I've been feasting on Factory Floor's self titled debut album and still find myself nowhere near the unbutton-the-top-button phase to heave the satisfactory-sigh after a meal. It's simple! I'm just not full yet. I want to keep nibbling on the palatable hypnosis that one experiences when listening to this band. It has left me feeling numinously uplifted.

Like drinking from the Lethe, the chaotic and somewhat brutal attack of the Factory Floor sound proves that progression pushed from a bubbling musical core eventually sees an upsurge of primacy. They've found the ability to create brain-thumping, heart-bashing drum-beats that cling onto endless loops and flavoursome vocals, quite superbly. It is disco, in a netherworld. They create sounds that inherently invoke a writhing broth of bloated words from journalists and look at me go, I'm floored!

So? I adventurously wanted to drill to the core. I chatted to the outrageously talented and wonderfully hilarious drummer, Gabe Gurnsey - the blood to this machine-music at a seemingly opportune time just days before the release via DFA Records.

They've managed to absorb aleatoric, musical elements and knead them into cathartic and somewhat sadistic repetitive pulses of techno, electro, experimental and post-punk extremities. For the past few years they addressed the concepts of 'creativity' and 'productivity' through a rather archaic, yet worthy-revisit of the 'Bauhaus' technique. They fled the London scene and holed themselves up in a dark brothel-of-music, which allowed their sound to reel through popping synths and compassionate repetition quite easily. It resonates. I am left feeling auxiliary and yet, completely submerged.

Like the oily cogs of a production line, the darker tracks churn repetitively and progress with purpose. So, here is a troupe holding down the deeper depths of their creativity whilst pumping up this new-found positivity all within a few minutes. Former New Order and Joy Division drummer Stephen Morris once spoke about pigeonholes of genres after he had collaborated with them and how worrisome this 'boxing' was; "like too much cutlery at a fancy dinner, I sometimes wonder what they're all for."

Gabe is overtly casual about his passion that he immediately un-cluttered the seemingly impenetrable fog of lingering sentiments that lay suffocatingly-masqued on the floor of all of their undefined experimental sounds.

He really just wants to make people dance...

So tell more about this 'factory' I keep hearing about?

I am living at the warehouse where we recorded the album. We set up this studio in Seven Sisters in North London and kinda moved in here two years ago. Bearing in mind - it takes us ages to record stuff and work things out you know, otherwise we would have just spent millions of pounds in a recording studio.

What happens in this process that makes you stretch it over a long period of time?

During the recording we were doing a lot of live shows so we were effectively using those as rehearsals. What we wanted was to actually learn how to record our own sound ourselves and produce our album. One big gigantic learning curve! So over a two-year period we were actually kinda going backwards and forwards from shows to the studio and repeating this for a few days at a time. We definitely didn't just buckle and book two months in a studio.

Well, your studio is also your home, so you really can barge through the door and come and go as you please...

Yeah, basically! I mean I'm still doing it now everyone else managed to get out (laughs) but I wake up, go get a coffee and then go straight into the studio to do a remix or whatever I want to record. It's quite an intense place to be because it's so easy to never really go anywhere else for long periods of time.

But surely you're going to lose touch and just go crazy?

I did! I started going bladdy mad! We hit a point where we were like, hang on... we need to get someone else to mix a record, we can't do it any longer.

So the "madness" sometimes fuels the fire?

Yeah totally, we really feel you've gotta live the record in order to get time to capture all those moments where you're so in it. It brings all that tension right to the front of the entire experience.

You're like the mad scientist living this autonomous kind of life, experimenting on top of a hill, isolated from the townspeople

Oh yeah it is! It's not dissimilar to like Francis Bacon's art studio where it's total chaos and then he suddenly gets these clarifications on his artwork by just releasing all of his madness at once!

The primal instinct... and people often genre-box your music as emotionally grim and dark. I found the album actually quite uplifting, raw and primitive?

Yeah definitely I find that as well. You know a lot of people know us for our darker releases like 'Wooden Box' and 'Lying' but that was so early on in our sound development, they were just rushing to put a name to the feeling the music gave them. We just wanted to let a bit of light into the kind of intensity of the studio. We always want to make sure we explore new sounds and not regurgitate anything we've done before.

And that's a really noticeable part of your progression - you started off as a noise act, but now you're tickling the dance floor. What do you feel when you see the audience going into a state of euphoria?

