You may remember my woefully out of print Friday about System Error from a few weeks ago.
Bobby Bird of System Error/Higher Intelligence Agency was kind enough to do an email interview with me.
I hope you enjoy! (I'll be in italics, BB will be bold)
Thank you again for allowing me to conduct this interview by email. I realize it's not
the ideal medium for an interview so your graciousness is really appreciated.
1. What were the early days of HIA like?
early HIA evolved in a club night we used to do called Oscillate, we started of in this tiny club called Jasmin's in Birmingham in about 1991 & used to put our equipment in the DJ booth & play live tracks & jam between disc's, it was pretty heady days really, the club owner used to wonder why we didn't drink much beer!
2. What records had the biggest impact on your first recordings?
I suppose stuff that influenced me to make records was things like:
jimi Hendrix ,
the Swans - Children of God,
white noise - an Electronic Storm
3. How did you hook up with Warp records?
Sean Booth from autechre came to some early Oscillate night's & they played live at one of them & warp records came to that show, I think it was there 2nd live performance, HIA supported them on there 1st
4. What kind of impact did your appearance on the Artificial Intelligence comp have?
I think there was a lot happening at that time with HIA anyway, we were playing live & writing a lot & it was generally a busy time.
5. When did the work begin on the System Error record?
I think it was started in 1998 at my studio in Brighton rd , birmingham, it seemed to take us ages!! about 4 months if I remember correctly
6. What equipment were you using at the time?
for the sounds we used a Akai S700, Akai S1100 & Emu E64 samplers, effects were things like - Ensoniq DP4, Quadraverb ,Zoom 9030 guitar FX, plus Atari ST computor...
7. What was your process for recording System Error VS HIA?
where HIA was mostly analog, System Error was totally digital, we spent a lot of time making sounds from nothing, we'd sample nothing, turn it up, squash it , stretch it , try & make the samplers crash, anything we could think of to make new sounds, quite an interesting process thou as the machines somehow created the sound we had to work with, rather that creating the sounds you wanted as is the case with analog gear.
8. If you re-did the record today how would the sound differ?
I'm sure it's not possible to re-do the system error album, if we re-did it now, it would be a different album
9. Did you play any shows as System Error?
10. What can we expect to hear from you next?
I've been involved with a collective of people/artist's 'Modulate' for a few years now & we've been putting on events, creating installations & recently we've completed a DVD of abstract Audio/Visual works called - Modulate 5.1, it's just released on my label Headphone records, anyone who's interested could go to - modulate.org.uk - for more info.
also maybe some more HIA material in the not too distant future.
For more information on what Bobby is up to (and has done) head on over to:
And I really do encourage everybody who is reading this to purchase a copy of System Error's Nothing