Where to start with Plaid. Since their humble beginnings in London at the turn of the eighties right through to present day, the duo – comprising of school friends Andy Turner and Ed Handley – have always contributed something special to the electronic music scene.
With countless albums and EP.s under their belt, as well as recording one of the finest Peel Sessions, they’ve always been creating influential music rather than merely following trends. With releases such as Rest Proof Clockwork and 2001’s incredible Double Figure, the duo proved they were a force to be reckoned with and definitely up there as one of the best of the Warp luminaries.
Now, with new album Scintilli released this year, Plaid have laid down some of their best work to date and are continuing to push things forward and I am absolutely delighted that I managed to get an interview them. Andy Turner was nice enough to oblige even though they’re up the walls on tour at the moment. They are definitely one of the acts that got me into electronic music and have wrote some of my favourite tunes ever so I was very excited to hear what he had to say.
How did you guys first meet and start making electronic music?
We were at school together and shared a love of electro/hip hop. We lost touch for a few years but both ended up in London and started writing together in ’88. We put the first few releases out ourselves.
How did the deal with Warp come about?
They heard our album ‘Mbuki Mvuki‘ and got in touch by fax in 1990. Faxing was big back then.
Is there a lot of pressure working on a label with such a diverse and excellent output to deliver something special?
Not at all. We’re a bit beyond that after 20 or so years. There’s no pressure from AnR, we write what we like and so far they’ve liked it too.
How do ye approach writing a tune?
We write all the time, sometimes we think the results are worth releasing. Generally there’s no end goal in mind, just a search for satisfaction.
Ye’ve had an ongoing collaboration with visual artist Bob Jaroc, how did that relationship begin?
We saw him perform with our friend Leila at Sonar and enjoyed his work. We haven’t been performing with him for over 3 years now though.
How does your live set work?
We have audio and midi loops set up in Ableton. We structure the tracks from them. The video is a combination of set pieces and elements triggered by midi information. This keeps it synchronized with the tracks on the night.
What producers are you listening to right now?
We listen to a lot of music. Thrednody makes interesting electronic grooves. Hudson Mohawke is a good newish Warp artist.
Ye have a new album Scintilli out that’s been a few years in the making. How long ago did ye start writing it?
It’s a compilation of tracks written over the past few years. Some were written for live performances. The earliest ideas were made in 2009 for a show at the Disney hall in LA.
Having been around for years, what’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the electronic music scene?
Computers. Initially they could only be used as crude sequencers triggering external synths and samplers. These days they can do it all.
What does the future hold for ye?
We’re touring until early December. Then we’ve plans to write a new show for Koko in London on the 14th January. We hope to record with Felix’s machines and the South Bank Gamelan players early next year too.
Big thanks to Andy Turner for taking the time to do this.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA
LOS ANGELES, CA, USA