Squarepusher is the principal pseudonym adopted by Tom Jenkinson, a UK-based recording artist. His compositions draw on a number of influences including drum and bass, acid house, jazz and electroacoustic music. His recordings are typified by a combination of electronic sound sources, live instrumental playing and digital signal processing.1994: Stereotype EP (As Stereotype)In August 1993, Tom recorded a particular piece named "O'Brien". The cassette containing this recording is visible on the front cover of the Buzz Caner album and is dated 8/8/93 > 11/8/93. This piece was particularly liked by Tom's friend Hardy Finn and between them they raised sufficient funds to release this piece, along with additional material, on a vinyl 12". The name of the record label (which was effectively formed by Tom And Hardy) was "Nothing's Clear", taken from the title of a song by Tricky of which Tom and Hardy were fans, released in 1991 on a compilation album called The Hard Sell."This record exhibits a strong influence of Aphex Twin, and Tom states that the "Xylem Tube E.P." was of particular importance to him at that time. "Falling" was written immediately after Tom listened to 'Galaxy' by Carl Craig, and was completed the following day after an all-night recording session, which set the precedent of how he would work in the future. Tom and his friends took the copies of the record to various local record shops but found reactions disappointing.However, it was played by Colin Faver on Kiss FM, and elicited a complimentary phone call from Grant Wilson Claridge of Rephlex Records. These tracks featured in the live sets which Tom was playing during this period, which included a performance at Eurobeat 2000 at Turnmills in 1995, where he shared the bill with one of his influences, Carl Craig.1995: The first Squarepusher releasesIn autumn 1994, Tom began to pursue his fascination for integrating breakbeats into electronic music. This was partly inspired by early 1990s recordings on record labels such as Shut Up And Dance, Chill, D-Zone and Kickin', but also Aphex Twin's usage of breaks in tracks such as "Polynomial C" and "Dodeccaheedron" as well as Renegade Soundwave's "Black Eye Boy" and Mantronix's "King Of The Beats", which had been a favourite of Tom's from the days of DJ'ing at parties in Chelmsford.The first recordings using Tom's new set up were released on the Spymania label. This was an offshoot of Zoom Records, which was based in Camden Town and was set up by Tom's school friends Hardy Finn and Paul Fowler who worked at Zoom. The first e.p. was called "Conumber". "Conumber" exhibits the influence of mid-1990s jungle, which at that point had eclipsed his interest in other forms of dance music. Tom cites "Babylon" by DJ Splash, "Dub Plate Style" by Marvellous Kane and "R.I.P." by Remarc as being particularly influential on him. But a very specific influence came from Luke Vibert's recordings as Plug, especially the track "Military Jazz" from the "Plug 2" e.p. of which he says: "I recall hearing that on the radio in the summer of 1995. I was dumbfounded, I thought I was listening to some funk group and suddenly this massive Amen breakbeat kicked in. It sounded like the future." This influence came to fuel many of Tom's ideas over the next two years, in particular the album Hard Normal Daddy and becomes more apparent on the second Spymania e.p. "Alroy Road Tracks." Another influence at this time came from frequenting the club "Speed", which was put on by DJ's Fabio and LTJ Bukem and was held in central London.The e.p. received an excellent reaction from Rocket at Ambient Soho on Berwick Street, who was sufficiently enthused to invite Tom to play a live set at his monthly club night held in the backroom of The George Robey pub in Finsbury Park. Tom had already attended several nights at this particular club, which was known for playing experimental electronic music. Sharing the bill with Jenkinson were Wishmountain aka Matthew Herbert and Cylob. The sleeve notes of Feed Me Weird Things written by Aphex Twin recall to humorous effect some of the real or imagined occurrences of that evening which marked the beginning of a friendship between him and Tom.The second release on Spymania was under the pseudonym of "Alroy Road Tracks" and was entitled "Featuring The Duke Of Harringay". The meeting with Rocket at Ambient Soho resulted in two releases on the Worm Interface label, which operated out of the Ambient Soho shop. These were two tracks on "Dragon Disk 2" and the "Bubble and Squeak" e.p.At this time, Tom was becoming obsessed with bringing a "dark psychedelia" to Drum and Bass, which would eventually reach its zenith with Go Plastic from 2001. During this period Tom also made a remix