douglas benford aka
SI-CUT.DB Based in Brentford, West London, Douglas Benford has been releasing his digital music under the alias SI-CUT.DB since 1991. As well as the SI-CUT.DB moniker, with seven albums released under this guise, Benford has also recorded as Radial Blend, Pantunes Music, Phoenix Jig and Media Form. Benford has collaborated with Scanner, Rechenzentrum, St Etienne, Tonne, Granny'Ark, Andrew Weatherall, Add N to X's Ann Shenton, Iris Garrelfs, and currently Stephan Mathieu and Benge [as Tennis]. Ranging from microsound and electronica to dub, Benford has released music on Fällt, Warp, Mutek, Bip Hop, BackGround, Highpoint Lowlife and 12K. In 1996 Benford founded the Sprawl events/club with Iris Garrelfs, which he continues to curate, celebrating its 10th Anniversary on January 12th 2006


Douglas Benford aka si-cut.db

One of London's leading digital musicians will be celebrating in Jan 06 ten years of successfully running Sprawl. In ten questions he tells us the funniest thing of all time and of the existence of secret salt.

Dec 05

1. Have you ever danced at a disco on a floor made of different coloured flashing lights? If so what was it like?

Coincidentally, i just played in Madrid and they had set up a strange small dancefloor like that; it was lit underneath, not different colours but all red, and the light boxes had a enclosed surface layer of liquid, which meant that when you stepped or put pressure on the surface, it glowed white in the shape of your shoes...imagine a matmos oil lamp crossed with those very disco floors you are talking about. I am no John Travolta though.

2. If you could miniaturise something, what would it be and why?

I liked that cartoon they had in the middle of Banana Splits called the Micronauts or something, when they shrunk themselves down...very Fantastic Voyage*, but on dry land. I would miniaturise a bicycle, so i could just pull out of my pocket and get around when i step off the tube. Or Stonehenge, like in Spinal Tap. Or a horse, which would make it great pet, like a little cat with hooves.

Raquel Welch is a big influence on my formative years, what a babe.

3. Where does sound art end and music begin?

Ahhhh, well they do dovetail together quite badly. One of the things i have discovered about arts organisations - galleries, institutes - is that when it comes to music these people have very little taste; ie music to them is by-and-large wallpaper; eg i went to this fabulous exhibition opening of chair designs, and all they had in the background was a bog -standard old soul compilation; meanwhile, in painfully trendy gallery near Bethnal Green, there was a party night with about 3 groups who all aspired to be on the front cover of the NME. It's painful.

4. Do you wear any camouflage clothing? Please describe if you do.

No, but I immeditely think of a camouflage hat I have with 'cuba' written on it...given to me by, well, i'll name drop, Sarah Cracknell; she bought it back from Cuba too. But as kids we would often tease the boy up the road (children can be horrible to each other) by stealing his beloved camouflage hat - he had it coming really, wearing all the time - and one time we threw it up a tree where we knew there was a wasps nest. Anyway, he climbed the tree...and met the i say, kids can be merciless, and i'll burn in hell, but it was the funniest thing at the time.

5. Which do you prefer chocolate or chips and give reasons?

As you know, they have been combined in cookies and ice cream to create the Chocolate Chip amalgam; it does not work for me tho. On those cold wintry nights on long drunken ride home on the tube back to Zone 4 along the Piccadilly Line it is the Chip option which is my solace, my infamous Chicken Spot takeaway (oddly, I bumped into it manager in a Latvian airport), is much favoured by me for its generous free topping of chilli sauce, ketchup, garlic mayo, jerk seasoning and 'secret salt', which is a secret. I recently bought a packet of 'Nam' seasoning from my local Thai supermarket, only to be dissappointed to discover it wasn't the concoction of spices I hope for, but a bag of pure white powdered Mono Sodium Glutamate or similar. It looked like cocaine, and didnt do much for the cooking. Two words: Avacados and Coriander, they are the future.

6. Describe your music using animals.

You have have heard of that Thai or Sri Lankan Elephant orchestra? i really want those albums. Talking of nature docs, I saw some of the new Attenborough series Life in the Undergrowth - phenonemal - not just the photography but the lives of these insects, they put Aliens etc in the shade...the horror, the horror.

7. What is your favourite utopian novel and why?

urm, I used to read so much SF in my teens (us Science Fiction book snobs hated the phrase Sci-Fi, i still hate, it sounds like that cheap tv channel, late night crap channel 5 fillums), i think its good to read those books when you are young, and read serious stuff when you are older. I loved them (eg Clarke, Asimov) especially for the Chris Foss airbrush covers, he was so influential on a lot of todays Science Fiction...they look really kitsch now, but so much better than Roger Dean and others. Isn't a truelly utopian novel one in which everything is perfect, hence very boring? so distopian ones are so much more interesting...I got pulled into the New Wave stuff which included JG Ballard, Chris Priest, Brian Aldiss, Barrington Bayley...some of that was so much more experimental, even the way it written, and bent my malleable mid-late teens mind. Freaky stuff. But I loathe Fantasy...dont get me started on that and LOTR. Anyway, SF is now pointless (leave it to Hollywood) as we are living it NOW as JG Ballard would say. btw Remember 'Cyber Punk'?

8. Name one highlight that has happened in the 10 years you've been running Sprawl

We've just been pouring over the Sprawl 10 years for a Wire magazine article; there are too many great music sets, they've been especially good when i can still enjoy them one thru' the alcoholic haze of all the beers i seem to put away...ok, i am going to pin myself down and say Laub, with esp. Antye Greie Fuchs, she was so refreshing when we had her, and she is a total babe; I have to say this. She is truely poetry in motion.

9. How did Margaret Thatcher affect you while she was in power?

With fear and loathing. Its amazing the way, say at the beginning of her 'reign' I had no interest in politcs, but i think felt quite downtrodden at the end of it, and i was revolting; ok, say the Falklands were invaded, but the way it was just seemed so bizarre, these islands on the other side of the world, i seriously thought we would be called up to fight in that war...also: when I wore my contact lenses for too long during that time, i woke up with stinging eyes, and half delirously thought the Argies had dropped tear gas on us...but Iraq made me more annoyed. I think we all felt betrayed and ignored by Blair...

10. If diamonds are a girl's best friend what are a boy's?

Boys are a waste of space. But a boys best friend is surely his laptop...but then I know girl's like them too...I have a Mac colour 520c in '94/95, its a pile of junk, look like something out of Batman, then my ibook - tangerine-clam design circa 1999 - is my favourite one, still seems to be ok, I have a Cronenbergesque attachment to it; my other swish G4 ibook i like too, but its too like a White Good.

**the end**

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