An interview with Flint Kids

Fresh from their fantastic session for Mantis Radio I collared Danny of Flint Kids for a quick Q&A.

Who are the Flint Kids and how did they come to be?

Flint Kids are me (Danny) and my best pal Dave.

Growin’ up in Bromley, we were in a few different bands, but never in the same ones. I was a guitarist/vocalist and Dave played the drums.

I was into a lot of different stuff back then: Slowdive, Nirvana, Slayer et cetera and I suppose it was a slight shift in taste to include more industrial bands like Ministry, Godflesh, Front 242, NIN and the like that helped me to discover the electronic music scene more.

One day we just thought “fuck it, why aren’t we writing music together” so we started.

What are the origins of your production name; Flint Kids. Is there a story behind it.

This is quite a simple one, basically when we were lookin’ for a name we just got a load of single words, stuck em in a hat and pulled two out at a time. We wrote down all the pairings and Flint Kids sounded better than say… Plimsole Bricks.

The thing with names is that people can read whatever they like into it i.e. I think there was a school shooting in Flint, Michigan so if applied to that, our name could be quite dark, or simply that Flint is sharp and Kids are more youthful than OAPs.

Reading the small amount of information surrounding you both that I could find online before your Mantis Radio session it’s clear that you’ve been producing for over a decade but it’s only in the past 3 years that we’ve been able to get hold of your music commercially. What made you step up and unleash your sonic footprint with Interakt Records?

Ay, no doubt like countless other undiscovered artists out there we were pretty much confined to our bedrooms writin’ stuff that’d only be heard at mates house parties or whatever.

The difficulty is, I suppose, is that we listened to Autechre, uZiq, Aphex, Squarepusher, Lamb… blah blah… ‘n all of these different people that we consider to be fuckin’ amazing, so naturally you write something and you’d only have those tunes to compare it to. And in our eyes, it was never good enough to take any further.

It’s impossible to listen to any tune you’ve heard rolling on different length loops nine trillion times over objectively, which is a bastard that can never be overcome.

For us the main two milestones were probably gettin’ a couple of Macs running Ableton/Logic and organising parties.

Cos nobody tells you how to write music you just figure out a system yourself. Before the computers we used to have an MPC2000 linked with an AKAI 6000 triggered by the sequencer on a Korg Trinity. The sequencer on that was so primitive you just had these black blocks that represented bars/notes. If we wanted to tighten shit up, and have reverbs stoppin’ when another sound came in or whatever we devised this arse about face system using numbers.

We had this chart on the wall where basically we got 2646000 (which was the sample rate we operated at multiplied by 60) and then divided that by the BPM.

We’d further divide that (or multiply it) to give us 8ths, 16ths and so on and we’d cut samples like that. Blind basically. Just trustin’ our ears and the figures. Having big waves in front of us made life a whole lot easier.

Around that time we started putting on parties at Public Life and later Corsica Studios and therefore got to be billed alongside some dudes we’d love for years and it all just snowballed from there.

Always a personal favourite to read in interviews, mostly so I can go off and track down many of the mentioned recordings. Let’s talk your musical influences. You’ve already mentioned some of electronica’s most reliable and arguably essential producers but let’s talk specifics, what releases have stood out for you over the years? Standout albums? What, in your opinion are absolutely essential releases no self confessed music fan should be without.

Errrrr… I can’t keep this question within the boundaries of electronica by any means but here’s a tiny insight in to some songs, albums or bands that at various points from 14 onwards, that have either changed the way I hear music or just knocked me over.

In no order:
Nirvana –  Nevermind
Afghan Whigs – Gentlemen
DJ Shadow – Entroducing
Faith No More – especially The Real Thing (live at the Brixton Academy)
Slayer – Seasons In The Abyss
Ministry – Psalm 69
Jeff Buckley – Grace
Midlake – The Courage of Others
Lamb – Debut
65 Days of Static
The Future Sound of London – Lifeforms
Spiritualised – Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
Aphex Twin – Remix, Ambient works
Slowdive – Just For A Day
Squarepusher – Do You Know Squarepusher
Bob Dylan
Bjork (nearly everything, without doubt in my mind the best female artist in the last couple of decades)
Autechre – Ganz Graf. (Wow)
Sigur Ros – Takk (I want Gong played at my funeral)
Mogwai – Happy Songs For Happy People (my favourite band)

I’ll have to stop or I won’t, this is too easy… Hendrix.