for Ninja Tune's DJ Food, which featured on the e.p. "Refried Food". The remix led Ninja Tune to offer Jenkinson a record contract, which along with an offer from Belgium's R&S records he declined in favour of a contract offered by Warp Records, which was partially instigated by Richard D. James. Correspondence between Richard D. James and Tom Jenkinson sprung up after meeting at The George Robey. The resulting meeting led to Tom's first hearing of the Hangable Auto Bulb e.p. which Richard had brought with him. But the meeting also facilitated Richard's initial selection of Tom's tracks that went on to form the Feed Me Weird Things album released on Rephlex Records in 1996.1995-1996: Feed Me Weird ThingsJenkinson was offered a five album record contract with Warp Records in December 1995, which was duly signed, and this led him to defer his studies at Chelsea Art College. Early in 1996 Richard D. James completed the compilation process for Feed Me Weird Things which was made from over 50 tracks that Tom had given him on DAT, which were recorded from late 1994 to 1995. Around the same time Richard and Tom recorded two tracks together, one of which was subsequently edited by Tom and released as "Freeman Hardy & Willis Acid" on the We Are Reasonable People compilation album in 1998. Tom's contribution to the other track was reinterpreted and released as "Happy Little Wilberforce" on the Alt. Frequencies compilation released on Worm Interface in 1996. 1996 saw Jenkinson starting to be offered gigs both in the UK and in continental Europe.Early that year Tom made the acquaintance of Talvin Singh who offered him a slot at his club night "Anokha" held at the Blue Note Club in Hoxton Square, London. Tom and Talvin went on to play together on several occasions during this period including improvised sessions at the end of the night at Anokha, one of which featured guitarist Guthrie Govan, and also at the first Big Chill Festival in 1996.Shortly after the release of Feed Me Weird Things came "Port Rhombus" which was Tom's first release on Warp Records. The title track actually started life as a remix of a track by Ken Ishii, commissioned by R&S Records in Belgium. However the remix was rejected on the basis of it having insufficient similarity to Ken's piece. "Significant Others" uses the DR660 drum machine running through a spring reverb that Tom found at a jumble sale.1996-1997: Hard Normal DaddyUsing the same equipment from the sessions that produced the majority of Feed Me Weird Things Tom now set about working on the material for his first album for Warp. His broad conception for this record was "to push away from the jazz influence that was being felt at the time to a more soundtrack-type of sound". According to Tom he was listening to, amongst other things, early Lalo Schifrin and the "Deathwish" soundtrack by Herbie Hancock around this time. That said, the album also contains some abrupt diversions into quite different musical territory, evidenced in what Tom calls the "Industrial Psychedelia" of "Chin Hippy" and "Rustic Raver".Tom's electric bass work becomes very apparent on this record. He states that he was "still battling with the influence of Pastorius." He wanted to "make the styles interrogate each other, such that one track would question the premises of another and vice versa. As such I suppose it might indicate tentativeness, but in my mind at the time I liked the idea of bringing musical assumptions into question by smashing stylistically divergent elements into each other". In this he follows a precedent set by Frank Zappa, whom Tom claims is "always hovering in the background" for him.The sleeve artwork was generated from a set of images taken by Tom wandering about Chelmsford town centre. The front cover image is based on a view of the Gasometers situated at Wharf Road, near where he lived as a teenager. The 8-bit graphics reflect Tom's resurgence of interest in old video consoles and home computers at that time. This location was subsequently used in some of the press shots in the Hello Everything promotional campaign.1997: Big LoadaIn January 1997, Tom moved to a flat in Albion Road in Stoke Newington, London. This particular residence was shown in the Jockey Slut "All Back to Mine" article from that year and it was also where Tom's appearance in the "xxx" documentary was filmed. Of this era, Tom states that he was "having dreams about the end of the world, alien invasions and catastrophic events almost every night. It was a strange time, quite literally nightmarish.""Journey To Reedham" brings the 8-bit computer influence right into the foreground. The piece was the first to be recorded of the set and was originally commissioned to be used in a computer