Duo's journey into drum'n'bass
Auckland drum'n'bass duo Paradigm are taking a musical trip and want to take plenty of people with them.
A TRIP to the now defunct dance music festival The Gathering, near Nelson, was the catalyst that set Auckland friends Damian Vaughan and Mark Kneebone off on another journey entirely.
It was there that Kneebone -- who had been drumming in reggae and ska bands - - and his friend since childhood, Vaughan, who had been singing in many different rock and heavy metal bands, fell head over heels in love with drum'n'bass.
Kneebone loved the way it built on a bedrock of dub reggae and developed the music into entirely new directions, while Vaughan found an attraction to what some have termed the "heavy metal" of dance music.
"We were there in '98 and really got into the drum'n'bass. We decided on the drive home that we might as well give it a crack," Kneebone says.
"I've always been a massive dub fiend and Damian's always been into harder stuff, so we fused those influences together and Paradigm was what came out."
While keyboards and computers are generally the tools of the dance musicians' trade, one of the reasons Paradigm's debut effort Process stands out from the pack is that in the initial stages of many of the songs on the album, Vaughan and Kneebone were writing as any conventional rock band would.
"A lot of the tracks we wrote by me sitting down at the drum kit and Damian ready to pick up a bass guitar and a keyboard and we'd just start jamming and put it all down on an old eight-track (recording machine)," Kneebone says.
"Then we'd go back and find the parts we liked and load all that into samplers and that was how we'd make the tracks. That worked for six of the eight tracks on the album. The other two were started on sequencers and finished that way too."
Vaughan and Kneebone were even able to call on their musical pasts in some places on Process. The best example is on Gesture Without Motion, where Kneebone was able to pillage his back catalogue for the right hook.
"The vocals were from a release called Between The Smiles by Cheshire, a band I used to drum in.
"I had the masters kicking around; Gesture Without Motion was a track we wanted to put vocals on, so I took snippets from the masters and the more we tried it the more it worked.
"We were always going to get someone to re-record the vocals but I was talking to Kate, who used to be the vocalist for Cheshire, about it and she said if they work, go ahead, use them, so they stuck."
Cheshire, like Paradigm, are signed to independent label Tardus. However, Paradigm have a strong association with the powerful indie label Kog, at whose studios the album was mastered. Tardus is distributed by Kog, Vaughan used to play in a band with Kog's Chris Chetland, and Kneebone's day job is Kog's publicist.
"We've been working on Paradigm for two years, but it was in the last 12 months we got serious about it.
"If we didn't actually finish it and get the production quality high enough, we'd never actually do anything with it. We got a calendar, decided to drop it there, and then worked completely backwards to write the record and learn how to engineer it properly."
As a last minute decision Paradigm called on the services of Evan Short, one half of acclaimed drum'n'bass duo Concord Dawn, to oversee the mix. Given Concord Dawn last week had a single make it into the British charts, Short was definitely the man to add the final touches to Vaughan and Kneebone's efforts.
"He did a wicked job on it, because we really wanted it to be sonically professional, up there, and able to stand up against other tracks.
"We knew the material was there, but it was always our engineering skills that were a bit dodgy."
Now that Process has been tidied up, the album is out now in New Zealand, and Vaughan and Kneebone are looking further afield.
"We don't want to jump in too quickly with the whole overseas thing, we want to cement ourselves in pretty well in New Zealand first.
"At the same point, Australia is the next step. We've confirmed Process will have an Australian release in February, which is cool.
"After that, we'll start work on a second record and start really eyeing up Europe, which is always the aim for anyone doing dance music." - NZPA * Paradigm play StudioNine on Saturday night.
Caption: In town: Paradigm are friends Mark Kneebone, left, and Damian Vaughan whose love of dub reggae turned them on to drum'n'bass. Supplied by New Zealand Press Association