Idjut Boys: Goodbye, Kick Drum

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The Idjut Boys have been involved in producing and DJing for nearly 20 years. But it’s only now that the U.K.-based duo of Daniel Tyler and Conrad McConnell has released its first artist album, Cellar Door [Smalltown Supersound].

Less aimed at the dancefloor and more so for the bedroom or the porch, Cellar Door’s proliferation of vocals and live instruments drive the downtempo style of the album.

Says McConnell: “We were thinking, ‘Let’s make an album that’s how we remember an album to be: four tracks a side on a piece of plastic, put it on at the beginning, turn it over in the middle.’ That just isn’t a dance record.”

Adds Tyler, “We’re planning on doing a dub copy of the album, which will be more geared towards the dancefloor.”

The album’s opening number, “Rabass,” features a “Purple Rain”-like guitar, courtesy of Andy Hopkins. A Man Called Adam’s Sally Rodgers lends her vocals to three songs, including the slinky “The Way I Like It,” stamping the album with a sensual tone. Both “One For Kenny” (named for the late U.K. music producer Kenny Hawkes) and “Le Wasuk” stand out with creatively played keys by Bugge Wesseltoft. “Lovehunter” brings to mind the proggy/strummy vibes of early Pink Floyd and oddly takes its name from a Japanese designer shoe.

Japan has played a notable role in the creation of Cellar Door, as The Idjuts have been spinning there regularly for the last decade. Playing marathon sets that can last from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m., they have been able to experiment with their music, creating moments that resonate with the crowd without having the rely on a kick drum.

“It doesn’t have to be all-the-way, high-energy music—it just has to hit you at the right time,” says Tyler of their DJ sets. “With the right audience, even if the middle if the night, it can go to those places.”

The Idjut Boys rely on CDs and vinyl for their sets. Getting spoiled by the Japanese systems, they say their ideal booth set-up would include an Alpha Recording System Model 3500 3-band EQ crossover, which offers a maximum boost of 12db and two variable-frequency controls. Knowing this is probably only going to be available to them in Japan, they will settle for a Pioneer DJM-800 or 900 mixer, primarily because each channel has its own EQs and assignable effects, going through the ARS Model 3500 crossover, or, alternatively, a Urei 1620 rotary mixer, Pioneer EFX-100 box and Korg Kaoss pad.

This type of detail is also present during recording. The Idjuts’ studio is based around a 48-input channel Allen & Heath mixing console. Also, PMC Nearfield monitors and Quested Custom main monitors with twin 15-inch bass drivers make a big difference in the clarity and volume of their production. For digital reverb, delay and multi-effects, they rely on Lexicon, Ensoniq, TC Electronic, Yamaha, and Korg. For analog delay and compression, the go-to pieces are the Roland RE-201 Space Echo and Watkins Copicat Tape Echo. And for EQ, it’s TL Audio. Vocals are tracked through a Neumann microphone and Focusrite mic pre. Focusrite Liquid Mix is the Idjuts main plug-in for its EQ and compression—and they love that it doesn’t load up the computer’s CPU. The computer is a Macintosh running Logic.

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