game, but Tom decided it was too important to hand over to somebody else's project. The track immediately became a favourite at gigs and was still making appearances as an encore in Tom's run of live shows in 2013. "The Body Builder" was Tom's favourite of the set. This exemplifies a more abstract take on the 8-bit aesthetic, with sounds constructed to deliberately resemble computer game sound effects. "I like the idea of music being catchy without having obvious melody lines and this piece begins to capture that idea." "Come On My Selector" has become one of Jenkinson's most well known tracks, partly due to it having a video by director Chris Cunningham. Doing the video led Tom to develop a friendship with Chris Cunningham.This period also saw the release of the "Burning'n Tree" album, which was a compilation of Tom's Spymania releases. The set includes three pieces that were recorded in late 1995 during the Feed Me Weird Things sessions that were not originally released on Spymania.1997-1998: Music Is Rotted One NoteTom started considering new ideas about how to put music together. At this time Richard D. James introduced Tom to the music of Tod Dockstader, an American composer who had worked extensively in the 1960s, principally realising his compositions by tape editing. Alongside this Tom was becoming interested in the work of 20th Century composers such as Stockhausen and Ligeti, specifically their electronic and electroacoustic works.1998: Buzz Caner (as Chaos A.D.)Of this release Tom says: "Grant [from Rephlex\] and I were hanging out and I played him a load of old stuff, bits and pieces from 1994 and whatever. He really liked it and so some of it went out as "Buzz Caner." I sort of changed my mind about it when the smoke cleared."1998-1999: Budakhan MindphoneAfter Budakhan Mindphone was completed in May 1998, Tom went to South East Asia for two months, and on this trip acquired a selection of Gamelan instruments. Tom states that he was keen to carry on with the method of making music he had developed making the "abstract jazz" elements of Music Is Rotted One Note. Given that the "abstract jazz/musique concrète" idea had in Tom's view been proven by Music Is Rotted One Note. Tom decided to switch focus slightly and approach the following phase with a less rigorous aesthetic in mind.This is the first record where Tom started using effects processors in such a way that values for the available parameters would all vary as the piece progressed. Tom relates that "Iambic 5 Poetry" is "apparently one of Bjork's favourite songs". This period also produced the "Maximum Priest" e.p. "Our Underwater Torch" was partially inspired by a developing obsession Tom had for the sounds of water. Tom states that this piece was obliquely inspired by the films "Solaris" and "Stalker" by the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. The organ in this piece is triggered directly from an electric bass. "Decathlon Oxide" carried on the ideas initiated in "Fly Street" and "Varkatope" from Budakhan Mindphone and features a Gamelan gong. The record also contains remixes by Luke Vibert, Autechre and Matthew Yee King. Very few live shows happened around this time, although Tom claims he did in fact do quite a few gigs unannounced: Tom did organise two shows for an ephemeral organisation known as the "Squarepusher Ensemble" which amongst others featured Jamie Lidell on vocals, Mick Beck on saxophone and Tom on bass. The idea of the group was to try to approximate some of the aesthetic of Music Is Rotted One Note and Budakhan Mindphone. The improvisation took place with no guidelines.1999: Selection SixteenIn March 1999, with the Budakhan Mindphone and "Maximum Priest" sessions wrapped up, Tom found himself in quite changed circumstances. He had made new friends in Sheffield and found himself a regular DJ and punter at various club nights around Sheffield. At this point Tom became quite skilled at tape editing. Another element that he was keen to bring back was the usage of sampled breakbeats. At this time, Tom was frequenting a Manchester-based club night called "Schizm". It was run by friends of Sean Booth and Rob Brown from Autechre who themselves had played there on occasion.2000-2001: Go PlasticEarly 2000 saw Jenkinson consider "radical tactics." He states it became clear that it was high time return to sequencers and leave behind the live-playing approach, which he had adopted since late 1997. Around this time, Tom started seeing more of Chris Cunningham.He was also revisiting a lot of the mid-1990s drum and bass that had so inspired his early releases. He describes the set-up for Go Plastic as follows: "It was the next stage in the "liquid effects processing" idea. "To me it was all