Thanks for being here with us and for the time you are dedicating to this interview.
Your artistic journey is more than well known to all of us. In this past year and a half your presence in the best clubs of Europe and especially in Italy has increased dramatically.
To celebrate all of this i thought it would be nice to go through some aspects of you career, starting from your past and to end with your album.
Can you tell us about your musical journey from the beginning, its development and artistic influences that have renewed your perception of sound, and your musical expectations, from time to time?
It was quite late that I came to music I think. We didn’t have much music at home when I was growing up although I was surrounded by a family of engineers and teachers. The local library had a really big collection of vinyl which made it great to experiment with different kinds of music and there was quite a luxury of radio to choose from in London as well, especially from DJs like John Peel who undoubtedly expanded the music I heard. It was through this that I jumped from synth pop to indie to industrial and EBM and eventually as I got to late teens and on into university years this became more and more a love for techno and electronic music. I was heavily influenced by electronics and computers from as far back as I can remember and this influenced me a lot. I was most of all fascinated with the machines that were used to make the music rather than let’s say the lyrics and it was a really exciting period since it was the beginning of the explosion of electronic technology like computers at home and so on. The aesthetic of techno is so appealing because of that direct connection.
From your point of view, how did we arrive to today’s london techno scene, scene in which you feel you belong to from the artistic point of view? Can you explain us why?
I don’t know if I’d say there’s a London scene that I belong to although I am physically located there. It’s not like there are secret meetings to decide how things should be I suppose there is an influence of the big city and musical heritage that applies well to my kind of techno though; a brutal urban architecture combined with a storm of emotions and energy. There are pockets of interesting artists and parties that come and go of course. I’ve always considered myself not really to be a part of any small herd in particular and there are like minded people everywhere you look although there have definitely been periods were some sort of label made sense of influential pockets, like the Birmingham sound of Regis, Surgeon, Female, etc. or the Spanish sound of Mulero, Reeko, Wunsch, etc. or the Central European wave around clubs like U Club in Bratislava. Even now I would say there is a wave of Italian artists as well as the obvious Berlin zeitgeist and is all enveloping tentacles.
What are the gigs that in your long career have given you the most intense emotions?
There are many and for many reasons. It could be the sheer scale of the journey such as to go to Australia and back for a weekend and find like minded people (and similar weather) or maybe for me I would say the third time I played at Berghain as I felt comfortable and it meant I could think less about it. Playing after The Prodigy in Czech Republic was an odd experience too. Even some really small parties that stick in mind like one in a bakery in Stockholm many years ago and it felt like the 100 or so people that were there were bouncing off the walls with energy. There have been amazing locations like at the Norberg Festival in Sweden also or Tundra Festival in Lithuania and awesome productions like Trouw in Amsterdam or just this weekend a big Token night for Reaktor also in Amsterdam
How does a sensitive person like you live the moment in which you have to compare yourself with your audience during your sets?
For me the perfect moment when I am playing is to find contact with a few people that are really feeling the music – could be eyes are closed, could be just somehow you get some connection. I like to push the boundaries quite a bit and not play so safe and I think that gives space for those connections to happen – not with everyone but strongly with a few. In a way I also feel a bit disconnected from my usual self when I am playing, it’s typical performer thing I suppose and there can be quite a strong energy when a set is flowing and you are totally in the zone. Feels almost like you are not separated from everyone by the decks and stage but in the same space. I much prefer when the decks are close to the crowd for that reason.
Speaking about your fifteen year old daughter, Asymmetric, can you describe how it was conceived, born and raised?
It was simply a way to release the music I wanted to that felt most of all a true expression. It’s fantastic and really important to work with other labels but to an extent you are always working through the filter of someone else’s ideas and a label’s established direction. With Asymmetric It was a nice chance to have a label with which I could feel less filtered. Originally the label was vinyl but I also made the move to digital very early on when you look back now. It was important for me to keep the agenda of the label and I think after switching to digital and also making the releases available for free that there was an even better feeling of creative freedom and that was really important as well as allowing some really interesting tracks to be heard.
..and in regards of Token Records? How did your collaboration begin ? what were your first contacts with Kr!z and how would you describe your relationship with the label? In what way has Token influenced you and in what way have you influenced the label ?
It began with an email from Kr!z who runs the label and it has grown from there. It was amazing to have been responsible for the first release on the label and the be a big part of a growing family and growing label. The relationship is really strong too I think and it feels like a perfect combination and far from giving me a feeling of constraint – for example the album ‘Vaudeville’ that will come out in June feels totally personal and I don’t feel like anything was filtered out from that.
The release date of your album on Token is scheduled for June 2014. Listening to the preview of the release (TOKEN41) I felt a deep research of the sound symbol of “discovery”, “development”, “energy” and “undefiled purity. ”
I had the impression that here, much more than in your other works, there are direct influences from the finest English post-punk tracks. I definitely feel like these tracks are finding a sweet spot and tapping good energy and emotional sounds.
According to you, do these symbols and these influences fall in your album? ..and if yes, in what way?
For sure the album feels like a pure expression. It was also made in a relatively short timeframe so I think that also brings a kind of intensity and connection between the tracks. There are definitely, for me, some of the most emotional tracks I’ve made included on the album and maybe the titles will give clues to that as well. I’m really excited for when it will finally be released!
How did you experience the production path that brought you to this?
I’ve always produced in a very performance orientated way, especially when I worked with only hardware. I tend not to design tracks but to create an environment to perform them in. I think that learning on hardware was a great path the travel to understand how sound worked and how to manipulate it and catch accidents and feelings. It took some time to find a good way that I could work the same in software – technically and conceptually there are amazing tools but to me it doesn’t matter if you can’t actually use them in a direct and intuitive way. The album felt like a culmination of a lot of experimenting with using software to finally reach a place where I didn’t feel too much limitation in the way that I could sculpt the sounds or perform the tracks.
Thanks a lot for sharing this with me, hope to see you again as soon as possible!
Inigo Kennedy (Token) – UK