Keith Tenniswood, aka Radioactive Man, known for his collaborative work with Andrew Weatherall as the Two Lone Swordsmen, returns this year with his new album on Wang Trax filled with experimental electronica and unexpected sounds. With a back catalogue on Warp Records, the musician and DJ is a noted member of the UK electronic scene, having worked with the likes of Primal Scream and Billy Nasty, as RadioNasty continues to impress with his wide-ranging talents.
Arriving as his fourth studio LP, ‘Waits & Measures’, is the first since 2008’s 'Growl', and contains 12 tracks moving seamlessly between electro and old school, acid and funk. Check out an exclusive mix from the Man himself as a taster of what's to be unleashed this summer...
Dazed Digital: You grew up on a diet of music outside of electronic stuff, why do you think this was eventually the most appealing to you to make or did it just come naturally?
Radioactive Man: It was just so exciting when the electronic thing happened. Firstly it was early 80s when the Electro/Breakdancing/Graffiti thing happened - there was just no way that you couldn't be into it because it was such a major thing for kids of our age when it happened. All kids wanna be part of the cool thing that's happening and that really exploded.
Fast forward six or seven years and then Acid House hit. By then I'd been into all sorts of shit, as a teenager you absorb it all like a sponge don't you? But there was something that grabbed me about the insane sped up beats that was early hardcore/rave. That coupled with the free parties and the new drug called Ecstasy,
it was the punk rock of our time and a recipe for going nuts. It was fairly easy to get a home set-up and get involved in making music, so that's why it had major appeal to me.
DD: Having made really varied and experimental music, what do you feel is the most exciting part of producing for you?
Radioactive Man: Just when a track comes together - you cant put your finger on when exactly that happens, it just a magical feeling... And music is a feeling.
DD: What are you listening to in your free time now?
Radioactive Man: All sorts, current band stuff like The Kills, PJ Harvey, Mark Lanegan, Mogwai , to old funk like Sly Stone, The Meters etc. Always loved Reggae and Ska, (a bit like marmite in my household ) Lee Perry being probably my favourite producer along with Adrian Sherwood and all the On U Sound stuff, to old school Hip Hop like Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, Ultramagnetic Mc's etc.
Then there's electronics. There's a Berlin based label called Killekill which are doing some amazing Electro and Techno, Jerome Hill's Don't Label, An English Electro label called Cultivated Electronics, Paul Blackford, Luke Vibert, U.R and almost anything Detroit i love from Carl Craig to Dj Stingray.. Aphex always blows my head off. Still love good Jungle and DnB - mostly old stuff tho. Am open to anything with soul whether thats Model 500 or Otis Redding.
There's just so much good music old and new, but it's easy to get lost trying to find new stuff because there's a lack of quality control due to everyone being able to upload trax, whereas when there were just labels putting out vinyl and before file sharing, people were putting money into it so there was much higher quality control over the music. I'm not saying there isn't still high quality music around it's just that you have to sift through a lot of average stuff to find it in my opinion. A lot of artists dont even get their stuff mastered professionally, which is a major part of the process.
DD: What would you be doing if you weren't making music? Was this always the plan?
Radioactive Man: Yes, it was always the plan, I used to sit in school lessons with a walkman with a single earpiece rigged up going up my jumper and down the sleeve so it looked like I was leaning on my hand whilst writing. Would probably be on a building site somewhere due to lack of any academic exam results.
DD: What are you most looking forward to next?
Radioactive Man: I'm just looking forward to a good summer of gigs. I've got an electronic Dub album recorded about six or seven years ago that I'm releasing later this year, also got an EP on another new label coming soon too which is kind of guitar based but with electronics. I've also got a project with Billy Nasty called RadioNasty and we've got a few releases planned for later this year. Then it's back to the studio to start the next album...
Album released Mon 25th June titled 'Waits and Measures' on Wangtrax. Catch Radioactive Man this summer at: Fri 29th June - Fresh kicks 93 Feet East, London; Fri 6th July - Bloc Festival, London Pleasure Gardens; Sat 7th July - Bloc Festival (as RadioNasty); Sat 4th Aug - Jackhammer, Edinburgh (Live Set); Sun Aug 26th - Scand/Colony at Rhythm Factory, London