about trying to make it sound totally liquid and psychedelic, like liquid LSD. Not evil though, "evil" music just sounds daft and theatrical to me." I've always had a Frankenstein-thing going on, ever since I was kid when I was playing around with electronics. I love the idea of the set-up having such a complex level of internal activity that it begins to resemble a living being." "My Red Hot Car" is his most well known piece. That and "Boneville Occident" were two of the earliest pieces from these sessions. The piece "Tommib" was so named after Tom recalls that: "Aphex [Twin\] was helping me edit a track for Vic Acid and he named the project 'Tommib' and I always remembered that for some reason." Tom claims that "My Fucking Sound" was written specifically with Chris Cunningham in mind: "We had talked a lot in that period about working together, loads of ideas were flying around. That track was intended for Chris to use, and that project was called "Spectral Musicians." Tom recalls that "Aphex [Twin\] rang up when I was finishing off the track. He asked what I was up to and I said something like "I've got 31 bars left to write on this track I'm doing." He just started laughing and said he never thought of music like that. I suppose it does sound a bit strange and clinical."After the sessions were completed in December 2000, Tom states he rang Steve Beckett to play him the record: "We hadn't talked since he left Sheffield more than a year before. I told him to come round and it totally blew his head off." Tom started playing live again at this point: "I played all of this new stuff supporting Tortoise at the Shepherds Bush Empire. I did a gig at The 100 Club and I had Chris [Cunningham\] supporting me doing a DJ set."Tom played his first shows in America at this point, one of which was at the Coachella Festival. The plans to collaborate with Chris Cunningham were duly interrupted as well.2001-2002: Do You Know SquarepusherIn the Summer of 2001, Warp cut a one-sided promo of the track "Do You Know Squarepusher". After taking some time off during the latter part of 2001, Tom set up the studio at his new residence. It was around this time that Tom started to work with computer based synthesis and signal processing.The cover version of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" has a particular story to it: "It was around this time that Rob Mitchell at Warp died. I was really fond of Rob. The last evening I spent with him was in Sheffield and he had been playing me some music by Joy Division. I decided to record that song as a memorial to him, but at the same time I really didn't want to try and divert attention from the tragedy of his death to my record, that would have been repulsive. So I kept the story to myself’. Also included in this set is an edited recording of Tom's appearance at Fuji Rock Festival in Japan in Summer 2001. Tom spent the remainder of 2002 working on software patches and recorded many pieces in that period that were to feature in his show at Warp's 20th anniversary party in Sheffield in 2009.2003-2004: Ultravisitor2003 saw two of Jenkinson's pieces being performed by the London Sinfonietta as part of the South Bank's Ether Festival: "It was an interesting idea. They chose "Port Rhombus" and "The Tide."Tom claims the idea that had been initiated with "Mutilation Colony," namely to combine the DSP algorithmic approach with the live instrumentation based approach of Music Is Rotted One Note was now at the forefront of his mind. His studio set-up at that time incorporated all of the equipment he had amassed so far. Parts of certain tracks on Ultravisitor and four entire pieces were recorded at shows in the UK and the US in summer of 2003. As such, Tom says "The start of Ultravisitor features ambient sound from the very same piece being played at a show in L.A. and the outro features ambient sound from a gig at the Leadmill in Sheffield. "Menelec" features an introduction from a show in Nottingham and the outro comes from Toronto I think. The start of "Steinbolt" was recorded in L.A. and the lots of Tetra-Sync including the live electric bass was recorded at the Bowery Ballroom in New York, apart from the intro which comes from Montreal."Tom states that "Ultravisitor seems like a big argument to me. In fact I've always liked that idea, that the way you structure albums and songs is that one element raises questions about other elements. That feels interesting to me, but Ultravisitor seems to do that to the extent that it risks being completely incoherent. But that is also the fun of it. I am fond of it."The sleeve artwork, the first to contain a portrait of Jenkinson. Tom toured with the London Sinfonietta, performing the piece "Tundra 4" live. After