Richard Bultitude (as Planes) just released his first EP on Fremdtunes; Mind Reader. An exotic trip through the hopminded side of Richard’s musical universe. Of course there’s more to this gentle fellow than beats and bass; time for a Q&A…
Introduce yourself (name, age, city, day-job, religion)!
My real name is Richard Bultitude, I’m 21 years old, I’m 6 foot 4 inches tall and one of these facts is a lie. I spent the first 18 years of my life in Merseyside and after a brief stint in Bradford I submitted to the allure of the great metropolis London, where I have been for the past 13 years. I’m a web developer by day and musician by night. I have played guitar since I was a kid, love to experiment and make field recordings wherever I go. I abhor indoctrination and celebrate free thinking.
You have three monikers, Planes, Frond and Point B; please explain the difference.
Well, Point B started out as a bit of a two-faced character, one side of the persona outputting bass heavy electro, which evolved into dubstep, and the other side exploring melancholy electronica. However, I’ve loved hip-hop, breakbeat, trip-hop and related genres since my teens so I needed a project that could channel those influences. Essentially Planes was borne out of the need to reintroduce some playfulness and positivity to my musical gamut. Frond is a more stylised project exploring landscapes, nostalgia, space and texture.
You’ve been releasing music since 2003 on a whole bunch of different labels (including your own, correct me if I’m wrong). Could you describe how your music has evolved since your first release?
The first couple of records I put out were on Erratica, which was a label and a series of club nights I ran with Tom Relleen (DC records, The Oscillation, Phonica, Julie Tippex) and Kelpe (Svetlana Industries, Drut, Fremdtunes). We put on some great parties in London: booking Lusine (for his fist UK gig), Claro Intellecto, Pole and Actress amongst many others. It was a great time for me. I put my contact details on the first release I got some nice phone calls and emails from DJs who’d bought it. I loved going from town to town selling vinyl directly to the shop and made a lot of contacts that way.
After Erratica I released an EP and a whole bunch of remixes for Orson records (aka Transparent Sound) and started to get regular gigs. My first album came out on the highly reputable SCSI Av run by Daz Quayle. When I was a teenager he was a key figure in the northern techno circuit and played in my home city at Liverpool’s techno institution Voodoo, so being on his label was a big deal for me. Unfortunately, record sales took a big hit in the mid-noughties climate and the label came to an end. I think my album was the last record they put out.
Around this time I had been going to DMZ a night in my local area Brixton in south London, and was exposed to a whole new scene: dubstep. This was incredibly inspiring and it inevitably made its way into my sound. Of course this meant that Point B’s mood got progressively darker and introspective, but I had more to say than that. A lot of early Point B had been quite quirky and playful and I wanted to make sure I had a project to carry that, so I got in touch with Dave of Frijsfo Beats. He has been releasing Point B for some years now and he put me on to Lab Beat, who released my first two Planes EPs and the debut album ‘Joining Dots’.
Who inspires you to make music? Or what?
I have always been a bit hyperactive and very keen to express myself. I was really into drawing at school and this continued right up until my early 20s by which time I was so into DJing and making music that the drawing simply didn’t get a look in.
Anything can inspire a musical idea whether it be other forms of art, dreams or places I’ve been. However, the main two ways anything coherent actually gets made are either by experimenting or by trying to realise ideas that randomly pop in to my head. Like many musicians though, the ideas are always heavily compromised by the time they are realised. If anyone invents a machine that can record the music in someone’s head they will change the world forever.
Obvious influences on the direction of my early musical output were films like The Hitcher, 2001 A space Odyssey, Blade Runner and so on. John Peel and local pirate radio stations had big a say in what I would go on to make too.
Can you tell us something about your live performance? Is there a (big) difference between the equipment you use on stage compared to the equipment you use in your studio? And, very important; how can one book you?
My studio set up is fairly minimal in terms of tech but I have a number of interesting instruments such as my Santoor, which feed into the music, though often they are heavily processed. I use Reason for all my sequencing and for generation of sounds using the Thor synth, Kong drum machine and occasionally the Maelstrom. I had a good play with Ableton live a while back and really like the session view, but decided to stick with what I knew best. I think the most important thing about any studio is to know your tools, that is, how you get the best out of them. The same goes for instruments and I know the guitar pretty well, so I use that as a sound source but also just to conceive melodies, which are then transposed to midi.
My live set up is just a laptop running Reason and controller keyboard. I spend quite a while setting up live versions of each track so I can manipulate different aspects of the music and, as much as possible, have fun with it. The tricky thing with that arrangement is mixing is very difficult: I have no way of queuing tracks so I just have to hit the space bar at the right time and adjust the tempo in real time using the mouse. I have perfected this technique over the years so it works all right.
I want to incorporate some more live instrumentation and vocals into the live shows in the future. Having worked with C.Monts on a couple of tracks now I am keen to get him involved.
On ‘Mind Reader’ you work with mc C.Monts and saxophonist Simon Panrucker. What is (if you think there is any) the big difference between working on your own and working with others?
For me there’s two big differences working with other people: Firstly, you have to be confident in giving direction else you might not get what you want and secondly you have to take advantage of surprises as other people will always think of things you can’t and that’s a really good thing.
It’s nice when you develop an understanding with someone and there’s a level of trust there that makes it possible for you explore a musical space together. I have that relationship with Tom Relleen (who I ran Erratica with) and we hope to release some of our sonic adventures sometime in the near future.
Is there an artist you want to work with in the (near) future?
I’d love to work with a good female singer who has her own (honest) vocal style and is a good lyricist. I’m keen to do more with C.Monts and there’s a hope that someday my old friend Kel and I will get together.
On Mind Reader we met the ‘experimental beats’ side of Richard Bultitude. What will your next release sound like (and what is it)?
I have almost finished work on my fourth Point B album which will be out later this year with any luck. I also finished a Frond album and am seeking a decent label to put it out. If I don’t find someone soon I might put it out myself.
Getting back to Planes though, there’s an album in the making, some of which has a slightly disco feel to it, though I am still a couple of tracks away from having something I am completely happy with. C.Monts will be making an appearance again and I hope to enlist the talents of another vocalist too.
Also, there’s an EP called Potential Differences on Lab Beat, which was delayed for a long time but will hopefully make an appearance very soon, once the remixes are in.
Any last words?
Keep on keeping on.