Welcome to the latest addition to the Skirmish interview series! Having been blown away by Clark‘s tunes on many a session and always going back to his tunes for inspiration, we’re delighted that he was nice enough to answer a few questions ahead of his Bloc gig this Saturday.
So you’re launching your new live show “Phosphor” at Bloc this weekend, what have you got in mind, set up/tunes wise?
Live oscilloscope action with modular synth live action….I don’t want to say too much you know…..sorry….being coy etc
When was the first time you realised you wanted to make tunes and how have u managed to make a living from it?
I got a Yamaha SHS10 for my 8th birthday. I made quite clear plans around then. But got distracted by teenage hormones, shit grunge and acid between the ages of 14-17. Then I got back into electronic music.
Your music has touched on a variety of styles over the years, how has this affected your live performances and the direction you take with them?
There has been a gradual shift towards singular, metric, rhythm based material that works very well on the dancefloor but isn’t quite dance music either. Which is very satisfying. When you start playing live, with a range from guitar tracks/piano tracks/200bpm jungle tracks, it can be quite confounding in terms of how to present it all. But I’ve got it pretty locked now. I should have after all this time, really….
You’ve used a variety of set ups for your live performance, as we’ve seen up close with your live Iradelphic performance – does changing your set up inspire your productions?
Equipment/change of practice always inspires but it’s important to strip it back/retain perspective “If I only had this piece of equipment then I would really be able to make the music I dream of ” this would be a silly way to think about it. Work with whatever is at arms length at the time.
What bit of gear can you not live without?
I could live without any of it. I’m very resourceful, I’d find a way to write music. It keeps you on your toes, gear breakability/contingency.
You can always just literally write music…chords/sequences etc…on a bit of paper or whatever, and remember them for later. People forget that. It’s a good exercise in asserting control over your material.
You’ve collaborated with some other artists, such as (one of my favourites!) with Martina Topley Bird and loads of remixes on your latest remix release. Do you find this process inspiring and would you ever give up the solo work to tour with a group?
It was very inspiring. She came over the same day as I landed on a long haul flight back from Australia. A distinct memory is drinking far too much tea and then her delivering 5 immaculate takes, all in a row, each one different in their own way…..very smart lady.
On touring with a group,no way!
If you weren’t making tunes (and managing to make a living from it) what do you think you’d be working as today?
The thought fills me with dread. If the music genes weren’t present then i’d probably just be geeking out reading for 10 hours a day in a bedsit somewhere, playing piano for 1hour a day. Which clearly wouldn’t be enough…I can imagine having loads of cats or something….I don’t know….
What’s the weirdest tune you’ve ever bought?
I heard this proper weird cover of “People Are Strange” by Edward Furlong the other week.
When it comes to music are you a bit of a perfectionist? You’ve mentioned before in another interview that you “envy people who can enjoy music without having to challenge it”. Has this made you skeptical of music today, and what’s a tune that in your ears is just perfect?
I’m not skeptical about music at all. I’m too open really, I’ve got no guard against being interested/obsessed with it. That’s the problem really….I kind of get into everything in a way, even stuff that I dislike, just a compulsion to understand it/penetrate it. It does my head in. No “ off “ switch.
As for my own music yes I chisel and chisel away at it everyday for hours on end….most of my album tracks have about 30 versions previous to the one chosen…..it’s a long process, people usually hear about a 10th of what I write in a year on record,
A tune that is perfect to my ears.
Debussy: Tanse les Delphes
Oh, and Brutal-8e by Altern 8 : gooesbumps on pills!
How did you get the bass sound in Growls Garden?
I can’t remember exactly. It took ages that bass bit. It’s about 20 different takes layered up in different ways on different mixing desks. Some analogue/some digital.
If you could score the soundtrack to any directors films who would it be?
For those up for a night out in London, Bloc have been bringing the beats big time, and this line up of Clark, Surgeon, Truss and Billy Nasty is going to be nothing short of face meltingly good. If you don’t have a ticket, there’s 30 on the door so get down early! : )