TF Archives

Unblock your ear'oles because this is Terminalhead

Author: michelle pirovich
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Dance music has become a little jaded of late, with the same ideas merely being spat out under a new sub genre. Fortunately, for the more discerning music lover, electronica stalwarts Terminalhead are forging ahead to once again prove that music is quite simply about rhythm, rhymes and perspective.

To prove my point all you have to do is listen to Terminalhead's debut album 'Weekend Warriors.' High octane electronica with shards of rock is as close as you will get to classifying this one, for its painfully obvious that Terminalhead are intent on giving the pigeon holing many amongst us the finger. As Lee point out.

"All the tracks on this album were made for music's sake and we hope that it comes across that way. It's so much more rewarding to listen to an album that you think has been really felt during it's creation and we've hopefully achieved that."

The album itself is the result of many years work, with the core of it coming together over a fortnight of alcohol and substance induced mayhem in a converted hop kiln.

"We never really set out with an idea for the album, to be honest. It's a culmination of literally several years of work. We have written loads of tunes as Terminalhead but sacked a great deal of them and kept the best bits, which happened to form a really interesting body of work that we've called 'Weekend Warriors.'

Terminalhead came to be in 1996. Originally a seven piece live breakbeat group, they stunned many with their refreshing take on the sound, but with a future awaiting them outside the realms of a tour bus, Pete Marett, Mr Spee and Lee Groves broke away to carry on the Terminalhead legacy.

Pete who takes care of the beats took up the drums at age 14, with the customary participation in bands dubious and not so ensuing. For Lee the technical wizard, samplers and sequencers were of second nature. A co-founder of sample CD company AMG, Lee released the worlds first ever drum loops sampler. Together with Pete, Lee then formed the PuSH label, where the Terminalhead sound began to emerge.

Showing huge potential on the breakbeat scene the pairs collapsing rhythms, finely structured arrangements, rigid basslines and elastic harmonies resulted in some interesting remix commissions for Geri Halliwell, the Lightening Seeds, and NSYNC.

Mr Spee was next to join up with Pete and Lee, offering his vocal expertise to the group after jaunts with Boy George, Malcolm McLaren, Ed Case and Earl 16. With an ability to transform his voice to suit many a sound, the vocal stylings of Terminalhead are what set them apart from so many. As Lee whose weapon of choice happens to be a Mac G4 running Logic explains.

"There's a way to make vocals sit and blend in to electronic music. It's taken us a while to get near to getting the balance right. We tend to allow Spee to rant and then we manipulate his voice and ideas to create a new kind of flavour for the tracks. We also find it very important to have the human input too. For example, most of the beats on our tracks are from Pete and we try and strike a balance between man/machine wherever possible, with as much organic stuff as possible."

Throughout the album Spee covers life's realities in a way that he relates; not listening to your friends, losing fame and wrongly achieved status, and false belonging. Topics that can and do relate to us all.

"The lyrics are directed towards particular people as well as being a general shout out to anyone that it could possibly refer to. Even to the three of us in the band, the lyrics on each of the tracks mean something different but at the same time, will mean something to everyone too."

A favourite on the album is Mr Spee's stylistic nod to the weekend warrior, something that Lee claims the band no longer are.

"Our lives, both professionally and personally, are one huge rollercoaster ride, so the mental bits just blur into the mellow bits really. We're almost always finding the '11' button on the