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Original photo © Stephane Burlot. Used with kind permission.

We caught-up with the fastest rising star on the electronic scene, Aaron Funk, aka Venetian Snares, for a transatlantic chat. In just two and a half years, Venetian Snares has become something of a phenomenon. Funk’s blend of classic drill’n’bass, jazz and film samples has placed him in line with the likes of Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and Mike Paradinas, who incidentally brought him to the attention of the world by releasing his records. In this interview, Funk talks about his mother player Tubular Bells when she was expecting him, cyber-sex, the importance of drums and living of his music.

How did you come to music? What is your musical background?
I first heard music while in the womb. My mom tells me she played Tubular Bells with the headphones against her stomach all the time. A bit disturbing as I believe that is the theme to The Exorcist. Maybe she thought she was having Satan’s baby.

Is there anyone who inspired you to set up your own project?
No, not really anyone in particular. I was more inspired by parties, I really had no idea who made a lot of the records.

Before you started Venetian Snares, have you been in any band? What kind of music were you playing?
I was in a couple punk bands as a kid. I did some more experimental stuff with my friend Dan for a few years.

You live in Canada. Were you born there? What's the electronic music scene like there?
I was born here. People like house music here. It’s the frozen Ibiza.

In an interview with Isolate Records, you said that you always pay very special attention to your snares. What did you mean by this?
I put a lot of love into my snaring. I guess I meant I treat them as an instrument onto themselves.

In the same interview, you talked about your mother being into punk. How did that influence your music?
I make some aggressive music I suppose.

How long was it before you got signed to Mike Paradinas's Planet Mu label, and how did this come about?
He heard my very first 12" at a record shop and tracked me down. I gave him a hard time for quite awhile but he seemed cool so now we are good pals.

You've released two albums in 2001 - one which was a collaboration with Speedbranch - and three in 2002. How do you find the time to write so much music?
It was 3 albums in 2001 and some 12"s. I really don't do much else. I'm not interested in golfing or knitting... and most of the time it's too fucking cold to leave the house.

How did the Speedbranch collaboration come about? You worked over the Internet, how did you combine your common work?
He tracked me down and bugged me to do it. I really like those tracks. He would scream into this computer then send the files to me and I made tracks out of them.

Are you planning other collaborations?
I might do some stuff with Otto Von Schirach, and also with Mark Bell. I did a couple of tracks with Otto already, but I slack off on that kind of stuff. Get too sidetracked with my own shit. I'm a dick.

We've all heard of Madonna expressing an interest for the work of Aphex Twin, while Björk has worked with Mark Bell, Matmos and Bogdan Raczynski. How would you react if someone as 'big' was asking you to work with them? Would you do it, and why?
It depends who it was and what they wanted to do. I would love to do a song with Neil Diamond. Can you imagine how awesome that would sound?

A lot of musicians use the net as a medium to exchange and collaborate these days. Don't you think it takes away a bit of what could come out of the interaction of two people playing in the same room?
Good question. It’s the same as cyber-sex. The idea is there but are you really doing it? Not really. At the same time you could argue it's just a new way to collaborate/fuck.

You're very often associated with Squarepusher, Aphex and Mike. How do you react to this? Does it sometimes annoy you?
Those are all incredible people, why would that annoy me?

You're music seems to be rooted in many different genres, from jazz to film music or classical. Where does this eclectism comes from?
I would prefer to call it Surrealism. I think I'd have been an alchemist 1000 years ago.

The music on Winter In The Belly Of A Snake seems more tamed than on your previous records. Was it a deliberate effort on your side? Is it a way to reach more people or don't you really care about that?
I certainly wasn't trying to make a more user-friendly record. That record is the way it is because it is exactly what I want it to be. Winter In The Belly Of A Snake is actually probably my most self absorbed, personal work to date. I didn't think anyone would really get it whatsoever.

For the first time on this album you sing. What made you decide to do it?
It's my stories so of course I should sing them.

You've toured the UK and Europe in October. What is Venetian Snares like in a live environment? Is the music even more than on records?
It’s a lot of my tracks being redirected and combined on the fly.

Do you prefer playing live or recording?
Definitely recording.

Can you live of your music or do you have a "proper" job?
Yeah I live of my music. Why does everyone ask me that? Is my music that absurd that nobody could possibly be buying it? ;)

Who do you really like listening to at the moment?
The Doctor Who theme song. Man that's an amazing piece of music.

What is the last record you bought?
Leo Kottke - Dreams and all that stuff.

What do you do when you're not composing?
I do normal everyday things like see my girl, sleep, eat, drink etc...

Email interview January 2003
Thank you to Aaron and Mike

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Winter In The Belly Of A Snake
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Satan's Baby

Planet Mu

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