Factory Floor get industrial
London band Factory Floor have produced one of the most visceral albums of the year. They reveal their means of groove production
It was probably destined to be that Factory Floor’s studio in north London is surrounded by factories. When Gabe Gurnsey and his bandmates pause from their work and look outside their space, there’s an industrial landscape as far as the eye can see.
“We’re in the middle of an industrial estate and we have two factories either side of us just hammering out clothes,” he explains. “You should actually be able to hear the sewing machines down the phoneline because they’re so loud.”
It’s a cocoon for the trio, a place far from the haunts of their peers. “Seven Sisters, where we’re based, is a strange place. It’s not out of London, but there are no scenes or happening places or hipster pubs here. It’s a bubble with no distractions – which makes it an ideal place for us to work.
“We’re so far removed from any of the cultures going on in London, which is what we wanted. We didn’t want any outside influences; we wanted it to be our own thing. It has influenced everything from how we sound to how we operate as a band.”
But not even shabby, down-at-heel Seven Sisters is immune from change. “Weirdly, the buildings around here are getting crushed and knocked down at the moment,” notes Gurnsey, “and you can sense that the area is changing again. It’s been pretty much untouched by gentrification, but you can feel it’s changing now. It’s a real shame because I feel like this is our space. You want to shout ‘go away’ at the world.”
The world, though, is coming in search of Factory Floor. Over the past few years (they initially came together in 2005 and released their first material in 2008), word has spread about the band’s incendiary live show and compulsive, addictive sound.
When Factory Floor play, you hear a broad, majestic, brooding, mesmerising sweep of techno, post-punk, arty experimentation, industrial and electro. They’re a band who put blood in the music because that’s the only way they know how to operate.
Extreme, intense, immense, cathartic: Factory Floor tend to attract those tags, though Gurnsey remembers another description which used to be attached to them in the early days.
“Our first shows were viewed by many as confrontational, probably because of our nerves and adrenalin. It’s different now; there’s a lot more dynamics to what we play, and we’ve played a lot more. I don’t think a month has gone by in the last two years where we haven’t done a show, which is also why the album has taken so long.
“But at the start, we really were growing and learning in front of audiences. We treated the shows as rehearsals to test out material. We always wanted to forge our own sound, that was always our intention. Of course, we have influences but we wanted to push towards having a recognisable sound. It’s come about naturally. It’s quite big-sounding still – our sound man is into turning up the volume to the maximum when he can.”