WE ARE OK

What they call music these days

This site is your one-stop to all things OK-ish. Info about completed projects, current works in progress and what I had for dinner last night. Lower down, you can see Soundcloud links to tracks (original pieces and remixes). Click on these and the music will fill your room like a weird gas.

ALBUM OUT - 'Low Country'


I spent the first few months of lockdown 2020 developing an unhealthy obsession with dub. Stripping back tracks to leave only the bare bones and then using tape delays to sending feedback slices and hits to the moon and back. How those days flew by. What virus? I was listening loads to King Tubby, Sly & Robbie, Keith Hudson and particularly the 'Berlin' dub-techno of Rhythm & Sound, Purl, Heavenchord, Monolake and Deadbeat. All great stuff. They manage to make music sound so simple and effortless when I know (now) how tricky it is to get that balance of using space as much as sound itself.

Being more influenced by song structures, I guess my take on this genre sounds more like pieces in the realm of Nightmares on Wax, Boards of Canada, etc

So it started by doing some dub takes of a few tracks from the Hissy Fits album, and then just going off with new pieces. I could've done another 10 tracks. Hissy Fits took me about 4 years all in. Low Country probably about 3 months.

Hope you enjoy listening.
Stream on Spotify 
Stream on Apple Music

Buy on Bandcamp
ALBUM OUT - 'Low Country'

Video

Some Form Some Way Some Shape Some Point

Disengage your brain with a time-lapse video for this track from the 2021 dub album 'Low Country'. Vocal samples taken from AOC's famous retort to Rep Yoho in the Senate in August 2020.

Album out - 'Hissy Fits'


It's May 2020 and what the world needs now (apart from some vaccine to save humanity) is this....

Available for streaming and download

Straddling the wide chasms between the sub-genres of pop. Falling headfirst through the cracks in the process.

Stream here from Spotify.
Stream here from Apple Music

Download/purchase from Bandcamp
Album out - 'Hissy Fits'

Hissy Fits - track by Track


Hissy Fits - track by Track
1. 'Safe Word' - I wanted to use some jolly 6/8 time English folk-vibe to this. A style that I don't actively listen to but could try to twist somehow into something I could play with. Just by having a different time signature from 4/4 brings me out in a creative sweat. The lyrics were formed from a conversation where a friend confessed that he used the word 'carrots' as a safe word during his frolics with girlfriend. If the idea of someone using the name of a root vegetable in such a scenario can't inspire, then what will?
2. 'Misinformation Housing Estate' - this was done as result of Brexit and the exasperation as how media had hoodwinked so many people into thinking this was somehow beneficial to them. My anger is fairly apparent but I still needed Ben (from First Family Riot) to come along and do it justice with the vocals. I dunno, a Scottish accent just sounds generally threatening when it's volume increases. I asked him to ramp it up as the song went on and he couldn't have done it any better, if you ask me.
3. 'Don't Tell Such Dreadful Lies' - This is a song I've had stuck in my brain for years. I was convinced I had originally co-written it with my old band mate from Nottingham when we were 16. So I contacted him and played him the parts and he had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. Something reminds me of Heaven 17 in the way the chord structures kind of jar. It's the type of thing that I could never write anymore. So aggressively pop and doesn't care that it is.
4. 'Cut It Out' - This track had a few re-writes and was getting nowhere. It was when I realised I needed to cut out all the flabby bits and just leave the least amount of instrumentation in there then it started to take shape. Then words kinda wrote themselves. Katty is so good at just doing her thing with it. My guidance was practically zero and she came back with a perfect vocal. Doing this style of music has made me mildly obsessed with the dub genre since (see album 'Low Country'). Its a challenge to make as little as possible go a long way.
5. 'You Make Me Late For Everything' - I liked the idea of writing something about being so hopelessly under someone's spell that your everyday functions were being derailed. The song structure is very simple so I wanted to dirty up elements as much as possible (including a barely decipherable vocoder). Kurt's trumpet playing on this (and all the other tracks he was involved in) was so effortless. Every first take he did was perfect, but I'd ask him for 5 more just to store them and use them for other songs I hadn't written yet!
6. 'The Observer' - This track went through so many iterations, it was on life support until I finally got some focus on it. I was channeling some kind of Sergio Leone spaghetti western stand-off scene. In the rousing section near the end I played live drums which I was so terrible at, I had to get each hit and edit it so it sounded like I was remotely decent and had some sense of rhythm. It's amazing what technology can do these days (thank god). A song about seeing yourself change into someone who's watching life rather than doing life.
7. 'Chippington' - I was on holiday on a beach in Thailand and I read on Facebook that an old friend had nearly died from a long illness. He went from posting a few regular posts to silence to saying 'Hi all, sorry I've been quiet for a while. I was in hospital and was nearly dead'. We hadn't really kept in good contact over the years but I felt really bad that something like that could've happened without being aware at all. All the lines in the song about him are true. We met in a youth hostel in Perth and he was having a shower when he said he was going bowling that night. I thought I heard him say that he was going bald. I told him not to worry, it's not so bad. He probably thought I was a massive dick.
8. 'Lines' - The whistle melody was something I couldn't shake for ages so I need to get that in a track somewhere. It's a fairly jaunty track about the aging process. My take on the Radiohead's 'Fake Plastic Trees' subject, I guess. I threw everything including the kitchen sink into the production. Drums, guitar, brass, multi-layer vocals. The mastering engineer said it was a nightmare to mix.
9. 'One Way Trip To Mars' - I wanted some old fashioned kinda crooner song to end it. I was thinking of Robert Palmer doing 'Riptide'. I tried to sing it like I was wearing a tuxedo and brylcremed up, winking at the martini drinking set in front of me. A gentle piece underlining how we're all fucked and we're going to hell. For the nerds, there is a nod to The The with the rocket countdown at the beginning (and the missing number).







