainly focus on aggressive broken beats and deep, murky low-end surrounded by experimental sci-fi soundscapes and organic elements.
Indidjinous: I grew up (and currently live) near San Francisco, California but I’ve spent time living in Washington, D.C. and New York City. My music style is dark tribal techstep with elements of live didjeridu. To me jungle/dnb is about experimentation and contrast, particularly in drum patterns. Classic sci-fi techstep is the sound that formed my musical sensibilities, though I’m also a big fan of drumfunk, halftime and (early) neurofunk.
You guys are from opposite ends of the world, how did you link up? I have to imagine it was the didjeridu that somehow played a role in it all?
Indidjinous: I’ve been playing the ancient Australian wind instrument known as the didjeridu since 1998, long before I began producing dnb (circa 2003). It’s just a funny coincidence that I happen to now have an Australian music partner. In reality the instrument had little to do with what brought us together.
Centaspike: We connected over Soundcloud, actually. I spotted the name Indidjinous on the Black Hoe Recordings page and that caught my attention. I checked out his track “Dead Ringer” and instantly loved the style this guy was putting out. It was very original and ticked all the right boxes for me. It was also interesting hearing about an American guy playing didjeridu over dark, experimental dnb!
How did that lead to you two working together in the studio?
Centaspike: We eventually started remixing each other’s work and liked the results. That led to working on collabs and passing stems and loops over the net. It worked well because we had very similar tastes so it made it extremely easy and quick to complete tracks. I think it also works well because we both have strengths in different areas. Mike’s arrangements, sci-fi vibes and drum work is always intricate and brings a signature sound with the addition of the didjeridu in tracks and DJ sets. I think my strengths are more the dark bass, drum work and creepy sound design.
Indidjinous: We almost always love what the other does to a tune. That’s probably because our stylistic preferences were both shaped by 80s and 90s sci-fi movies like Aliens, Terminator 2 and Predator. We’re both big fans of dark, abstract atmospherics, tribal percussion and relatively subdued, deep basslines (as opposed to bright midrange or melodic hooks).
At what point did your work turn towards the thought of building an album?
Indidjinous: I had been planning to begin my first solo LP but I didn’t want to stop working with Centaspike. I remember asking Anthony, “Hey, I was thinking about making a solo LP, but what about a collab LP?” and he was like, “Fuck yeah, let’s do it.” We began work in early 2014 and just like the first collabs, we each began an equal amount of the projects, five each in this case. It took us about a year to complete, and some tunes were trickier than others but in the end it was all worth the effort.
When does the title, Primordial Resistance, come to you? What’s the meaning behind it and how do you see it as relating to the larger themes of the album?
Centaspike: I think the title came about half way through making the album… the early tracks were strangely dark, lots of broken beats and unusual rhythms. We wanted to continue on that path, not conforming to what’s popular, resisting the mainstream from the beginning.
Indidjinous: The name reflects the tribal nature of our sound and the underground, rebellious essence of dark dnb. As soldiers in a planetary sound war, our LP is our contribution to the global underground resistance movement against mainstream cultural assimilation. This urge to resist cultural domination is an innate, primal instinct. Our resistance is primordial.
And you still had never met face-to-face at this point?
Indidjinous: That’s right. Once production was underway on the album we got this crazy idea to fly to Europe and do a ‘Primordial Resistance’ tour. We each had a lot of contacts there from all the labels we’d released on in the past, so we figured it was worth a shot. Keep in mind the LP wasn’t very far along and of course not signed yet. But we didn’t care. We decided to burn the boat and take the island, as they say.
So with zero confirmed gigs we booked flights to London for a month long adventure. It’s a long story that could fill another interview, but suffice to say it was the single best month of my life. We performed in seven or eight countries across Europe and actually met in person for the first time in London’s Heathrow airport. So much could have gone so wrong but it went better than we could have hoped and now we’re best friends.
At what point did you guys get in touch with Mark/Tech Itch?
Indidjinous: To my knowledge neither of us had previous substantial interaction with Tech Itch. In January 2015 we had the tunes mastered and ready to go. We decided to send clips to him and a select few others but Tech Itch Recordings was always our first choice. It was a pleasant surprise to say the least that he responded, and so enthusiastically. It’s a true honor and a dream come true to be associated with such a pioneer.
The entire album feels like a throwback to classic sci-fi techstep. Were you worried that it was going too much against the grain of what’s considered “popular” in drum & bass at the moment?
Centaspike: It was our intention right from the start to produce rough, rugged sci-fi techstep vibes, as it’s what we love. We grew up watching sci-fi action films and love those kinds of visions and stories. Making this album was our way of making sci-fi films in audio form.
Indidjinous: Personally, I’ve never much cared what the mainstream thinks about my music. Dnb is not about compromising, it’s not even about the dancefloor – its underground music and by its very definition is anti-mainstream. That there even exists a mainstream sound within the genre is puzzling to me, but I don’t spend time thinking about it. If people like our sound, great, if not, it doesn’t bother me. The minute I start consciously trying to make what I think people will like, I’ll have lost the spirit of the genre.
Mark seemed equally impressed by the way the album sounded “professionally mastered and ready to go.” What’s the secret to a good mixdown!?
Indidjinous: While we were in England we visited our good friend Bob “Macc” of Subvert Central Mastering. Macc had been responsible for mastering the vast majority of my releases and we had struck up a friendship over the years. He graciously invited (insisted!) that we visit him in Halesworth in east England. It was there we had the honor of experiencing his unbelievable custom mastering studio where he gave us invaluable feedback on fine tuning our LP.
What’s the secret to a good mixdown? Macc would say there is no secret, there is no formula. Each tune is different. My own personal technique involves listening to a pre-master on as many different sound systems as possible before mastering. Good headphones, bad headphones, car systems, studio monitors, ordinary speakers, club systems, whatever. Then finding a good balance between them.
I understand you guys have a “live” show as well?
Centaspike: The “live” show is mainly a back to back DJ set with Indidjinous playing live didjeridu in the mix… adding another level of hypnosis.
Last but not least, what’s next for you guys and where do you go from here?
Centaspike: Next is to continue working on tracks. There might also be a European or West Coast tour in the near future and hopefully more chances to work together in the studio, rather than over the net.
Indidjinous: Earlier this year I flew to Centaspike’s home in Australia to begin work on a second LP. For the first time we were able to actually work in a studio together and our sessions were more productive than we imagined. We got a strong start on at least ten new tunes, certainly enough for a new LP. I can say this second LP has dark sci-fi techstep vibes as usual, but sounds quite different from the first. A new creature is evolving out of the primordial soup.
‘Primordial Resistance’ is out now via Tech Itch Recordings. Join the resistance here.