INTERVIEW: Razmataz Lorry Excitement | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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When I meet Razmataz Lorry Excitement, aka electronic wizard Kev Dosdale, for a chat about his new album, Florence + The Machine is playing in the background. On the surface, it seems to clash with his brand of frosty, danceable electronica. Or does it? RLE’s new album, Without, subverts many long-standing perceptions of electronica, containing a deep sense of personality, some eccentricity and warmth that oddly resonates with Flo’s latest offering. “It does clash with that association with electronic music and that urban, inner city kind of thing,” Dosdale says. “It’s nice to flip that round and use electronic music differently.”

The warmth of many of the tracks on Without, including singles Skin and Home, featuring the vocal talents of Natasha Haws and Nathalie Stern respectively, combine steely electronic beats with comforting vocals and lyrics. Though Kev hasn’t been directly inspired by any musicians or bands for this record, we briefly touched on a shared love for Scandinavian electronica that similarly combines light and dark. “Some great electronic acts have always combined a cold, dark feel of a song with soulful, warm lyrics and vocals. That pairing works quite well.”

Occasionally there’s a feeling of 90s house music seeping into the melodies, without sounding like an outtake from a Hacienda DJ’s set. “I quite like the idea with this album of creating a dark and melancholic sound but still with a sense of euphoria in it without being too obviously happy,” Dosdale explained. Thus tracks such as Forget About The City, featuring Leeds-based singer-songwriter Lone Wolf, is a delectable combination of soulful, R’n’B-tinged vocals, relatively muted beats and hi-hats and the occasional smattering of piano chords. “It’s got this 90s, Soul II Soul kind of thing.”

The most striking aspect of the album, though, is its continuous nature and how each track blends seamlessly into each other. “It’s kind of what I’ve always done in live shows, treating it as a continuous thing,” he explains, though there was a slightly more unusual motive as well. “At the time, I was listening to a lot of DJ mixes and podcasts, mostly because I couldn’t afford to buy any albums!” he laughs. “In my head they were always going to be attached to each other in some form.” As a result, it’s best to experience Without as a unified whole. “You can listen to all the songs individually, but it doesn’t work for me, not as well.”

WITHOUT

“Some great electronic acts have always combined a cold, dark feel of a song with soulful, warm lyrics and vocals”

I wondered if the rise of digital downloads and the general demise of album sales had anything to do with Dosdale’s decision to construct the album in this way. “I think in the last few years there’s been a culture of randomising playlists and you know, just sticking stuff on iTunes and letting iTunes Genius or whatever it’s called pick all these random tracks for you,” he acknowledges. “You want to get into it; if you want to enjoy it you have to listen to the whole thing. It won’t really work if you play it next to another song on a playlist, it’ll probably just sound weird.”

Dosdale was initially tempted to cater to the digital generation though. “For a while I did consider releasing it so there was two versions, the continuous mix version and then individual tracks,” he explains. “But then I just decided to do it this way; it forces people to listen to it all in one, so you either listen to it like that or…well, you don’t!”

Given the album’s structure, it’ll lend itself well to the live arena. Always keen to add a more layered approach to his performance, Dosdale’s elected to premiere the album with a unique gig at Newcastle’s Northern Stage on Saturday 18th July, which will see the music come alive visually as well as sonically thanks to a partnership with award-winning creative studio NOVAK Collective. “Working with visuals and bringing a more layered and multi-disciplined edge to my live performance is something that I’ve always wanted to try.”

Given that Dosdale’s been a pillar of the DIY community in the region for many years, having dabbled in an eclectic range of genres from the DIY punk of Mansion Of Glory to the precise alt. pop stylings of Field Music and the riotous cacophony of Sunderland’s avian heroes B>E>A>K, going DIY for his latest release comes naturally. “Because I’m releasing it myself, there’s no real pressure on it, there’s no one saying ‘it must be a success,’ or ‘it must work,’ or ‘it must make loads of money,’ because there’s been no money spent really!” He laughs. “I’ve always embraced it because once you start getting people investing money in you it takes things into a different area, things can get a bit complicated.”

Financial freedom, combined with understanding the accountability that very independence gives you, has allowed Dosdale to make a record that he’s truly happy with. In essence, he’s embraced the true spirit of DIY. “That’s what the DIY scene is about,” he explains. “It’s about looking after yourself, taking charge and responsibility for yourself and not waiting for someone else to come along, wave a magic wand and sort it out for you. Whether that’s releasing a record, putting on gigs or bringing people together in a kind of collective or a community, it’s a bigger responsibility.”

Razmataz Lorry Excitement released Without on 6th July and plays Northern Stage, Newcastle on Saturday 18th July with live visuals from NOVAK Collective and support from Nathalie Stern.

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