Magazine. October 1994.
Jon Templeman (Chillin' FM 102.9)
DID THE NAME BEDOUIN ASCENT COME ABOUT?
It came about back in about 88 while I was living in Wales. I was into
free music for free people, who weren't just obsessed with ownership
and the whole illusion of living in towns and chasing dreams of commodity
and image and stuff like that. I wasn't really coming from the 'club
scene' although I found myself hanging out in clubs almost all the time.
I certainly wasn't into the flashy and pretentious lifestyle that it
sometimes implied in the 80's. Something like 'Bedouin Ascent' seemed
to me to represent a modern direction of a completely different culture,
a culture that wasn't founded on the principal of ownership, that was
just motivated by freedom, a nomadic mindset. I just wanted to distance
myself from what I thought was irrelevant to me with the music around
at that time. Rave and house were just emerging and a lot of the names
people gave themselves seemed to be products of dumb schoolboy sci-fi
fantasy or something. I was coming from an entirely different place
and trying to draw things back to the center as much as possible.
HOW DID YOU START OUT?
I started out playing live in clubs and as a sound system, and this
kind of music wasn't being done at all then. I'd never actually heard
anyone 'playing' a drum machine live that wasn't just a backing beat
or metronome. This is going back to the mid 80's - fuzzing up drum sounds
and jamming them with mono synths; just jamming and improvising for
hours, watching people get into it, building the tracks up and breaking
them down again. I would take turns working the sounds, picking up my
bass guitar or playing my congas. I came to think of it as
some kind of fucked up 'control volt' jazz. I wondered what I could
do to make it easier and give myself more musical options so I invested
in more sophisticated equipment. But then it got to the point where
I could no longer control it live so much. Too much midi technology
and not enough hands-on analogue gear. At this point I got away from
the live thing a little bit and started getting more involved in the
studio setup, but it's not the same as playing at a live club.
SO DO YOU STILL PLAY OUT NOW?
It's been a struggle lately with my huge system. The whole idea of me
building up my system as it is now in the studio, was to make live playing
even easier, but with the equipment that's around now you can't really
take it out on the road and go crazy with it. And mainly it's difficult
as there's just one of me and I need to rely on others to help me out
with transport and stuff. But I really want to play live music in clubs
because people aren't hearing it. They don't know what the fuss is about
because they haven't got an example of it.
YOUR MUSIC IS VERY DIFFERENT TO A LOT OF SO TERMED 'CHILL OUT'. WHAT
LEVEL WOULD YOU PUT IT ON?
What I've always been into is music that doesn't dictate anything to
you. What I don't like about a lot of the clubs I've been to and the
music that I've heard is that you can only do one thing to it. It's
very linear in that way. If it's 'chill out' music you sit there and
veg to it or retreat into yourself, and if it's dance music it will
only work on that level and nothing else, where as the music I've listened
to, that's inspired me in making music, is the kind of thing I could
listen to carefully, chill out to, play at a party and groove to, etc.
That's the kind of music I aspire to: undefined, embracing all possibilities
depending on your condition, with the kind of depth that will seduce
you into going further.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE UK TECHNO SCENE COMPARED
The European scene, I don't really know first hand because I haven't
been over there that much. I think Germany is more open-minded as it's
got more of a tradition in electronic and experimental music. It's always
been there right through the late 60's and 70's. It's part of their
culture so it's quite natural for people to get off on this kind of
music. But the UK is a really good scene; people here are very open
to experimental music and far-fetched ideas.
EVEN SO THE SCENE HAS NEVER REALLY TAKEN OFF.
No, and I don't suppose it ever really will do - and I don't really
want it to in that sense. I mean, who wants Black Dog in the charts,
for example, with all the compromises and commercial pressures that
will imply? If you hype up a scene that much you're just going to damage
it. You'd be making it available to blaggers and people who aren't really
committed to it to come in a feed off it for a quick reward. People
who weren't in it from the roots level and don't see a future for it.
They just come into the middle to take as much as they can out of it
and I don't want to see that happen. There's the old argument that you
have to keep things underground because that's the only way things can
be sustained within a huge international industry controlled by corporations.
It's difficult if the market is very small but if something is very
underground you're always going to have your hardcore following and
you will be able to make a living out of it. I'd prefer to do that rather
than go mainstream, as that would damage the intent and beauty of this
HOPES FOR THE FUTURE?
Eventually set up my own label and do music that I can't do on any other
label because people wouldn't really accept it. Musically it's quite
extreme what I want to do and I can envisage a certain resistance in
the current structure of things.