Bad Bones emerged as one of the highlights from Hard Working Class Heroes festival this year but anyone who has caught her dancer-featuring live show or her considered audio-visual releases since Sal Stapleton started the project will be aware of the producer’s unique vision.
Following the release of newest single ‘You’, Sal turned the song over to producers Eomac, Polar Archives and PRÂUD to see what kind of vision they had for the source material. The resulting EP is out tomorrow and you can hear it all here in full now and purchase on iTunes.
Electronic A/V musician Sal Stapleton kicked off her Bad Bones project with a series of singles in 2016 that showcased an eerie electronic pop style with dark tones and hypnotic rhythms. Equally interesting was Stapleton’s visual aesthetic that accompanied each track – a monochrome-filtered collection of imagery that reinforced the track’s twisted vocal-featuring vibes.
For her first single proper, Sal has revealed ‘You’ a self-described “maximalist” track that has all the hallmarks of her earlier work: dark, brooding, a bit twisted and with vocal cut ups and percussion effects.
Says Sal of the track:
“It’s about the nourishment – physical, emotional – we get from other humans. It’s a love song.”
The electronic A/V musician Sal Stapleton aka Bad Bones broke through with a series of singles in early 2016 that showcased an eerie electronic pop style with dark tones and hypnotic rhythms. Equally interesting was Stapleton’s visual aesthetic that accompanied each track – a monochrome-filtered collection of imagery that reinforced the track’s twisted vocal-featuring vibes.
Bad Bones is one of the performers at Hennessy Lost Friday at the RHA Gallery this Friday night where she joins a lineup of music, art, poetry and visuals which also feature the singer-songwriter Valerie Francis, poet John Cummins, DJs from the Lime & Fancy club night playing pop of the ’80s and ’90s, and interactive art from illustrator and animator Holly Pereira. There’s also two complimentary Hennessy cocktails on entry. WIN tickets below.
I spoke to Sal about her craft and creativity for the Bad Bones project across audio and visual…
So first of all, what prompted you to start work on the Bad Bones project, what were your musical inspirations for the style of music?
Music has always been an outlet for me. Only in recent years did I started making electronic music. The Bad Bones project came from experimenting. Listening to chanting, choral, celtic and eastern music has totally influenced the sound.
What about the equipment and software you use, did that dictate the sound in any way? When I first started getting into electronic music, I started collecting ’90s sequencers and synths. I would use Pro Tools to record my vocals, beats and synths, but I feel it was when I changed over to Ableton that I really found my way towards a sound I was happy with. It was an absolute game changer for me.
What do you like about the pitched vocal effect? The pitch down vocal is purposely present in all my tracks, as I like to have the appearance of masculine and feminine through out. I like the balance of it and I feel the tracks are somewhat a balancing act of emotions and position through out: power to submission, masculine to feminine, fear and love.
Was the visual element of Bad Bones always there are the start? How did you develop that style? I work as visual artist by day through my creative arts and media company Goldmoth Media. I work with artists on their visual aesthetic. These days, I think it’s really needed, with how quickly we devour information and content on the internet. You need a lasting impression. Sadly a record just doesn’t seem enough to a lot of people these days. I embrace this change because I feel it stretches us as artists. I think it’s really cool that people are exploring different approaches to releasing music. Sound and vision go hand in hand for me. If I’m producing music I automatically start seeing a visual expression of it and vice-versa.
Were there any existing imagery or video work that inspired you? No not really, I always had the idea of what the visuals would look like from the start. So all the images you see of Bad Bones, have been in my head since the moment I sat down to write the songs. I distort the way I look in the visuals because thats how the ‘sonics’ in the tracks look like to me. When I write the music I like to use a lot of texture. So an image like my face would start as a crystal clear image, gets distorted by what is effecting the smoothness of a track.
Your first run of singles and videos had a very clear aesethic, what are you currently exploring interms of both sound and visual?
I’ve been exploring a few different directions over the past while. A lot of the work I’ve produced to date has a dark element to it, that’s just what naturally comes to me. A couple of songs that I’ve made recently have an uplifting, joyous feeling to them, so that’s been refreshing. Visually mono chrome is still very much present.
With regards to the live show, the visual element is a big part of it with your visual backdrop and you have dancers too – is that a case of letting them interpret their moves or do you give direction?
As a visual artist I enjoy music shows much more if there’s a strong visual element to a performance, so that’s why I like to have dancers and my signature visuals. I do give some direction to the dancers but I like to let them interpret the sound in what ever way their bodies will naturally express it. I think it’s so interesting the way people interpret sound differently, so I really enjoy seeing what they do at every live show. Sometimes I’m like, wow! that’s unreal, as I’m playing and watching them. It can be a little distracting sometimes but I just love good dancers. I could watch them all day, so it’s a real pleasure to be able to perform with them.
