Exploring the infinite: A mix and a chat with ET Finger

In space everyone can hear UFO! and Bro Safari scream

Photography: OhDagYo


PHONE HOME… And tell them to wise up and pay attention. After years of collaborating as UFO! and Bro Safari, two longstanding mavericks of the North American drum & bass jungle movement are officially a musical item: ET Finger.

Neither individual should require a detailed introduction.

Nick Bro Safari has been a leading, intriguing light across all forms bass music dating back to his role in Evol Intent, a brutalist drum & bass trio who emerged in the early 2000s.

Edwin UFO goes back a few years deeper. A veritable pioneer of US jungle, he’s already chatted to us at length along with his partner PaleBluDot as Art School Fantasies. You can refresh your memory and listen to this totally out-there mix they did at the time.

Then once you’re done, listen to THIS…



A wild, rule-free collage of vibes, flavours and extreme energy, this is the sound of ET Finger. Vaguely controlled chaos that comes from two sci-fi obsessed artists who are fascinated by the process just as much as the outcome… And have a galaxy of unreleased music ready to drop.

Read on get to know and, please, for the love of criminy, BE GOOD. 

When was the last time you both watched ET?

Bro Safari: I have a 13 year old son and we watched it together when he was 10 so about three years ago roughly. I was young when I saw it originally and I remember having nightmares about ET burned into my memory.

UFO!: I think I watched it when we made the song ET Finger. The lead that Nick had created sounded like ET’s fingers tapping you on your head and doing whatever ET fingers do to transmit information. I cried watching the movie. I cried as a kid and I cried as an adult. When he’s all pale and cracked up and weak.

Same! So that’s the kernel of the ET Finger concept right there? On the Clockwork EP? Is that where you want from UFO & Bro Safari to ET Finger?

Bro Safari: I guess our first collaborative album Animal was more of a starting point. But on Clockwork there was a different sound. So yeah maybe you’re right. It was a chance in focus.


That was 2018 which was post EDM so maybe you had more space or freedom to experiment and less fan expectation at that point?

Bro Safari: True. I’m not sure about freedom but I definitely had  more desire to experiment. We talked about that a lot at the time. There were points where I did feel like I couldn’t make the music I wanted to make. But that’s what I love about Ed. There’s no compromise. That’s why everyone loves him.

UFO!: I think Nick understands me more than a lot of people. I remember playing my stuff to guys like Fresh and dBridge and Optical and they were like, ‘Are you okay?’ I just wanted to make drum & bass with no Amens, no Reese lines and just develop a new concept of sounds. And likewise, I’ve always looked up to what Nick was doing with Evol Intent. That was the American sound I wanted to make but didn’t have the knowledge or chops to articulate.

For me that sound was like a more aggressive IDM, glitch state of mind in the afterthought of what techstep became going into Neuro. This was the direction I imagined the states were taking things in. We didn’t have these established crews, we were listening to Warp Records just as much as we were listening to Metalheadz you know? It’s a bit like how Gen Z are taking in everything; footwork, gabber, speed garage, techno, rave, darkcore. They love it all and I thought America was a melting pot with that similar mindset all those years ago too.

I love that. Evol Intent had a brutalism to them that no other act did. I definitely associated that with America too. How did it feel for you at the time Nick?

Bro Safari: We were acting on impulse and influence only. We were like 18-21 and just so hungry to be part of it all. We were loving things like Aphex and Squarepusher just as much as we loved Technical Itch, Dylan and Dom & Roland. That was clearly what we were inspired by and we spliced in those glitches we love. I think Americans have a tendency to beat a dead horse so I guess that was us taking things to an extreme.



Haha. The glitch factor is definitely a huge part of ET Finger. There’s never a better time for IDM than now. We’re all hyper stimulated, everything is info overload, a lot of have undiagnosed ADHD symptoms and zero concentration. Now is that time for this music!

Bro Safari: I agree! It’s an assault of audio. I’m already hearing it in a lot of music. I was listening to the new Squarepusher release the other day and it’s like dammmmn. So dark. So good. There’s such a fine between moving forward and going back to something you’re known for but showing you’ve still got it, right?

Yeah! You want to flex that muscle but you don’t want to cover old ground or feel like you’re on a treadmill. Or it loses its sense of art, I guess.

UFO!: Totally. And that’s what ET Finger does for me; it pushes me out of my comfort zone as a producer. When Nick brings something to me it’s meant to be thrown out into space. Like something new has to happen.

At one point in my life as a producer I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was just making music in a weird form of almost therapy. Like no aim at all. Then you get other times and there’s a focus. As it is when I’m doing things with Nick, it’s like, ‘Okay we’re doing something new in the realm of everything happening right now.’

I don’t even like to put a genre name to it. Yeah it might be a drum & bass beat but there’s nothing stopping us fucking with it and putting something totally fresh in there. I think what Nick and I have learnt is how to bring totally different styles together that don’t fit but do if you get me? Like going from different rooms in the same house. And you’re right, it is a very ADHD way of consuming music. I started to think about Beethoven and how things were always changing in his music and it made me appreciate how much space we can have for variation. So now I’m using AI to create elements that change from Boymerang to Plaid to Venetian Snares. Then I’ll put those little parts into the track and mash them up.

Wow what AI software you using for it to understand those types of prompts?

