We grabbed the Night Slugs co-founder for a quick chat by email ahead of his Fabric takeover this Friday night.
Attack: Night Slugs and ClekClekBoom are taking over Room 2 of Fabric this coming Friday, with you and L-Vis playing back to back. You’ve spoken in the past about your formative club experiences at nights like FWD and the formula for your own Night Slugs nights: dark, smoky rooms, good sound systems and so on. Last time I saw you play in Room 2 it seemed like the lighting was a bit more restrained than usual. Do you tend to make requests about the atmosphere of the room wherever you play? Are you able to tailor the environment as much as you’d like?
Bok Bok: Yeah, we always request there to be as little light as possible. I feel it tends to help people become a bit more intimate and open to hearing and dancing to new things. Many clubs aren’t happy to go as dark as I’d like, so no, it’s not always ideal. The darker the better.
Night Slugs seems to be much more focused on creating an identity and a cohesive aesthetic than most labels. I saw you chatting with Boy 8-Bit on Twitter recently about how the ‘neon’ tag has stuck with you from the first Night Slugs press release, but you think it doesn’t have much relevance any more. How do you define the Night Slugs aesthetic now?
I don’t define it and I never have! It’s just a feeling. When you hear the right tracks you just know.
Do people get that aesthetic? It seems like it would be frustrating to put so much effort into creating something cohesive and then see people clinging to the same reference points – whether that’s ‘neon’, FWD or grime – rather than really focusing on the music itself?
I dont know – you tell me, I guess! I mean, we do sell records which some people really like, so I’m going to guess that some people are getting it, yes. But I also don’t think its hugely cerebral music that needs ‘getting’ either. All the music we deal with is totally accessible to everyone.
You’ve developed what appear to be pretty strong ties to ClekClekBoom and Fade To Mind. Are those alliances driven mainly by musical similarities, personalities, philosophies or something else?
These two relationships are very different. Fade and Slugs are officially sister labels. What that actually means is there’s overlap between the two communities around the labels, our visual and music have a relationship, there are collaborations happening there.
ClckClekBoom are our good mates from Paris, and yeah there’s plenty of shared interests with them too, mostly in the realms of ghetto house and dirty drum tracks.
Your studio setup seems quite hardware-focused these days. Off the top of my head I can recall seeing pictures of you using things like a Little Phatty, Poly800, 727, RZ-1, Juno 60… Can you tell us a bit more about the studio setup you’re working with at the moment?
Yeah but I also use a lot of digital stuff too. My studio is set up for a modern day analogue-digital hybrid process. Currently I’m mixing down my new single on Night Slugs which features Kelela on vocals and will be out early March. That will be followed by an EP at the end of March.
I don't think its hugely cerebral music that needs 'getting'.
How much has your approach to production changed since the early days of your releases? It seems like there was less of a shift in sound from, say, ‘NNTF09’ to the Southside EP than there has been from Southside to Night Voyage Tool Kit. Is that a reflection of your method?
Yeah, and just learning the craft, because when I started out I was just working blind. That’s a fun time too but I’m glad I now ‘know what I’m doing’. Yeah, you can hear some different processes happening in the newer music. I’ve got a very consistent but diverse set of influences so the biggest changes happen in my production based on what I’m feeling to channel at that point, which direction I want to try.