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LIONROCK: Moriarty's Cavern

Interview | Band By Tom Flint
Published June 1999

Justin Robertson (left) and Roger Lyons (right) at Moriarty's Cavern, Manchester.Justin Robertson (left) and Roger Lyons (right) at Moriarty's Cavern, Manchester.

A successful DJ‑turned‑remixer/producer, Justin Robertson has also found fortune with collaborator Roger Lyons as Lionrock. Now the Sherlock Holmes‑obsessed duo have relocated to their own studio, Moriarty's Cavern, and have a new side project, Gentleman Thief. Tom Flint gets an elementary education...

At the top of a converted Manchester warehouse, of the type musicians usually only enter to shoot grainy black‑and‑white pop videos, sits the studio den of engineer Roger Lyons and DJ‑turned‑remixer/producer Justin Robertson. Together, they are the men behind the band name Lionrock — best known for the theme to 1998's World Cup coverage and hit single 'Rude Boy Rock'. The pair are currently hard at work on a new Lionrock album — their third, and first for their own label — and have begun a new band project under the name Gentleman Thief.

Moriarty's Cavern, as the studio is called, reflecting the duo's obsession with Sherlock Holmes, is a large, well‑equipped room endowed with comfy chairs, large windows and — most importantly as far as a Sound On Sound feature is concerned — loads of studio gear. Several desks and multi‑tier stands house a fine collection of vintage synths, whilst another bench holds racks full of Akai samplers, digital interfaces, and a variety of knob‑covered synth modules. Two Apple G3 Macs running Cubase VST fulfil the duo's sequencing requirements, whilst on the other side of the room the main desk, a Yamaha 02R digital mixer, sits between the Alesis Monitor 2 nearfields. Perhaps most curious of all is the large, ancient‑looking vibraphone occupying pride of place in the centre of the studio, and a soft spot in the hearts of both of Lionrock's primary composers. "We've always used a lot of vibe sounds; we like them, but now we've got to work out exactly how to mike this up — so if anyone's got any tips, pass them on to us!" laughs Roger.

Double Act

LIONROCK: Moriarty's Cavern

One of the things that strikes you when you meet Justin and Roger is the way they work together in conversation, Roger providing the detailed facts about the equipment and recording process, while Justin handles description of the conceptual, compositional and more general aspects of the band's projects. "I think it's a good balancng act the way me and Roger work. It's not like I sit in the chair as 'Executive Producer' saying 'have you done this yet?'" explains Justin. Roger takes up the analysis: "We both play keyboards; I'd say I'm a bit of a better keyboard player than Justin, but he's a miles better guitarist than me, so we do a bit of both each. We can both program and make the sounds." Although there are no set roles within the working relationship, the pair do have different areas of interest and expertise which stem from their differing backgrounds in the music industry (see the 'Lyons' Rock' and 'Rise Of Robertson' boxes).

Justin first became known as an internationally successful club DJ in the early '90s, and gradually moved into remixing, studio work and recording. Roger, on the other hand, made his living as a producer and programmer. He also ran his own studio, and it was when working with Justin, who had come in to do some recording, that the pair hit it off. Significantly, both had played in bands during their teens and this common ground was, at least in part, a focus for the concept of Lionrock. "It's been various things over the years; it's been a band and it's been an attempt to fuse the excitement of seeing a rock band with the dynamics of an electronic band."

The pair's first album, An Instinct For Detection (another Sherlock Holmes reference) was released in 1997 to much critical acclaim, yet proved hard to categorise with its sometimes unique blend of dance, hip‑hop, dub and rock styles drawn from the same musical portfolio which helped Justin to become a successful DJ. "I've always had quite a broad musical palette; I like quite funky, dynamic music, with an organic feel and flow. I think the music we make's quite like that." Indeed, the group's second album offering, City Delirious, contained an even more eclectic mix of musical genres, and produced the dance/ska hit 'Rude Boy Rock', which was played throughout the 1998 football World Cup, and was used in a Sony TV advertisement for Minidisc.

During 1998 the Lionrock band toured the live circuit with additional members MC Buzz B on vocals, Paddy Steer on bass and Mandy Wigby on keyboards, but Justin now has mixed feelings about the results. "It was partially successful. We learnt lots and made loads of mistakes, and did it in public, which I half‑regret, because we went out before we were really ready, and just felt our way. Now we've honed our live act down; it's more like a reggae sound system, with more decks, effects and an MC."

