I was a complete cheapskate: Interview with Tim fingertrouble Pt 1
The one in which we try to name all of Tim fingertrouble’s aliases. And there were a lot.
When McSleazy announced the end of GYBO it had a sad end-of-an-era thing about it for bootlegs (mash ups). And that would have been that for me. But then, by accident, I came across Tim’s Radio Clash Know Your History series of podcasts about early bootlegs. That made me think I wanted to do a bit more on some of the people behind the early boots. And here we are. All of which is a long winded way of saying that an interview with Tim seems a must do.
1. How the devil are you? And what’s the weather like in London?
I’m fine.- The weather is doing what a friend calls ‘shuffle weather’ – random sunny spots with a massive side order of grey. Winter is coming!
2. How did you get involved in music?
Well, my Dad played pop/jazz instrumental guitar in pubs in Sheffield (claim to fame: he once supported a young Joe Cocker, if he’s telling the truth!) and an early memory is sitting at his feet as he played September or Riders on the Storm.
Tried to learn an instrument, failed, but like a lot of people I started messing around on home computers when they started to do more than sound like a supermarket checkout. Mostly on my Amiga after a brief flirtation with Specdrum and trying to sample on my Spectrum all 1.2 seconds of it. Very Aphex.
I didn’t do the band thing, other than virtually/on the quiet – we messed around rapping (??), writing dance and pop songs. Some were quite good and very electroclash/8-bit but we hated them because it wasn’t New Order. I did get more into the production side, 4-track, 8-track, MIDI, analog synths, that sort of thing.
3. And how did you get involved in bootlegs?
Well I went to art college, we clanged bits of metal and pretended to be experimental musicians, did some early VJing but it also introduced me to ‘plunderphonic’ artists such as Negativland and John Oswald. So when I wandered into Sister Ray (a London record store) one day and they were playing Warm Bitch by Girls On Top (aka Richard X) it made complete sense to me and I did the proverbial High Fidelity run-up-to-the-counter thing. And then was a complete cheapskate and went home and downloaded it off Audiogalaxy! I do now own that 7″. One of the MP3s I found was tagged Boomselection and so I found the blog, and eventually GYBO. I arrived a few months after it started – but everyone knew each other so well for some reason I thought it had been going for years.
Girls on Top – Warm Bitch
Then in 2003 with some encouragement from Don (Pirate Soundsystem, dongola, chicksdigscars etc – thanks Don!) I started making my own. I had tried before but it was terrible.
4. You were one of those GYBO people notorious for aliases. Now’s the time to admit to as many as you can remember.
Not as many as the aforementioned Don! OK *deep breath* – Instamatic, Instore, DJNoNo, CaptainNoNoMatic, Sadie, Captain Obvious, Mo Mowlam, tbc, timbearcub, Buyrite Soundsystem, DJ Contaminations, Mashbusters, beardieweirdie and an exclusive for you – I was also Allen Smithee on the bonus part of the Clash London Booted album. I swore the Prankmonkey guys to secrecy for no real reason, I liked unsolved mysteries.
5. Can you try to explain to those not involved what was important about Boomselection and GYBO?
Tough question, it’s a little ‘what did you do in the war Daddy?’ but I’ll try: I think the important thing about that time was two things combining – the rise of the broadband internet and the widespread availability for the first time of cheap/free sound software that didn’t need a rack of computers or a ‘proper’ studio to run it. This created a perfect storm, not just in mashups but podcasting and a few other places…so with bootlegs, Boomselection was vital as spreading the spark as the first MP3 blog, and GYBO to share the results and ideas, to interact, create a community (a family, if sometimes rather a dysfunctional one!). Boomselection spread the idea, GYBO was it’s home, in a tl;dr format.