Automatic/cinematic: Interview with The Herbaliser’s Ollie Teeba

December 13, 2009 at 19:11 2 comments

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Here we go: something wicked this way comes…Beat Bungalow got together with Ollie Teeba for a chat before a recent gig in Berlin. Ollie spoke about his love of soundtracks, all things old school and legendary sound engineer ‘No Sleep Nigel‘…

Q: Some of your music sounds quite cinematic, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, springs to mind. Are you inspired by people like Quincy Jones or Lalo Schifrin?

A: You’ve pretty much nailed it on the head right there, with a few of other names I would throw in. A bit of John Barry, Roy Budd and Morricone. All of those guys have had a massive influence on us because they were the ones that really mixed the orchestral sound with funk. I remember when I was about 11 or 12, watching ‘Enter The Dragon’ and ‘Dirty Harry’. In ‘Dirty Harry’ just from that first scene where he shoots the woman on the rooftop and there’s that heavy drum with that amazing sound, buzzing organ, I was like ‘Whoooaaaa, what’s that?’.

Q: Your new record label K7 is based in Berlin: what about the city itself, what do you think of it compared to London?

A: Berlin is definitely a cool place to be in. The east part seems to be particularly interesting. There’s really good graffiti everywhere, whole shop fronts and big pieces and you just don’t see that in London. If you did have it, in no time it would be covered in tags. You get some cool shops out here and some really nice records shops. People in Berlin definitely know their stuff, they know their music, they know their style and it’s a good place to be. There aren’t many places I visited other than London where I could see myself living. Berlin is definitely one of them.

Q: You’ve worked with the same engineer in the studio quite a lot: ‘No Sleep Nigel’ has been doing a lot of your albums.

A: We started working with him on our second album ‘Blow Your Headphones’, and a rapper we had done some work with had recommended him. Basically we did a mix and he said that the mix was no good and he said we’d need to speak to ‘No Sleep Nigel’. And I was like ‘ I’ve heard of him, he’s the guy who’s mentioned on all the 80s hip hop records’. He die a lot of MC Mello’s early stuff… also Blade. It just had that big booming sound and we thought he was the right man for us. He’s just a really cool guy that we’ve become really good friends with. He’s quite a lot older than most hip hoppers, he’s in his 50s and just knows so much about so many different types of music. Although sometimes, you don’t want to get him talking because once you get him started, the mix gets done several hours later (laughs).

He’s a wealth of information, and man, he’s forgotten more about sound than I will ever know. He’s a scientist and understands how it works on a complete scientific level, which I suppose any good sound engineer should do. We wind him up and let him go and a little while later you’ve got an album that sounds fantastic.

He also mixed our new album Session 2 – we’ll keep working him until he dies…

Q: Does he still get no sleep?

A: Well, he’s more ‘Some Sleep Nigel’ now, because he’s older now and he needs his rest.

Q: How many rooms have you managed to fill with records at your home?

A: I have one room that’s entirely filled with records and otherwise it’s just got a bed in it. Nothing else. But there’s even some spill into my living room that’s why I’m moving and I need a bigger place. Too many records, too many sneakers and too many leather goose jackets. All this stuff is something I got into when I was 13 or 14 and it’s all part of the old school, original hip hop experience, which is something I hold very dear to my heart and it’s still the coolest thing. No matter what new stuff people are doing with hip hop. I look at it, I listen to it but it’s just not as cool as the old school, dude.

Entry filed under: Interviews. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

//eLZhi snippet for your ears// Beats by the seaside: Paul Pre talks about his mixes

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Admin.  |  February 26, 2010 at 14:29

    Here’s a message from ‘No Sleep’ Nigel, delivered to the bungalow:

    “Thanks for the link to the interview. Nice to see such kind words about myself.


  • […] memory lane: since September, we’ve had had chats & interviews with Tranqill, Suff Daddy, The Herbaliser, Paul White and tight_face. Vinyl addicts Supafly Records gave a lodown on what’s happening […]


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