Where are you based?
In the Lonely City.
Is this your home town?
I’m from the South coast originally.
What prompted the move, and the decision to stay? How long have you been in the lonely city?
I came to study about 10 years ago, but kind of knew I was not gonna leave.
What did you study Tim?
Philosophy, though I wrote my dissertation on romanticism. A lot of philosophy is way too dry for me.
What is your first musical memory?
My mother singing to me.
Can you remember what? Do you come from a musical family?
No I can’t really remember what. I do come from a musical family, my mother had been a folk singer before I was born, and one of my uncles made guitars. The other was a gold miner.
What was the first record you bought?
When I was a really little kid I really got into Rock n’ Roll, so I think it was an Elvis ‘best of’.
Do you think there`s still a Rock N` Roll element to what you do now?
Its influence is still everywhere, but there should be more music that makes you wanna smash up a cinema.
What was the last record you bought?
Where did you hear this record? What do you like about it? Where do you buy most of your music?
I know what they do is not new, but they do it so well. I expect I heard about it online somewhere. I bought it in the excellent Monorail in Glasgow. I buy music anywhere really, shops and online. I love vinyl, but I’m not too bothered about formats really.
What inspired you to start making music?
My mother really, though it was when working in a record shop that I became inspired to make dance music, before that I played guitar in bands.
Which record shop did you work in?
Haha, well, an Our Price, but they were cool little shops, and in every town. It was weirdly some window of escape out of the town I grew up in.
Which bands were you in? I know about Battant.
Before Battant? Oh a few, a highlight being Scarper. John Peel opened his show with our single some time in the late 90′s. And we covered “The Monster Mash” but made it sound like “Teenage Kicks”.
Can you remember which tracks inspired you to make the switch to producing Dance music? Was this while you were still in Battant?
Hearing Underground Resistance and Green Velvet was a big influence, but also acts like Throbbing Gristle, and John Carpenter’s soundtracks. This was before joining Battant. In fact I was coaxed back to the guitar to join the band.
Do you DJ or is production really your thing?
I suppose production, but it`s a close one.
Do you get a lot of DJ gigs, at home and / or abroad?
Just starting to play out again really, doing “Crimes Of The Future” every month with Scott Fraser in Glasgow and there`s some stuff in Europe and further afield before Christmas. I am planning on a live set some time next year too.
How long have you been making music?
I think I wrote my first song at ten. It was about a train.
A mystery train?
As in the Jim Jarmusch film? Naa some slow grotty BR train trundling through the English/Welsh borders.
How would you describe your sound?
Kind of a mix of my main influences: 70′s / 80′s Kraut / Cosmic / Soundtrack meets Chi Town. Though it changes day to day. Dub is always lurking in the background.
What kind of stuff do you listen to in the studio?
All sorts of stuff really, but I guess we all are obviously bonded by the 4/4 thud. What gets called Krautrock has been particularly popular in the studio the last few years, especially because of all the reissues. At the moment I’m loving Klaus Schlutze’s “Innovative Communication” label, but you are also just as likely to find me listening to DJ Deeon, Drone Metal to Music Hall, and all points in between.
Which production / remix are you most proud of?
“The Final Reel”, mainly just `cos it`s so live sounding.
That is a great track, with a touch of the epic New Orders about it, in fact I can hear a touch of New Order in almost everything you`ve released so far. Are New Order an influence or is this coincidence?
They are an influence, but more on the music I make with Andrew than on my solo work, the only true exception being my remix of “A life of silence”, which was a bit of an exercise in sounding like “Power, Corruption And Lies”.
What is your involvement with Bird Scarer?
Well its Andrews label, but I have been involved in every release so far. I guess it`s the studios label really.
Which production / remix would you most like to have done?
Haha, probably “Hollywood” by Cluster.
“Sowiesoso” is my favourite Cluster LP. A couple of years ago I was blowing all my money on those Roedelius re-issues Bureau B were putting out, all of them essential. Can you remember your introduction to this strand of “Krautrock”?
I suppose the link was Michael Rother. I was aware of him because of Neu! but then found out he was also in this other group called Harmonia. Cluster / Harmonia and the many Moebius and ‘…’ albums just slay me, their music can be so synthetic but still so loose.
What are your favourite places to play / hang out in?
To play; “Crimes Of The Future” in Glasgow. To hang out; World Unknown, as long as there are no air conditioning units falling on me.
Air conditioning units? Is there a story there? I heard a rumour that you are working on some music with Andy Blake at the moment?
Haha. Loose lips sink ships. But yeah, I have been doing some Music with Mr Blake, some should make it out early next year.
I asked Sean Johnston, another friend of yours, the same question, but why do you think that slower, darker sound, as played at A.L.F.O.S. and World Unknown has become so popular?
