[sic] Magazine

Interview – A.R. Kane (now Jübl)

Rudy Tambala, of dreampop pioneers A.R. Kane, recently announced his new project Jübl via social media launching with a premiere at ‘friend’ publication The Big Takeover. According to the brief bio, Jübl is “, a new band with a new EP, Thinking Sweet, featuring two new songs and a 9 minute continuous mix.

Jübl is pronounced Jhuw – Bahl”

[sic] understands that Jübl is essentially a rebranding and continuation of A.R. Kane. Naturally we were curious and wanted to know more. Rudy gave us the following interview:

• You are back, ostensibly as A.R. Kane, but under the new guise of Jübl. Why (back)? And why Jübl?

We love making music together, performing, writing and recording, and to fall in love is the best trip ever.

The rename is because we are A.R. Kane, we’ve been performing and writing as such since we came out of coma in 2015. But we are also something else, you can hear it in the music, see it in the line-up. The name Jübl came to me, insisted, persisted, started as a sound, became a shape, a word. Became a fit.

• Is Maggie involved in Jübl?

Yes, we are Maggie Tambala, Andy Taylor and me. Maggie sings and plays guitar, writes vocal harmonies, looks the part, acts the part, a rock and roll and soul girl.

• For the record, and for anal twats like myself is it A.R.Kane or a.r.kane?

Neither, you missed the space, it is A.R. Kane.

• Ah, yeah. lol. You’ve featured in many/all of the notable shoegaze/dreampop and post rock books and articles. Alex appeared in the Beautiful Noise docu,. How proud are you of A.R. Kane’s legacy?

I love what we did, the way that we did it, the reasons we did it, the way it was received, the way it is now perceived. Yes, proud, like a when his kid does well. Well done young Kane!

• What’s your view on those genre labels? Shoegaze for example carries a certain cachet now, but in previous years it has been derided.

Our brains naturally categorize things, so it is to be expected, and it does help in marketing an act. I have grown to like the label shoegaze, and as you know, dreampop was our idea, so of course I like that one. There is of course a range of style and quality within the categories, but that’s the same for all genre. I quite like the dreamgaze tag, tho not sure what it means, it makes a nice shape on the screen.

• Can we go through the albums a bit? sixty nine is universally acclaimed isn’t it and it’s the 30th anniversary right now. I remember Reynolds picking up on the Miles Davis angle. Others mentioned Astral Weeks. It was so early into your career yet it sounded colossal and somehow beyond anything of its ilk. More ‘out there’ than MBV for my money. What can you tell us about sixty nine?

Firstly, I think it is so unlike MBV that I would not make a comparison. I’ve spoken about it at length many times, and there is a fabulous wikipedia page dedicated to sixty nine, so I’ll not say too much here, and recommend people just go give it a listen. The YouTube rips aren’t great quality, nor is the iTunes or the streams. The original Rough Trade CD release sound nice, and the cassette tape is really warm, but if you want it as it was intended then get it on the original Rough Trade vinyl release, if you can find one.

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The area I would like to talk about re sixty nine is the sound and why it was so different to anything at the time. In terms of arrangement, instrumentation, aural spaces, we didn’t think like the contemporary indie beat combo, we were not hampered in our expression of ideas, we used whatever fit the song, and as we went from completing one song to the next (we wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered usually in a single session, for each song), this changed. We had a mix of guitars, acoustic and electric, clean, spaced, distorted, feedbacking, and a punk aesthetic – no flashy chords, no guitar solos or licks or any of that crap you here coming out of guitar stores all over the world. Sampling drum machines and samplers, tape echoes for dub mixing techniques, but applied to kooky instruments as well, like 12 string acoustic guitar and harpsichord samples and feedback loops. We brought in clarinets, bowed double bass, piano. We never tried to achieve natural aural spaces, we used the studio effects as instruments and pushed them to make exotic soundscapes as we mixed, a technique we picked up from Ray Shulman and Adrian Sherwood, which harks back to Lee Perry and King Tubby. Growing up on soul, disco, jazz, jazz, funk, reggae ska and dub, i.e. black music, as well as pop bands like The Police, Pil, Talking Heads, Human League, B-52’s etc. we had a groove sensibility, the beat, the deep bassline, the ‘ridim’ – this also was alien to the indie world. We had started to feel a little restricted in pro studios so we built H.Ark! Studio in Alex’s mum’s basement, and we learned how to use the gear as we went from song to song, with Ray Shulman popping in to help us with the tech side of things “Ray, what the fuck is a SMPTE code?”. The independence and lack of intrusion gave us total freedom and time to just play with ideas. It’s funny because nowadays everything I just spoke about is pretty much taken for granted – my son does all this in his bedroom, with a laptop and FL Studio. Ah, one thing was that we recorded and mastered to tape – this makes quite a different to the overall sound, and we used a prog-rock technique of cross fade between songs, that made Side 2 very immersive, and perfect to get high to. And here ends geek corner. Except, we were lucky enough to have excellent designers to work on the sleeve art – it is far fucking out, still.

i

i

• Personally I’m particularly fond of i (which I rather pretentiously ordained as the indie Sign of The Times back in the day). Whose idea was it to go for a double album with all those segues and snippets? How do you think it landed? And how do you feel about it now?

It was Alex’s and my ideas, we were the band back then. It did pretty well I think, got to indie Number 1, we were pleased, and got nice press. I haven’t given it a listen in a long time, but I remember it fondly, as a solid piece of work, if a little sprawling. We piled in a lot of ideas into that album, some fully-formed, others not quite, and the production got slicker, but not as spontaneous or loose wigged as on ‘sixty nine’.

• New Clear Child is the laid back one. Less noise /feedback , more dreamy. Had you mellowed by then?

