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Untold Story

Dazed speak to London's percussive dubstep producer aka Jack Dunning on the Hyperdub and Hessle Audio scene

Jack Dunning (better known as Untold) along with founding and running his own record label, Hemlock, has caught the attention of labels such as Pearson Sound aka Ramadanman's Hessle Audio and Kode9's Hyperdub with releases like 'Anaconda' as supported by everyone from Bok Bok to the unlikely Crookers. Having been commissioned to make mixes for people like FACT and podcasts for XLR8R, his record collection has included Darkstar to the 8-bit ambient Mount Kimbie whilst his own material is more focused on building distinctive rhythms and crisp productions of tight / hollow sounding drums.

Dazed Digital: I love the use of percussion in your tracks, once I was listening to your remix of 'Revenue' out and I thought the bus was exploding because of that whirring noise. What influenced the sounds you make?

Untold: There’s certain sounds that I just really vibe off, I haven’t found a proper name for them but it's that hollow / wooden / rubbery sound that lots of the early Detroit techno guys used for their basslines and beats. The 'Revenue' remix was on a tribal tip so I was using loads of percussion samples, avoiding electronic sounding drums. I wanted the beat to sound like it was made by people banging bits of wood together. At the moment I’m on a grime thing with my beats, but trying to bring in some of the swing and percussion from house.

DD: You've often been associated with producers like Ramadanman, Brackles, Bok Bok, etc- do you feel part of a UK (borderline Funky) / 2-step / dubstep scene, or do you dislike categorised genres?
Untold: I love the mess that’s going on at the moment, no-one can keep up with the different names for micro-genres that are being thrown about. Categorisation is good for context, it makes sense that all these new musical directions have come from dubstep. I think a lot of producers found themselves making dubstep because of its lack of formula, and arguably there’s now a formula for making the mainstream stuff. Producers that want to move forward are just making music with their favourite influences from the last 20 years and not worrying if the beat sounds “right”.

DD: What's the story behind your name?
Untold: No real deep reason, just I needed something that was easy to remember and ambiguous in it's interpretation.

DD: How is Hemlock doing, are you still running that?
Untold: It’s going nicely thanks. We’ve put out seven records, two of which were debut releases. We still listen to the tunes, and occasionally people pay for them. You can’t ask for much more. We’ve got big plans for next year - Our tenth release will be in the spring so we’ll do something interesting to mark that, We’ve got two new artists to bring onboard, and there will be another EP from me. We still want to explore and keep the sound as open as possible - I’ve no idea what the record we put out this time next year is going to sound like, and that’s a good thing.

DD: If you weren't making music, what would you be doing?
Untold: Before I was doing music full-time I was a web designer. I used to do the e-commerce websites for high street shops. I’m glad I’m out of that now though, it was starting to get long. Everyone’s mum is a usability expert these days.

DD: What are you listening to now?
Untold: All sorts. But the CDs on the desk in front of me are:
Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock – It Takes Two
The Original Disco Selection
New York Noise Vol. 2
Paul Lansky – Idle Chatter
Critical Sound
Those, and a fair amount of crap dubstep demos on Soundcloud.

DD: Who would your dream collaboration be?
Untold: Bay B Kane, but in 1992. I would have loved to been in the studio with any of those guys Tango, Goldie, Hype, The Criminal Minds etc that were involved in the transition from hardcore into jungle. I’ve think this current UK bass mess music is has loads of parallels with that period in the 90s.

DD: Where do you want to be in ten years?
Untold: In a higher dimension.