Published Jan 01, 2006The duo of Ollie Teeba and Jake Wherry have always managed to yield the most spine-tingling, goosebump-producing of instrumentals. The Herbaliser have now unleashed their fourth full-length project for Ninja Tune, Something Wicked This Way Comes, to run alongside their catalogue of menacing hip-hop hypnosis and all-the-way live funk.
"It was the first time we really had a strong concept before we had come up with any music," adds Wherry. :"All of the songs we had worked on for this album, we were bearing in mind the title and they fell into place with some dark songs and some spooky songs and some more humorous things as well." These descriptions of the Herbaliser's sound can easily be credited to their passion for motion picture soundtracks. Many of their instrumental tracks could easily run along with a scene of an intense criminal getaway. "We've made the chase' song on every album," admits Wherry, who cites cuts like "Ginger Jumps the Fence" and "The Missing Suitcase" as examples, where the latter track had an accompanying chase' video. "Those are the songs that were inspired by scenes in films that we've seen and really liked. Very often now when we make our instrumental songs we're imagining scenes in films and make appropriate music for it. Soundtrack music is really free of the constraints of normal pop. It's actually matching what's on the screen and very often it can be disjointed and the arrangements can be very exciting. It can be dynamic and have a lot of tempo changes that you don't normally get in pop music. So when we do our instrumental music we always try to put some of those elements into our songs."
The closest encounter the Herbaliser has had with the silver screen was when aging pop star Madonna turned husband Guy Richie onto the hip-hop duo. When it came time for compiling a soundtrack for Snatch the British director had a little luck on his side. "We found out that the flute and saxophone player in our band, Andy Ross, was called down to do little bits of flute to provide instrumentals throughout the film," Wherry recalls. "They didn't know that he played in the Herbaliser and when he came into the studio they put on a CD and said, We want you to play like this.' And they put on our track, The Sensual Woman,' which he played on. So he sort of started laughing and said, Well that's very easy because that's me on that track.' The producer of the film picked up the phone and called Guy Richie and said, That flute song that you really like? We've got the player right here.' So there's even more to the story than the Madonna connection."