It's amazing. Really - just the best buzz, you can't beat it! When the sound on stage is so loud it completely surrounds the whole band, we know exactly when that sound is gonna lock in - and then to have the audience meet us at that point and go mad - it's the best feeling. In a lot of ways, I know it's impossible to do, but imagine if we had an audience in whilst we recorded the album? You'd get that adrenaline and feel all the pulsating nerves in the room. That was kinda lacking a little bit, wait, well it wasn't there at all really (laughs) - which is a big shame! Maybe we should do that next time.

But whilst you're at the warehouse where are the other members?

Dom is in South England in the countryside at the minute and Nik has also gone further North East to live up there for a while, so, oh god, it is like I'm the only one who's not got out, the only one who's still going crazy. On the plus side, I always need a studio to do remixes. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the studio don't I.

Don't talk too loudly, it can hear you.

Haha!

You once said, and I shamefully quote; "To me, a solid foundation equals freedom of experimentation"

As a drummer I naturally look at rhythmical things - which is what make people dance. You need just one strong thing in there for it to interest you enough to just grab it and mash it right up.

It's been a 'collaborative' year for bands intertwining and genre-hopping. Do you think other musicians will pick up your album and do some remixes?

There are a couple of people doing remixes but we can't announce it yet!

I've got stars in my eyes, well lightning bolts really, for DFA Records, what was the process for you signing with them?

Well a couple of years ago, Jonathan Galkin had heard an early demo of 'Two Different Ways' and he loved that track. For us, it was a definite turning point in our sound when Jonathan released the track as a single. It was a very natural progression really, we did a few shows in New York, which he came to see, and he really just loved the loudness and visceral sound we had. It just fitted. We've totally found the right home for it and it somehow makes total sense to everyone.

Everyone talks about their instruments and them being an extension of themselves. You're the human bloodline of this factory machine, so tell me how closely in-tune are you to them?

It's a crossover of two things really; I love programming drum machines and messing about with synthetic sounds by mixing them up with percussion and live drums. In order to get that feeling and intensity you have to play it live, and not depend completely on the 'machine'! That's probably why I tend to overdub synthetic sounds in a live-way rather than doing it in a program.

But yeah, my relationship with my drums is that I've got them in the corner of the room because I'm sick of playing the fucking things!

Nobody puts drums in the corner!

Oh my god, did that just happen.

You asked for that, you merely walked through the door...

There's your quote, you can use that at the top of the article! Ha!

Factory Floor wrote, produced and recorded the album, how do you know when the song is done?

You get to a point when you listen to it so much that you need an outsider to come in, which is exactly why we got a mixing guy in. It's good to get feedback from DFA too; Jonathan is great at kinda going "cut this down" or "how about you try this". 'Fall Back' for example was a snippet of a six-hour long recording session of just that track so either side of the beginning and the end there's another three hours somewhere of us playing the song. We need to do it for that length of time to get the hypnotic sound in there too. Probably got me swearing at the end of the microphone going "I can't fuckin' listen to it anymore!"

What kind of influences were you listening to before this process?

During the recording we didn't listen to that much because we didn't want it to filter in. I'm listening to a lot of Daniel Avery at the moment and there was a point last year when I listened to 'Need Electric' and 'Water Jumper' - I thought; "ah fuck, this is great!" In its simplicity and its ability to make people dance I really picked that up.

So what did the young Gabe listened to?

I'm a big Michael Jackson fan and I'm doing a mix for 6 music (BBC) and I've got one of his tracks on there. They used to use a lot of Linn drums which is a drum machine that I'm fascinated with and could never afford - god this is really geeky and boring.

My brother bought the 'Bad' cassette when we were kids for Christmas. I used to pick up my Dads records and drum along to them when I was trying to learn too.

Who are your mentors then?

Stephen Morris is a big hero of mine. We got to work with him for the 'REAL LOVE' single, which was amazing he actually programmed all the Blue Monday tracks with synths and drums, so he is a big lover of new technology and wants to just keep pushing boundaries, which helps us have a mutual ground doesn't it? When people do that in music they tend to cross a wider scope and have a lot more longevity.

Longevity is sometimes lacking in a musicians intention...

