Orb Podcast 059: Al Wootton

Distinguished for his influential contributions, Al Wootton is a trailblazing artist who made his mark on the UK music scene in 2009. Originally known for his underground hits as Deadboy on esteemed labels such as Numbers and Well Rounded, Wootton’s distinct fusion of infectious R&B samples with floor-focused energy breathed new life into the ever-evolving landscape of dubstep.

With an expert knack for infusing dub elements and sparse, hypnotic percussion workouts, he embarked on a journey that ultimately led him to retire the Deadboy moniker and delve into uncharted territories under his own name. The artist now runs Trule and Amidah Recordings, where he releases mainly his own material and producers like Pugilist, Bas Dobbelaer, and his trio band Holy Tongue. Through these initiatives, Al Wootton effortlessly navigates through a diverse range of sounds, showcasing his versatility and prowess as a producer. The music remains organic and authentic, never feeling contrived.

For our latest Orb Podcast episode, Al recorded a vinyl-only mix focused on percussion-based and loose records that either have some influence on Holy Tongue or are sonically similar. To get to know more about the artist, he tells us more about his latest endeavors in the following interview.

After a series of records on your own imprint, Trule, you concluded with your Forest Trilogy. What’s next for you and the label?

Al Wootton: I have my album dropping at the end of the month which I am very happy with, it’s very different from the trilogy, much less organic and natural and much more electronic, slightly industrial, and hard-edged. I have been working on a live set that I just performed for the first time which went really well so hopefully doing more live shows.

Deliverance And Spiritual Warfare with Valentina Magaletti and Susumu Mukai as Holy Tongue is your latest record. Can you tell us more about it and how it came about?

AW: Yes, Holy Tongue came about because for a long time, I wanted to make a percussive, post-punk dub record, and I needed a drummer and percussionist, and Valentina was the obvious person to ask as she is so good, and it worked incredibly well. So, we made two more records and people wanted to book us to play live, so we had to think about how to do it live and got Susumu Mukai in to play the bass. For Deliverance And Spiritual Warfare, we became a trio. The bones of the record were recorded in one day, nothing is written beforehand, just all improvised. Then I took those recordings away and spent a few months editing and mixing and dubbing and we added some overdubs here and there. It’s definitely more varied and ambitious than the EPs, we really got all of our influences and ideas into it, from jazz to techno to everything in between.

You three are also going to perform live as Holy Tongue at Nextones festival in July this year. What are your thoughts on the festival and what we can expect from you there?

AW: The site looks incredible, we are very excited to perform there. Our performances are quite like our recordings in ethos, we have the bare bones figured out as a starting point but it is all improvised, so every performance is different and in response to the situation, the audience, the venue, etc. Our aim is to move people, it’s not about performing for people, it’s about moving and dancing with people.

Lastly, what is the idea behind the mix? How did you choose the records in it?

AW: I recorded this one with all vinyl at home, I wanted to just blend together a bunch of records that were mostly percussion-based and loose, and records that either have some influence on Holy Tongue or are sonically similar. I love playing this sort of thing, especially in afternoons at festivals or doing warm-up slots.

01. Gaia Tones – Deep
02. Blue Pearl – Mother Dawn (The Orb Buckateer Mix 1)
03. Santaka – Love Kilimanjaro
04. Guem Et Zaka Percussions – Le Serpent
05. Akruul – WannWieWo
06. C Cat Trance – Cold
07. Saqqara Dogs – Across The Sky
08. Suns Of Arqa – Khammurabi (Muslimgauze Remix)
09. Saphileaum – En
10. Nakara Percussions – Desert
11. Vilod – Zero
12. Dub Syndicate – What Happened?