One of Bastard Pop's "first wave" of sound artists, Stuart McLean made a name for himself as DJ Frenchbloke (and also as Frenchbloke & Son), with tracks such as "Destiny's Kennedys," as early as 2001. He's produced hundreds of Mashups, and like many who were there from the beginning, has since become quite critical of the genre. Despite this fact, Frenchbloke remains one of the more recognizable names associated with Bastard Pop, and I'm pleased to be able to present this Q&A with him.
Currently, his projects include the band Tauchsieder. The experimental electronic group also features Cnut's Innes Smith and Soundhog's Ben Hayes (Check out our 2007 Q&A with Soundhog HERE). They've put out a couple of records, including "Louder," with contributions from JD Twitch, Colin Newman, Richard X and Tom Ellard. You can download the entire album, for free, at last.fm. Check it out HERE.
Who knows how long it will stay active, but HERE are two free online compilations of Frenchbloke Mashups as well. There are some really good ones included, but you won't find "Destiny's Kennedys" there. We played it (most recently) in Episode 229 though... Check it out HERE. A little known fact is that Frenchbloke also produced a few tracks under the name "Freelance Hairdresser," for awhile, before Soundhog took the reins on that project. We'll be playing one of those in an upcoming episode I'm sure, so stay tuned.
Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Frenchbloke...
*Are there any additional names used to describe this project: Frenchbloke, Tauchsieder (also: DJ Frenchbloke, DJ French Bloke and Frenchbloke & Son).
*Do you use a pseudonym? Yes, Frenchbloke.
*Members: Tauchsieder is Ben (Soundhog), Innes (Cnut) and myself. Frenchbloke & Son was Frenchbloke and Sonof (Graeme Ross), who sent me some mp3's to see if I'd upload them to the Optimo site. He didn't have a name so I nicknamed him Son of Frenchbloke. We had an album released via Germany of our individual tracks so the name Frenchbloke & Son stuck. Some mixes were done as a collaborative effort - the xfm Superchunk, the Avalon promo mixes 1 & 2 and the ill-fated mix CD “We Are Back.” There were a few other things probably. We played at Bastard in London, Heaven (London), Djinniditto (I think) in Edinburgh, The Square in Harlow and at The Brighton Pavillion. The Frenchbloke & Son “Sexy Model” 7-inch and the Jerry Springer Opera stuff on Avalon's half inch label was just Sonof due to a long winded and not very interesting legal contract issue.
*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: Just someone who used to put something with something else. First was using acid pro 1.0d, and a pentium 133 with 32 Mb of RAM was the “Yo La Britney' thing with Britney Spears and Mount Florida. It was done as a joke from doing the Jeff Santana & His Orchestra's Night of 101 Stars, where I had used bits of the Mount Florida track. It was uploaded to the Optimo site. I upgraded to a p3 after that and did things using acid 2 then later using a cracked beta copy of acid 3 to keep the beta active for longer.
*Another genre descriptor: Hell, no. One-trick pony perhaps?
*Is there a story behind your name? It was originally DJ French Bloke, then DJ Frenchbloke, then by late 2001 just Frenchbloke. It was a name to hide behind when ruining people's enjoyment of popular tunes. I believe the name originally came from me hearing something by Laurent Garnier (Crispy Bacon, I think) and referring to him as that french bloke.
Location: Glasgow originally but the Frenchbloke stuff started as an offshoot to the Jeff Santana & His Orchestra performances that myself and Innes Smith used to do in Glasgow as part of National Poetry Day - Beat Poetry and all manners of bad, quickly written prose performed by Innes over bits from other people' s music. We performed at Optimo twice doing this. This was in a little village called Glengarnock, in North Ayrshire, 23 miles or so from Glasgow. The “DJ French Bloke” tracks were done solely to have something to download from the Optimo website - www.optimo.co.uk - back in the good old days of dial-up and sh***y bitrate mp3s. The bulk of the Frenchbloke material was done in Harlow, Essex and the first performance was at the Square in Harlow in December, 2001 as a support to Schmoof.
*What is your creative/artistic background: Been making noises with other people's instruments since I was 17 or so. I self-taught playing along to Kraftwerk, Heaven 17, Depeche Mode and the Human League on my Casio VL Tone. Used to edit cassette magazines for the blind on quarter inch tape and spent 3 years doing Music Technology and Electronics in Glasgow.
*History: Since I was 17. I made well over 200 odd (Mashups) at some point; more were never finished, or abandoned for various reasons but there are too many to mention. I have a soft spot for Destiny’s Kennedies as it was all done on acid 1, however listening back sounds rather dated, has several bits I'd like to fix and probably try it using the more bassy version of California Uber Alles, as opposed to the mid range nightmare that was used. Meine Bizkit is another favourite, solely for the Andreas Dorau backing track, Meine Lieder. Children’s TV Theme No.1, solely due to it's silliness and was done in a couple of hours for the old gybo friday punk challenge - one Stranglers track with every 3rd or 4th beat removed to change it from a waltz to a glitter beat shuffle. Waltzen Mit Roboter, for the same reason as above, as it was a simple exercise in editing – I removed every fourth beat turning it into a 3/4 waltz. Can't think of any others off the top of my head that I actually liked for more than the time it took to make.
*Born: East end of Glasgow, 1968
*Motivations: To get the ideas out of my head.
*Philosophy: None, with the exception of the mix for AcidTed which was to make as much money as possible for the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust.
*How would you like to be remembered: Not for bootlegs. Bootlegs were a disposable medium. Make, upload, forget about. Nothing more. Some people jumped ship when it became popular. It became a tired medium very quickly. There's only so many poorly-put-together for-the-wrong-reasons combinations you want to hear in your lifetime. I just don't think it's worth remembering with anything other than nostalgia.