Interview with Senser about how the band started out, memorable experiences, their new covers EP ‘’Biting Rhymes’, how the recent tour went and what their plans are for 2012
For the newer fans or for people who have never heard of you before, can you please give us a basic introduction to Senser?
Senser is a London based band comprised of individuals with diverse influences ranging from rap to metal with doses of electronica, psychedelia, funk and dub.
Senser’s experiments with hip hop, rock and electronica began in the early 90’s with our debut album ‘Stacked Up’ released in ’94. It sold a few copies and got us on the festival and gigging circuit which is where we like to unleash our full sound.
Why the name Senser and what does it stand for?
The name Senser is an idea based on people’s senses.
How did the band first get together?
We were a group of musicians who grew up in an era of squat parties, raves and free festivals which is essentially where we all met and developed our early sound.
Who are your musical influences?
Our influences range from early hip hop and electro such as Run DMC, Public Enemy and Erik B & Rakim through to heavier guitar based stuff such as Slayer, Celtic Frost and Metallica with a mixture of Hendrix, Rush and Pink Floyd thrown in for good measure
How would you describe your band in 2011? What has changed since you first started out?
Essentially we’re the same dysfunctional but creative people with the same influences on a similar path to where we started however we’ve become more focused, capable and self-sufficient than we were when we started. The digital age has changed and keeps changing how things are done which makes it a fairly exciting time to be involved in music
Any particular memorable story you would like to share?
Probably too many to mention… we starting touring in the pre mobile phone age which always added another interesting / chaotic dimension to traveling around doing gigs so could be the time one of us was left in services whilst on route to play Glastonbury only to be spotted later on bombing it down the motorway on a tractor…. or the time another of our crew nipped off the bus to grab some late night snacks in nothing but a dressing gown just in time to see the bus pull away! Going through passport control and board a ferry
But one of the most intense experiences we’ve had was at one of our first appearances at Reading festival. The tent was well over its limit; it was touch and go whether security would let us play due to the increased likelihood of the marquee collapsing.
The stage diving and crowd surfing became more and more intense due to the number of people and about halfway through our set someone decided to climb the 40ft central pole holding up the marquee. The crowd were all cheering and egging the climber on until he decided to take a 40ft swan dive back into the audience which resulted in a load of people being stretchered out, one of whom was lying very still in a neck brace. All quite intense and slightly concerning until the neck brace guy was spotted down the front of the crowd moshing his slightly broken but neck braced body about the place again at the end of our set… we think he had a good time?
Your mostly famously known for your first album, ‘Stacked Up’ which was outstanding, how has the fans reacted to your subsequent 3 albums?
‘Stacked Up’ was a fairly big hit for us and our fans became quite attached to a lot the songs and sounds on that album so when there was a line up change on the second album ‘Asylum’ it was a bit of a shock for some people, having said that in certain areas it also pulled in a new slightly different crowd.
When we came to release our third album ‘Schematic’ people seemed to be really pleased that the original line up was back together. We’d been out of the game for a few years though so it was a tough job getting the word out there but with our fourth album ‘How To Do Battle’ the doors and the vibe in the music world seemed to really start opening up again plus as a band we’d hit a point where we all knew what we were good at, what we wanted to do and how we could go about creating ideas.
What made you come up with the idea of ‘’Biting Rhymes’?
We’ve been writing our fifth album for a few months now and as part of its development we wanted to gig some of the new tracks so we booked ourselves in for our current tour. To go with the tour we wanted to put a new release out. We had these covers we’d been dropping in and out of our live set over the years that were a mixture of formative early influences with the odd cheeky well known track… it just seemed like the right thing to do to create an EP based on these covers we’d been playing.
How do you think the fans will react to it ‘’Biting Rhymes’?
The EP’s been out for a few weeks now as a limited edition CD and it’s sold out so seems like it’s going down well. The digital release has been out for a week and the reaction has been great… we’re thinking of printing up some more CD’s as the demand has been strong.
Can you please give us a break down about why you picked each track to cover and what particularly draws you to each band/artist?
1 – Dont Believe The Hype (Public Enemy)
Public Enemy knew how to bring the noise like no other before them in the Hip Hop world… they totally changed the musical landscape at that time.
2 – Follow The Leader (Eric B and Rakim)
A seminal track at an exciting time in music when there was a lot experimenting and less obvious boundaries between musical genres
3 – Mama Said Knock You Out (LL Cool J)
This LL Cool J track was massive hit that’s a great laugh to play live. In a lot ways it’s not an obvious track for us to cover but that just adds to the fun of playing it with a Senser twist.
4 – Channel Zero (Public Enemy feat. Slayer)
Channel Zero blew doors off the musical divides that had existed previously… For people who’d grown up listening to Hip Hop and heavy guitar based music it was a watershed moment, this track was showed the world what could be achieved…
5 – Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun (The Beastie Boys)
The Beastie Boys are stylistic musical force who can not only throw down some cool rhymes but also have the skills when playing their instruments. With this track having some great live guitar riffs and excellent rhymes this was an obvious choice as a cover for us.
Are you looking forward to your up and coming UK tour? How was your tour earlier this year?
We’ve just completed the tour and it was excellent. Amazing vibes and great crowds, new and old tracks went down really well.
What are the plans for the rest of this year and 2012
We’re gigging in France as we speak. we plan to keep writing and recording our next album when we’re back.
2012 should see us out on the road again, we’ve been filming our recent tour with a view to putting out a new DVD plus we plan to release our new album as soon as
Are there any messages that you would like to pass on to the readers?
Look forward to seeing everyone at another Senser show soon.