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Yes. We recorded and mixed in San Francisco, and I think the whole California vibe seeped in. This to me is a weakness of the album, that we were still adapting to the new vibe and maybe were in a bit of a swoon, and that would probably have been resolved on the 4th album, but that never happened. Alex and I had also spent quite a while apart, for the first time in many years, and something of the musical telepathy was lost, also we were no longer immersed in the UK scene, so I think we missed some cultural shifts that would have benefited our music e.g. Dummy came out the same time as NCC, picking up and extending, refining the indie/dub vibe, and it made us look quite ordinary. There are moments tho’ that could stand up to previous works, for me Surf Motel and Sea Like a Child (underwater) (Radio mix) are two such.

• Can I just say how much I love the titles btw. Very clever. Nicely done.

Yes, you can. What titles?

• Ha ha, sorry, I meant the album titles. The multi-meaning. In that Guardian interview (2012?) you mentioned that the ideas were running dry at some point. The “energy had gone”, I believe you said. Can you expand a bit upon that.

Kinda touched on that above – don’t want to say more than that right now.

• Do you think you nailed your ‘masterpiece’ too early?

No, at exactly the right time. We only had one masterpiece in us LOL!

• How involved were you when the albums got re-issued?

We were not involved at all – it was awful that Rough Trade gave our music/us away to a record pressing plant (probably were in debt to them as they went bust), who then gave us to OLI – they didn’t consult with us, they should have returned the rights to us, or at least given us the opportunity to buy the rights back. Now we are pretty much shelved, our records aren’t marketed, are unknown to a whole generation, are available as poor quality repros, and I live in a cardboard box behind Kings Cross Station, near Harry Potter’s trolley.

Tambala

Rudy

• There was also the singles and Eps compilation (which is essential if you haven’t got those Eps btw) and that Amerikana thing. What did you think of those releases?

I really like both – Alex and I curated Americana together and I’m happy with that, and I curated and designed the singles collection, so I have to like it. What do you mean “Amerikana thing”, you cheeky bastard!

• Soz.
What’s Alex doing now?

In California it’s the middle of the night, so probably sleeping.

• What are you setting out to achieve with Jübl?

Make beautiful recordings, play live, make it self-sustaining artistically and commercially. We want the EP and the LP to be out this summer, we want as many people as possible to hear our music, whether free or paid.

• What’s the deal with OLI? Do they own the publishing rights to A.R. Kane?

We own our publishing, OLI say they own our recordings, and I do not have the time or resource or heart to fight this. I asked for the rights to be returned, but Derek said no. My feeling is it is highly unethical to enslave the artist in this way, and many so-called cool record labels still do it. In the USA the rights revert to us in a few years, so I’ll revisit how I can get quality formats to fans, if any are still alive that is.

• I gather that you and Alex got together almost as a bit of a bluff. Were you both musical though? I mean, how did you approach writing together?

No it was not a bluff, but we were opportunistic, and never missed the chance to sell the ‘idea’ of A.R Kane to people we met. Yes, of course we were both musical … what are you like? We mostly sat together in the studio and said, hey I’ve got this idea, it would be embryonic, we’d just press record and start layering parts. Sometimes we wrote separately and invited the other to contribute – that worked too, but I think the former approach had better results.

• Didn’t you play some recent festivals as A.R Kane? How was that experience and how where the audiences?

We had a great time at Primavera Barcelona and Porto, Kumu ÖÖ in Estonia … Vasto, Rome, London, Manchester etc Audiences varied, I preferred the smaller clubs to the festivals because of the intimacy, the chemistry, the intensity, and everyone in a club is there just for you – it’s lovely.

• How does/did Sufi differ from A.R.Kane and what you’re doing now for instance?

Sufi was Maggie and me, and it was determinedly not A.R Kane, but more a kind of trip hop-pre-Ibiza-chillout, chillout project. Today we are not chillout, we are noisy fuckers, we have Andy on guitar and vocals which is new, and I see Jübl as an evolution of A.R Kane, or a descendent of Kane – not sure which, time will tell.

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• Will you take Jübl on the road?

Yes, after the LP is released, assuming we get enough offers to play as it is an expensive activity.

• How crazy is it to think that technically you had a UK No1 single? (since Anitina was a double A side on M/A/R/R/S )

Not at all crazy.

• Do you think that whole experience changed 4AD/Ivo forever? Things seemed to take a turn toward the commercial afterwards.

I don’t know, they seemed pretty commercial to me when they were selling bucket-loads of CT’s and TMC. Don’t be fooled by that artsy, esoteric bollocks, they were a mean-assed business, like nearly all labels of that time. I know, I still have the contract they tried to get me to sign – it is out-fucking-rageous.

• If I had to pick a favourite track by yours I’d likely go for ‘Up’. How about you, can you give us three favourites?

1. Sperm whale Trip Over
2. Up
3. Lollita

• Three favourite artists? (past)

Miles Davis
Velvet Underground
A Tribe Called Quest

• Three favourite artists? (present)
Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean

• Who would you love to work with? (dream big)

Jamie XX
Frank Ocean
Kanye West

• Whose untimely passing affected you most profoundly- Bowie, Prince or Peel?

Bowie – I grew up with him, he feels like a really close friend, so much artistry and positivity in his music. As a teenager, at home, on with the slap, shots and speed pre-party, Saturday night sorted, the cassette tape version of Bowie Changes One on auto flip repeat. I really miss him, but feel he’s still around.

• What’s coming and what’s next for Jübl?

June 20 our debut EP drops on all digital stores, on bandcamp now as a pre-order. We’re recording songs for the LP, hope to drop that September. Sümmer of love. Not looking any further than that.

[sic] Thanks Rudy and Jübl. Photos may be subject to copyright.

Bandcamp

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