Underglass

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Single
[Botchit & Scarper – 1998]

01. Underglass
02. SE15 (Taking Liberties)

12″ Vinyl / CD / Download


Underglass – “I made this follow up single to ‘Boomin back Atcha’ as an attempt to fuse my love of old school electro (NOT electro house!), Ram Records-style drum&bass, and hip-hop. What came out was kinda weird and didn’t sound like any of them, but when I played it out at London’s legendary late ’90s “nu skool breaks and future electro” club night Friction (as it was originally billed) people went nuts, so I pursued the same theme with several other singles. If you play the breakdown bassline on a piano it sounds like a Frank Sinatra tune. I used what I call ‘the Tom Waits effect’ – where you use a tune that is really cheesy but play it on a synth that is hard and gnarly and it ends up sounding catchy and crazy heavy at the same time – just like Mr Waits.”

SE15 (Taking Liberties) – “I never did ‘B-sides’… the term just sounded throw away to me. I try to put out two really strong tunes that are very different from each other on each side of the vinyl.

The name comes from the postcode (or ZIP code in the US) of the suburb where I was living in London at the time: Peckham, a couple of suburbs over from Brixton and was kinda dark, and I was in a dark place at the time. I was living on an estate there across the road from the notorious North Peckham Estate, a huge government housing mistake created in the ’60s that was slowly being shut down and boarded up as people moved out due to the extremely high incidences of hard drug selling and the associated violence. Consequently those who still lived there resided in half-boarded up buildings down corridors where you weren’t safe to walk at night unless you were selling drugs and violent, and even then you took your chances.

Stabbings were regular and shootings too, and although our estate was sedate by comparison, when I moved out a year or so later I heard a disembodied female voice shout accusingly from behind her white curtains “Can’t you handle it here ya fackin’ lightweight?”. A fair enough comment that summed up the siege mentality of the area.

Peckham was like Brixton without the music, art and venues, which didn’t leave much… Tho it did have the Peckham gallery that housed some epic Gilbert & George exhibitions. As usual with other parts of London it was a mix of poverty and opulence, inspiration and segregation. An art college opening the students minds and the north Peckham Estate populated by people trying not to lose their minds. I don’t think this dark tune gave old Peckham a fair chance, but that was where I was at around that time. This record probably says more about me than sunny Peckham, London SE15.”