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The Comedy of Errors

Interview: Rhythm Plate

13 May 14 interview: Scott Oliver
photos: Martin Iveson

Matt Rhythm and Ant Plate were two youngsters wandering around Matlock with no direction or hope. This all changed when they met and realised that together they could conquer the world of deep house and strut a funkier path than anyone had strutted before. We challenged them to a tea drinking contest and, when caffeined up, asked them a bunch of questions...

With those surnames there’s probably little else you could have done apart from become a house-producing duo, right? Nominative determinism – like Booker, of Prize fame; weather girl Amy Freeze; Terry Butcher, the footballer; Mr Tickle; or - my personal favourite - the man who organises the Nottingham cave tours, Dr Richard Strangewalker. So, was it written in the stars that you met each other?
Plate: I could’ve become a professional potterer or dinnerware designer, maybe. But I’m not from Staffordshire. My mum still tells me I’m smashing.
Rhythm: I come from a long line of Rhythms. We have a distinguished history of both drum machine design (Boss DR660 is a design classic) and salsa dance classes for the over fifties.

I see your discogs.com profile says “At present Plate sells deep house insurance and Rhythm is a dancer.” How are those parallel careers going?
Plate: Pretty good in recent years thanks to the phrase ‘deep house’ becoming trendy again. Do you want my sales pitch?
Rhythm: My dancing actually predated the recent twerking phenomenon by ten years. True fact. Except mine is more family orientated: weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc...

I note from EP titles like Masters at Wirksworth and Straight out of Cromford that you’re from the People’s Republic of Sheepshagging (President: Kim Wrong-Un). Rural Derbyshire has a tradition of depressed men drinking themselves to death. Have you completely abandoned that route yet?
Plate: Nearly, but not quite. We just learnt it’s a marathon not a sprint.
Rhythm: I’m not depressed and I’m not dead, which, considering the last fifteen years, is a minor miracle.
Plate: Plus, Derbyshire County Council have black-marked our passports meaning we can only ever visit and never live there.
Rhythm: Little known fact: Matlock is officially a city-state, a bit like the Vatican. Different rules apply. For example, if you go on the cable cars, there’s a duty free.

So, quite a coup to get Dolly Parton on one of your early tracks – how did that come about? Were you paying her by the word, hence only a couple of lines rather than a full song?
Rhythm:
She gets paid 9 to 5 like everyone else.
Plate: It’s actually my mum in the shower. Her boobs do a wicked Dolly Parton impersonation.

Who would you most like to rope into doing a vocal on a Rhythm Plate track? Dead or alive.
Plate:
Hmm... We can record the audio output from a Ouija board, right? If so, then Robin Thicke. He’s not dead, but I wish he was.
Rhythm: For pure PR value, the Pope. Either singing or emceeing. Or, if we are using the Ouija board, Xylophone Man.

Which artist would you most like to refuse to remix? And how would you inform them of their rejection?
Rhythm: Rolf Harris. In court.

Nottingham was once one of the world’s house music capitals. If you were to go into business running house music tours – open-top bus rides through the aahse ‘otspots of the citeh – where would you take in?
Plate:
The caves under the city (various locations), the Marcus Garvey, Skye Club, Dance Factory, the door down to The Bomb, Mapperley Top, Forest Fields, errr… Then on to somewhere good like Gallery Sounds, Smokescreen Soundsystem, Soul Buggin’ or Basement Boogaloo.
Rhythm: Some great picks from Plate there – as a long-term Nottingham resident I would also include the sadly defunct Selectadisc and Funky Monkey, both great vinyl record shops, as well as my Peugeot 206, as I have a great mixtape in my boombox right now.

Have you ever considered becoming Geordies?
Plate:
Some of my family are, actually. Well, not technically speaking but they live close enough to sound like it to me.
Rhythm: Why? I? My son is called Remy and there is apparently a footballer with that name playing for the barcodes who’s doing quite well these days.

Which famous double act – from history, entertainment, sport, whatever – are you most similar to?
Plate:
Cannon and Ball? Zack and Screech? Milli and Vanilli? JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald
Rhythm: Nutkins and Packham, obvs.

They say “one’s company, two’s a crowd”. Have there ever been tensions between you? Plate, are you ever worried that Rhythm is gonna getcha in the end?
Plate: Matt’s opportunities have been endless, so he would’ve done it by now. Mates first, music second. Erm, JFK and Lee H Oswald again?

You’re kidnapped by a stalker and allowed three last tracks before he butchers you violently to death, what do you go for?
Plate:
I’d get them to play one of them Nazi records that has mental sonic frequencies that kill people. Wouldn’t need to play the other two as I’d’ve covered my ears and escaped by then. But before I left I’d quickly sift through their vinyl collection, if they had one. I’ve knackered a few of my early Rhythm Plate 12”s.
Rhythm: A self-hypnosis tape might work, one of those ones with panpipes and shit. Or I have a couple of ‘toilet break’ records – records that are dead long, during which you can comfortably go for a wazz. Or even a dump if you are a gambling man. That would give me time to mentally say my goodbyes. My final record would be anything by the Lighthouse Family – I would be ready to die then.

Music scenes are hugely informed by their predominant drug – E is house; dope is hip-hop; K is dubstep; coke is yacht rock – and the Volgograd electronica scene has gotten proper dark since the krokodil epidemic. Does your music reflect the fact that you’re now chiefly tea drinkers?
Rhythm:
I don’t know about Ant but my drug of choice these days is Airwaves chewing gum. Top tip: if you have three at once followed immediately by an ice cold glass of water then it’s technically a Class A.
Plate: Krokodil’s an odd one. My doctor mate says it’s probably more about them missing veins and getting gangrene than the drug actually rotting the flesh. Everyone knows if there’s no flesh, then there’s no dancing. So of course zombies are gonna affect a music scene. Unless that’s the point?

What would be in a Rhythm Plate cocktail?
Plate:
Owt with brandy in it is a good start, and no ice, FFS. Maybe we could call it the the Rhythmic Pallet.
Rhythm: Easy. Sausage and pineapple, served on a stick.

Which genres of music are still out there waiting to be invented?
Plate:
Matt predicted waltz garridge was gonna blow up one day so we’ve been stockpiling the grooves and riddims ready. Maybe we should convert Pressed For Time or Faux Metier into spearheads for this sound?
Rhythm: Yeah, waltz garridge - a.k.a three-step, after the time signature - ambient gabba, and ‘drizzle’ – think Travis, Why Does It Always Rain on Me crossed with Tinchy Strider.

You’re house – but in which room?
Plate:
The basement. I used to have the studio in a basement at my previous house, and it was proper mint.
Rhythm: I is strickly double garridge, innit bruv.

You’re not into self-promotion, but if Lost Your Dog gave you £500k to blow on an album launch party for… sorry, can you pass me that sheet of paper again… for, erm, your “recently released magnum opus, Off the Charts, an LP road-tested live at Fabric...”, how would you spend it?
Rhythm:
I’d spend it recording a new one. Or hire out the function room at Starkholmes Village Hall for a whole year.
Plate: Completely irresponsibly, of course. I’d settle my outstanding mortgage, start a trust fund for disabled kids, begin a personal pension scheme and any left over I’d give to charity.

Off The Charts was released on 9 September 2013 and is available to download on iTunes and on CD from Lost My Dog Records. 

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