the Sinfonietta tour, Tom toured America and Japan.2004-2006: Hello EverythingTom states that at this point he had no immediate plans to make a record and that it seemed entirely possible that he would not make another. Nevertheless, some pieces were made in this period. A series of acid tracks were made, some of which were used in Tom's appearance at Warp's 20th anniversary in Sheffield 2009. "Welcome To Europe" and "The Modern Bass Guitar" were also made in this period using the same software system that Tom had designed when he made Ultravisitor. The synth bassline in "The Modern Bass Guitar" was triggered from an electric bass using the midi bass system. January 2005 saw the re-establishment of the studio at Tom's residence in Essex. The pieces "Theme From Sprite", "Bubble Life", "Vacuum Garden", "Circlewave 2" and "Orient Orange" were all made in early 2005.All of these tracks are based on live drumming tracks, which Tom had planned out quite meticulously beforehand, in contrast to similarly realised tracks on Music Is Rotted One Note. "Hello Meow", "Planetarium", "Rotate Electrolyte" and "Plotinus" were made over the Summer and Autumn of 2005. The track "Hello Meow" was filmed at Koko in November 2005 and was edited into a promotional video for Hello Everything in 2006. "Planetarium" samples a particular variant of the Amen breakbeat which came from "a dodgy bootleg 12" from 1991 called "Rave Masters Volume One."Regarding the overall process of making Hello Everything, Tom states "There never really were any Hello Everything sessions, unlike a lot of the things I'd done before". Some editions of the album came with an extra CD entitled "Vacuum Tracks".Tom appeared at Glastonbury and Glade Festival in the summer of 2005. Then in November 2005 Tom toured the UK with Luke Vibert and Cassette Boy featuring dates in London, Norwich, Falmouth, Birmingham, Newcastle, Leeds and Glasgow amongst others. This tour marked the first occasion when Tom had appeared in concert using live visuals.At the time of the release of Hello Everything, Tom appeared on the BBC's Culture Show and was interviewed by Lauren Laverne, and also performed a short version of what was to become one of the pieces on Solo Electric Bass. It also became apparent that one of the reasons for Tom being requested to appear was that Andre 3000, who was also appearing on the show, had expressed such admiration for Tom's work that he would like to work with him. Tom also appeared at the John Peel tribute event at the Electric Ballroom in Camden around the time of the release of the record. Late 2006 saw Tom generate the material that was eventually to be issued in 2009 as the Numbers Luscent'.2007: Solo Electric BassAfter the material that went to comprise "Number's Lucent" was finished at the end of 2006, Tom exhausted his interest in making electronic music: "At that point, I'd been working on electronic music in some shape or form for around fifteen years and without hardly any breaks. As I've said, one of my problems is that once I've established that an idea is in some way valid, that's generally enough for me. I'm just acutely aware of how limited time is and I think I'd rather spend it doing what I do best which is taking risks and making experiments." "I was interested to see if I could develop a way of making music that was less destructive, because I was aware of how much I had brutalised myself living such an insane life over the last twelve years or so, how little I'd slept and so on. I started thinking again about doing more playing, more bass stuff again. It's always been hard to give my bass playing any kind of priority when all of the mayhem is happening in the studio." So Tom chose to switch all of his attention to bass and to shut down the studio."Glenn Max, curator at the South Bank was really encouraging and offered me a nice gig in the Queen Elizabeth Hall to showcase it." Tom went on to spend every day playing the solo pieces, re-writing them and practicing them: "It became a lifestyle in the end and that was that I wanted. Tom also says that "I've never been entirely comfortable with the whole virtuoso thing. They are so many dangers associated with it. It's odd because it's so effortless for me to play that I end up falling into that virtuoso camp by default. But if that's where I am, I'm going to make some trouble in there. So I started to play around with the pieces in a way, playing them too fast. Sort of trying to make it a bit more punk and messy rather than like a spotless article of refinement. The solo bass recording from Cité de la Musique is presented unedited as it was played on the night. The recording was released in 2009. Tom went on to sell out