Renegade Soundwave

By Bob Gourley | Originally published in 1994

Renegade Soundwave have always been known bringing together various styles of club music with guitars to craft their own style, and there new album, “Howyoudoin,” takes it even further.

The LP is the groups most diverse release to date. There’s a few cuts with guitars and almost spoken vocals that are reminciscent of “Bitting My Nails” and “Probably a Robbery.” But there are also smooth, heavily dub infuenced dance tracks.

“There’s a couple of tracks on there that are obviously three-dimensional tracks that are as marketable as marketable can be for us,” admits member Gary Asquith. “There’s a couple of tracks that could go all the way that the people on the radio are prepared to play, a couple of safe tracks. Some of it’s doing those things that you want to do and trying things out and putting the collection of things together in a format that you think is working on the end. We’re not afraid of approaching obscure genres of music which we can find some of hook into.”

Renegade Soundwave is a duo of Asquith and Danny Briottet. There had been a third member but Asquith says he “graciously departed” due to differences of opinion on where the band was heading musically.

Though Renegade Soundwave’s first three releases each came out a year apart, “Howyoudoin” was four years in the making. Many probems arose during recording, like the band having to re-record most of the tracks due to tape hiss problems. In addition, the group was using Mute’s studio, which was in the process of being renovated at the time.

“It’s like waking up in somebody’s bedroom,” says Asquith. “When you go to work in someplace and you go to work in a different environment, the set up is different, things sound different. Even if you have the same desk in a different room it’s going to sound different, the monitoring will be different and there’s miriad of different things that can happen.”

Along with bands such as Pop Will Eat Itself, Renegade Soundwave were pioneers of taking samples and creatvively working them into songs with tradtional instrumentation. But other bands who weren’t so creative have made the laws more strict and sampling more difficult to pull off.

“It’s not a very wise thing to do, there’s a lot of crap involved,” says Asquith. “You have to clear samples, they’re not always easy things to do and can be time consuming”

When they made their previous albums, laws concerning sampling weren’t as clearly defined, but now it’s at the point where the labels are being very carefull to make sure everything is cleared. Renegade Soundwave have tried to get around this by using musicians to re-create samples they like, but many times it won’t come off sounding right and they will go through the hassle of having the original sample cleared.

“Sometimes it’s not cost effective to do that sort of thing,” says Asquith. “If you’ve got three or four different things going on, and eveyone wants 25% there’s not much left for you at the end.”

Renegade Soundwave’s strong point has always been their ability to take what is going on around them in dance music and work it into their sound. As a result, they have been much in demand as remixers.

While the group has done some performances in the past, they haven’t yet fully adapted Renegade Soundwave to the live setting. That’s changing now, as the group is rehearsing with an additional guitarist, drummer and DJ. Renegade Soundwave have been asked to play some festivels this summer, and hope to also do a full tour and maybe even some live recording.

“With this album, we think we’ve got a much better reperatoire than we’ve had in the past to take out and do live,” explains Asquith.

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