Band Profile by Armchair Anarchist
Five days a week, Mr. Smith teaches teenagers about the uses and abuses of electricity. But when the last bell rings and he returns home, he becomes... the Rusty Sheriff; solo producer and purveyor of live ‘uneasy listening’ experiences.
The Sheriff started out in music as an 11-year-old drum student and played in numerous school and college bands during the mid-90s. His interest grew far broader than just percussion, developing a fascination with all forms of tone and noise, from guitar to electronica and back again. While at Uni in Nottingham
, he was one half of the freeform noise band Designer Babies, who are still going strong in their third incarnation. They cited influences ranging from Beefheart to Alec Empire. Keeping these, and other odd totems and touchstones such as Melvins and Coldcut, The Sheriff returned to Portsmouth
and decided to go solo. The Rusty Sheriff finds people misunderstand what he does in the live arena. He says, “It is often mistaken for DJing, but all my live efforts are played with a laptop or sampler and the single turntable is used only for scratching.
” ‘Uneasy listening’, he calls it. Far from being worried that people might be a little freaked out by his barrage of distorted breaks and samples, he likes “...turning up to play a show and watching people’s faces as I begin
.” Apparently it sometimes comes as a bit of a shock. There’s no plan for world domination; the Sheriff is mostly interested in slaving away at his productions (forthcoming self-produced album ‘d.e.a.f?’ has been 14 months in the making), simply for the satisfaction of his own creative drive. The live shows came from missing the Designer Babies experience. It seemed a logical response to take The Sheriff’s sound out to real live audiences, in an attempt to recapture that somewhat playful, yet intimidating aspect of playing things in a deliberate attempt to confuse or distress the audience. He says “...especially if it’s not too well received – I fucking love those types of gigs!
” He’d like to play more distant venues and maybe do a tour some day. For now, he’s going to keep twiddling the dials in his home studio... until the morning bell calls him back into the form of Mr. Smith, mild-mannered electronics teacher.