Brothers in sound: Five answers from Octave One

By Martin Guttridge Hewitt | Last updated 17 May 2024

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Ahead of their date at Content tomorrow, we collared Lenny and Lawrence Burden to ask them some questions. This is how they responded. 

If you like techno, live in Manchester and learnt to read chances are you already know what this weekend is set to bring. Two of the scene’s most esteemed faces prepare to deliver one of their unfathomably good live sets, which is the sort of news that travels fast.

Octave One managed to become household names in a culture that, up until very recently,  struggled to create such personalities. And they did it long before all that happened. Talent, dedication to a sound, and consistency made sure the Burden brothers were always going to be Rather Big Deals Indeed. Not that they’re particularly bothered about such titles, happier to keep their heads down in the studio and darkened basements the world over.

Originally hailing from Detroit, despite moving to Atlanta in recent years their output still has that motoring vibe. Part of their hometown’s so-called Second Wave, between their first release- I Believe– and our writing this article there have been innumerable remixes, albums, singles and EPs- whether that’s on their own 430 West imprint or elsewhere.

Clearly then, they have wracked up plenty of experience when it comes to linking beats and pieces together with the intention of making anyone in earshot dance. Introduction over, we hurled some questions their way in the hope of gaining a little insight into what we can expect from Content @ Joshua Brooks on Friday April 26th, when the duo (and their studio) will be in attendance. Read on if you want to learn something about getting sweaty, unleashing the Kraken, and building mini-corporations.

Hi guys, hope all’s well at the moment. What’s been going on so far this spring? Any particular productions or dates that stand out? 

LAWRENCE: Well so far this spring has been pretty action packed. We’ve just completed the finishing touches on our new recording studio, which we’ve been longing to finish for quite some time.

And it’s amazing and so inspiring to work in producing new music… Also, we’ve embarked on a tour which started in Tokyo a few weeks ago and continues throughout the summer. So far all of the dates have been such a blast and the crowds have been amazing.

Needless to say, you’re always travelling for work. Do you think the scene has grown more commercial overall. And, if so, is that necessarily a bad thing? 

LAWRENCE: Sure it has grown more commercial and organised, but isn’t that what’s expected of any business that survives on profits?

So many of us are artists and never really realised that we were developing mini-corporations when we started our labels, promotion companies or even pirate radio programs. But we soon came to the realisation that if we wanted to keep doing what we love it better turn a profit one day, and soon, because we just couldn’t sustain our efforts from our own pockets only. 

I wouldn’t say that becoming more commercial over the years is a bad thing even though I don’t personally agree with all of the decisions that we’ve made as a community, but it is a necessary evil that had to happen for its success. I just wish that more of us who started on the ground floor of the industry had more to say in terms of its continued success.

We understand the true integrity of how it developed to this point.  It seems there are a multitude of deities now involved in the global dance music scene who couldn’t care less about what’s going with the soul and the passion of our industry, and only entered ’cause they got laid off from some major label’s R&B department or something.

You’re in Manchester this weekend, and played the same party a few years back. Any memories from that event, or our fair city in general? 

LENNY: Actually, when we played the party before it was our very first time in Manchester and we both fell in love with the city and the vibe of the people. We were kind of shocked that we both like the same place, which we seldom do, with the same intensity. But we very much look forward to exploring the city more when we return this time to play.

Talk us through the kit you’ll be bringing over with you… …and your approach to playing on the night. 

LENNY: We bring the mothership; drum machines, synths- analogue and digital, effect units, miles of cables- whatever we need to make it funky. Our approach is very simple, do few tracks to see how things sound in the system, then unleash the Kraken! Expect a hot, steamy, progressive and intense environment. 

Content @ Joshua Brooks 

Friday April 26th 2013

10PM-4AM / £12.50 ADV – £15 OTD

Octave One (Live)

Eddie Leader

Lee Daley

Dan Fraidso