John Talabot talks new album, label plans and taking time away from gigging
The Spanish producer broke through with 2012’s album ƒin, following a steady build-up of singles on Permanent Vacation, Young Turks and his own Hivern Discs label. He’s built up a strong friendship with Young Turks, and collaborated with the label’s Koreless and Jamie xx (plus loose affiliate Four Tet) on the soundtrack to Sofia Mattioli’s Continuum project last year. He’s also become a significant fixture on the festival circuit, but won’t be gigging until March of this year as he focuses on writing a new album.
Hey John, how’s 2015 treated you so far?
2015 has been great at the moment, I haven’t played since NYD and I’m not playing a DJ set again until March 6. My goal was avoiding taking any planes until then.
You recently scored an accompaniment for silent visuals on Sofia Mattioli’s Continuum project – was that the first time you’ve done something like that? Did you find it hard, or are you the sort of guy who always has a visual in his head while making music?
[It was] one of the first times I did something like this and it was perfect. So happy to be part of something with musicians I admire so much. I always have a visual part of the music, like scoring imaginary movies or sequences. It’s a great way to imagine and try to recreate emotions. My goal with the Continuum one was to try and work in a two minute track without any silence in it. It’s a continuous oscillator looping so I recorded the oscillator and drones on top making melodies and I edited everything on top. So it has this idea of continuum that I imagined. Usually I’m a guy that works with breaks, moments of quietness etc, but I didn’t for this piece.
Your DJing schedule’s got busier and busier in recent years. Do you find that when you’re playing a ton of festivals on the spin that it starts to dictate the way your sets go – compared to, say, your radio show, which indulges your more eccentric tendencies? And is that a positive or negative?
Well that question is always tricky. Playing a radio show and a festival stage are two completely different things. People can’t perceive the music in the same way, and you can’t transmit the music in the same way in a festival and in a radio show. The same happens with huge venues and small venues. The sound, being closer to people etc, makes the difference and that’s real. I like many kinds of music but I’ve been trying to get better in my DJ sets about trying to play music that I like, that sounds clubby but close to my taste and what I like and not so popular. I’ve added some more techno to my sets lately, but I think the techno I play has been always a part of me. I like to play techno slower and give a totally different perspective of it. So I’ve been working a lot at finding music, making stuff for my sets too, lots of edits, etc.
What’s your plan for the coming months? Is a new album on the cards – and if so, how’s it sounding?
I wish I could say there is one and give a date, but at the moment there is only a plan to make it. From this plan to a finished album there is a huge way [to go]. There are a lot of things I like to take care of: the sound palette, the ideas, what I want to say, the challenge I want to assume and the risks I want to take, and this time I want to have an idea of how I want it to perform it. I learned a lot this past three years, and I want to put this energy and knowledge in this LP, trying to make the best record I can without losing the spontaneous thing that ƒin had.
What’s coming up on Hivern Discs? And do you have any intentions of developing it into an album label, or are you content to stick to singles for the moment?
The label is doing great and at this point is the most exciting new thing I do. This year Hivern will be releasing a lot of stuff – we never wanted to release so much, but we’ve got so much good music that we want to do it and invest a lot of time in the upcoming EPs, LPs and other ideas. We have two awesome albums, the Hivern Edits sub labels will be back, we’re doing some special editions, new Talaboman, new collaborations with labels and some parties too.
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