Misinformation Housing Estate


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Listen to 'Misinformation Housing Estate' and join me in a collective head-scratch/head-butt at the self-inflicted wound of Brexit. I'm not the best at articulating my disdain at the decline of the UK, but I channeled my mind-puke into 2 minutes of barely concealed rage about how we all got fooled (some more than others).
My snowflakey voice wouldn't cut it for such a venture, so I enlisted Ben from First Family Riot, who did it with aplomb (I don't know what aplomb is, but I'm sure its a fitting description).

Life In Amsterdam video


Life In Amsterdam video
One of the poorest paid gigs I got (not to mention terrible working conditions) was creating the music for my son's recent YouTube video. Seems it's gone all viral-ly after being featured on NOS Jeugdjournaal (imagine John Craven's Newsround but with less sweaters and more liberal use of the word 'fuck').
Anywayz, my knowledge of urban beats stretches as far as The Anfield Rap, but I tried my best to help the boy out. He has to live with this...

Mother Pukka


Mother Pukka
I was commissioned by my old chums at Mother Pukka to do a 'bed' for theirpodcast. Basically a piece of music wallpaper that they can disrespect by talking all over. Like pearls for the swine, this job. Anywayz, they wanted something 'groovy and northern-soul-esque'. Instead they got this funky effort (which in itself is not from my usual palette of musical strokes).
It now forms the bedrock of their top quality podcast and is quite possibly the reason why its up in the top downloads charts on a regular basis.

You can play/download below and perhaps use it as an audio backdrop for your own potty mouthed views on producing kids.

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Archive Tracks


Null Structures Remixes


Null Structures Remixes
So let's take some of those tracks and stick them in a magical remix box that spurts out some refreshing re-takes of 'Null Structures'.
'UVB-76' has become fair perky and the creeping gentleness has been replaced by a grinding, relentless groove.
'Data Burst' comes in dreamy ambient or uplifting house flavours. Take your pick.
'Good Morning Sun' is coated in glitter and sparkles in a new shiny light like reading your iPhone first thing in the morning.

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Null Structures


‘Null Structures’ by We Are OK – Electronic melodies and atmospheres influenced and containing the sounds of the infamous shortwave radio ‘number stations’ of the cold war era and beyond. Legend has it that the broadcasts ranged from containing coded messages to spies to implicit instructions that if the broadcast could no longer be heard at a certain time then the listener would know that the transmitting party had a suffered a nuclear attack and a suitable military response was then required. They included the British Intelligence Service’s ‘Lincolnshire Poacher’ and the mysterious Russian ‘UVB-76’ (broadcasting from 1973 to current).

Subscribers to Apple Music and Spotify can now stream the album from the below links:

Apple Music : https://itun.es/nl/8yImbb

Or Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5dIyvy2H3BiZgYtNFIrauW

Null Structures

Call To No One


First Family Riot Remix


WHO?


WHO?
We Are OK is Amsterdam based musician/composer Matt J Brown.

He rides a bike while listening to music. And that’s dangerous.


Links


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Contact


  • Amsterdam, Nederland