Quite a list. Who’s on your radar at the minute? Which artists are grabbing your attention, both in released sound and performance. Who should we be looking out for?

There’s a few that, for me, are the pooches ovoids.

Dimlite
Matthewdavid
Roel Funcken
Eskmo
Amon Tobin (in particular his ISAM)
Monolake
Venetian Snares
Mount Kimbie

And I’ve got to say, I’m lucky enough to know some cuntingly good producers i.e; ScanOne, Monster X, Point B, Anklepants, ADJ, Pathic, Cursor Miner, and Marco Bernardi.

Finally there’s some hard workin’ labels/organisations that have to be mentioned, namely:

Bedroom Research
Combat Recordings
Yellow Machines
Acroplane

And last but not least in terms of live performance.

Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai, Mogwai.

From your history of putting on parties and making music through to 2009 when you started releasing it how do you feel about the current state of electronic music. Huge shifts are happening, and indeed have already happened with the ‘standard’ business model. Interakt release vinyl, is this a commitment to the format, acknowledgment of the importance of the 12″, is it still relevant in the strains of bass heavy electronics the label focuses on?

I just love plastic, reminds me of havin’ some SoundLab belt drives n spinnin’ Eat Static n shit when we were wee.

I reckon some releases deserve a palpable thing.

It’s the same with any medium. It’s just nice flickin’ through the pages of a book or looking through a CDs inlay. Goin’ around your mates house and scrolling through his iPod aint the same as fingering his vinyl.

As far as relevance, fuck knows. Time coded vinyl has helped keep the art of djing alive though I suppose.

Is physicality important as producers and record label owners? And what about as consumers, do you always reach for the vinyl over something that only has digital distribution, is there a preference?

My great Uncle died cos he was a sleeve designer and people just stopped buying jumpers.

Does the piracy side of things that is now almost established practice, or at least so commonplace people don’t regard it as theft, affect you as a label.

I ain’t shittin’ you when I say that I’ve never downloaded any music off of torrent sites or owt like that.

I’ve shared albums/tunes with mates n shit, but that’s just the way I roll. I ain’t no musical Hitler, I won’t tell people who’ve never paid for anything that they’re cunts, but I may tell them to try this little experiment;

Buy Tim Exile’s The Listening Tree or any music that somebody has blatantly put a lot of effort in to creating (for your pleasure) and then just sit back and feel happy about the fact that you’re partly responsible for their next masterpiece.

Are you still involved in events in London? What’s your view on the current state of event promotion here in the big smoke?

We ain’t done a party in yonks, I’ve got a shed load of different projects trotting along but I’m sure one’s not far around the corner.

Essential venues that are still pushing quality sound over profit margins? Corsica springs to mind for sound. The club, as most seemingly are in London, is in a bit of a state, but the Funktion One sound together with the vibe mostly makes up for it. The toilets are a whole other ballpark of disgusting though.

Corsica has always been a favourite venue of mine. Adrian n all the dudes down there are so bloody helpful, and as for sound, it does the artists justice. It’s a pleasure to play through :)

Stepping outside of music, your top three films and what is it about those films that they make the list.

Hard, very hard… in no order…

Pi. Cos I didn’t know anythin’ about it, n one night I was poleaxed and I got in bed and whacked the box on… and melted into it. Didn’t even find out it was called Pi till ages later when I tripped over it again.

The Rocky films. Feel good get up n go for a run up some stairs punchin the air schizzle, and it actually makes my shit itch how fuckin’ good the theme tune is

Big Lebowski. ‘Nobody f*cks with the Jesus’

Thanks Danny for your time.

You can catch the Flint Kids alongside ADJ, Pathic, Acell, and Steve Faulkner on May 18th at the Dodo Club, Battersea, London. A huge thank you to Danny for his time and patience.