Lets Get Critical.
Tipper plays Recharge at the Arena on February 23.
Bass is a beautiful thing, ain’t it. Fuel records boss, nu-skool breaks legend and car stereo fanatic Dave Tipper would be one of the first to agree. His car stereo system is the stuff of legend now, with numerous appearances at Glastonbury as the bass stage. This is no mean feat considering the whole PA was his Dodge Challenger, complete with top end on hydro arms that lift out of the boot. It apparently caused a bit of havoc for the Prodigy, who couldn’t hear themselves properly on the main stage with the car stereo pointed down from the hill at them. After half an hour of bass assault the sound engineers came running up the hill, begging Tipper to turn it down…
Tipper’s career started out as a turntablist in a little known English funk band Peyote Train, scratching up a storm until he was discovered in ’96 by Richie Warren, photographer, record label founder and self-confessed nutter. Richie was blown away with the boy’s skills on the decks, and subsequently hooked up with Tipper, and ended up signing him onboard as Fuel’s first artist. Richie was the instigator for Tippers car stereo fascination, as he was already the proud owner of a Dodge Challenger exactly the same as described above. It’s only more impressive when you realise it was designed by the same man that designed the KLF’s sound tank in the early 90’s…
Tipper’s first release The Critical Path came out to mixed responses from the community. It was a weird futuristic fusion of sine heavy bass, twisted breaks and orchestral manoeuvres. He collaborated with the London City String Orchestra for the album, as well as Deborah Anderson and Sophie Baker on vocals, and the result is a far more pleasant result than Metallica’s recent S&M sessions or Deep Purple’s Concerto, which are the only other groundbreaking orchestra crossovers that comes to mind.
He turned in a phenomenal mix CD late last year, titled Sound Off, and raised the benchmark for mixing once again, showing solid tight style that most DJ’s could only dream off. The album also includes bass loops, or test tones, to fully work out your bass bins. Si Begg’s High Volume was included on this mix, and is now looking to be a worldwide hit with the track listed as backing for a new Sony commercial. The original is still signed to Fuel, so this can only mean good things for the label.
Tipper ran into a hectic touring schedule soon after this, with booking at festivals all over the UK, and the pick of the nations clubs. This year saw the release of the new album, Holding Pattern which sees Tipper develop even further as an artist. His control of waveforms is amazing, and the scope of the music on the album shows just how versatile he is as a producer, with soulful deep breaks sitting next to some gut churning electro and some downright dirty hip-hop.
Sometime during all this Tipper developed viral labyrinthitis, a particularly nasty after-effect of too much volume. This has left the man with a sorely re-aligned sense of balance, a hearing problem and a very anti-social demeanour. Hence he is a rather difficult man to pin down for an interview, and when I did find him he was more than brief. Here are the parts he actually answered.
Your sounds have evolved remarkably through the career of your work, with the tracks on Holding Pattern showing a far greater depth of expression than your early work. Why is that so?
“Learning to use my equipment properly is the honest answer.”
The Critical Path, Sound Off and Holding Pattern were all written while you were suffering from the effects of viral labyrinthitis. How did this affect your creativity and the actual producing of the album?
”It ended up with me going home from the studio about twice a week as a very ill little boy.”
What gear do you utilize in the studio?
“Lots of stuff, too much to go in to detail now.”
What’s your favourite creative tool for music making?
Was Pro Tools used for the Critical Path album? Did moving to the Pro Tools environment change your sound?
“I didn't use Pro Tools on that album at all. I am using it now and it's great.”
Cold Fusion Mafia is the newest signing to Fuel. I was told that you were blown away upon first listening to their demo. How did you find them? When can we expect their first release?
“Their first release is supposed to be middle of January but the cut has been put back 'cos the engineer is ill. I heard them through a friend of a friend and they make some ruff stuff.”
Your first visit to Brisbane is Recharge. What can the punters expect?
“Lots of new tunes and sub. Tell your bassbins to watch out!”