The past year has been a period of change for Roger and Justin; they have split from their old label Deconstruction in a dual effort to gain more control of their musical output and get away from the pressures of the A&R department. Roger explains: "That last album was for the record company in a way; even though it was our thing, it was a strange and confusing experience." Justin: "We weren't focused ourselves, and they were even less focused than we were!"

As a result of the departure from Deconstruction, the outpourings of Justin and Roger's latest collaborative project, Gentleman Thief, will see release on their own label, Master Detective — there's that Conan Doyle theme again! "We're pretty much our own bosses. There is funding from other people with an A&R input, but they're really relaxed about it. They're our publishing company as well. We've got the studio how we want it now, too."

The Birth Of A Studio

Vintage synths abound in this part of Moriarty's Cavern (right‑left, top‑bottom) ARP 2600, Roland SH09, Roland SH1, ARP Odyssey.Vintage synths abound in this part of Moriarty's Cavern (right‑left, top‑bottom) ARP 2600, Roland SH09, Roland SH1, ARP Odyssey.

The next Gentleman Thief and separate Lionrock albums will be the first to be entirely produced in Moriarty's Cavern. The previous two Lionrock albums were recorded in a combination of residential studios, Moriarty's Cavern itself and Justin and Roger's previous studio, which was situated in the same warehouse, but on the floor above. "It was a big room with massive bare floors, bare brick, and us perched at the end. There was no heating or anything; it was really quite miserable. We used to call it the Scrapyard! There's no acoustic treatment in here, but there was even less up there." Although it was a far‑from‑ideal setup, Justin and Roger became accustomed to the "naturally booming and undefined" sound of the room, and managed to produce some successful results, including 'Rude Boy Rock'.

With their studio unfinished at the time, much of the work on City Delirious had to be done in a variety of locations, although finding suitable commercial studios in the Manchester area was a problem in itself: "That's the main reason we started this place up. If we didn't have a place of our own it would be pretty hard to get in anywhere, especially now. I can't think of a single commercial studio in Manchester apart from PWL, and that's always full." Even when studios were found, the nomadic working arrangements proved difficult too, as the duo were constantly forced — on their time, and therefore at their expense — to familiarise themselves with the equipment on offer in each place. Justin: "You spend half your time just trying to find out where everything is. On the last album we were flitting around going to £600‑a‑day studios and residential studios. It was crap for the music we do." Roger's views on studios are no less scathing: "There's nothing worse than working in proper studios where you're watching the clock, thinking 'how long have we got left?'".

Differences between the sound of the various studios used also caused problems, and the pair felt some of the recordings lacked the raw quality they wanted. Now, however, with Moriarty's Cavern nearly finished, things in the Lionrock camp are more relaxed and both Justin and Roger are extremely enthusiastic about the place, its Manchester location and its setup. "The sound's getting really good in here. There's no reason we can't do our albums in here," enthuses Roger. Moriarty's Cavern has become the permanent Lionrock and Gentleman Thief base and the centre for all remix work, offering all the benefits of familiarity. "It's great, I can get straight on programming, I know what's plugged in what on the desk and where everything is — that's half the battle really when you're working somewhere else. I know Roger's got stuff at home, but I actually like coming into town. It's nice to feel you're going somewhere to work and when you're finished you go home again and shut it off." Roger agrees: "If you come here it's like having a job — it is a job."

Write Attitude

The Lionrock recording and processing racks, with a range of modern synths (far right) Yamaha 01V; (middle rack, top to bottom) Oberheim SEM synth expander modules (x2), Clavia Nord Rack, Zoom 9120 effects (x2), Panasonic SV3800 DAT; (at foot of rack) Boss Turbo Distortion and Dynamic Filter pedals; master sync unit, Waldorf Microwave XT, Novation Supernova, Waldorf Pulse, and Korg Wavestation SR synths, Miditemp Multiplayer sequencer/MIDI File Player, Roland JV1080 synth, Korg DVP1 processor, and Akai S3000 XL sampler.The Lionrock recording and processing racks, with a range of modern synths (far right) Yamaha 01V; (middle rack, top to bottom) Oberheim SEM synth expander modules (x2), Clavia Nord Rack, Zoom 9120 effects (x2), Panasonic SV3800 DAT; (at foot of rack) Boss Turbo Distortion and Dynamic Filter pedals; master sync unit, Waldorf Microwave XT, Novation Supernova, Waldorf Pulse, and Korg Wavestation SR synths, Miditemp Multiplayer sequencer/MIDI File Player, Roland JV1080 synth, Korg DVP1 processor, and Akai S3000 XL sampler.

