Hector Plimmer breaks down his new album on Albert’s Favourites, Next to NothingTweet
The South London beat maker guides us through his latest soul filled outing.
First coming to prominence back in 2014 when he featured on Gilles Petersons’ Brownswood Bubblers 11 compilation alongside GoGo Penguin and Al Dobson Jr, his debut album Sunshine gained him broad acclaim. Hector’s since cemented himself as a key player in the current London Jazz scene, supporting Nightmares on Wax, Amp Fiddler, Yussef Dayes and Flako.
His brand new 13 track album, Next to Nothing, is a natural next step. It varies nicely in tempo and energy but maintains a smooth flow that makes the tracks feel like one long piece of work, as opposed to separate pieces. In Plimmer’s own words, “This is my first dedicated attempt at creating a cohesive project, something that shows who I am right now and what got me here.” Collaborations are key this time around, with Plimmer enlisting Andrew Ashong, Ego Ella May, Pie Eye Collective and more.
Ahead of the album’s official launch party next month at Peckham Audio, Plimmer takes us through the album track by track, giving us a unique behind the scenes insight into his creative process and collaborations.
1. ‘Next To Nothing’ ft Ego Ella May and Emma-Jean Thackray
As an experiment I asked Ego to record hums into a tape delay loop, overdubbing with different harmonies as the loop came back around. She was dubious at first, but the third or fourth try resulted in what is now the opening track of the album. At the end of the track you can hear us laughing because we finally got a take we were happy with. I originally asked Emma to play something that mimicked or harmonised with Ego’s vocals. We did one take of Emma soloing over the track and that was the one that stuck.
2. ‘Sonnet 17’ ft Ego Ella May
Ego and I worked well together from our very first session, during which she sat behind me while I nervously put together the bare bones of Sonnet 17. At one point I turned around and she had written her whole vocal part so we decided to record a guide vocal. This ended up being the final vocal recording we used on the track, a beautiful take caught in the moment.
3. ‘Still Here’
I wanted to make something that builds up as much suspense as possible throughout. Eventually it got to a point that I felt just needed one final level up so the only direction that felt natural was to chop the shit out of a classic drum break!
4. ‘Somebody Else’ ft Andrew Ashong
Andrew’s girlfriend gave me a lift home one evening after a night at Ghost Notes and I mentioned to Andrew that I was on the hunt for a vocalist or two. Whilst we were sitting in the car outside my flat, I played him the tracks to see if he had anyone in mind he could suggest. As they played he was singing along, playing with different rhythmic vocal patterns. I was sitting in the back of the car, buzzing with excitement. I sent him the tracks the following day and within a week he had added something along the lines of 100 new channels of vocals, guitar, Rhodes and all sorts of different things, I couldn’t believe my ears! Needless to say it took a long, long time to mix down.
‘Tapeloop’ was made in a similar way to ‘Next to Nothing’, overdubbing a loop with keys and adding mega delay.
6. ‘Stack’ feat. Pie Eye Collective
Working with Pie Eye Collective was probably the most spontaneous musical collaboration I’ve experienced. Stack was born out of Matt’s love of confusing rhythms. When I play this live it gives me so much joy watching Dave (the synth man)’s face while he’s trying to find the first beat during the intro!
7. ‘Before The Sun’ ft Ego Ella May
I sent Ego ‘Before The Sun’ to work to and the result still gives me goosebumps, I couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect on that track.
I wanted to make something that could potentially work on a dance floor or two, but I also wanted to draw out the build up and let it soak for a while. This one is definitely one of my favourites to play live, the first time I played it filled me with joy. People were dancing like crazy!
9. ‘Joyfulness’ ft Alexa Harley
We recorded the vocals for ‘Joyfulness’ at Scrimshire’s house. After recording 12 takes of Harley’s vocals I half-jokingly asked Adam to play all the takes together, Harley is so on point that they all layered pretty much perfectly and that is how they stayed. Forget doubling a vocal, Alexa Harley duodecuples!
I put a lot of pressure on myself to produce music and kept going down routes that felt forced or just didn’t click for me, in hindsight I realise this was me making music not for myself, but for what I imagined other people might want to hear. I decided the best option would be to try to clear my head of any expectations, sit down and just start working.
The first half of this process produced some of the darker tracks such as ‘Circle’. When Emma-Jean Thackray was round to record I played her some of the tracks, she said jokingly “Who hurt you?!”.
11. ‘Two Minute Switch’ feat. Pie Eye Collective
‘Two Minute Switch’ was literally made by taking two minute turns to work on whatever we wanted in the track, once the two minutes was up the next person was up to work on it. We made both ‘Two Minute Switch’ and ‘Stack’ in the same day. At the end of the day we both agreed we had made something special. Matt said to me “Next time we should actually try!”. Of course it’s not as if we weren’t trying, it just flowed so naturally that the whole process felt quite effortless!
12. ‘Wall Street’ ft Andrew Ashong
The tracks with Andrew work well with the theme of spontaneity throughout the album. We kept it much more stripped for ‘Wall Street’. The vocal Andrew added is ridiculously infectious, I have a friend who has only heard it once and every time I see her she sings me the hook!
13. ‘Communication Control’
The oddity of the lot. I have no idea where it came from but I’m so happy it did.
Next to Nothing is out now on Albert’s Favourites.
Buy it here