Podcast 550: Broken English Club - XLR8R
An hour of stark uncompromising electronics.

Broken English Club is the post-punk project of Oliver Ho, a British techno veteran who began his sonic experiments over two decades ago. His other aliases include Veil, Raudive, and Zov Zov alongside Tommy Gillard. Ho's initial work landed via James Ruskin's Blueprint label, for which Ho established himself as an integral figure via a series of brutal futurist releases, before he conceived some more avant techno/house club tracks as Raudive, launched in 2006. And then came Broken English Club, in 2014. 

Broken English Club sees Ho deliver monotone vocals and shards of live instrumentation over stuttering beats and bleak synths. Its roots can be traced back to Ho's childhood: he wished to break free from techno and revert back the guitar music that occupied much of his upbringing in London's suburbia. "All those things that I was really into as a teenager were seeping back into my music," he recalls in a 2016 Resident Advisor interview. Inspiration, too, comes from the bleak English dystopia as portrayed by novelist J.G. Ballard in Crash and Concrete Island; Ho wanted to capture the sense of dread and boredom of suburbia through his music. The debut arrived on Jealous God, the label Regis and Silent Servant, both of whom have taken a great interest in the project since it's earliest beginningss—at which point, not even Ho was sure if he wished to share the material. 

Suburban Hunting, a compelling long-player debut through Veronica Vasicka's Cititrax label, arrived in 2015 and captured the creeping dread, repressed violence, and Ballard-inspired boredom that Ho had been seeking. The artwork featured manacles and a bear trap, indicative of the striking covers of all Broken English Club releases—a reference, too, to Ho's reliance on visuals in the creation of textures and space, "because there is something quite architectural about making tracks," he explains.  In 2017, Ho then debuted on Ron Morelli’s L.I.E.S. imprint with The English Beach LP, a new 12-tracker rooted in industrial and EBM, before returning earlier this year with White Rats, an album trilogy, the first part of which is already available. 

Ho's XLR8R podcast provides a snapshot of his sound via an hour of brutalist textures, including work from his latest album, a forthcoming project called MASS, and haunting pieces from Swans, Maenad Veyl, and Mark Stewart.

How has 2018 been for you so far?

It's been a year of intense work and creativity so far. Working a lot in the studio and playing live as Broken English Club. I have completed my latest album for L.I.E.S. called White Rats

When and where was this mix recorded?

The mix was recorded fairly recently in my loft, it has a view over lots of suburban back gardens, I can gaze and dream as I look out the window. The mix represents my love of restrained violence and dark empty music. 

I also included some stuff from my latest album and new unreleased project called MASS, which is a guitar and synth drone project. 

On what equipment did you record it?

I recorded the mix using my computer and a great deal of red wine. 

How did you select the records you included?

There's some old stuff in there, I love a lot of strange industrial dub stuff, and post-punk stuff too, so I included tracks by Keith Leblanc and Mark Stewart. There's also a track by Swans, a band who influence me a lot. I also wanted to put new stuff in there that excites me in the same way so I included stuff from Maenad Veyl and Cienfuegos.

What else do you have coming up this year?

I have some exciting live shows coming up this year, I am playing Dekmantel, Rural festival in Japan, and also Flow in Helsinki, where Fever Ray is also playing. I am very excited to see her live.  Towards the end of this year, I will release my new guitar drone project called MASS. 

Due to temporary issues regarding the GDPR, EU readers can download the podcast here.