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.”

Another reason why their debut album took so long to record and finish, Gurnsey says, is down to how the shows dictated changes in their sound. As their sound developed, the band had the luxury of time to work out where it would go.

“We’d go into live shows with the backbones of songs. It wasn’t pre-determined, we didn’t say ‘we’ll knock this song off after this many minutes’. I’d say the album and us as a band have developed this way because of playing live.

“If we’d recorded the album two years ago, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as this. It wouldn’t have made any sense. That mix of shows and studio wasn’t there. We’ve been able to gauge our development from the shows and that’s fed back into the recordings. Now is the best time for the album.

One of the most striking things about the album is how hypnotic and driving their grooves are throughout. “We needed time to grow the songs so they would become hypnotic and you’d get lost in them. It’s quite a primal thing. I remember seeing films of tribes doing these two-day rhythm sessions and they get really lost in it. I think repetition is the only way to get truly lost in the music. Repetition is a foundation that allows you to think about things and pick out the other details. It’s a platform.”

Because of the intensity with which they approach their music, Gurnsey feels the band have been unfairly tagged as a serious band.

“We’re not serious, chin-stroking experimental musicians,” he says. “The record shows that, it’s got quite a celebratory sound. It’s a party record as far as I am concerned.

“But we’re serious about what we do, we’re serious about the longevity of the band and keeping it moving forward all the time like Chris and Cosi from Throbbing Gristle have done over the last however many years. They’re always progressing things and not standing still with one ground.

“A lot of bands don’t evolve and I just don’t understand why. They damage their careers and by being part of a scene and putting barriers on how they produce music. We want to be open. We’re serious about what we do, but now is the time to have fun with it.”

yyy Factory Floor play the Electric Picnic, in Stradbally, Co Laois, tomorrow night. Their debut album is released on September 6th