Aphex Twin

By Bob Gourley | Originally published in 1997

When Chaos Control interviewed you during the NASA tour, you mentioned that you built your own electronic instruments. Can you describe them a bit more, and explain how they work alongside commercially available gear?

“Well, I don’t use the electronic stuff I made before. I use about two things that I built when I was younger, and that’s all these days. I’m strictly into the computer domain.”

What home made equipment do you still use?

“I’ve got one thing that’s like an effects box for signal treatments and bizarre sorts of effects that I can’t get out of anything else. The quality is very fucked up and it sounds pretty cool still.”

What was the reason for the move towards computers?

“It’s just that analog electronics has had its day for me. It’s too limiting. I’m much more interested in using computers.”

You’re known for being very prolific. How much material did you write for the new album?

“For this one, I had about 200 songs. It was quite hard, it’s always hard, because I never know what to release, basically. So I get my mates to listen to it and try to see what they like. I don’t usually end up putting out my favorite tracks. I don’t reckon people will get into those. Not that I care, I just want them to buy the record so I can get some money.”

Do you try to chose songs with common theme? Do you try to find a varied group of songs?

“Usually I try to get a sort of range. I approach thinking about what I would have wanted if I bought and what people will actually buy, to get a compromise in between.”

How long did it take to create those 200 songs?

“A year.”

Will the other material come out, as either side projects or bonus tracks?

“Some of it probably will come out. They just go into the realms of all the other millions of tracks I do that never come out.”

Do you ever go back to songs you did a long time ago but never released?

“I’m totally nostalgic, so I get into listening to old stuff every now and again.”

Do you usually start and finish a song, then go to the next one, or do you tend to be working on many tracks at the same time?

“I tend to do things in one go, if I leave things I don’t go back to them because I don’t get the excitement out of it. But I do that sometimes, and sometimes I’ll have like four of five tracks on the go. But mainly, just one.”

How has your live show changed over the years?

“I use my laptop computer for everything now, I’ve got one effects unit controlled by the computer as well. I think the next shows will just be the laptop, and a 2 channel mixer.”

So you don’t have any MIDI gear connected to the laptop?

“I’ve managed to work it all out on the computer, and it’s loads better than the way I used to do it. It’s more flexible than what most people do with sequencers and samplers.”

Are you using custom software do accomplish this?

“Some of it’s my software, and some of it’s existing software.”

What are the advantages of this set-up?

“It’s like I’ve got quite a big choice of tracks, and I change them around loads when I’m playing them, basically. It depends on what the sound system is like, and what I feel like, basically.”

Will the Mike and Rich album be released in America?

“Possibly soon. Rephlex is doing tons of deals, one with Sony and probably one with Sire as well.”

Have you had any other recent releases under other names? “No” It seems like a few years ago you had so many side projects that it was hard to keep track. Are you getting away from that now?

“Yeah. I still do other things, but haven’t had anything out recently. I want to keep it simple.”

What are you plans for the immediate future?

“I want to come out by the end of the year and do a good tour. Put the rock bands to shame.”

Is it true that you want to tour with Nine Inch Nails?

“Yeah, I thought that might be alright. They’re not touring, so I can’t do it. Someone told me they were into it if they were touring, but they’re not.”

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