AL: Has the record come out in England?

AP: Yes it has. It came out in Japan first, then Europe, and now it is coming out in the States. It's been a long process really. Not so much in the making, but because Mo Wax was owned by A&M, and they were bought by Polygram. It was part of the Seagram’s merger. It was caught up in the politics and held up. There's many labels it's released under but I think of it as a Mo Wax record because I deal mainly with James Lavelle. He was doing a lot of hip-hop records years ago with DJ Shadow and DJ Krush, so when I went to see him, it was at a point where he was looking for something slightly different, maybe weirder, something to branch out the label. James is very young so he's not from the old school, men in suits, way of thinking. James Lavelle is just more daring. He let me just go off and do the album and he accepted at the end. There's no way around it for an artist like me.

AL: You felt like you had a lot of freedom to work, then? I noticed that Kiss My Arp covered a lot of areas and was diverse and wasn't limited to one type of sound.

AP: Well, I love gangster rap. I have this thing where I love a lot of the scenes of America, where we all like scenes that are not from our own territory. For me, I love NWA and all the old school beats. The beats are hard. Then it got a bit light and fluffy at one point. You have Mix Master Mike, and Cut Chemist from LA, and DJ Kraze from Miami. I don't like to segregate. If I'm playing in one place, I don't like to think "Oh, I can't play this record because I'm on the East Coast or West Coast." And it's very like that out here. I love Detroit techno, Chicago house, and I like all sorts of music. I know what I like. I want to play what I really believe as opposed to what I should be politically playing whatever the place is.

AL: Your influences and interests are very diverse. I thought a few songs sounded like Warp stuff, like Autechre....

AP: A lot of people think that it has the Warp sound. Warp is one of my favorite British labels. I love Autechre, Plaid, and Aphex Twin. Those records are all timeless and you can still play them. But the real reasons I like that style of music is because they are not sampling big loops of other people's music. For myself, I only use analog synths and analog decks. People like Steve Reich, Ryguchi Sakakmoto, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Art of Noise, all of these people, even Phillip Glass from way back, have this thing where you make your own sounds. You're creating all the time. You're not just relying on other things that people do nowadays. As technology has moved forward in the last twenty years, it's made people really lazy and slightly uncreative. I'm not disrespecting those people because you need all types of music but it's a bit recycled. I love electro and the 808 drum machine. There's not many pioneers now pushing boundaries.

AL: What about Kraftwerk? They were doing a lot with the technology then. And they influence much of the Warp records.

AP: Kraftwerk has always been one of my biggest influences, but again the equipment in which they were making tracks with were the maddest bits of gear. They started electro for me, and they did an incredible new style of music. They made their own synths and they are the only people with those certain pieces of equipment. Germany is a good place for electronic music. All the beats are stiff. You can play more ominous, more menacing, stiff, nasty beats in Germany and they don't find it offensive like they do where it's more house and disco based like France and America. Things like Autechre seem much more ominous than some of that other dance stuff.

AL: How much sampling do you do on the new record?

AP: I sample a lot of organic sounds from outdoors. Metal hits and wooden hits. Also I make about sixty sounds from arps and serges and moogs, make the tracks and program the sounds. That's the fun part for me. Some of the gear I'm using is the first synths that were made. You have to turn them on with a key and wait for them to heat up for an hour. I'm always listening for sounds and rhythms. I like the organic and heaviness of analog that you don't get with digital sound. In keyboards now you get like a hundred presets. There's not that much choice for me, but I love the fact that with an analog synthesizer you can make one kick sound, but you'll never be able to make that sound again. Therefore every time I'm creating something, I'm creating something new. My boredom and attention span in the studio is really bad.

AL: When you DJ now, what sort of stuff do you play?

AP: The problem for me is that I do like so many different types of music, that I find it hard to narrow it down. I don't just play house or techno. I like it to go on a bit of a journey. So I'll probably start off with hiphop, then go on to electro, then go upbeat, and then go into some Carl Craig and Detroit techno. I just can't narrow it down. That's what I'm really about. I still do a lot of experimental chill out rooms. When I play with Phillip Glass and Steve Reich, I don't play so much NWA, I will play Autechre, a Phillip Glass record, some experimental stuff with some sound effect on top of it. That's the confusing thing with me. Sometimes I'll write a vocal ballad with a forty piece orchestra, and other times I'll write a track like "Ballbreaker" which is just a nasty distorted club tune. I like having an open mind. It's great seeing different scenes where you expose yourself to so many different sounds instead of limiting yourself to one small scene.

AL: Are there any observations you have made on this tour about clubs and DJ's?

AP: Everybody really wants to be a DJ. It's really sad to me. You have to love what you’re doing and be passionate about it and not just follow the trends. It's not an easy thing to do. And it's not about being a pop star at the end of the day. The great thing about being a DJ is that music is the one thing that connects people all over the world without a doubt. You pick up little details from every little scene. The global things and the collaborative aspects are really interesting.


Alexander Laurence is a writer who lives in New York City. He has interviewed over 100 novelists, many of which are accessible through the Internet. His book reviews have appeared in The Review of Contemporary Fiction, American Book Review, East Bay Express, LA Reader, Bay Guardian, and American Book Jam. He has been the editor of Cups magazine since 1993.

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