Logistical Changes

21 June 2012 | 12:20 pm | Jason Kenny

On his new album Logistics might have shaken things up, but there is nothing to fear, as Jason Kenny discovers.

For the best part of a decade, Logistics has consistently put out some of the most acclaimed soul-influenced d'n'b records you'll find. And he's been prolific, too. Since signing with the label only eight years ago, Logistics has been racking up a string of well-received records and well over a hundred tracks. It's quite a sizeable back catalogue.

“To be honest, I try not to think like that,” he says. “I've made a lot of music since I started so I've definitely got quite a big catalogue of tracks, but for me the real challenge is trying to make something that stands the test of time. I'm always most excited about the new tunes that I have on the go.”

That discography certainly has its share of stand-out tracks. But Logistics got restless. And so Fear Not is something of a departure from the previous Logistics releases. The album's title is a little message to fans who might have worried he'd stray too far.

“I think it's quite important to have a unique sound as a producer,” Gresham says. “So in that respect trademark production techniques are quite necessary to achieve that. Having said that, there is definitely a fine line between having a distinctive sound and repeating the same idea over and over again.”

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There's a move away from samples to the level where everything you hear on the record, even if it sounds like a sample, was created from scratch by Gresham in the studio. It was a change in the studio that pushed the Logistics down the Fear Not path. “I think that one of the main factors was changing my studio setup,” he says.

“I went from working on a PC using the Reason software to using a Mac with lots of hardware synths, compressors, effects units, etcetera. Changing my studio set up instantly had a change on my sound and I immediately felt really inspired with the new way of working. I'm really pleased with how the album sounds. For me it's the most satisfied I've been with an album so far.”

And rightly so. The early reviews are calling it nothing short of a masterpiece. Not that Gresham takes much notice. “That's always great to hear good feedback and it's really nice to know that other people are enjoying it,” he admits.

“I'm quite a perfectionist when it comes to my music and I'm always looking ahead to the next track, so I try not to take too much notice of reviews if I can. For me making music has always been more of personal challenge rather than trying to keep the listeners happy. Maybe that sounds a bit weird or selfish but it's just the way I've always worked.”

Gresham's early years were spent listening to guitar bands like Rage Against The Machine before he caught the d'n'b bug. He wasn't one instantly taken by the dance music path like his brother, fellow Hospital Records artist Nu:tone. Soon enough, Gresham adopted the Logistics name and signed with Hospital to deliver what label founder Tony Coleman aka London Elektricity at the time labeled the most anticipated debut in the label's history. Perhaps that guitar band background is somewhat responsible for the Logistics approach; perhaps it has some influence on how Gresham approached the studio this time around.

“I've always enjoyed the creative aspect of making music much more than the technical side of things,” he says, “so writing the tracks was really, really enjoyable, the mixing side of things felt a bit more like work!”

It was that writing approach that also left Fear Not more of a cohesive and structured album of music in Gresham's mind. “The album was pretty much written start to finish and there were very few tracks left over. In the past I've always had tonnes of ideas or song sketches that didn't make it. I feel like it's a bit more direct than my previous albums, which are definitely more like a collection of works. The album is not too dissimilar to the way I structure my DJ sets, although I tend to play a few harder tunes in my sets.”

Gresham's background isn't all musical. He was studying graphic design when he decided to tackle d'n'b full time. His father was involved in the screen-printing business and it's that background that's reflected in the artwork on Fear Not. It's not only a nice design to look at on a 12”, it's also been adapted for a special edition Rubik's cube. Gresham's skills on the cube are not comparable to his skills on the decks. “I've never actually managed to do one!” he confesses. “I guess I should probably figure out how to complete one at some point.”

Like a discarded, half-finished Rubik's cube, the Logistics musical palate is mixed, diverse and colourful. There are a few other artist releases that he's hanging out for later this year. “I'm really excited to hear the new Sub Focus album,” he shares.

“I'm also really keen to hear some new Breakage tracks, his music never disappoints for me. I read recently that Daft Punk have been working with Nile Rodgers from Chic and Giorgio Moroder. So if that actually happens I'm sure that'll also be a real milestone for dance music.”

For the rest of the year, Logistics is on the road, spreading the Fear Not word to the good people in the clubs and festivals. Europe and the UK have already seen the album live since it was released in April. Now all things Logistics comes to the southern hemisphere.

“So far this year I've just been touring lots of Europe and the UK,” he says. “For the rest of the year I'm obviously really looking forward to playing in Australia and New Zealand and I'm also doing a mini-tour of South Africa for the first time later in the year, which I'm really excited about.”

With so much more time booked on the road for the rest of the year, it might give Gresham a chance at finishing his own Rubik's cube.