When it comes to the process of writing Lionrock tracks, there seem to be two distinct approaches, both operating at the same time. On the one hand, there is the theoretical drive behind the music, largely directed by Justin, in an effort to evoke particular feelings and images. On the other hand, there's the actual physical process of making music which, in itself, offers its own creative possibilities.

Describing the music as observational rather than judgemental of urban city life, Justin's vision for his musical direction is clear: "I think that electronic music can be really expressive, but cityscape urban soundtracks always sound really grey, dull, and relentless. Manchester is not the easiest place to live, so our music can be quite harsh, but it's also got a lot of joy — I like living here — so there's a lot of celebration. I want to make the music descriptive and provide some sort of soundtrack for things I've seen while living in Manchester.&quot

The actual process of writing and recording is less clear‑cut. "We don't have a hard and fast method, and it depends what we've been listening to," explains Justin. "The first thing we do, though — and this probably comes from DJing — is get the groove going. We start with the drums and bass." Many Lionrock tracks utilise samples of dialogue, particularly as intros, and sampled hook lines are also an occasional source of inspiration. "Something may just come to mind — I've got an enormous record collection, which I think helps for sample‑based things. Sometimes you might have a record with you with an absolutely perfect guitar lick, say. There's a lot of luck and coincidences involved in making music." (See the 'Sampling Secrets' box.)

Once Justin has had an initial idea, the working process with Roger comes into its own, and each person concentrates on the aspects of the job they are best at and most interested in. "I prefer to focus on what a track sounds like overall, and its construction, without worrying too much about the technical aspects. I tend to do more on the arrangement side and write some of the riffs" explains Justin.

Roger enigmatically describes his role in the studio as 'noise consultant' but offers a working example in explanation. "I do a lot of the intensive work early on. Let's say Justin's got an idea for a tune inspired by a sampled loop. I'll get the samples together and rough‑cut them within our Akai S3000s. I import all the samples into BIAS Peak for editing. Then, once we've got it all on the Arrange page in Cubase, Justin will start arranging. At that point I'll move over to the 02R and effects and start tweaking. Most of the keyboards go straight into the 02R so I'll set the gating and compression for each and then set the EQ and effects, recording those settings as 'scenes' on the desk. We tend to mix as we arrange." Justin takes up the explanation: "Our roles are getting a bit more blurred these days. As far as filtering samples or working on the audio side of things and recording goes, we can both do that, but Roger will tend to handle it when he's here, because he's quicker and better than me. We both EQ, but I tend to get the mix levels sounding the way I want. Roger will deal with the compression and gating. Although I'm not at the stage where I'm throwing myself 100 percent at the technical aspects, I want to be able to find my way around the studio as quickly as possible just so I can try something out. I couldn't wax lyrical about a piece of equipment, but I am learning more all the time. Even if you've been doing it for years, you're still learning; technologies and techniques are always changing."

Part of Justin's desire to get more into the studio side of Lionrock comes from his acute awareness of the criticisms often levelled at DJs making music. "I don't think the cliché is so true now, but about four or five years ago people would assume the engineer had done it all. To some extent it was true; DJs often know what they want something to sound like, but don't know how to create the sound. You do still hear horror stories of engineers writing tracks for people...

"I think it's important for anyone making music who isn't a technical expert just to get a little bit of a crash course; it doesn't take long to learn these days. Even a rudimentary grasp will get you through, but I think a passion for it is also important. Punk opened up rock music to everyone, and the same is kind of true of dance music, but I think the best music is still made by people who have a passion for it and an ear for it. However, if it's not something everyone can do well, it is something everyone can at least have a go at. Thank god for electronics, it opened up so much for people."

Just For The Record

If the vibes are right... Justin and Roger with their beloved vibraphone.If the vibes are right... Justin and Roger with their beloved vibraphone.

As already mentioned, Steinberg's Cubase VST has always played an important role in Lionrock's composition and arrangement process, but with the move to Moriarty's Cavern the sequencer has assumed a greater importance. Prior to this, when making their second album City Delirious, Justin and Roger used Cubase as an arrangement tool; they rearranged and reassemble session jams which they had recorded onto 24‑track analogue tape at the residential studios they used, imposing new structures on them at their leisure in Cubase. Justin enjoyed the freedom the audio sequencer offered him: "It's so much more flexible than tape, where you're just arsing about trying to find the right bit! In VST, you can fly straight to where you want to go."

