Nine Deadly Venoms

Emma E, Forrest, EpiGram, 9th March 1995 Edition 063

J. Saul Kane aka Depth Charge can be credited with being one of the founders of the 'trip-hop' scene. Emma E. Forrest spoke to him to find out a bit more about what drives him to make his mad combination of samples and hip-hop beat.

How to describe Depth Charge to the uninitiated? The nearest J Saul Kane can get to it is that his music is a combination ofrap-free hip-hop, samples from films, different musical influences, all with an 'English' feel (a bit heavy and industrial asopposed to the US penchant for funky stuff). This generalisation does little justice to such a fine album as 'Nine Deadly Venoms', which contains everything from hip-hop beats to samba rhythms, with weird cuts from Westerns, Zombie and Martial Arts films - the artificial noises that accompany kicking and punching and throwing stars flying through the air - as well as the infamous 'gooooaaal' of the Football Italia theme.

J Saul Kane started making musical moves from the age of 16, when he used to DJ in clubs such as The Mud Club and The Wag as well as in warehouses, but gave the scene up because he was not only bored of the new of House style - he only wants to play what interests him - but was just not really into drugs and the whole late nights thing.

Despite the success of singles such as 'Bounty Killers' and 'Dead by Dawn' as far back as five years ago, and the regular use of some of his tracks by the Dust Brothers (now the Chemical Brothers), John has only recently been credited for his musical genius. He remains philosophical about it; "it was just not the right time, nobody was interested in it". It was only when Mo'Wax and the Dust Brothers noticed that his style was similar to what they were doing that they rang him up. However, he's not terribly bothered about fame and fortune, but more in playing and making music that interests him. Kane just works when he's inspired: it's generally "squeezed in between playing football, watching movies and loitering about."

However, he is more prolific than he claims. Kane is involved in countless different projects which seems to contradict the extensive music press accusations of laziness. He has released a couple of House singles, is setting up two new labels - DC and Electron - to which he is currently signing a few acts, working on some electro stuff, is working on some material with Eon as well as his new album, which, although yet to be mixed, should be released in the summer. Kane promises that the album will be more interesting, and less concentrated on the obscure film samples. After all, he acknowledges, there's a limit to how much of that sort of novelty malarkey one can get away with. The emphasis will be on the music; he believes that with age he has lost interest in the hectic and mad, and has become more focused on "the icing - the melodies and hooks." He's been collecting breaks and exploring beats, bass and rhythms for some time now, and has discovered the sound of the lute, which he will be using on his new single.

Kane is taking care over the album. He finds few modern albums which are all good; instead they seem to have a couple of great tracks with the rest just acting as fillers. Although he likes the contemporary sounds of the likes of Portishead, Red Snapper and Tricky, and appreciates that it is difficult to make consistently good albums, the most recent top quality ones he can think of date back to 1973/74.

Another of Kane's activities is watching martial arts films and videos. He discovered the genre at the ABC in Westbourne Grove when he was about 12 and has been hooked ever since. With regard to the old media-violence-effects-on-society debate, he sides with Oliver Stone: "the reaction depends on the viewer's education. Violence is in everything. Films are entertainment."

Discover J Saul Kane's fascination with kung fu kicks on his last album, Nine Deadly Venoms (on Vinyl Solution) then wait impatiently for the next one, whilst checking Venue for a date for his expected appearance in Bristol.

Copyright © 1995 Epigram.



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