Ikonika’s creative process is one that goes between inside jokes, cheeky video-game references and everything one can think of. With the world taking notice of her debut full-length Contact, Love, Want, Have it’s safe to say the album was hyped up for a while. With her individualistic approach to 8-bit, R’nB and hip-hop sounds, the album speaks for itself quite nicely. However, we wondered what was the process, the stories behind the creation of the record, what and how it was significant. So when we approached the Hyperdub heroine to talk about her tunes, one-by-one, she explained the origins of title and their purpose individually and cohesively on the album.
1. “Ikonoklast (Insert Coin)”
IKONIKA: I really wanted an introduction, kinda influenced by Martyn’s Great Lengths I wanted to make a track solely on my Moog. It was a full track, but I decided to simmer on it and let it be a teaser for what was next to come on the record.
I: I had made the switch from Fruity Loops, got Logic and was mucking around. *laughs* When I started the track I called it “Muckin” to practice around it, then after I made the first two bars and was like “OK, I can do this.” It was just going to be a three-minute song, but I wanted it to kind of embody an epic sort of sound. It’s the tune I want to listen to in a club no matter the time.
I: He’s the ninja character in the Tekken series, and my absolute favourite. I really wanted to name the track because I can totally relate to him. He’s like this mysterious space ninja, no one know who he is, what he is or his origins of being. He’s not just a game character he’s an iconic piece of fighting history. So, I wanted the tune to represent a sort of theme for him, you know?
I: When I released this earlier in 2009 along with “Saraha Michael”, it was meant to be an album sampler; a sort of careful representation of what was to come on the full-length. I worked on it a while to be the way it is, for the pulse to be right and such. The title was merely a working title, but I just stuck with it.
5. “They Are All Losing The War”
I: If I do get a good idea for the track name I’ll just name it, with this it came naturally. To be honest, the structure of that song is one of my favorites, I love the deepness of it. When it’s played on a good system, people are taken for a ride throughout the tune. I was going for a Streets Of Rage vibe with it as well. The cheesey synths and techno-ish backdrop to the sound of punches and grunts.
I: The title is “loser” backwards; when I was working at HMV, my mates working there and I would address each other as “loser”. I don’t know why, but it stuck onto this tune. *laughs* Thinking about a previous version of this, I deleted one before but when I started working on the one on the record, I decided it should be a sub [-bass] sort of tune.
I: It’s such an old track! Millie’s the kind of tune I want everyone to hear, I wanted it to be available on CD, since it was out on 12″. It balances the album I think, when I made it and sent it to Steve (Kode9) that was the song that prompted him to think of what an album would sound like.
8. “Sahara Michael”
I: This tune has an interesting start-up point. I was moving house at the time and making tunes on my laptop. It was actually a hip-hop beat I made a while back, so instead of scrapping it I thought the synth should be kept, so I just made everything work around to 140BPM. I did the chorus and that was it.
I: When I came out with the 12″s from Hyperdub, people were labeling, or better yet, trying to label the sound that was coming out. That’s why London’s really confused about what to call what nowadays, all names when it’s all about the music. Either way, it was a nice interlude, to introduce the more percussive chunk on the album; kind of a breaking from the past and seeing what’s coming next.
I: The next three tracks came to me throughout the album process, these are the sounds I’m going to be expanding on. That’s what you’re going to hear from me now on. They’re really like a three-piece-set of percussive power.
I: It’s that skin disease, you know? It’s this red scaly stuff, itchy and shit. That song is so itchy, it’s a pure representation of what that shit is.
12. “Video Delays”
I: I got the title was from checking out the Beyonce and Lady Gaga tune, “Videophone” a while back and watching the video loads of times.
I: That tune took me about a year to make, just because I was in love with the synth and picking certain sounds of drums and bass to organize it. I just really wanted it to work and be considerate about everything; it kind of has this Sonic The Hedgehog feel to it. Once that all came together, it was great.
14. “Red Marker Pens (Good Ending)”
I: There was a textbook I was studying when I was doing film, writing up an essay about the philosophy of the Matrix. There was a cheesey joke said about the Red Marker Pen or the Blue Marker pen, in reference to red or blue pills in the film. So, needless to say, I chose the Red Marker Pen! It’s also a good way to close the album, find some resolution in the time went listening.
Special thanks to Ikonika for taking the time out to do this. Check out URB’s review of her debut album HERE