What are your plans for 2017? Expect some new music coming over the next couple of months. There’s a couple of other exciting projects I’ve been working on that will surface this year also.
The night will feature live music, DJs, poets and visual artists in a unique gallery setting.
Lined up for the first edition of 2017 is: electronic A/V musician Bad Bones and her dancers, the singer-songwriter Valerie Francis, poet John Cummins, DJs from the Lime & Fancy club night playing pop of the ’80s and ’90s, and interactive art from illustrator and animator Holly Pereira.
Interactive installations on the night include Hennessy’s Infinity Room; get lost in floor to ceiling reflections of yourself as far as the eye can see. Or become a piece of art with the Future Words Project. Step forward and see your silhouette create a movable reflection of words taken from the works of this year’s Hennessy Literary Award nominees.
Guests can also enjoy guided tours of new RHA exhibitions featuring works from Joy Gerrard, Leah Hewson, Carey Clarke and the RHA Collection with RHA Director Patrick T. Murphy.
Hennessy’s expert mixologists will create bespoke Hennessy cocktails, as well as hosting cocktail masterclasses. Cocktails include Hennessy & Ginger and Hennessy Sidecar (Hennessy, Cointreau and lemon juice). Guests on the night can also enjoy tastings from the Hennessy range, including Very Special, VSOP and X.O.
Following on from the Winter Party taking place in 3Arena on on Halloween Bank Holiday Sunday October 30th with Sven Vath, Hot Since 82, Skream, Jon Hopkins, Matador and Dan Stritch, the organisers have announced a series of after parties for the occasion post midnight.
Knee Deep in Dublin – Hot Since 82 & Emanuel Satie @ Button Factory
While the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Booka Brass Band, Interskalactic play the Block party outdoors and Kelly-Anne Byrne and Dmitri In Paris have a disco ball upstairs, the Tony Ryan room on Sunday June 26th will feature:
DJ Cian Ó Cíobháin (Midnight – 1:30pm)
A stalwart of Irish radio for the last 17 years through his show on RnaG An Taobh Tuathail, Cian is one of Ireland’s finest DJs (110th Street in Galway) and selectors and he doesn’t play Dublin enough.
Solar Bears (live A/V set) – (10:30pm – 11:30pm)
After three albums of on Warp Records, Planet Mu and Sunday Best, Solar Bears have confirmed themselves as Ireland’s most cinematically-driven act taking in wistful Boards Of Canada-style electronic ambience, krautrock, library music, psychedelia and tough synthesizers. The Interlude show will be a live A/V set. Check out their recent Boiler Room mix for an idea of what to expect.
Bantum: Prince A/V set (9pm – 10pm)
Ruairi Lynch is a huge Prince fan who has played his own unique take on Prince tracks live in the past. At Interlude, Lynch will air his specially remixed and mashed up tribute to the Purple One with visuals by LeTissier.
The Galway electronic pop producer with the fiddle in tow recently followed up his debut album with this smash featuring Sinead White – ‘Love’s On Top’.
Adultrock (7pm – 7.45pm)
With a new release on Bodytonic this week, Gavin Elsted is pushing the analogue buttons of electronica with his hazy widescreen dancefloor productions which take inspiration from John Talabot and a hardware-heavy recording ethos.
Bad Bones came straight out of the blocks in January with ‘Beg’ a track that immedately drew my comparison to Robyn and Maya Jane Coles.
Since then, Sal Stapleton has dropped a song a month and ‘Worship’ her latest, has an Eastern flavour, but sticks to its darkly-concocted imprint. ‘Worship’ also arrives in a visual form that Sal also creates:
You can catch Bad Bones live at Interlude where I’m hosting a room on the Sunday in the RHA along with Knockanstockan, Body & Soul and The Beatyard.
Bad Bones is a new Dublin female producer who has promised to release her debut EP this Spring.
From the sound of Sal Stapleton’s new single ‘Beg’, Bad Bones is a hugely interesting talent. The song’s chopped and screwed style is paired with a tense house-facing electronic production. There is enough wooziness in the production to detect a love of dance music’s underground in her style, reminiscent of Maya Jane Coles.
Vocally, Stapleton has a Robyn-style whisper going on. Unlike her song released a few years back, there’s a clarity to the production and track that gives it, what she calls herself an “eerie, rhythmic pop” vibe.
I only denote she is a female producer in the title as I think we need more of them so any highlighting is only to encourage not to define.
You can catch Bad Bones play live in Mart this Saturday at Mart alongside Owensie at Seasons.