“My dad was deaf in one ear and I definitely have a loss of high frequency in one ear too. It’s a nice reminder in a weird sort of fucked up way.”
I once read this thing about Nick Cave’s dad dying and how it left a hole that he tried to fill through his work and not just through his various transgressions and addictions. He’d tried to write his father into existence – I can really relate to that.
It was a horrible circumstance, but I often think I’m very grateful for the journey that I’ve been able to go on. I feel like that seismic shock and the loss of his role in my life has all contributed to the strange life I’ve led so far.
“Moving from Bournemouth to a residential development was a stark change for me”
The dark brown bricks, the way the roads were laid out; these cul-de-sacs spread out from the main road in many different arteries. When I started to wonder around, that’s when something opened up to me. I stopped looking at it as just ‘the suburbs’. My friend [Quietus co-founder] Luke Turner has just written a book called Out Of The Woods and one of its main thrusts is how nature isn’t a binary thing. Despite how people treat it, you don’t go to nature, it’s everywhere around us.
When I was younger, I mostly kept to the same routes that I used to go to school or the shops, and I never really deviated from them. Then one day, when I was out getting some fresh air, I just kept on walking. I remember thinking, I don’t know where this road goes but I’m just going to keep walking up here. Nothing really amazing happened along the way but when I got back to the house I felt really different.
I got back to my room and even though I was familiar with everything in there it felt like everything had been moved by about half an inch. Everything was the same, but different. It felt like some psychedelic experience.
“I met John Doran at a Factory Floor Gig at the Village Underground in August 2012. It was one of the most important meetings of my life.”
I recognised him there – he was a very distinctive looking guy at the time: big beard and long hair. I handed him a CD and told him that I was a big fan of his site and how it’d been a big influence on the music I’d made through the various stuff I’d found there. The only reason I was at a Factory Floor gig anyway was because of The Quietus.
He got back in touch about a month later. My demo had been sitting in a pile of CDs that he’d eventually got around to listening to. I guess he really liked it and the rest is history.
It’s like I bypassed that thing where you’re the ‘artist’ and they’re the ‘publication’. That dynamic hasn’t ever been there. They’re just people I love and cherish.
“My interest in electronic music was accidental. I’d never really listened to dance music.”
Working with software and using synthesisers was a new lease of life. I no longer had to carry on with that linear way of writing vocals and guitar melodies. It was about creating soundscapes and instrumental pieces. It was a completely different music to what I was doing before. It was liberating that I could step out of one thing and go into something completely different.
“Playlist culture makes everything a streamline experience.”
Where there’s not many peaks and troughs. It’s a cultural phenomenon where it’s like being in a shop all the time – people want it to be a consistent experience and I don’t want that. I like friction and trying to make things butt up against each other. I like the jagged edges of when harmony goes up against more atonal bits.
When I create, it’s escapism. I was doing it because it felt good. I wanted to make music to pursue that feeling and I didn’t care what happened to it. I think once you unburden yourself from whether it’s going to be successful or not, it just flows out of you easier and people tend to respond to it in a more visceral way.
“The second East India Youth record didn’t go very well for me.”
I needed another stark change, which I think is a reoccurring theme in my life. I finished East India Youth and just like that it was over. For better – but probably more for worse – that’s just how I deal with things.
There wasn’t really much of a gap in between those two [East India Youth] albums and halfway through touring Culture Of Volume I was really burnt out. I couldn’t really do anything. I wasn’t making music; I didn’t have any interests or anything on the go.
I started to record music under my own name so I could make something that wasn’t under the same scrutiny. I had to find my way back into making things but I didn’t want to do it in a way that was under the spotlight of that thing that carried so much baggage.