Squarepusher Q & A : plus, Shobaleader One – “Megazine” [Video]

Left to right: Sten t’Mech, Strobe Nazard, Squarepusher, Company Laser, Arg Nution

If you read our last post regarding Shobaleader One, then you’re already hip to a few things regarding Squarepusher‘s latest project.  If not, you should probably go read it now, but the major revelation is that Tom Jenkinson isn’t just working alone anymore.  For those who weren’t aware, Jenkinson originally made his venture into electronic music as a simple hobby/side-project, while he was the member of a separate project as part of a full band.  Obviously, the groundbreaking sonic anomalies that he began to exhibit under the name of Squarepusher overshadowed everything else and, for the last decade and a half, he has remained the often mysterious and non-collaboratory musical wizard that most of us are primarily familiar with today.  How four other anonymous musicians were finally able to convince the bass virtuoso to welcome them into his process and relinquish some of the control that he is so accustomed to is still a bit unclear, but the sheer fact that they were able to do it at all is a minor miracle.  As the October 18/19 release date for Shobaleader One‘s debut d’Demonstrator approaches, Warp Records continues to leak more and more information about the new group.  The latest updates come both in the form of media samples, as well as a Q&A with Jenkinson himself.

While our last post featured the upcoming album’s 9-song track list and a promotional video clip for the release, that brief sample was really just enough to peak our interests about what was to come.  Now we know that the audio and video footage featured previously in that promo comes from album track number 5, “Megazine“.

Here’s the full video:


Shobaleader One members:
Squarepusher: Bass/vocals
Strobe Nazard: Keyboards
Sten t’Mech: Guitar
Arg Nution: Guitar
Company Laser: Drum
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Squarepusher already addressed a little bit about how the collaboration came about, but in the new Q&A conducted through the Warp Records site, he goes into further detail about the project.  Who are the 4 other contributors behind the masks and code-names ? That we still don’t know, but he does drop a few hints regarding their backgrounds.  He also talks about his intentions for an live tour in the future.  As someone who was forced to give away my passes to see Squarepusher the last 2 times he visited the area, because I was out of state, I would love to see him finally return to the U.S. in any form.  You’ll also catch an interesting mention about Oukast‘s Andre 3000.  Prior to a 2006 Squarepusher interview on the BBC2‘s Culture Show, there was footage featured of Andre expressing an intense interest in working with Jenkinson.  Apparently, that collaboration may be coming to fruition as well, so that’s just one more thing to look forward to.

Here’s the full Q&A now:

Q & A with Squarepusher about Shobaleader One

1. What is Shobaleader One?
Shobaleader One is my band. Last summer a bunch of kids got in contact with me. They were talking about forming an ensemble, which I thought was a ridiculous idea but I was impressed by their perseverance so we met up. Their idea was that they wanted the ‘fantasy group’ I had written about in connection with ‘Just A Souvenir’ to become a real entity that would record and tour. So we had a go at doing some recording and the story so far is documented on this record.

2. Who is in the band?

Basically a bunch of people who you may or may not have heard of from other bands and projects. Part of their idea is that this music is a completely clean break with whatever they’ve done in the past so I’m not allowed to mention any names. I can tell you that they are pretty frightening players.

3. What are the aims of Shobaleader One?
The overall aim is to articulate my music through the medium of a band. I always thought that a band would be a limiting thing. I’ve got very used to being able to make music by programming or playing without having to explain anything to anyone, and I assumed it would slow everything down if I had to. Actually it has made it quicker because I’m not trying to be four people simultaneously any more. I’m not over-explaining anything to them as they’ve got strong ideas of their own and I want to hear that in the final results.

4. Do you have live plans?
At the moment the plan is to tour next year after we have recorded more material. Playing live is part of the focus of this music. I’m really excited about playing live as this group of musicians is an extremely potent mixture. I’ve no idea what it’s going to be like touring with them as not one of us is what you’d call easy going. Every member of this band is a high-tension freak so who knows what’ll end up happening!

5. How did the Mr Oizo remix come about?
That was Pedro’s idea from Ed Banger. I’ve always had respect for that bunch. I thought it would be great because Oizo is on quite a different tip to Shobaleader One.

6. What’s next?
I’m writing more material for the band to record. It’s an ongoing experiment. Each one of us is trying to develop the sound of their instrument. It’s really exciting to be involved with instrumental players who are as into sonic experimentation as much as the actual music. I’ve also been in contact with Andre from Outkast recently.

7. How would you describe the sound of Shobaleader One and are there any specific sounds, artists or albums that have influenced this new direction?
We are playing my compositions, so in that respect it relates quite clearly to what I’ve done before, but as I’m not doing much playing or programming it is sonically quite different. It sounds more focused. Lots of musos end up just making their music a platform to display their skill. The great thing about this lot is that although they are great players they keep 99% of that hidden and just use it to give a very acute delivery of the songs.

Musically speaking these kids come from a metal background but they’re all bang into really slick R&B which I found quite funny at first but it’s making more sense as we go on. The basic premise at the outset was ‘space pop’ – a utopian pop music hallucination. It’s a stand against the affectation of knowing indifference in urban life and its corollary in music. I’ve always wanted to sabotage coolness as for me music is about laughing and crying, not about standing around smoking cigarettes.

Preorder Shobaleader One’s d’Demonstrator now through HERE

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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