Throwback Interview: LTJ Bukem Shakened By DJ Blame

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Ever since Blame left the Good Looking camp there has been unending speculation as to why. A large amount of the opinions given have been based on hearsay and rumour. So here without any additional comment or editorial slant, is the interview LTJ Bukem did with Breakin' Point magazine and DJ Blame's reply which was also published. Nobody knows more about the reasons for the split than these two so read their comments and decide for yourself...

LTJ Bukem's Interview:
"The first thing I want to say is everybody I think now realises I love doing what I do, and respect everybody in all music fields for what they do, which is why I have no interest in causing friction or getting involved with political bullshit. What have I got to prove to anyone really? Who I am and what I do are the reasons why I do it so you can't go printing stuff that blatantly doesn't make sense. Rumours are rumours but when it's in black and white then I'm going to stand up for myself and be counted. I will always give you the story as it is."

LTJ Bukem "I have no interest in causing friction or getting involved with political bullshit."
LTJ Bukem "I have no interest in causing friction or getting involved with political bullshit."

And so LTJ Bukem begins to tell that side of the story.

"Blame came to Good Looking in 96/7 as a graphic designer, he was in a full time job at the time. He was doing tunes for Moving Shadow but he couldn't afford not to work. He said he liked Good Looking and I liked what he was starting to do as he'd done a couple of tunes at that time That's where our connection was. He said:

"All I want to do is music full time."

He was living with his Mum, he had an old car, he didn't have a whole studio. He wasn't known as a DJ. I've been DJing for seventeen years now and, thanks to a lot of good people around me - promoters, listeners, ravers- I've managed to get a name for myself, which in turn I thought could help others with their musical mission. DJing is the perfect tool for getting your music out there so Tony and I set about doing worldwide tours with Blame. On top of those tours I was putting myself in what we call the 'graveyard shifts' and letting Blame play the main sets at 80% of the gigs so that people could hear him and his music."

"The first three years that Blame was at my label the phone wasn't ringing for DJ Blame, the phone was ringing for LTJ Bukem. Good Looking Records was saying LTJ Bukem will do this gig but you also have to have Blame. That was what we insisted on so we could get his music out there. So, as the BP interview states,

"the demand being high for Blame's beats"

is a fabrication because he hadn't been DJ-ing anywhere for those demands to be high. That, I thought, was what Tony and myself was trying to do for him.After 3 years of doing this he had the new car, he had his own home, he had a full studio. "

LTJ Bukem "Blame did not come into our office and say I need my own label, we gave it to him."
LTJ Bukem "Blame did not come into our office and say I need my own label, we gave it to him."

"Moving onto Blame's label 720 wasn't Blame's idea. He says in the Breaking Point interview:

"even when I signed to Good Looking I always knew I had plans to really take it myself and see the whole thing through."

If you come to Good Looking Records for all that assistance from nothing, what plan is that? It was Tony that gave the idea of the sub labels to the artists so that no music went unheard, so comments like

"I like to do a lot more varied stuff that they don't cater for so I felt like I was being restricted"

totally mystifies myself and Tony. That's exactly what the artists sub-labels and the different genre in-house labels were for. "

"In 2000 ( Wax Magazine )Blame said:

"what Good Looking have offered me is to release the music that I wanted without compromise."
I can't see where the restrictions to doing what you wanna do within Good Looking records really are. I didn't tell the guy what to play when he was DJ-ing and I certainly didn't lean over his shoulder when he was making 'Into The Void' and say 'Ooh you can't put that on your album'. It's the same with Makoto and any of the artists albums because it's not me that has to answer to what any artist makes. We support what they make, but it isn't me doing the interview. To even suggest those restrictions is making a farce of everything we represent at GLO. Our ambition with Good Looking records has, is and always will be to help people get their music out there. 720 was given to Blame, he made up the name. So as well as us giving the artists the gigs- a way of earning money- and supporting what they do on Good Looking Records, we gave them their own labels so they could do what I do for Good Looking: collect artists, release their choice of music, basically run their show with Good Looking's total backing. Tony works hard at setting up systems with the people in the office so that artists haven't got the everyday hassles of running a label, which we all know is not easy and sometimes impossible to do. Blame did not come into our office and say I need my own label, we gave it to him. "

LTJ Bukem "When he left I was devastated, everyone at the label was devastated. I love the guys music, 'Into The Void' is a great album but lets get to the real reason why he left."
LTJ Bukem "When he left I was devastated, everyone at the label was devastated. I love the guys music, 'Into The Void' is a great album but lets get to the real reason why he left."

