“I’ve always been a contrary f**ker”: Timothy J Fairplay talks otherworldliness and working with Andrew Weatherall as The Asphodells
Timothy J Fairplay makes heavy slow-motion house music, jacking and chugging its way to sustained freak-outs. He’s released only a handful of solo records thus far, but every one’s a dancefloor blinder – the absurd Ancient Egyptian fantasy of 2011’s ‘Cleopatra Loves The Acid’ being a particular highlight.
His dayjob for a while has been working as Andrew Weatherall’s engineer, and the two have now formed The Asphodells (pictured above; that’s Fairplay on the left). Their debut album Ruled by Passion Destroyed by Lust, a superb collection of krautrock-inspired jams, is to be released on February 4 via Weatherall’s own Rotters Golf Club imprint.
Tim’s also a great DJ, specialising in – as the man himself puts it – “Quaalude Boxx JJams, Deep Donk and Fulci Gloop”. Often weaving his own productions into vintage Chicago tracks and dubby obscurities, his sets have a real drama and psychedelic sense of adventure to them. Want proof? His latest mix, full of as-yet-unreleased gems – is available here as a free download, to accompany his gig at the Grosvenor in London on Friday 1 February.
FACT’s Simon Hampson coaxed him away from his music machines for a few minutes to get the low down on his influences and inspirations, future plans, and the importance of The Funk.
It’s always nice to hear people’s raving histories…how did you get into DJing and making music that gets played in discos?
“My first experiences of clubbing were at various clubs in Brighton and Portsmouth in the mid to late 90′s. Drum and Bass and nu-school breaks, which I fucking detested, were big down there; but there was a strong underground techno scene too. I was very much an indie kid, but was exposed to house, techno and electro when working in a record shop. I was in bands all through my teens and early twenties, but started making electronic music, at first using Reason, about 10 years ago.”
You were originally a guitarist, playing in projects including [no wave-ish group] Battant, so what made you move towards production?
“Well I always wrote or co-wrote the songs for every band I have been in so, I always saw the bigger picture than just playing the guitar part. I wanted control of everything: the production, the mix, etc. It is inevitable these days…but people always made their own demos, it’s just now you can actually produce something releasable at home or wherever. Though without meaning to sound like a grump, I do think there is a lot of released music out there which sounds like it still needs producing.”
You’re one of a group of producers who get called ‘the Scrutton St axis’, after the studio space you share… what goes on at Scrutton Street, and how does that feed into the music you make?
“It’s funny how that ‘Scrutton Street axis’ thing has stuck…well it’s actually Andrew [Weatherall], myself and Scott Fraser who have rooms in the studio, along with a chap called Andy Baxter who sells vintage bass guitars – though Sean Johnston [resident DJ at A Love From Outer Space] is a regular visitor and Dan Avery comes in to work with me. We just listen to a lot of music and make a lot of music really. It’s quite a production line, we tend to work pretty fast – even though to an outsider it may appear we are just sitting around eating biscuits…
“We run a lot of analogue gear, I have no massive analogue vs digital beef, but it’s just how I like to work, a studio jammed full of gear is a lot more vibey than one with just a computer, a controller and some monitors…I think all of us are mainly influenced by the history of electronic music, we want the proper tools for the job. Andrew’s record collection is down there too so it’s a cool space. I’ve had a room in Andrew’s basement studio since around 2006, originally with Battant.”
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