Now, with the new studio up and running, and the plan to cut out the use of residential studios whenever possible, all audio on the new releases has been recorded direct to Mac hard disk via Cubase and the pair's MOTU 2408 interface. Although Roger likes the sound of analogue tape, he doesn't miss it, as he passes a lot of the audio material through Steinberg's Magneto tape saturation emulation plug‑in, which he deems "a good approximation" of the effect of analogue tape. Once on disk, of course, the pair have the same freedom to rearrange audio as before. Roger explains: "All the arrangement stuff gets done in there, as well as most of the effects; we use quite a few plug‑ins to mould the sound." Roger also uses the non‑real‑time software effects processor SFX Machine from BIAS, and the same company's versatile Peak sample editor. "I prefer to change the sound file so it sounds right whether it's coming from the computer or the sampler. I always keep the unprocessed version on the Mac hard disk."

A Lion And A Gentleman

Lionrock's main studio desk, Yamaha's 02R. Also in shot are the Alesis Monitor 2s and an old Roland RE501 Space Echo.Lionrock's main studio desk, Yamaha's 02R. Also in shot are the Alesis Monitor 2s and an old Roland RE501 Space Echo.

With the release of new Lionrock and Gentleman Thief albums just around the corner, Justin's concepts for the two separate projects seem fairly focused. The new Lionrock release is intended to be a more coherent and cohesive album than its predecessor, City Delirious, whilst maintaining the urban theme. There will also be a broader musical range than on Gentleman Thief releases, which will be more club‑orientated and feature recordings mostly produced in no more than a day or two. Justin: "We deliberately don't dwell on it too much, we want to keep it fresh."

With a new studio, record label, fresh albums in the pipeline and productions on the go, the future looks bright for Justin and Roger. Plans are afoot to purchase further mastering equipment, including a TC Finalizer and a 2‑channel valve compressor, to help produce label projects in‑house and to aid Justin's remix work. A possible career in film and television soundtracks is also on the cards with a Channel 4 commission to score a programme based on a Leeds council estate. "It's a fairly raw, stripped‑down electronic soundtrack. I think our music's quite well suited to that kind of thing. I want to get the label going, putting out records by people I like, and being focused about it. We're not going to try and build a Virgin‑style empire, just enjoy ourselves."

Easily done, as fortunately, Roger and Justin enjoy a good working relationship, and together form a good‑humoured team. But what's the secret? Roger: "I like to do other stuff and Justin's got his DJing. I think it's good we've both got other projects, so when we come back we're excited by the prospect of doing something together. I wouldn't want it any other way. I think we've got the balance just right."

Lyons' Rock

The synth rack seen on page 78, plus Apple G3, Korg Prophecy and (far right, top to bottom) Korg MS10, Roland TR505 and Roland Juno106.The synth rack seen on page 78, plus Apple G3, Korg Prophecy and (far right, top to bottom) Korg MS10, Roland TR505 and Roland Juno106.

Roger's career in music was born from a childhood interest in electronics. Between the ages of 12 to 14, when most kids are still reading The Beano, Roger was reading electronics magazines passed on by his TV‑fixing uncle. He was soon building his own tape machines and synths from kits, learning how the equipment worked from the inside out. By the time Roger had mastered the ins and outs of the synthesizer, MIDI had arrived and he bought his first Commodore 64 running Steinberg's Pro 16 MIDI sequencer. Like Justin, Roger played guitar in a band at school but soon realised he was never going to be one of the greats, so he invested in a Roland TB303 Bassline and a TR606 drum machine, and started looking for studio work. However, the lack of professional establishments in the North West narrowed Roger's choices, "There's not that many up here, only Strawberry Studios and Yellow 2. If you're in London, there's probably 50 big studios you could go to." Roger decided to just get on and do it himself. "It spurred me on. I had to beg, borrow and steal as much gear as I could get. I managed to get by on a shoestring, without making any money really."

After years of hard work playing in bands for very little money, Roger got his big break programming for Simply Red. "I had involvement with their management company through the band that I was in at the time, so it was a natural choice for them to use me; I programmed all the music on the demos for the Stars album, and it was the first thing I really got paid for, apart from being in bands! After that, I went out on tour as keyboard technician; that's what really got me recognised further afield."

