Whether James Davidson and Greg Hepworth have an ulterior motive is debatable. Their motive, however, is unwavering, intentional and fortunately well received.
Infiltrating the drum and bass scene in in the early noughties, the UK duo combined their hand-built studio with modern production methods allowing them to tap into a unique brand of high-tech basslines and fortified funk. Early demos turned into a bevy of collaborations followed by releases on Subtitles and Critical.
The boys speak to Jasmine Phull about the importance of collaborations, the LP and the on-stage leotard.
You were initially brought together because of your shared admiration for the futuristic drum & bass pioneered in the late-90s. That was in 2003. Can you name a pioneer in the scene today?
As far as pioneering goes I think that Rockwell is probably at the forefront of boundary pushing at the moment.
How easy is it to produce original content these days? Is everything influenced by something else?
The ultimate goal is to be original, but no one is free of influence.
Since starting almost a decade ago what are three things that you’ve learnt:
1) Taking your time pays off
2) Not taking things too seriously
3) WORK HARD!
Having already collaborated with a number of artists including Jubie, Hybris and Code 3, explain how the collaborations are usually initiated. Do you keep an eye on artists who share a similar musical direction to your own?
The collaborations nearly always come around through friendships and mutual respect for what each other is about musically. We’ve just mastered our next release on Subtitles, Ulterior Motive Versus, which is a four track E.P featuring Lenzman, FD, Krakota, and Hybris. All the guys are good friends of ours. It’s important to get along with people you collaborate with because if there’s a difficult atmosphere in the studio, the music will suffer
Is your music emotionally inspired? Do you avidly seek mentally challenging situations in order to feel and in turn create music?
For the most part, no, we don’t seek situations to influence the music, however, we’ve definitely had tracks influenced by our emotions in the past – but they’re in the minority.
The EP VS the LP. Which do you prefer and why?
An LP over an EP any day - I see an EP as a collection of singles but an LP is a (in most cases) thought-out body of work that shows many different sides of the artist.
Is there another genre of music that influences your own productions?
From time to time we may be influenced by another genre – especially on certain elements of a track, the percussion in a house tune for example, as opposed to a complete arrangement.
How important is the on-stage aesthetic to Ulterior Motive? Do your outfits play a role in your live show?
Greg - The leotard is essential.
James - Stage glasses.
What are you guys currently working on?
We actually have quite a few projects we’re trying to finish up including a couple of remixes – we also have to move studios soon so hopefully that won’t cause too much disruption.
Last song you listened to?
Paul Hardcastle, 'Nineteen'
First album you bought?
Hmm... could have been Nirvana, Nevermind.
Interview: Jasmine Phull
Ulterior Motive appear at Fractured Foundation's album launch party at Brixton Jamm on August 10th. Tickets are £8, available below.
Go to the Ulterior Motive artist page
Tickets are no longer available for this event