Twin Empire’s puppet master on touring, sex, clay pigeon shooting, and recording an album on the moon.
Defying the known laws of human physics and breaking past the realms of what mankind knowns to be impossible has always been something of an obsession for Ollie Judge of Twin Empire. I mean, he’s toured with Crystal Castles, produced singles for Egyptian Hip-Hop, Wild Palms, and more recently, mixing the dark dubstep duelings of a certain Mr James Blake. It’s a safe bet to say that Ollie Judge has found himself very much running his own theatre of dreams, away from the comforting arms of his band, Bitter End Boat Club. Of course, his new found independence has stirred up debate and heated discussion from indie kids around the country. Surely, Ollie Judge is having something of an affair on his beloved Bitter End Boat Club? Ditching his role as flowing Indie bass guitarist, for the woo boost of producing and creating his very own dubstep tracks. In the usual Big iSounds fashion, we thought it was only fair to track Mr Judge down, and get this dubstep business sorted out once and for all. We met up with him at a London cafe, and asked him why he’s decided to pull his own strings, and drop his own beats.
So, you’re a dubstep artist now? “I guess so” he says with a cheeky smile on his face. As the waiter comes over, Ollie immediately orders a peppermint mocha, with a hint of grated cinnamon sprinkled on the surface. I ordered the exact same thing. I mean, wouldn’t you? Without hesitation, he removes his dappy hat, and ruffles his golden brown hair, before sipping from his mug of molten mint coffee. What tipped your departure from Bitter End Boat Club? Was it a number of factors? “People keep saying that I’ve betrayed the Club, and that I’ve left completely. I’ve not, and the lads know that. Well, at least I think they do” [laughs]. The annoyance in his voice couldn’t be less obvious. “Basically, without going into private matters too much, I just wanted to do something on my own. I love my band, but I also love making music independently. Other band veterans-gone-solo-artists will tell you the exact same thing. Making music in a band means that you have to get the approval of everyone in the group. On your own, you can do exactly what you want, exactly when you want”. It’s fair to say Mr Judge makes a fair point. It’s not the first time that members of a popular band go off and do their own thing. Alex Turner, for example, nearly broke the hearts of the entire working class community when he swapped punky guitar riffs for swooning orchestral symphony’s with Last Of The Shadow Puppets, but he was back being a cheeky Arctic Monkey without another year or so.
Were you nervous at all in telling the lads that you were veering off on your own for a while? “Not really,” he shakes his head whilst removing his cutters choice from his duffle coat pocket. “The guys have always liked my solo stuff, and they’ve appreciated that I’ve always had my own ambition. Just because I’m messing around with a bit of dubstep doesn’t mean we’re not a band anymore, or they’re a three piece without me. We write the Clubs songs together, or not at all”. Well, now that we’ve got that mess cleared under the carpet, I think it’s about time we take more of an interest in Twin Empire, and what’s turned Ollie away from Indie-pop beats to dirty dubstep drops.
How did Twin empire come about then? How did it all start? “Well, It’s been something I’ve always been interested in, you know?” He takes another sip of his mocha, and wipes away his creamy moustache. “Me and Joe [Sgroi, drums, Bitter End Boat Club] started doing some work on some beats and rhythms and made a couple of demo’s on my attic”. His modesty shines through his words without him even realizing. When he says he wrote out and recorded a few demo’s with Joe Sgroi, he really means that he recorded Twin Empires debut self-titled EP. Where did you go from then on? He starts his sentence with an uncomfortable, but flattered smile. “I never really expected people to take in what I was doing, or even really listen to it”. Seeing as Ollie only released his debut EP under the name Twin Empire around eight months ago, the fact that he’s packed out London’s Colston Hall, and rumours of an album release in June are rife. Modest is one simple and majestic way of describing Ollie Judge and Twin Empire. Whether or not he can be described as a genius, is something that we’ll just have to wait and see.
Hard copy:interview (15-1.2.11)