The 28th in our series of exclusive FACT podcasts comes courtesy of East London trio-turned-duo Factory Floor, who we originally featured in our December/January issue.
They are Gabe Gurnsey and Dominic Butler, and peddle a heavy duty brand of post-punk, inspired more by old photography and visuals than the Manchester label that their name and austere visual identity immediately recalls. If you haven’t heard, they’re playing our free party on the 22nd at Camden’s Lock Tavern along with Brackles, Heatwave and Patchwork Pirates, and are guaranteed to rock the shit out the place. Their recent Planning Application EP is a masterclass in combining found sound, ambience, right-angled riffs and bouncy basslines into something dark, eerie and danceable.
Their mix features FACT favourites Glenn Branca, Burial, Byetone and Throbbing Gristle, plus recent material by Zombie Zombie, Holy Ghost and Times New Viking, and we heavily recommend you download it. But not as much as we recommend you come down on the 22nd to catch them live. Full tracklisting and Q &A follow:
01 Glenn Branca – Lesson No 2
02 Disco Adventure – Mystic Slot
03 Chris and Cosey – Impulse
04 Burial – Night Bus
05 Silent Tide Flying Saucer Attack
06 T-Mao-Tw – Lo Light
07 Lee Scratch Perry – Woman’s Dub
08 Rainy Anderson – Sabo
09 Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Put A Spell On It
10 Times New Viking – Relevant Now
11 Nik Void – Together
12 Byetone – Black Is Black
13 The Fall – The Quartet of Doc Shanley
14 Zombie Zombie – Psychic Harmonia 2
15 Throbbing Gristle – Hot On The Heels of Love
16 Felt Suit – Ended Up By The Sea
17 Talking Heads – Crosseyed and Painless
18 Public Image Ltd – Memories
19 No Age – Neck Escaper
20 Panthers – Goblin City (Holy Ghost Remix)
21 Tommy Raye – You Don’t Love Me
How’s it going?
Gabe: “Suspiciously. Not sure. I saw an old women drawing a picture of a lion on the tube this morning.”Dominic: “Viciously! I saw an old lady step in dog shit on my way to work”
How did Factory Floor form?
“When Factory Floor formed unfortunately none of us were members. The last original member left last week. Mark we need you to pick your gear up from the studio.”
What do you all play in the band?
Dominic: “Bass, Synth, Vocals, drums, Percussion, Tape loops, and the fool.”Gabe: “Drums, Samples, Vocals, Tape loops, Synth and the jebend”
Where did you cut your teeth, so to speak? How long have you been around?
Dominic: “Spent too many sleepless nights recording on a Tascam 4 track which I couldn’t work. I’ve been around for centuries.”Gabe: “I played drums for Arthur Spink in the eighties just before he moved on to synth and got dropped. I moved down to London with a cartridge recorder and lived above a butchers shop for two years trying to rewind it.”
How has Factory Floor’s sound changed since you started?
“It’s definately changed – we cant keep still, it’s like we have St. Vitus Dance. Whenever we are working on one thing it seems to uncover ideas for the next. We are always bringing along different pieces of equipment, one practice is never the same as another. It’s always a shame when you see a band start depending on a certain sound, they end up repeating themselves, trapped in some stagnant conservative loop. Our last record, Planning Application was moving into more the dance side of what we like and now we are cultivating that even more now whereas before it was a lot more guitar based.”
And how would you describe your music to the uninitiated?
Dominic: “Jovial but melancholic”
Gabe: “More melancholic than jovial. Like Winter.”
The name – is it a Factory records homage, as people seem to speculate/assume?
Gabe: “I remember there was a lot of influence from pictures we were interested in when we were coming up with names, like burnt out post war buildings, perhaps that got in there somehow? It was amongst a list of names that kept being sent backwards and forwards for months between the original members until Mark and I decided to leave that band and start a new one, ended up using Factory Floor.““We also liked the alliteration, it looked good written down. Planning Application has the same ring about it. Its interesting to turn two mundane words into something else. The Factory Records link isn’t a homage, more of a tip of the hat. We all like a bit of ESG in the mornings!”
Equally, the name recalls Marxist concepts – you could see Gang Of Four naming a song it or something. If they didn’t already. Is there a political agenda to your music?
“No there is nothing political in our music, although there’s always an indirect influence from the world around us. individually we have our own ideas as well as common interests from dub to art and wanting to build a house by the sea.”
I saw you mention that you try to do a lot of field recordings. Can you expand on how you incorporate that, or take inspiration from it, in your music? Do you use any other techniques in your music that would surprise us?
Dominic: “We’re really fascinated by sounds, whether they come from outside public spaces to a drum distorting through an old speaker, without giving to much away we enjoy capturing these sounds and using them within our process either raw or manipulated. Sometimes you just can’t get the sound you want from conventional instruments lying around, we have to look further afield.”Gabe: “As for the question whether we use any other techniques that may surprise you – yes we do.”
I’ve never seen you guys live. What do you bring to the table in the live setting?
“We try and make the set continuous like it has a thread running through it, a journey… in some of the tracks we’ve been bringing more drums and a percussive element to the front but layering incidental sounds in amongst it all. It seems to connect well with us and the audience, a human element. We think there is more intensity in what we do live, the chance of equipment failing is exciting to us. Alot of our gear is changed, switched through the set and put together badly by ourselves so its always collapsing. We think its tight but shambolic.”
Tell us about Planning Application. “We were approached by Bonnie of 1/1 at one of one of our gigs down in Whitechapel back in July. She was really into what we were doing and wanted us as her debut release. Recording started in July and didn’t finish until September. It was a good time for us, we were still finding where we were as a band since Dominic joined so we decided to explore that a bit more on the EP. A lot of the tracks were just being formed so recording them left loads of space for change. One of the tracks went through about 6 changes. Does that means its the same track? You should hear the recordings, some of them are ridiculous. “We tend to draw on personal experiences and aim to reveal what’s under the veneer; we like uncovering the obscure and banality of life and this is what probably most inspired us when recording our new EP. The tracks on there are real experiences, its strange, but we’ve been told that they come across as surreal. Our surroundings have a lot to
o with our sound, you can hear our deteriorating basement studio in there because that’s where most our writing and recordings are done. You will probably just hear Hackney road on our next record, we pissed off our landlord last night.”
And what does the future hold for Factory Floor?
“Fuck knows, maybe some bleak abstract excursions?”