the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Cité de la Musique in Paris with his Solo Electric Bass shows. Both were recorded and featured the saxophonist Evan Parker.2007-2008: Just A SouvenirAt the end of 2007, Tom found himself at the close of the solo bass project. "I was still playing all the time every day. So it seemed logical to get recording again, but make it live playing-centred." Tom claims he was fed up with the unprocessed sound of the bass that was tied up in the concept of the solo bass material, so he started experimenting with new DSP algorithms specifically for the bass. Also Tom had become a fan of the band Lightning Bolt over the last few years and was inspired to develop an electric bass sound with "absolutely face-ripping distortion."The press release for this album recounts a daydream that Tom had whereby he imagined a group playing all kinds of fantasy instruments and bizarre music. On that matter Tom simply claims that he "had this idea of a crazy band. It came out of experimenting with DSP processing on the bass, and I started to think what a band would sound like if it was all being processed in the same way. It was another development of the "liquid effects processing" idea."When Tom came to tour this album, he decided he would need a drummer: "I called Glenn [Max\] at the South Bank and asked him if he knew any good drummers. He suggested Alex Thomas. I checked him out and he was amazing so we went for it." Tom and Alex went on to tour in November and December 2008, and then from April 2009 through the summer playing various festivals. This tour also saw Tom develop the LED aspect to his show to the extent that on stage he had a massive screen behind Alex's drum kit showing visual content triggered by his electric bass.2009-2010: Shobaleader OneTom recorded with other musicians, of which he commented, "Shobaleader One is a band. However things work out in the studio is up to me, but the main thing is that this music was realised by a band in the live context."Tom claims that the overall aesthetic was to start making the most of space in the music. Tom states that he has never been the best user of space: "I've always been fond of just piling in detail, hopefully using some discretion, but overall it has never been a strong point of mine, knowing what to leave out." So for Jenkinson this album partly became an exercise in restraint. Tom did all of the vocals on the album, which is another thing which marks it out as a departure from his previous work. Revealingly Tom claims that he made this album for his girlfriend: "I really wanted to make some music for her".Regarding this album being an abrupt stylistic departure from earlier releases Toms says that: "On an instinctive level, I just can't resist seeing what happens when you press certain buttons, and especially the ones that the grown-ups tell you not to press. And as I've said, to me it's all about the experiments." In April 2011 Tom played at a benefit gig for the Japanese Red Cross in the wake of the Tsunami which devastated Japan on March 11, 2011.2011-2012: UfabulumOf the general direction, Tom says: "I've reached guitar overload. I've started thinking about pure electronic music again. Something very melodic, very aggressive.’ Tom uses LED mask as part of his new live presentation.2013-2014: Music For RobotsOn 13th February 2014, a new EP entitled 'Music For Robots' was announced, a collaborative project composed by Tom Jenkinson and performed by the three robots that comprise the Z-Machines. Tom first started working with the team of Japanese robotocists behind the Z-Machines in 2013, who had commissioned him to write music for robots that were capable of playing beyond the capabilities of the most advanced musicians. Following the success of the first piece of music, entitled 'Sad Robot Goes Funny, Tom went on to compose four more pieces for the robots which comprise the upcoming EP 'Music For Robots' due to be released on 7th April (8th in North America) 2014.EquipmentSquarepusher sequenced his pre-2000 work on a BOSS DR-660 drum machine. He uses hardware for his electronic music such as King Tubby-style spring reverbs, Akai samplers (S950 for early work, S6000 for later work), a Roland SH-101 synthesizer, a Roland TB-303 bassline synthesizer, and a reel-to-reel tape machine. Around the year 2000, Squarepusher bought a computer with Reaktor and an Eventide Orville for digital processing. According to a list of gear from the official website, Squarepusher owns the following:Jenkinson has been known to play Fender, Ernie Ball, and Warwick basses.His latest album Ufabulum is "purely electronic" with no live instrumentation. His setup features large LED displays connected with the sound sequencing.