Putting it Bluntly: Shortstuff Takes His Business Partner Brackles to Task
The Blunted Robots catalog only runs three releases deep, yet label founders and former university mates Shortstuff (a.k.a. Richard Attley) and Brackles (a.k.a. Rob Kemp) have already left an impressive mark on London's hyperactive bass music scene. Curious about exactly what makes these boys tick and how things operate at Blunted Robots HQ, we let Shortstuff corral his partner out of bed and pepper him with questions about what goes on behind the scenes at their blossoming imprint.
Shortstuff: Hello, Brackles. How are you doing?
Brackles: All good, thanks.
Did you get in okay [from your flight]?
This isn't going in the interview, is it?
Yeah, this is it.
So, Brackles, you're one half of the team behind Blunted Robots. Talk me through your role in the label.
I do considerably less than Shortstuff. I'm the ideas man. Robot Dance, that was me.
Are they all pun-based ideas?
Yes. This has become a bit like a job interview.
I know all the readers are dying to know, which one of you writes the beats and who makes the little noises with their mouth?
I think they're samples. Aren't they?
What inspired you to start your own label?
Having tunes that we thought were good, mainly. We wanted to take the credit for them.
Is Shortstuff as inspiring as he sounds?
There's nothing more inspiring than Richard's bedroom at 1 a.m.... That sounded a bit gay.
Bok Bok's "Citizens Dub" was an inspired choice for the third record. Did you purposefully choose an inferior record [Brackles' and Shortstuff's "Pipey D"] for the b-side to make his seem better?
It does seem like that, if you read the reviews.
Bok Bok Feat. Bubbz - "Citizens Dub"
If you could choose any record ever to release on Blunted Robots, what would it be?
Kraftwerk's "Pocket Calculator."
It's just nice and camp, isn't it?
Is that the criteria for a Blunted Robots release then?
Yeah, nice and quirky and camp.
Any plans to let Martin Kemp release his music elsewhere?
Someone asked me that the other day, and I said no. It's all got to come out on Robots. I don't care if it holds him back.
Do you feel as though you groomed him for 22 years of his life?
Don't say "groomed"...
…You’ve groomed him up all nice, and now someone else might come along and take a piece of the pie…
Exactly… without tickling the balls. This shouldn't go in.
Any hot new property with similarly silly names?
No, I think all the names on the label are alright. My answers are a bit Spinal Tap, aren’t they? I sound like that guy with the hats... Just not as funny.
The label seems to have an extremely strong brand. Do you make any money with such fancy-pants sleeves?
I think we always intended for it to be a strong brand. We knew Spam Chop was a talented designer, and I like the artwork. That's what we're all about…
What, doing stuff that you like?
No, cartoony stuff. We're not too serious.
They're all quite camp aren't they, the robots?
Yeah, like The Bash Street Kids [comic strip].
I don't think The Bash Street Kids were anywhere near as camp...
They’re not that camp, are they?
Your robot is quite flattering, whereas Shortstuff's looks like a fat little baby. Do you seek to undermine him at every turn?
I had no input, so that must just be how Spam Chop perceives things.
Do you have any plans to release yours and Shortstuff’s solo stuff?
Yeah, we do. But it’s got to be shit-hot, though, and fit with the label.
The stuff you shop to other labels isn't really cutting it, is it?
No, I wouldn't put that shit out.
What else do you have planned for Blunted Robots in the next few months?
Martin Kemp is coming with another one of those things he does, with the weird noises…
So it’ll be hard to mix, with little uuurrgh sounds in the background, right?
Yeah, tribal men. Probably enough of that actually. Cut that out after that release, Mart! After that there’s our absolute club anthem, "Good Foundations," with Terrible Shock on the vocal. And then after that we've got a DJ Dom record.
You've been grooming him too?
No, Dom's a good lad. We knew him in Nottingham. He lives in New York now and makes really interesting, housey house music. We've got nothing planned after that just yet, but it'll probably take us a year and a half to get that lot out.
Where's the hold-up? Who's the weak link in the chain?
Well, it'd probably help if I got out of bed before 1 p.m. Although I've started getting up at 10 a.m. now. That's my goal.
What are your strengths as a human and as a label owner?
As a human, I have a good stride.
Like [Footballer] Ryan Giggs? Do you pull your weight?
I think I pull my weight.
But you don’t weigh that much, for a man of your height?
No, I don’t. Less than 11 stone in fact.
That’s a pretty low BMI.
I think that’s good, innit? I’m less likely to get heart disease.
...and you don’t eat a lot of meat.
I don’t eat any meat.
You eat the meat of fish though, don’t you?
Fish meat, tofu meat.
That's not meat. Last question… Which terms annoy you most when used in relation to Blunted Robots?
Not Future Bass or Tropical Bass?
No, I don’t mind that so much. It sounds fun... like you could have a cocktail or something.