I was born in Swindon on May 27th 1971, 165 years to the day after my great, great, great grandfather Herbert Ingram, founder of the Illustrated London News.
Aged 8 I was sent to board at Clifton College Prep School in Bristol. At school I quickly established an interest in music and art.
At 13 I passed Common Entrance to Eton College. Out of the classroom I spent my time there listening to the latest American rock and rap, working in the art schools and engineering lights and effects backstage at the school’s Farrer Theatre. A linocut I made of St. Basil’s Cathedral was included in the Best of Public School Art. I was made house captain but declined to wear the bow-tie and “stick-ups” I was expected to. I left school with four A-levels which included an “A” in English.
Aged 18 I was accepted on a Foundation Course at Camberwell Art School. I specialised in lino printing and created a well-received illustrated version of T.S. Eliot’s "The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock". At this time I endured a brace of personal problems: bouts of pneumonia, a broken cruciate ligament and a few car crashes. I travelled to India, Kashmir, Thailand and Nepal during which time I was adversely affected by the Malaria drug Larium.
After the Foundation Course I proceeded to Glasgow University, where I was to meet my wife Catherine, and embarked on a four-year degree in Film & Television Studies with English. Whilst at University I DJ’d regularly at the Glasgow Art School and also at Edinburgh’s Tribal Funktion, the club which would feature in Irvine Welch’s Trainspotting. I was co-founder and the first music director of Glasgow’s Sweet FM which later became Subcity Radio. I won the MacTaggart Prize and received funding for my plasticine animation The Verucca Boy which I projected in the street at the Edinburgh Festival. In the holidays I spent time in Paris and Morocco.
Inspired by fourth-world currents in the dance music of the early nineties, in 1993 I flew a Techno Sound-system to Senegal. With permission from the Senegalese government, I travelled round the country and through the Gambia throwing Acid-house raves. For the video Echo I interviewed Derrick May, Richie Hawtin and John Acquaviva of +8 records, Manu Dibango and Baaba Maal. I sold the VHS in Rough Trade (where in the Ladbroke Grove branch the promotional poster is to this day affixed to the wall) and at Fat Cat Records. The video prompted a laudatory fax from the then invisible Mad Mike of Underground Resistance.
At Glasgow I participated in the University’s own cable channel for which I conducted video interviews with The Young Gods, Dream Warriors, Crime and the City Solution and Galliano. Graduating with a 2:1, my dissertation (years before YouTube) was on the idea a “Third Circuit” of film distribution. For this I interviewed some of the first wave of visual DJs including Coldcut’s partners Hex. It also led to a series of meetings with the black publishers X Press who sold Victor Headley’s book Yardie in clothing shops and hairdressers. Dotun Adebayo and his partner Steve Pope commissioned me to shoot a test for their first movie.
Returning to London I worked first for the TV department at advertising agency WCRS before finding employment as a runner at Ridley Scott Associates. At RSA Films I continued making short films like 19 (about the number 19 bus) using their in-house edit-suite to put the footage together. Another film made there, Goldfish was shown on Channel Four.
When not at work I worked on underground comics as The Bloke From Room which were available in record shops. Ambient Soho commissioned a weekly comic from me which appeared on their website. Muzik magazine ran No I Wouldn’t Call It Techno as a double-page spread. Drawing comics led to my creating the graphic novel Cary Grant which was fêted by The Face magazine. Submitting my Winston Churchill comic to an advert in The Guardian led to my being summoned to Stratford-upon-Avon and the set of Teletubbies. Ann Wood needed a volume of new ideas for the as-yet-unreleased series and I was commissioned to provide two scripts. These proved inappropriate to the tenor of the series.
Closely involved in the shenanigans around Jungle music in London, in 1995 I resigned from RSA Films and became a freelance runner. Since that date I’ve never had a full-time job. As a runner I worked on nearly sixty commercials. This lead to my meeting former Saatchi & Saatchi creative director Paul Arden. Arden often visited me at home and together, I as a Photoshop operator, we worked on many print projects. Paul liked my animation Road and on its back signed me as a director to his production company Arden Sutherland-Dodd.
As a result of Ken Downie and his manager Keir sending The Black Dog's CDs to the RSA Films office, I had ended up becoming a friend and collaborator with Downie. In 1996, with a third member, Downie, his friend James Webb and I formed an informal second incarnation of The Black Dog before his later alliances with Black Sifichi and Martin Dust. Later I turned in a video for his track Distant Lands. Bitten by the idea of making pop videos I also made a video for Position Normal.
By now working as a freelance illustrator and animator, an encounter with music journalist Simon Reynolds at the Camden Music and Video Exchange in 1997, set in place a chain of events. A long-time correspondent of Reynolds’ before the advent of email, when he started blissblog at the tail-end of 2002, I followed quickly into the fray with the weblog TWANBOC (That was a Naughty Bit Of Crap). This soon became the blog Woebot. Woebot and my online activity of that era (websites, Bhangra, funny gifs, hipster music hype and Shoreditch attitude) were grist for Chris Morris' 2005 sitcom Nathan Barley. Morris had been introduced to the site at WARP by Junior Boys’ svengali Nick Kilroy.
Woebot amounted to a decade of writing exclusively about music to a fast-growing audience of fellow music geeks. It is now collected in the digital tome The Big Book Of Woe. In 2003 The blog was praised in The Wire by Kodwo Eshun, written up in The Guardian article “Like Falling off a Blog” by Rob Young and was also featured in Microsoft’s Slate in 2004. Influential posts include “The Woebot Top 100 records”.
As a result of the blog I contributed 12 columns to the then print-only magazine FACT, thirty-five reviews and four feature articles to The Wire (including a cover on R. Stevie Moore) and an article to Domino Record's Loops journal. I also wrote the eBook 100 Lost Albums from the 1970s.
In 2003, as a mature student, I attended Central St Martin's Art School and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Character Animation.
Woebot led to more than just writing on and offline. In October 2004 I formed an alliance with theorist Mark Fisher, then of the k-punk blog, and set up the Dissensus forum. Twelve years later it has 3,426 members, 320,739 posts and 12,586 threads. Furthermore between November 2006 and April 2007 I made six episodes of the online music TV show Woebot TV. It featured episodes about, among other things, Progressive Rock, an interview with Optimo’s DJ Twitch, and an exposé of Cecil Sharp House.
In 2008 I put out a series of music recordings as Woebot. The CDs and records which came to be affiliated with the Hauntology movement were reviewed in Pitchfork, FACT, UNCUT, The Wire, The Quietus and the FT. Twice Woebot was awarded release of the week at Boomkat. I played live at Shunt with Ghost Box at the Belbury Youth Club Night in March 2009. Later that same year I was asked to take part in the installation series Recording Studio at the ICA. I also played live at the Barbican Technology Weekender in 2012.
Since 2000 I have worked as an animator in London. Using After Effects, Nuke, Maya and Cinema 4D software I have created Motion Graphics, CG and done Compositing work for leading Design Agencies (Wolff Olins, Pentagram, Peter Saville, Spin, Intro, Why Not, Lambie Nairn, The Partners), Post Production Houses (MPC, The Mill, Rushes), Production Companies (Disney, RSA Films Ltd, Zombie Flesheaters), Advertising agencies (VCCP, AKQA) and Multimedia (UVA, 4 Creative, Science Museum, Imagination).
For the past three years I have been working on a half-hour long animated documentary about Vitamin C. This is the largest project I have undertaken. The documentary will be finished in 2017.