With so few studios in the North West, Roger and his friend, Simply Red drummer Chris Joyce, set up their own Manchester studio, Planet 4, with Roger providing most of the gear and Chris supplying the building. "It was a really good place for dance music, with a big desk, superb monitoring and a massive synth collection. I met Justin at Planet 4, and most of An Instinct For Detection was recorded there." In 1996 Roger left the studio to concentrate more of his efforts on Lionrock and took his equipment with him — some of which went to form the Scrapyard studio.

Moriarty's Cavern Gear List


  • ARP Odyssey.
    Roger: "This is used quite a lot; it's really good for delicate‑sounding lead lines and modulated stuff, and it's very playable."
  • ARP 2600.
    Roger: "A really creative synth; it comes out with new noises every time you turn it on! On the last two albums we used it more for strange sci‑fi‑type noises, and on the Gentleman Thief stuff we make authentic '70s‑style keyboard sounds. We also used the ARP to make a sound like a dog bark on the City Delirious track 'Zip Gun Rumble' but it wasn't a dog sample; we played guitar into one side of the ring modulator and then used the ARP's filters to process the sound — then sampled the output. The finished sound is the ARP sample played one or two octaves down, totally out of its original pitch range."
  • Clavia Nord Rack.
  • Korg MS20.
    Roger: "I'd say the MS is one of our favourite synthesizers; nothing else sounds like it. The filters are savage; for bog‑standard keyboard sounds it's not very good, but add some resonance and bring in the filters and it rips."
  • Korg Prophecy.
    Roger: "We just use this as a master keyboard. We've got lots of other stuff that sounds better."
  • Korg Wavestation SR.
    Roger: "There are some really good drum kits in there, but the sounds aren't much cop without the effects. It's got good modulated distortion though."
  • Novation Supernova.
    Roger: "An original‑sounding synth. It will emulate a lot of different things; I can make it sound just like an OSCar. In the past,as soon as you went from single‑voice mode to a multitimbral setup, it screwed up your effects, and your sounds all change. But you can put the Supernova into multi mode, and it sounds the same; it carries all the effects with it."
  • Roland Juno 106.
  • Roland JV1080.
  • Roland MC505.
    Roger: "It's really immediate with loads of instantly good sounds. Easy to edit and set up multitimbrally; it's good for incidentals and weird bleeping."
  • Roland SH1.
  • Roland SH9.
  • Waldorf Microwave XT.
  • Waldorf Pulse.
    Roger: "We hammered ours to pieces during the last two albums. It still occasionally surprises."
  • Oberheim SEM modules (x2).


  • Apple Mac G3 (x2).
    Roger: "We both have new G3s. Macs are the computer of preference. In all honesty, I wouldn't touch a PC; I've been using Macs since they came out."


  • BIAS Peak.
  • BIAS SFX Machine.
    Roger: "Like having an effects rack in software. You can make sounds from scratch and patch together new effects algorithms; it's very complex. This is our main effects processor for all the samples."
  • MOTU Digital Performer.
    Roger: "I use this when I'm doing other stuff away from Lionrock; its timing's better than VST."
  • Steinberg Cubase VST.
    Roger: "I use this in here because it's common ground for both of us."
  • Steinberg Recycle.
  • Steinberg Time Bandit.


  • Akai S1000.
    Roger: "You can load this up with samples and leave it on for a week. It's so rare to have one crash." [but see 'Upgrade Or Downgrade?' box — Ed]
  • Akai S3000XL.


  • Gemini DJ Mixer.
  • Yamaha 01V.
    Roger: "We've both got an 01V which we use live. We can call up snapshots with program change messages, and effects, and I do effects levels live, change the basic mix live."
  • Yamaha 02R.
    Roger: "This is our main desk in the studio. We used to use an 02R live too."


  • Alesis Monitor 2s.
    Justin: "They've only just started sounding big because we had them a bit too far away from the wall. Ideally they should be on big wooden stands filled with sand, but we've got them on keyboard stands in mid‑air, and we like it!"


  • AMS Tape Phase Simulator.
  • Boss Dynamic Filter pedal.
  • Boss Turbo Distortion pedal.
  • CLM DB500S Expounder Dynamic EQ.
    Roger: "This is really good; a Neve‑quality EQ unit with synthesizer filter section. There's nothing else that sounds quite like it. This one's a prototype; I got it so I could listen to it for a couple of weeks, but it was so good I bought it!"
  • Korg DVP1 Digital Voice Processor.
  • Lexicon LXP1.
  • Lexicon LXP5.
  • Roland RE501 Space Echo.
  • Sony D7 delay.
  • Zoom 9120 effects (x2).


