Artificial: Booked Up.

30 September 2002 | 12:00 am | Craig New
Originally Appeared In

The Book Place.

Artificial plays the Crossroads Festival this Saturday night at the Winery, Davies Park West End.

Nicole Skelty, one half of famed electronic duo B(if)tek, has been doing her stuff brilliantly round Australia for years now. She's such a creative genius that she also finds material for a completely different side project, under the name of Artificial. The new album, Libraries Are Fun is out now, and Nicole is making it up to Brisbane this weekend for the Crossroads Festival, over at The Winery, Davies Park West End.

What is the B(if)tek corporation? Are they after worldwide domination?

“B(if)tek Corp is me and Kate and its basically us against the multinational corporate entertainment giants who want to brand your consciousness and reduce you to set of purchasing impulses. Very much the simple morality tale of Hollywood blockbusters, and I think we (good) are winning against them (bad) when last I checked. B(if)tek Corp just wants the world to feel pleasing aural sensations, we know our fans are too smart to buy our records, we think they just download them off the net or just imagine what we might sound like. Its all good.”

Did you take B(if)tek from bifteki, the Greek food?

“B(if)tek means 'beefsteak’ in French, but it also means 'French' in Greek... isn't that trippy?”

How do you translate your studio set-up to playing live?

“I sample a lot of stuff on my Akai, sequence rhythm tracks and muck around with other machines live.  I also gyrate my butt a lot, give out '70s kitsch prizes, and could be persuaded to lead the audience in a full-body fitness work-out ala Jane Fonda if people feel the need for a bit of toning.”

Why are Libraries Fun?

“Because they are not cool (i.e. anyone can go and hang out, whether or not you have brand-name footwear or attitudes). They are not commercial (they are free). They enhance your mind (rather than dumb you down). So they are the antithesis of a lot of aspects of our contemporary, hopelessly corporatised 'youth' culture (including most commercial dance clubs, aptly dubbed 'pleasure prisons') The only problem with Australian public libraries is that they are not open 24 hours a day, if they were, I'd probably never leave. I launched my album in Fitzroy library down here, it rocked.”

How would you describe your music?

“Artificial is playful pastiche and political crankiness, with a haze of '70's nostalgia. Trip-disco-funky-acid-electro-lounge. One reviewer said 'If you could play velour, it would sound like this'.”

Where can you see Artificial in ten years time?

“Myself and Miss DJ Toupee (who I sometimes write and perform with) plan to retire gracefully into the trucking business. We'll call ourselves 'Truckin' Mamas', and spend our fading years on the highways, hammering out our soulful ditties from the 808s, 303s, samplers etc lined up in the luxury pink-fur lined cabin of our rig Parpin Percy.”