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Meat Beat Manifesto - conducted by Todd E. Jones  


The Off-Centre Meat Beat Manifesto of...

December 2005

MVRemix: Who were your earliest influences?

Jack Dangers: To begin with, the first record I ever bought was ‘Trans-Europe Express’ by Kraftwerk. They were always a main influence. I didn’t really listen to them that much after ‘Computer World’. Up until that, they were pretty stellar. They were the first band to use vocoders. They were the first band to do a lot of things. All roads lead back to Kraftwerk.

MVRemix: Even hip-hop. In ‘Planet Rock’, Afrika Bambatta sampled Kraftwerk’s ‘Trans Europe Express.

Jack Dangers: Yeah, a bunch of white Germans influenced a bunch of Black Americans. Who hasn’t done that before?

MVRemix: Any other influences?

Jack Dangers: Yeah, Cabaret Voltaire influenced me at the time too.

MVRemix: They are featured in this film called, ‘Made In Sheffield’. Did you ever see that documentary?

Jack Dangers: No, I never saw it. Is The Human League in there?

MVRemix: Yes, many people like Pulp, ABC, I Am Hollow, and Vice Versa.

Jack Dangers: Chakk was a really good band from Sheffield. They went on and got a big label deal. It was a controversial deal. They had a couple of singles out that were really good, cutting up the dance floor in the mid-80’s. They got this big deal with a major label and disbanded. Then, they spent all the money on their record label and recording studio. They were quite an important Sheffield band.

MVRemix: What Meat Beat Manifesto album are you the most proud of?

Jack Dangers: That’s a hard question. It’s usually the last thing that I was working on because it is what is foremost in my mind. If I had to pick just one album out of all of them, it would probably be ‘Storm The Studio’ because it was the first one. That was a good album at that time and a lot of people took that sound afterwards. They sampled it as well.

MVRemix: You used a vocal sample of someone reciting Sylvia Plath’s poetry for the end of the ‘GOD O.D.’ single?

Jack Dangers: We actually almost got in trouble for that.

MVRemix: You actually went through the sample revolution, from people just jacking samples to paying for them. How have things changed for you?

Jack Dangers: To begin with, I used to just take whatever. I always sample with reverence. I don’t sample anything blindly. I like to know the history of it. It usually means something to me. I may have grew up with it or things like that. It’s definitely a pick and mix. I paid for that chunk from ‘Hello Teenage America’. That was probably the biggest single music sample I have ever used. Some spoken word things, like the Sylvia Plath were quick and abrupt vocal samples. You wouldn’t think anyone would chase you for them. Someone in Boston was using that as an I.D. at their radio station. Someone at Sylvia’s estate got in touch with them and asked, ‘Where is that from? How is it being used?’ Nothing really came out of it, but that was pretty early on as well. I think that if you are selling a lot of records and are in the charts, is when you get into a lot of trouble. I never had that pleasure.

MVRemix: Meat Beat Manifesto was releasing danceable music long before the rave scene exploded throughout the world. In the 90’s, the rave scene gained popularity in the United States. Has the rave scene or the cyclical nature of dance culture affected Meat Beat Manifesto?

Jack Dangers: No, not really. I always liked music that could make you move, but I never really danced myself. I never did that myself. I never really liked doing that. I do like the music that could make people do that. It could be anything, really. It could be ‘This Charming Man’ by The Smiths. It doesn’t have to be this massive break-beat or anything. You can dance to anything. People have always done that. We don’t see our music as dance music, as such, because you don’t have to dance to it. I like complicated rhythms. I like syncopation. I will always like music that does that. I was always doing music before any type of rave scene or rave culture. We got thrown into that, just like we got thrown into the industrial moniker because we were on Wax Trax. We always just bounced along between people. If we had to play at a rave, we could. We did some of those, but not a lot. I’ve done more shows in rock clubs than in raves.

MVRemix: You were one of the first to rap in electronic / industrial / European music. Would you agree?

Jack Dangers: Yeah. In England during 1987, if you were white and trying to attempt to rap outside of the U.S., you were considered a joke. I remember Stereo MC’s getting ripped apart just because they were doing what they wanted to do. Just because they were not American and Black, they were considered joke. We got thrown into that as well. White boys trying to rap. It was all bullshit. Music, sort of, gets you like that. When you are influenced and inspired, you don’t think about what somebody would write about it.

MVRemix: Do you think there is more of an acceptance towards the rapping?

Jack Dangers: Oh, definitely. There wasn’t at that point, though. It was solely an American Black thing back then. If you even attempted to do it, you were a joke. Christ! That was 4 years before Vanilla Ice.

MVRemix: On the ‘Satyricon’ LP, there is more singing than rapping.

Jack Dangers: Yeah. That was influenced by one of my favorite bands growing up called XTC. They came from the same town where I’m from in England, called Swindon. I actually got to engineer some of their sessions in the 80’s, when they were at a studio.

MVRemix: Yeah, XTC had a wonderful album called ‘Skylarking’.

Jack Dangers: Yeah! Wow! That was their last really good album. Every album they did, up to that point, was really brilliant. ‘English Settlement’ too. I’ve always loved The Beatles. They put things together really well. ‘Satyricon’ was my attempt to do more of a commercial, verse-chorus, verse-chorus stuff. I get fed up with things very quickly so, I just jump from one thing to another. It’s a record label’s worst nightmare. Pick any of the albums. They are all different from one another.

MVRemix: What happened with Wax Trax?

Jack Dangers: We weren’t signed to them directly. We were just licensed to them. I never even heard of the label until I came over here on tour. We were on a different label in Japan, one in Australia, and one in Europe. It’s like, if you are signed to someone like Virgin, you are on that label all over the world. You may be on one of their subsidiaries like Astralwerks. Virgin owns Astralwerks. So, it looks like you are on a dance label, when you are actually on Virgin. What the major label can give you is worldwide and video coverage. La-di-da. I was signed to a very small independent label in Belgium for 12 years.

MVRemix: Play It Again Sam.

Jack Dangers: Yeah. It was a very bad contract.

MVRemix: Trisomie 21 were also on PIAS. I run their official website at www.trisomie21.com

Jack Dangers: Yeah! They’ve been around for a while. They’ve been doing it since 83 or 84. I’m sure they have some stories about that asshole label, but everyone has who was down with them. I was wasting my time away when I was on that label. I couldn’t get out of it.

>>> continued...




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"I always liked music that could make you move, but I never really danced myself. I never did that myself. I never really liked doing that."