  • Miditemp Multiplayer.
    Roger: "The MIDI file player we use live as a sequencer; it's dead solid. It's got eight separate outputs on the back, and 4Mb of RAM, so you can just fill it with songs and make them as complex as you like."
  • MOTU 2408 digital interface.
    Roger: "I do beta‑testing for MOTU, so I got one of these really early on. It's fantastic. It's not Pro Tools, which I can't afford, but it sounds great and it's dead easy to use. You can record anything, orchestras, vocals, guitars; straight into a phono on the back. I've not managed to make it sound crap yet! I've heard a lot of these soundcards like the Korg 1212 and Event Layla, but this is the one for me. It's our main computer audio interface."
  • MOTU MTP AV MIDI Timepieces (X2).
  • Panasonic SV3800 DAT.

Upgrage Or Downgrade?

By the end of Lionrock's 1998 live tour, the group's two Akai S3000s were filled to capacity with samples, so any extension of the live set would have required more samplers or something with more memory. This being the case, Akai devotee Roger thought the new S6000 sampler would be the answer to his dreams — until he bought one. "It was the worst mistake I've ever made in my life. I'd originally found some bugs with the MIDI Timing when used with Recycle which were fixed with the 6000's v1.02 software. But then it began to crash even more; it became more unreliable with the software that's supposed to make it more reliable! I called Akai and was told to do my sampling in v1.01, shut the machine down and restart it in v1.02 so I could get the MIDI timing. I took it back and got a refund.

"They've obviously just rushed it out. It sounds corny, but I felt betrayed, because I've used Akai samplers since day one, and I believe in a bit of product loyalty."

The Rise Of Robertson

Justin's rise to fame sounds a bit like a fairy tale at times, perhaps due to his laid‑back way of describing what was probably years of hard work. At school, he played in a band, but it wasn't until he moved to Manchester to study that he first considered abandoning the guitar and becoming a DJ, inspired by his first visit to a club, which happened to be legendary dance mecca The Haçienda. His big break came while he was working in the Eastern Bloc record shop in the heart of the city. "There was a band on the Eastern Bloc label who wanted a remix, and I just said 'I'll have a go'. I'd never been in a studio before in my life, and I didn't know how to make music electronically, but it turned out quite well, and people liked it, who knew other people... it snowballed from there, and before I knew it I was doing Erasure remixes."

Since then, Justin's career has never looked back, despite going in and out of fashion a few times. "It's up and down like a fiddler's elbow. You get that thing where you're hot property, and you get loads of work. Then you go through a stage where someone else is in vogue, and you're just doing a couple of things a month. We had a bit of a burst last year when 'Rude Boy Rock' came out but now we're doing our own stuff."

Knobs Not Menus

With so many vintage synths, and modern equivalents with knobs and sliders in their studio racks, I asked Roger and Justin their opinion on the new breed of knob‑ridden modules and keyboard synths.

Roger: "I don't know why they disappeared in the first place! I think I must have been the only person in this country who was gutted when the Yamaha DX7 came out, because it had one slider on it. I ended up learning to program it quite well, just because I had to. But my preference is for things with knobs on; they're so immediate. You can just grab, turn and record to MIDI."

Justin: "I wonder just how popular these software synths will end up being. I can see that for someone who can't afford to buy the synths they're quite a good idea, but I just like the idea of using both hands at once, all over something."

Sampling Secrets

Justin's approach to sampling seems to be very much a product of his work as a DJ, relying predominantly on his large record collection as a library resource for loops, sounds and inspiration. "I don't think I've listened to a sample CD in my life. I can see that if I didn't have such a big record collection maybe it would become more important, certainly for drum loops, but nowadays, with tools like Recycle, you can make your own fairly easily."

Roger's story is slightly different. "I've got a few sample CDs, not for drum loops, but for things you wouldn't be able to get any other way. I had this 3D demonstration CD with really good 3D effects — cityscape sounds, with bin trucks going past in the background, incidentals and ambiences. We used that on the first album. A couple of people said they'd pulled over by the side of the road when playing our album, because they thought they heard a police siren coming up behind them!".

Neither Roger or Justin would own up to having any guitar‑playing talent, so the fluid surf guitar and subtle riffs used extensively on the City Delirious album must have been a session player or sample CD, right? Wrong! "That was me playing the guitar", admits Justin. "It sounded all right. A lot of the stuff on that second album was our own samples and loops."