It's such a sad thing, the physical material of music like vinyl etc., there is just less and less in the world, really quite bizarre and some people's careers are lived completely online. There's just a lack of humanism that everyone is feeling nowadays.

Yes! 'Connectivity' I'm interested to find out then what your intention is for the listener? Do you think about the listener when you write?

Yeah rhythmically me, Dom and Nik are really in tune with each other and are aware of things that could make people dance more. We don't go out to write music just for the audience, we've also got a bit of a self-indulgent way of thinking. But, you've got to please both.

There's a clear juxtaposition of two, very different ways you approach a sound - is the experimentation side louder?

When you're playing to an audience and you get to a point in the track where the people go ape-shit for it, you want to continue that for a bit longer because you've already knocked out the flow of the track and now have that flexibility to manipulate your sets with - so that you can manipulate the audience. Well not in a bad way - is manipulate the right word?

I mean we're speaking a different language and you can tune into people easier if you're doing it in a spontaneous way. It's weird, there's points when I'm drumming and I don't feel like I'm even there. I feel like I'm in the audience dancing.

What do you enjoy more, the recording process or the connectivity with your audience?

It's incomparable, they're two different disciplines. You tend to magnify and zoom in and spoil things too much in the studio. Live, you have no choice and have to have a go with something. I love both of them equally and producing our entire record was a massive satisfaction because it just became another outlet for our creativity.

What other creative doors do you open?

When I can't listen to music I try and lose myself in a really shit TV series. That's about creative as nothing isn't it. I also put stupid photos of my bulldog on the internet - Vince is his name, and he's in the studio snoring away. I really like testing to see how many I can actually put up online.

If I had to pick, I'd rather listen to your dog snoring...

(laughs) I like installation and the mechanics of things so last year I worked on some pieces that translated audio into visual, like a transcriber, like a speaker with a bladdy pen on the end of it basically, but it was transcribing music. The idea was to run our tracks through it and get visual interpretations of them.

We've just not had the time. Factory floor is an everyday thing. We all get up and work at it because in order to stay in a band and give it longevity you've got to work hard, you've got to be on the bladdy ball, so it's very much a daily thing that you're living and breathing it and it sometimes gets a bit much. That's when you turn off the computer and watch Game Of Thrones.

I had a dream last night that I was riding a dragon

Is that every female's fantasy? Dragons and things?

Obviously.

You hit such a different node since Nik joined Factory Floor didn't you?

For me that was the beginning of Factory Floor, before, it never reached any point and was very retrospective - me and my teenage days. It was messy and didn't ever make much sense. I'd grown up a lot and we all just gelled - you can't force the chemistry when it's the right people.

Was there a reason why the album is self-titled?

It would have took us another two years to come up with a title between us.

That is the honest truth, it was like a blank canvas and all we wanted to get across was the fact that this is the beginning of Factory Floor and anything before, apart from the singles, really didn't exist.

The name Factory Floor is that it's a production line where there isn't one head foreman telling you how to make things, but three people, creating things, and the end product is the music and it kinda goes round and round until it's finished. For me, we're the three elements of primal music; the rhythm, the base and the noise Nik makes through her guitar and the sampling.


Here, experimentation breeds a vibrant surge of musicality shared across three separately unique talents that afford the listener with an unrehearsed play of robust beats and sounds. Factory Floor showcase an illuminated understanding for being inspired. They effectively harness their creativity, stitch these textures together and thread a definitive and edgier line across their album.

After recounting their recent gig at Pukkelpop and how playing to thousands of people made them want to just play harder, louder and with more intensity - it's incredibly clear they're a band that not only indulge in creativity, but feed off of and morph into bursts of exploratory peaks lifted directly from their audience. Indeed their process was initially isolated, but in no way are Factory Floor delivering something intangibly disconnected. Fittingly, the fog of their former music quickly dissipates, warming up to a rather celebratory and introductory pace. Like pressing the giant red button and pausing production momentarily, they can now sit back and celebrate their new album. Turn It Up, will ya!

Factory Floor's self-titled debut album is out now on DFA Records (order it here). Check out their December dates below.

  • Tues 3 December London, Heaven
  • Wed 4 December Leeds, Belgrave Music Hall
  • Thurs 5 December Liverpool, Kazimier
  • Fri 6 December Glasgow, Stereo
  • Sat 7 December Manchester, Gorilla