is your musical background? How did you come to electronic
music and form LFO?
When I was
14 and a half I bought an 808 from my first girlfriend’s
dad for £25 (he used to do Lady In Red
style demos with it). I was really into Hip-Hop and Electro
and I wanted to try and make some beats of my own. When
I left school I did a Graphics and Photography course
where I met Gez (Varley) and Martin (Williams), Martin
used to DJ at a club in Leeds called the Warehouse, Gez
used to break at the same silly places I used to when
we were about 13. It just happened naturally really, we
got some synths from second hand shops, recorded them
on a four-track and Martin played them in his set.
LFO originally a duo or was Gez Varley never meant to
trapped by the confines of Warp and wanted to pursue
a more direct ‘dance’ orientated sound, LFO was always
my baby really, most of the tracks on Frequencies
I made alone but we split everything 50/50 ‘cos I’m
so nice and I didn’t know anything about publishing!
was a defining record in early electronica. Did you
realise its potential at the time?
we were both 19 and didn’t have any master plans (yet).
Frequencies is a personal album, it wasn’t
intended for everyone to get, it’s more like a compilation
tape/CD you make for a mate. It’s really flattering
when people say they are influenced by it.
understand better now the impact it has had on electronic
all shy now…
late eighties/early nineties, there seem to have been
loads of landmark albums released, and quite a few of
them on Warp. Do you think there was more creativity
at the time, or have we just got used to new sounds?
I don’t know
what it was? I think the ‘scene’ was healthier, as in
people weren’t so genre obsessed, all this prawncore,
IDM, speedfelch talk really gets on my knob, it’s like
everyone’s a hymen-in-tact HMV employee.
you come to work with Warp?
to the Leeds Warehouse one night and heard Martin play
some tracks and they got all moist, so we played them
some more tracks and we made friends.
from Frequencies, you paid homage to a handful
of pioneers of electronic music, including Depeche Mode.
What was it like to work with them ten years later?
Like a special
Barbara Cartland dream.
ago, there were a few people who were giving you a bit
of a hard time on the Warp message board for working
with Björk and Depeche Mode. What was your reaction
to them not understanding your choices?
Was I arguing
with them? I was probably pissed out of my mind. I couldn’t
give a fuck if anyone disapproves of what I do but I
love a good pissed up argument from time to time.
the Björk collaboration come up?
I met Björk
when she was playing one of the last Sugarcubes concerts,
she really wanted me to contribute to her solo album
Debut but I was to busy fannying around with
my own beats. She then rang up when she was doing Post
but I was still fannying. Then she was doing her third
Album and she asked if I’d come to Spain to work with
her for a bit, I ended up staying for 5 months and then
we did Homogenic.
with such an unconventional artist must have been a
bit of a challenge. How did you work with her?
fun than challenging, similar things move/excite us,
it’s more of a team thing. I could do whatever with
the music and she can sing over it straight away without
hearing it once. We captured some beautiful moments
like that. We worked with some brilliant musicians,
like Coba, a classical Japanese accordian player. On
Bacholorette he thought his part should sound
like it was played by a really enthusiastic amateur,
so he limited himself to three fingers on each hand
so it would be a struggle for him to play, man v accordian,
which was nice. Deodato the disco legend did most of
the string arrangements with us; his old 70’s album
covers are a testament to his genius with his flowing
locks and ladies in bikinis everywhere. Markus Dravs
was brilliant to work with, he co-produced Brian Eno
and he’s a crazy German Liverpudlian. Trevor Morais
whose studio it was is a cool drummer who played with
Kool & The Gang and loads of other great funk bands.
On a morning he’d do a ‘drum school’ thing where Markus,
Björk, Rebecca (lard) and me would learn the ways
you approach Dancer In The Dark, which probably
had more constraints due to the nature of the project?
constraints was the momentum and mood of the music to
be locked to the film, which wasn’t that hard ‘cos
it’s a great story. We also recorded with Valgeir, an
Icelandic engineer/producer who was invaluable when
it came to translation in the various bars and pubs.
I wrote two of the songs at home before seeing any of
the script, just Björk describing the scenes over
the phone. Getting all the found sound samples was a
laugh, recording Icelandic fish factory noises mixing
it with Icelandic bra snapping rhythms.
experience the tension that is said to have risen between
Björk and Lars Von Tiers during the filming?
Lars is just
a wind up merchant, Björk was really vulnerable
during the filming and Lars is an unrelenting teaser.
Everyone’s friends now.
Exciter for Depeche Mode a job with more limitation
because of the band being so established already?
Not at all,
it was easier; we all just clicked straight away when
we met at Andy (bass synth) Fletcher’s bar in London.
I could play with all their old synths/drum machines,
etc... We decided to break things up and make nights
out fun so we recorded in New York, Santa Barbara and
London to keep things fresh and not job like. We worked
with Gareth Jones, a brilliant producer (Neubauten,
Can, Nick Cave, etc..). He was the voice of reason,
a consummate professional and a gent.
differentiates the work as a musician and producer?
originally was someone who would steer the recording
project with non-creative business decisions like which
studio, which session musicians you can afford, etc…
When I’m ‘producing’ I just focus on the music as if
it’s my own personal stuff, I’m about as organized as
a dead sock.
Björk and Depeche Mode, who else would you like
to work with, either as a producer or collaborator?
the moment, I’m just really enjoying doing my own music
for now. I’m doing something with Dan the Automator
in a bit though.
on a very interesting internet-based visual project
with Danny Brown. How did this come up?
I saw Danny’s
Noodlebox site and it blew me away, It was more art
+ fun than the usual Designers Republic rip offs, my
mum liked it too.
you work on this project? Did you provide the music
after the graphic part was created or were you completely
involved right from the start?
clips are short loops from my new album, I sent him
some loops and he sent some rough ideas back and we
did that until we were happy! It is amazing when
you play around with it for some time, you can get some
really beautiful things. Me and Danny have worked
on some other things that should be up soon…
any plans to release the soundtrack?
I pull my finger out.
internet a medium that interest you?
I think it’s affecting everyone, whether it’s Instant
news from loads of perspectives, paying your bills or
mail order brides, it’s bonkers!
was a long gap between Frequencies and Advance,
and you are currently working on the follow up. Beside
the production work, does it take you a lot of time
to concretise your ideas?
way you work changed a lot since the late eighties?
some more toys now but it’s the same principal. If it
sounds good, record it.
as moved on a lot since the days of Frequencies,
and electronic music is somehow democratised these days.
Does it make harder to write some original material?
Not at all.
I know everyone’s got fruity loops and reason, etc…
but if people stop trying to emulate Aphex and Autechre
and let themselves go a bit, I’m sure everyone can make
the artists that impress you today?
Snares, Autechre, Radiohead, Thomas Brinkmann, DJ Shadow.
with Björk and Depeche Mode make you want to include
more vocals on your albums?
give us a little insight into the new album? What is
the general mood like?
excited about it! And that’s all I’ll say!
have a release date for it yet?
I will do
is somewhere a boy band called LFO, apparently standing
for Lyte Funky Ones. Although it is very unlikely that
your fans would fall for this, have you ever tried to
stop them from using the name?
Bastards! They’re managed by the same people as
Backdoor Boys. The only thing I could do was to make
them state every time it says LFO it’s got to say it’s
the Lyte Funky Ones.
you to Mark and Gill.