A decade full of Bugz
BBE have teamed up with the West London cult heroes Bugz in the Attic for the first ever full length broken beat release on the label.
Sometimes musicians take themselves way too seriously. If they’re not fervently musing about a utopian industry where music is the closest thing to the Aids cure, they’re flogging their master plan to save ignorant consumers from the fatal nature of commercial music.
It’s something of a joy then, that Bugz in the Attic isn’t that kind of group. Orin ‘Afronaught’ Walters, Paul ‘Seiji’ Dolby, Kaidi Tatham, Daz-I-Kue, Alex Phountzi, Cliff Scott, Mark Force and Matt Lord certainly create tunes that make an audacious statement, but behind their mighty façade is a bunch of nonchalant, occasionally chaotic musicians with a natural knack for producing quality dance music.
2004’s ‘Booty La La’ may have well been an accidental hit. It could have been that joint chilling in the basement or maybe a passing joke about a tellytubbie’s arse. Truth is, members Kaidi, Daz and vocalist Mpho Skeef whipped the rascal together to add a hint of originality to their 2004 retrospective remix collection, ‘Got The Bug’ and no one anticipated the single was destined to become an overground smash.
“None of us ever expected it to do what it ended up doing,” admits Orin. “It was just to promote the remix album! It sort of hit home when we had to do a video for it. None of us anticipated being in a video for a single we had done.”
Alex agrees. “Being in Bugz gets very stressful and there’s a lot of arguments. There are a lot of disagreements – shouting at each other, people storming out the room – but no fist fights yet though. Up until now we’ve always managed to hold it all together.” If they didn’t, things just wouldn’t be the same. Each Bug, who’ve all carved reputations in their own right, brings something to a BUGZ remix that collectively works a treat. For starters, their sound is a result of the group’s diverse tastes. “We’re all from various musical backgrounds,” says Alex. “I loved jungle, Orin comes from house, Kaidi comes from a jazz, funk, soul background and Daz comes from, well everything.”
Orin elaborates on their roles further. “We have Mark the joker, Daz is the chief recorder, and I’m a programmer; Matt Lord as well. Seiji and G Force mainly do the electronic stuff, Kaidi is obviously a musical all-rounder. He does all the music, the majority of the writing, and the arranging. Myself, Alex, Cliff – we’re all producers.”
Hanging out in Orin’s attic studio in Richmond, six assorted musical misfits, joined by their common love of dance music, took on the title Bugz In the Attic thanks to leading beats-king Phil Asher who granted them the title. To make a long story short, a dead fly happened to be on Phil’s mixing desk in his studio – which later became Orin’s – and a passing comment would eventually become the name of the most distinctive crew in the country.
Soon after Bugz further established themselves by stamping remixes on popular club tracks. “We though we want to be at the forefront of that, doing the more accessible, wider audience stuff,” says Orin. “As well as doing our individual stuff, we thought that when we come together, we can concentrate on doing remixes for the more mainstream artists, but bring it back to our audience level. So we concentrated on that for a long time, and it eventually sort of paid off.”
They set up their own label, Bitasweet Records, a production company and expanded the crew to include the acclaimed Mark Force, and Matt Lord, while regular night Co-Op at London’s Plastic People also worked to help their cause. But it was a remix of 4Hero’s ‘Hold It Down’ that was an indication of Bugz’s greater dancefloor potential, and since then, the group has steadily reached the tipping point where superstardom is now within their reach.
“We’ve managed to weather the ups and downs of the music business, and the changing climates of music as a group,” says Seiji of the last 10 years. “The whole experience of Bugz in the Attic has been a real experience, a real learning curve about people, and about how they interact, and it’s been a maturing process.” They’re now concerned with translating all their musical goodness into a monster stage show that has already thrust Kaidi and Daz into the forefront of the performance to triple-encore-effect. Got the bug 2 further proves the Bugz worth as some of the UK’s leading remixers. And not before time.