"He also says in the recent Breaking Point interview interview

"when you've got one guy deciding to make futuristic beats and then one of the other main guys is trying to get back to the seventies soul era within drum and bass these are two forces pulling in two opposite directions".

Its well documented that I like 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's jazz and soul and I think that drum and bass is a semi future jazz form, along with the downtempo / Cookin stuff we do. So when Blame states that my love for the music of the last 60 years is a force pulling against him, he is dissing most of today's styles. You wouldn't have drum and bass, hip hop, tunes like Blames own great track 'Between Worlds' and other new forms of music if all that wonderful jazz hadn't been made. I see labels like Compost, Ninja and so many more as the new forms of jazz. How can you diss that? We all go back to that, we're all forming our own versions but definitely 70's, 60's, 50's soul and jazz has had a major influence on what we have now."

"Blames article states

"A penchant for experimentation and an imagination that seeks to test musical boundaries have been the motivating force, a symptom perhaps of Blames love for jazz."

I'll also quote you on Blame speaking in Wax magazine January 2000'

"Jazz has grown on me to a point where I'm now basically hooked on it."

so why is he dissing my love for Jazz? Here's a funny thing : I still have in my studio 10 CD's that Blame gave to me for the sole purpose of duplicating some of the CD's that I always play on tour when we have long drives. Those same CD's are still in my studio waiting for him to collect as I copied them 2 years ago. The funniest thing is do you know what's on them? Pure 70's funk, jazz, soul and 60's, 70's influenced down tempo. So now I am confused."

LTJ Bukem "When Blame states that my love for the music of the last 60 years is a force pulling against him, he is dissing most of today's styles."
LTJ Bukem "When Blame states that my love for the music of the last 60 years is a force pulling against him, he is dissing most of today's styles."

On The Departure:
"When he left I was devastated, everyone at the label was devastated. I love the guys music, 'Into The Void' is a great album but lets get to the real reason why he left. Blame came to Good Looking Records in 96/7 with a 50/50 deal as an artist. In 2000 things were going really well and it finally wasn't just about LTJ Bukem. Other artists were coming through and you start to think it's been worth the hard work. Tony and I thought it was the right time to book Progression Sessions and basically let Blame run them, choose his line-ups etc. We had a meeting to offer Blame his own Progression Sessions, and set up everything for him, this would mean we could do 2 gigs in a night, spreading the sound more. Now when Blame joined the label, it was one of the first contracts we had done at Good Looking. We were very new to doing things in that way and an oversight was made giving Blame a SUBSTANTIAL split in his favour on his 2nd option period. With hindsight, we pointed out that this oversight was unworkable and asked him if it was OK to correct it, making it an equal split, which was workable. He said 'no', and left. There were no musical differences, as I've heard and seen printed in his Breakin Point interview. There were no restrictions or any other bullshit that I've heard. The percentage split was our only difference and it was an oversight."

"I'm not being funny but when 2 guys dedicate their entire lives to someone, to help them try and achieve something for themselves, and get it thrown back in their faces, it's not nice and it's a great shame. In the Breakin' Point interview Blame is right on something: you have to get the music heard, and that's what we were doing - getting the music heard. On another level, if someone had come to me in the late eighties when I had nothing and offered me the chance to earn £30-£40,000 a year, buy a house, buy a car, travel the world, get my own label, get my music put out I'd have said 'where do I sign?' So what did we do wrong? To have that kicked back in your face by someone and that person goes away and does not even mention how it really was guts me, Tony and everyone at the office. At least go into the interview and say 'If it weren't for Dan and Tony, I might not have had the chance to be a DJ and if it weren't for Tony, I wouldn't have 720 and if it weren't for Dan, Tony and 720, I might be still working full time.' People forget things far too easily these days. Good Looking records is owned by 2 people so why is his whole interview directed at me?"

This article originally appeared in Breakin' Point magazine.

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