UFO!: I’m testing this thing called Ablegen and you put the prompts in via the Daw. The sound quality is low because it’s currently a test. So I embraced the low quality nature of the sounds and started prompting for things like lofi and vapourwave and it was giving me all these mutated things. It’s really fascinating. I haven’t used it in any of my music yet but it’s got me thinking about the possibilities of how I might use it when Nick and I write again.



I’m quite excited about AI and how it can be used creatively. My baseline thought is that AI can’t replace a heart or soul but can save us time to be even more creative with building blocks it gives us. How do you feel about it all in general?

UFO!: I sometimes feel like I’m teaching it things. AI gets smarter of your ideas every time you prompt something, right? But I’m not too scared by it. Maybe because I’m from San Francisco and Silicone Valley and all that stuff and I grew up so inspired by sci-fi that in a weird way I felt like this was going to happen anyway. You watch Blade Runner 100 times and you’re already prepped. I’ve always felt that about sci-fi, it’s there to help us understand the mistakes we’re going to make in the future so we can come out of the other side. If we even come out of it as humans.


UFO!: This is ET Finger for me. It’s the sound of a human trying to communicate through a machine and on the other side of the machine is a quantum mirror receiving information from you. Like AI is the alien and we’ve created it.

Wow. Yeah I’m into that. Nick?

Bro Safari: I could talk about this for hours and hours. It’s inevitable that it’s going to change everything in our day-to-day lives and how easy our lives are essentially. Whether that’s right or not is another thing but it’s going to happen. Now in the art world it remains to be seen. I’ve used software that generates things which are pretty remarkable and have musical nuance to them. They have strange ideas that are quite cool, which is really interesting. I think any day now we’re going to be like ‘wow that’s sick.’ And that will be the point where people either accept it or get even more concerned.

So until then I don’t know if I should be scared of it or champion it. Once I can generate things in super high quality then why wouldn’t I use that? I reminds me of when CDJs came in. Early on in Evol Intent days we were pressing dubplates and they’re expensive so I bought a CDJ and took it to gigs. I got so much hate, man. Locally, regionally, online. Oh my god this Evol Intent guy is playing CDs! What is he doing?


Bro Safari: Fast forward to now, who doesn’t use CDJs? They’ve become so common place and they are so much easier and more convenient than vinyl or dubplates and turntables why wouldn’t you use them? So I feel the same with AI… Only time will tell how we feel about it.

Yes! When you save time, you usually find cool things to do with that time like hot cues, loops and loads of cool trickery

Bro Safari: Sure. But there’s a big but… ‘Hey Siri make me a bassline.’ That’s fine. But you’ll have people making whole albums with all these prompts and references. Now is that okay? Or is that a problem? Are artists becoming extinct within the next 15 years? Maybe in 20 years time people can go to their computer and say ‘Make me a playlist of songs that are XYZ’ and it’ll make songs that are perfect for you and your tastes. Is that the future? I don’t want to be a downer but there are some tough truths about AI that musicians aren’t acknowledging yet. Does it mean it’s going back to live where authenticity will come from the performance? Will people be able to compartmentalize and appreciate music that’s AI and music made for DJs. Will DJs be required?


Wow man. This is fascinating. We could go on all day! Let’s go back to ET Finger and I love that concept you said about going from room to room. The best example of your music to do that is Ease Up. Such a beautiful collage.

Bro Safari: I was inspired by some old BT records. I had this idea that was very musical, breakbeaty, not very hard edged at all. That was the original basis. I sent it to Ed and he took it to outer space and that’s when the Snoopy samples came in and when it started to change. He turned it into a story and it got a lot darker. It was pretty cool how Ed had taken this really nice and gentle, melodic clip of mine and somehow crafted it into something so dark.

UFO!: I was actually inspired by Coco Bryce who uses that Snoopy style illustration in his art. I was in a record store and the guy had all these Snoopy records on the shelves and the first one I pulled out had that story in there. It’s funny, the idea of someone’s branding and art can influence your sound. And that happens a lot for me when I’m writing. I see movies and images and references points. It’s like an extra 3D layer around the music. And as the music starts to define itself, so do the images. And the great thing about Nick is that he has such a great ear for music that he starts the story. When it comes to me I can already see the pictures come out. And whatever is influencing me starts to enter the mix and shape it as well. That’s usually when I’m starting to crack up laughing thinking ‘I can’t wait to pull this shit off!’ And that particular track I really enjoyed doing that. It’s a very cute song.

Bro Safari: Cute is a good word to describe it.

Definitely. It’s interesting you mentioned BT, Nick. He was amazing in that trancey breaks sound in the late 90s.

Bro Safari: He made some great records, right?

Yes! Now tell me about your mix!

Bro Safari: I love putting online mixes together. I feel it gives you so much more freedom to get weird and take you on a journey. I feel we’re very good at doing that with our music anyway and to connect those dots and bring together a larger story. We have so many unreleased tracks at different tempos and keys and things, it’ll be a collage of sound. Why stick to one genre? Bounce around, have fun, paint pictures.


YES! When is the next ET Finger release coming?

Bro Safari: We’re figuring out what the best way to deliver our music is… Do we want to do an album? Do we want to release EPs? Do we want to give it all away? We’re sitting on a whole load of songs that are ready to release.

UFO!: There’s a lot of them. We’re wondering about some collaborations, too. We always saw us working together as a collaboration but now ET Finger is a thing that kinda opens things out a bit more. So yeah we’ll see what the future holds…

Follow ET Finger in the future: Soundcloud > Instagram

Power your creative ideas with pixel-perfect design and cutting-edge technology. Create your beautiful website with Zeen now.