“I would love to do a completely crazy noise project or something – like wall of noise distortion – but I think that would have to be another time, another place.”
You already record under four different names, do you ever feel like you need even more aliases?
“[Laughs] Sometimes I’ll sit there and I’ll come up with a different song and think ‘this doesn’t really fit into Audion and this isn’t quite pop so maybe I should come up with a new alias altogether’. But then I quickly slap myself out of dreaming and say I’ve already got way too many. But eventually down the line maybe it would be good to retire a couple and then move on to some other ones. I would love to do a completely crazy noise project or something – like wall of noise distortion – but I think that would have to be another time, another place.”
What music was inspiring you during the writing and recording of Black City? The closing track ‘Gem’ reminds me a little of some of Brian Eno’s songs off Another Green World or Before and After Science: was he someone you were listening to a lot at the time?
“Yeah, definitely, there’s always the Eno influence, and I think he’s so influential because there’s so many different types of Eno you can take in: you can like Eno for his production work on other bands; you can like Eno for his co-writing work with David Byrne and Bowie on those albums; you can like Eno for his solo albums alone; you can like Roxy Music Eno. There’s so many different Enos you can get, so, for sure, he’s always going to be an influence to some degree.
“When I listen to music I’m just trying to take things in and learn what the guy’s doing behind the control, behind the microphone or behind the guitar: he’s definitely a master to learn from. I listened to a lot of later-early Gary Numan – Dance was a really big influence the last few years. I think just darker synthetic music in general – a lot of Can.”
Is the track ‘More Surgery’ based on a personal experience?
“It’s definitely about the life I live in general: “I’m a gross machine when I feel the plane”. Just all the travelling and all the zig-zag back and forth and maybe a loss of sense of self that you can get by grinding to the bone. But also a realisation that you have to keep going and the machine won’t stop.
“The way to get through that is to – this could apply to any kind of machine life, whether it’s just the daily grind of going to work 9-5 or a constant progression of things – realise that it won’t stop and that there is no eject button. In the story of ‘More Surgery’, the character’s realising he needs to adapt by taking medicine and getting surgery to maintain and to keep up with the demanding cruelty of life.”
“We’ve been rehearsing in New York during the disastrous heatwave that we’ve had, trying our hardest to learn the songs with sweat dripping from our noses.”
What are you planning on the live side for this album?
“I’ve been rehearsing again with the Big Hands who accompanied me on the last tour. I’ve got a live drummer and a live bass player and I do computer stuff and some synths. And it was us three for the Asa Breed tour but we’ve added another member now: his name’s Greg Paulus and he records as No Regular Play on Wolf + Lamb. He plays trumpet and keyboards and he’s kind of become the fourth member of the band. We’ve been rehearsing in New York during the disastrous heatwave that we’ve had, trying our hardest to learn the songs with sweat dripping from our noses. We’re on a bit of a break now, I took some vacation time and I’m in Martha, Texas and I’ll probably go back end of August/beginning of September and start rehearsing again, take that on tour.”
If you hadn’t moved from Texas to Michigan when you were a teenager, what kind of music do you think you would be making now?
“I don’t know. I always think that, you know. I definitely got more into electronic music (when I moved). I knew a bit about the more commercial-ended stuff, more of the industrial/new wave I was listening to when I was younger in Texas, but had I not moved to Detroit and been able to experience the underground scene there I always wonder would I have pursued more of the techno stuff or would I have gone more rock first? Texas is obviously very grass roots, more rock-based stuff. Yeah, who knows? I probably wouldn’t be talking to you right now, that’s for sure!”
What’s exciting you on the DJing side at the moment in terms of other DJs or tracks?
“I definitely love playing. It’s weird because it’s like a totally split personality: I have to maintain that side of me while I’m doing all the rehearsal stuff. I guess what I am trying to do now is book these shows with the band a bit early and then be able to get afterparty gigs with just me DJing to keep the balance and to write the cheques and to pay the band, you know, make everything balance out.
“Inspiration-wise, I don’t know, there’s always so many people coming through. I’ve been listening to a lot of new Nicolas Jarr stuff, I really like what he’s doing. Koze’s always one of my idols, I never fail to play his new tracks when they come out and be inspired by them.”
Is there anything else you want to say?
“[jokey tone of voice] FACT magazine rules!…
“I’m just excited for the year and excited about touring. I should be coming through to the UK with the band in December. Look out for us there, hopefully we can get some really good shows lined up.”