Ipman Discusses His New Record, Influences, Psychology, And More [Interview]
After joining forces with The Glitch Mob’s Glass Air Records and Tectonic Records, UK bass producer Jack Gibbons (Ipman) released his debut album, Depatterning. The record showcases all types of sounds ranging from vintage drum and bass to darker, hard hitting vocals. The album’s nothing short of original – original to the point where the listener might wonder exactly how one comes up with this particular arrangement of sounds that hits you hard in all the right places.
We were able to speak to Gibbons about Depatterning, where he discussed the album as well as his biggest influences and fascinating stories behind his creative ways. He gave us a glimpse inside his artistic mind, hobbies, current side project, his fascination with psychological treatment, and plans for the near future.
SR: Who are your biggest musical influences? Is they anyone in particular that has inspired “Depatterning”?
IPMAN: Probably my parents. They are both musicians themselves. From a very early age, I was introduced to a very broad spectrum of different styles and sounds and palettes. I think in terms of development as a composer this was quite crucial – because it has really solidified the idea that musical expression has no set form. Whether you are using tonality or eschewing it, sticking to rhythmic conventions or not – or in my case particularly – are interested in exploring new sonic areas and unconventional sound design, no one way is a more valid form of musical expression than the other. I see a lot of arguments one-way or the other saying things like, “this is real music,” “that’s too commercial,” “that’s just noise.” In my eyes, it’s all part of the tapestry and I think I owe that mindset to my parents. I grew up listening to a lot of jazz. I play trumpet and always enjoy listening to many artists, although I come back to Miles Davis very often out of all of them. His sound is just perfect. Aphex Twin was probably the artist that drew me into electronic music.
SR: How did you come up with the LP title, “Depatterning”?
IPMAN: It’s pretty dark. It comes from a form of psychological “treatment” developed by Dr. Ewen Cameron in Canada, but funded by the CIA’s MK-ULTRA program. Cameron believed that to correct perceived psychiatric flaws in his patients, he needed to deconstruct the patterns of learnt behavior in his patients, and destroy their personalities so that he could then rebuild them without flaws. This process was called depatterning. His methods were very extreme and damaging, and involved massive amounts of electro-shock therapy, psychedelic drug use and sensory deprivation. It never gained much traction outside of Cameron’s facility as a serious treatment for mental illness, however proved to be very useful informing the CIA in interrogation techniques and acquiring information from uncooperative sources. There are quite a few references to MK Ultra and research carried out under their name in my music. It’s something that’s interested me, and I often find myself thinking about it.
SR: Though you’ve spent two years recording the LP in the simple, rural countryside of Herefordshire, you’ve managed to produce a creative and futuristic-sounding album that’s seemingly ahead of its time in the world of electronic music. How has being isolated for a couple of years helped you in the production of the album?
IPMAN: Well, it’s not like I was that isolated. In the UK, rural probably isn’t as rural as most other countries. We don’t have that much space, and so you’re never very far from a big city. As to the futuristic nature of the music, I think that really just depends on the individual and the person listening to it. It’s a bit of a stereotype to imagine that people from outside of the major cities don’t see the appeal in poking at boundaries, it’s not like everyone only listens to folk music. In fact I think there’s a bit of an obsession with certain cities in the UK that’s led to a bit of stagnation. To be honest, in my experience, some of my favorite music that pushes the limits and tries to be original or futuristic comes from people who grew up outside of these centers. AFX is from Cornwall. Holden is from Norwich. Cities are good for bringing communities together and giving a sound momentum and direction, but individual ideas can spring up anywhere.
SR: What’s your secret(s) for coming up with the original sounds heard in the LP?
IPMAN: No secret, I just like experimenting with those kinds of things, looking for interesting ways to process things. I think using a computer to make music really does most of the hard work for you in the sense that it’s easy to resample something now, and make an abstract sound musical.
SR: What can we expect from you in the near future now that your new music is out and you’re under The Glitch Mob’s Glass Air Records and Tectonic Records?
IPMAN: Right now I’m concentrating on finishing some new music, searching for a direction I’m happy with and getting new tracks together for upcoming shows. I like to play new music in my DJ sets and test it out before I commit to releasing it. I’m also looking to work more collaboratively with artists and musicians.
SR: Aside from making music, what else do you enjoy?
IPMAN: I like to get out and about. I’ve just moved to Leeds in the North of the UK and there’s plenty to explore up here. I love traveling. I’m going to Norway over New Year’s, seeing some fjords, etc. I’ve been trying to learn to code but so far I’m a pretty slow study. It’s a lot to take in!