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Name: Adam Bernard
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Artist Of The Week - pH10
Monday, February 23, 2009

Some music is meant to make you organize and protest. Some is meant to make you sit in deep contemplation. Then there’s the music that’s made so you can have a good freakin time. pH10 is all about making the latter and they do it better than almost anyone else out there. I originally found out about pH10 through RapReviews’ head honcho DJ Flash, who wanted me to interview them for the site (perhaps you caught it a few months ago). I was thrilled to discover pH10’s fantastic combination of Hip-Hop and Drum and Bass, but at the same time I was interviewing them for RR I couldn’t help but think they’d make a perfect Artist Of The Week. This week I reconnected with pH10’s Recone Helmut (pictured right w/ his pH10 partner SyBO) to make that happen.

Adam Bernard: For this interview I’m going to try to cover some ground we didn’t in December and also follow up on a few points from that interview. For starters, I notice PH are neither of your initials, and you don’t have ten members in your group, so how did pH10 become pH10?
Recone Helmut: It's just a goofy play on the pH balance scale. The scale measures the acidity of a substance. pH10 is on the basic (bass) end of the scale. pH14 would be as base-y as you can get, but pH10 sounds better.

Adam Bernard: Why does the combining of Hip-Hop and Drum and Bass work so well?
Recone Helmut: The short answer is DnB is simply double time Hip-Hop. Most Hip-Hop tracks range from about 80-95 bpm (beats per minute) and most DnB tracks range from about 160-190 bpm. This is why it's so easy to make Hip-Hop vocal tracks work in a DnB track. Plus, the two styles are cut from the same cloth. Hip-Hop from the beginning was about the breakbeat and then later, as the pioneers bought synths and started to learn the gear, the bass came into play. Remember how Straight Outta Compton forced us to find better speakers? So, both Hip-Hop and DnB are about the drums and the bass, the only difference is Hip-Hop expresses itself through the lyrics while DnB uses insane speed and heavy synths. At the end of the day it’s the same vibe.

Adam Bernard: You released an album last year titled Well Connected. In what ways do you feel you’re well connected with Hip-Hop audiences and in what ways do you feel you’re well connected with Drum n Bass audiences?
Recone Helmut: I don't. I feel well connected to my friends, my girlie, my mom and the people that I choose to make records with, but I'm not trying to connect with my audience, I'm trying to kill them. If you're a pH10 fan, you're not the kind of cat that wants a hug from Recone Helmut, you want to battle him. You want to duck and deflect the onslaught of bass and kick drums and counter with demands of “heavier,” “louder” and “faster.” You, as a fan of pH10, threaten banishment if the Helmut fails in this mission. As you should. Fuck connections. This is war.

Adam Bernard: OK, with that in mind, what’s a pH10 show like?
Recone Helmut: Loud, bass heavy and half drunk. Visually there are some programmed Trackspots behind us that change through each song and there's typically some projection happening behind us. We usually try to front load the event with the best local talent and just have a good fun night. We don't play live very often as we try to make each pH10 show an event, if you can dig that. The live show is truly the most enjoyable part of this whole endeavor for me. But there's no connecting, definitely no goddamn connecting.

Adam Bernard: Which parts of the country have you found to be most receptive to your work?
Recone Helmut: Oh New York, how I miss you so. Believe it or not, CDBaby tells me that most of our sales come from Texas and the Southwest. Go figure. Personally I love the Northwest and of course the Northeast, but really, people are the same wherever you go. Take it away Stevie!

Adam Bernard: During our interview for RapReviews.com you noted that you don’t follow trends. Would you say you simply don’t follow them, or do you make an effort to go against them?
Recone Helmut: Just don't follow them. Never have. I mean, I wore the neon green sunglasses in high school. I was cool enough to pull that off, but musically, I've always been about finding good shit and playing the hell out of it. No matter when it was made or how popular it happens to be at the time. I apply that same philosophy to making music, and trust me, we get more than our share of shit from the press for not paying attention to what's hip or fresh when making records. Oh well. What did Chuck say about critics again?

Adam Bernard: Staying on the topic of your music, I know that in addition to your love of Hip-Hop and Drum and Bass you also have an appreciation for rock and metal. Do you feel anything from those influences can be heard in your work?
Recone Helmut: Have you heard a pH10 record? It IS metal. It's more metal than most metal is metal and I would know, I'm totally fucking metal. But yeah man, electronic music has a very soft, some would say flaccid, history. The roots are in 80’s synth pop and wankie British bands with funny glasses. I don't claim that as my past. We might use drum machines and keyboards to make records, but we do it with Slayer in our hearts.

Adam Bernard: In what ways do you feel you’ve evolved musically since you started?
Recone Helmut: I dunno. The tunes are better? The sound is better? The work is definitely more collaborative and full of eclectic talent these days. The gear is more expensive, too, that's for sure. Have you seen the price tag on a Virus TI!? Totally worth it, though. Get a Virus TI, kids. You won't regret it.

Adam Bernard: What do you see yourself doing, and where do you see yourself going, next?
Recone Helmut: I wasn't kidding in December when I said I was going to give electronic music a break for a while. I want our next record to be straight Hip-Hop. Find a hot MC, or a few of them, and just make a damn rap record. Also, next year we're going to make a live pH10 best-of disk. Recorded at Madison Square Garden, of course.

Related Links

Website: helmutplex.com
MySpace: myspace.com/ph10
RapReviews: pH10 Interview (12/08)


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:33 AM  
  • At 9:39 PM, Blogger Sarah said…

    pH10 will be in Austin w/I-45 on 3/20 for SXSW -


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