- Fri, 2012-05-04 15:46
Hello from London.
We're Belleruche, we spend most of our time in a small windowless studio near a roundabout working on the bass heavy and claustrophobic sounds of our new album Rollerchain. We sometimes let ourselves out to buy coffee, or go on tour.
We make music the wrong way that sounds right, and we have a real problem defining what exactly you call it, to both journalists and taxi drivers. Buy us a beer or two after a show and we'll put you straight on the matter. But enough about us, let's talk about other peoples music…
Click the play button below to launch the pop-out player and stream the Belleruche playlist, then scroll down to read their features...
This is one of those recordings where the cover re-defines the song. The performance and words have so much relevance to Johnny Cash's life and the way he performs it is haunting. But even without knowing about Cash it's still one of the most powerful songs about human reflection there is.
Rick Rubin was able to convince Cash to record him by saying he was just going to let him play and sing in his house, and he would record it there. By just sticking a microphone in front of him and recording Johnny Cash so simply, he really captured the humanity about him which made him great. And then there's the life he brings to those lyrics, it's like he was always supposed to sing that song.
The American Recordings albums this song appears on are a triumph. Johnny Cash had basically been forgotten about in the US before these records were made. Rick Rubin gets him to record, compiles it and starts releasing the tracks on his own label. He reminded the US how great Cash is, and was, and gave the man the respect he deserved and the performance of this song sums it all up.
Recorded in 1988, and released in 1989, when I was nine years old. When I first heard this album 5 years later I was hooked. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that this record made me want to make music.
The production is incredible, the way the Dust Brothers used layers of samples like coats of paint, building up the tracks underneath the trio's New York nasal drug addled rhymes and jokes creates such a well put together sound, it was like nothing I'd ever heard before. Most hip hop up to that time took quite a basic attitude to sampling loops, but producers like the Dust Brothers and The Bomb Squad (Public Enemy) came out and created this collage like process of taking sounds from anywhere and anything and building these amazing records with them. Ignoring any convention of how music should be put together, but making a very listenable, atmospheric and musical record. The very idea of sampling sounds, and the creativity that can come from it, owes a lot to this album. And they did it with a sampler with 12 seconds of memory!
At the time, following the vast success of their first album release on Def Jam, the release of their second, which was so different from the beer soaked punk party record that was 'Licensed to Ill', was met with very low sales. So poor was the initial run that Capitol Records, who had signed them based on the debut album's success decided to stop promoting it. It took off gradually through word of mouth, and became a foundation stone for a lot of modern music. And if you don't want to take my word for it, even Miles Davis said he never tired of listening to Paul's Boutique.
This video is pretty famous and deservedly so. It's proof of how a simple idea can just work, and there's no need for huge budgets and over the top production
The video was made by the band, and one of their sisters Trish Sie. It's actually really hard to say what it is specifically that works so well with the video because so much is right about it. It's so captivating mainly because the dancers (the band themselves) aren't professional dancers, they're dressed a bit like your uncle, and it's all one take. I think it pays homage to early cinema which itself came from Vaudeville. Just watching normal people doing quite strange, but well planned and executed, acts on stage.
Videos, and other creative pieces, don't need to have lots of editing and polish. Things can look rough, but if you know it's real, and real people doing it, there's something very special about it. Normal people are pretty cool. This video wouldn't work at all if you could see the dancers were professional and it was cutting to different shots.
The video was a massive hit when it came out and I think it's because people had forgotten a little bit how great it is just watching someone normal actually doing something unique. So much stuff you see and hear is covered in so much dressing you sometimes forget what it is to just to see or hear a good basic riff.
When the soulful, electronic-led three piece Belleruche released their debut album in 2002 via Brighton based label Tru Thoughts, it became the fastest selling record the label had ever released. Now the band are set to release their third full-length album Rollerchain, which has seen them take a new song-writing route, picking up different instruments and experimenting with darker tones.
Stay up to date with Belleruche at www.belleruche.com