With the proud air of a David St Hubbins demonstrating his Marshall amp which goes all the way up to 11, OS1 show sandman their secret weapon. Their 303 has been tampered with, it contains a small addition, it is no ordinary 303. This 303 has a frequency modulation modulator. It enables OS1 to go 'one more.'
OS1 do techno like Australia do cricket. Flat-out, relentless and unstoppable.
"Techno is to dance music what metal is to rock," explains Si, "it's the extreme end of things. It's also anarchic and freeform."
"Yes," concurs Owen "there's no dance steps to learn."
It's a funny phenomenon but those who swim at the scary end of the musical pool are often better balanced and fundamentally friendlier people than their general public-friendly counterparts. It's true of OS1, amiable techno loonies, who, on this occasion, are sitting in a pub wearing bright orange combat gear and clutching inflatable toys and random bits of technology. They look like cosmic roadworkers on their lunch break.
Today they are three, Gordi and Si are the metal machine men while Owen grapples with his guitar and wears the kind of woolly hat that worries pro-huntsmen. While they seem like reasonable people dark plans involving 'brown noise' (the kind that produces involuntary evacuation of the bowels) circulate round the 051 camp.
Three years ago Simeon crashed Gordi's 30th at his old flat above a funeral parlour. A long, lysergic, techno debate ensued which culminated 6 months later in OS1 terrifying a goth crowd into submission at a University RocSoc night. "We fucking killed everybody," Gordi notes proudly.
A residency at Headcharge followed and the group embraced and were embraced in return by the burgeoning Northern free party scene. Simeon left to teach English abroad and Mersey born drummer Si was drafted in. This summer Owen, was drafted in for their appearance at the Sharrow festival, both as a visual focus and to give their straightforward-ly brutal techno a more organic edge.
Both Gordi and Si express a fondness for 80s synth sounds and they describe themselves as 'analogue purists'. "Nowadays anyone with a computer can produce music at home - which is good but when we play live I like the idea that when I press a button I'm physically making that noise," says Gordi.
The bottom line with OS1 is the energy they generate and which they share with the crowds that see them. They're due to DJ at the 'Stop The War' benefit the following week - a fantastic coalition of Sheffield's underground clubs. "It's great in Sheffield, there's Headcharge, Planet Zogg and the free party system all giving a lot of us the chance to be heard. It's not as anal as London, no-one talks to anyone there."
OS1 firmly locate themselves outside the mainstream, "If people choose the under-ground, it's a proper, conscious choice," says Si, "it's not just accepting what you're given."
"We're not Techno fascists either," they point out."We're just as happy going out to see bands like Rumpus or Poke." An interesting techno-folk collaboration with Tegwen Roberts is on the cards and the inclusion of Owen in the writing process hints at the possibility of more song-based structures emerging.
In the short-term they're releasing a 3-track EP and hoping to find themselves a home on a label and get some vinyl out and then they'll start the album. A little further down the line Gordi envisages a TOTP slot affording them the opportunity to meet some pop-stars and "ram one of our synths up their fat arses. We'll fill the studios with hundreds of open bottles of poppers with fans blowing them round the room..."
OS1: brown noise specialists
words: Jack Tractor