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autechre q&a - page two
Akeefee asks: How do you feel about LP5 being on the HMV recommended list?
RB: That’s five or six years old that album, and it’s true, a lot of people have sighted it as a classic Autechre album because it bridges the gap between the guys who liked our old stuff and the guys who got propelled on to our new stuff. Back then there were fewer elements that were dictating quite big things. Now there are more elements that are dictating small essences of the vibe, but in concert there’s a really nice collection of things going on for us.
Fudi myo asks: When do you work best? Late at night? Afternoons?
RB: It’s changed over the years. We’ve been doing well lately. Getting down to it in the afternoons but really hitting the spot early evening. Not wearing ourselves too thin till six in the morning like we used to.
David Atkinson asks: When you write a track do you have preconcieved ideas about how you want it to sound, or do you just jam it out?
RB: I used to the love the idea that you could capture the ideas in your head. You know, when you’re going to sleep and you’re just about to drop off, I used to hear the maddest music. You could imagine it flowing, everything seemed to segue into the next really well, and things would fold, really nice yet intricate and clever and impossible at the same time. I used to think you could get those ideas down. But it’s really hard. Using words to describe stuff is always quite difficult. When we’re in the studio we’ll just turn on a bit of gear that maybe we haven’t used for a while and try and explore it, see if there’s something left, something latent that we can get out of it. We’d rather not let our minds dictate before we get to the equipment. There are loads of possibilities when you turn on an old sampler or an old drum machine. Some things stick and you can feel your way through, and a path starts to develop and you get little branches and ideas that make it better. It’s never about saying I want to do a beat that goes like this.
Brisk asks: What is your current ringtone on your mobile phone?
RB: One of our own. It’s called Maphones - Meldrum.
Fudi Myo asks: Are you trying to be innovative or do you just do what you do in an Autechre bubble and ignore everything else out there?
RB: No matter what we say or do, we are essentially pleasing ourselves. We can’t please everyone because we’d be doing something other than what we’re doing now. We wouldn’t have started doing what we did then for the same reasons. We’d have been trying to get on XL recordings on the back of Prodigy or something. We went to a label in Manchester that distributed XL. The guy there was like, “Yeah, you need to measure it up more squared like every 16 bars, maybe get a vocal loop in there, maybe a rock stab would be fresh.” And we’re thinking, “Shut up! This isn’t what we do.” The best thing he said was, “It reminds me of Brian Eno.” But that was an insult from him.
We’ve always been up against this kind of “it’s great that you do it your way, but it’s not great because you’re too self-indulgent” attitude. You can’t have it both ways. You’ve got to be your own best critic because if it all implodes then at least you were doing it for the right reasons. And you’re not being led up the garden path by a sycophant or somebody who couldn’t care less, or who just wants to go with the flow.
The only bearing we have against what’s happening elsewhere in music is the latest Apple hardware or Akai samplers, or the latest speakers. When you really boil it down we’re in a very contrived technological environment, because there’s a board of directors in control of, say, Yamaha or Akai or whatever, and these bits of gear are probably pre-empting a certain kind of music because they are filling it with certain kinds of behaviour. I guess we’ve always tried to circumvent that as well. We know there is a latent possibility in all this equipment.
cichly_bass_tard asks: Kalpol Introl is part of the soundtrack for the excellent Pi, directed by Darren Aronofsky. If you could choose to compose a soundtrack for the re-release of a movie, which one would you choose and why?
RB: Some of the films would be untouchable simply because of the soundtrack. It would be blasphemy to want to do it again. Can we redo Pi but keep the soundtrack the same? I’d like to collaborate with someone like Angelo Badalamenti. He does some great music for David Lynch.
Sixtyten asks: Would you ever consider producing instrumental tracks for a hip-hop artist. If so, who?
RB: Sean’s really into Sensational (ex-Jungle Brothers), but he’s got his own production down. There’s guys in Britain like MC Alkaline. We’ve always thought it would be nice to work with someone with his kind of character. It’s difficult because they’ve got so much persona embodied in their voices and their words. You could do a nice 16-bar loop and just loop it with cuts, in and out, and you’ve got a rap instrumental. That seems to be the norm. But I think ours would be more involved than that, so I’d worry that what we’re doing is an Autechre track with a guest vocalist. Then you end up in Two Lone Swordsmen land, and that’s not really our bag. I really like Saafir, he’s down with Hyroglyphics. There are a few, we’re quite open. We’d like to work with quite a few vocalists as long as they are open as well, as long as they don’t just want a dope backing track. They’d get that, but they’d have to work a bit harder than just laying a few doubletracks over the top of it.
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