From a production point of view it`s partly about the space between the beats, there`s lots more room for swing. I am a big fan of the half-step too, that weird tempo which is both very slow and very fast. But for me it`s not so much the tempo but the freedom at both nights for the DJ’s to really play something out of the ordinary. Like at WU Joe doesn’t beat match half the time. A lot of those records played at WU come from a time when dance music was a lot more undefined, where you would get weird, almost genetic experiment 12″s – some Cold Wave thing – with a Dub bass-line…and an Acid line AND train noises. Nobody knew what they were doing, the genres were not yet invented or at least were not so strict.
What is your favourite place outside of a bar / club / record shop?
Do you see yourself as part of any scene?
Not exactly, though I do obviously have a strong allegiance with A.L.F.O.S and World Unknown, apart from that I am very into what producers like Steve Moore and Danny Wolfers are doing.
What is it about Steve Moore and Danny Wolfers work that you like?
In the case of Danny Wolfers its how un-seriously he takes his music, but without coming across as being ironic. To some extent it`s partly the way they work, both fundamentally using old equipment. I like musicians to use “specialized equipment”. Klaus Schulze and his HUGE modular systems, Syd Barrett and his tape echo loops. Fuck the democracy of the soft synth.
You put a Steve Summers track on your mix, how do you feel about L.I.E.S.?
Yeah I like L.I.E.S. it`s a cool asthetic. I’m a big fan of Steve Summers / Jason Letkiewicz, theres a really cool record he’s done as ‘Alan Hurst’ which is coming out on Emotional Response.
There seem to be quite a few labels and artists, like L.I.E.S., Emotional Rescue, Jason Letkiewicz, and yourself, happy to put out “Chi Town” inspired tracks and more experimental electronic stuff. What`s the link between the two?
I guess I see all electronic music as being experimental or Psych music. House music in its early days was as out there as anything going on in Conny’s studio. A million Ibiza compilations made us forget that.
Do you have a say in the artwork for your releases?
A little, I would like a bit more say though.
What would you change if you could?
Oh not so much change, stuff has looked great so far, but I’d like to do a label and have control of that part of the process too.
Is a visual identity important?
Yeah totally, and I love artists who create their own mythology.
Which artists are you currently working with?
Andrew Weatherall, Andy Blake, Matilda Tristram, Dan Avery.
The “own mythology” comment kinda leads us to Mr Weatherall, although he is only partially responsible for his mythology, it`s really people like me that are to blame. I was trying to hold back, `cos it seems he gets a mention in everything I write, but there can be no avoiding it here. How did you meet Andrew and start working with him? Was it through the Battant remix that he did? Can you tell me more about The Asphodells?
I met Andrew at Heywire in the early 00′s. He was very supportive of Battant and we rehearsed in a room in his studio. I did session guitar and bass on “Pox On The Pioneers” and started engineering his remixes 2 to 3 years ago. Most of The Asphodells album was recorded this year, and is very Krautrock influenced, but it`s not another collection of Neu! rip offs. I hope you can equally hear the influence of the early 80s Britsh Industrial scene.
I can hear the Motorik in the cover of A.R.Kane, there`s also ACR and 23 Skidoo, and maybe Severed Heads, with access to Dubstep subs. “Lonely City” sounds straight away like you and Andrew, but searching for references maybe Meat Beat Manifesto and Fini Tribe. Industrial with a strong Dub influence.
I’m particularly pleased you hear Severed Heads in there. From an influences point of view there’s also Portion Control, Chris Carter, Clara Mondshine, Pete Shelley, Robert Calvert… The Dub influence is always there, as I said before, either from Andrew’s love of the bass-lines or my tendency to smother everything in cavernous, and possibly out of time, echo.
Tim, what were you doing at Heywire?
I was just a bit of a regular there, it`s where I first saw Adult, Legowelt, all sorts. That’s where I met the other original members of Battant too. In fact some of the earliest Battant gigs where at Heywire supporting the Swordsmen.
Who would you most like to work with?
Still Klaus Schulze or John Carpenter.
Does making music pay the rent?
Yeah these days it does, just.
What sites, if any, do you regularly check on-line?
I’m an ebay junkie mainly.
What was the last book you read?
“After The Rain” by John Bowen.
What is your favourite book?
That`s too tough. I am a bit obsessed with Graham Greene though.
I was forced to read a lot of Graham Greene at school, but I recently read “The Comedians” which I really liked. The Haiti stuff I could take or leave but the portrayal of a failing middle-age affair is brilliant. What is it that you like about his work?
There`s an honesty about his charactures which I love, the presentation of loneliness, the selfish nature of relationships. But I am also a sucker for a spy novel in an exotic location.
What was the last film you saw?
What is your favourite film?
Again, very hard. For now I’m saying “Shivers” by David Cronenburg.
What is it about “Shivers”? That`s the one with the parasite that turns people into sex maniacs isn`t it? Set in an apartment block?
Haha yeah, somehow one of the bleakest films ever made, utterly amoral. I’m a bit of a Cronenberg fan in general.
What is your favourite piece of music? If that`s too difficult, what`s your current favourite piece of music?
Ummm, John Carpenter’s “Reel 9” from The Fog soundtrack is the nearest I can come up with now.
Can you name three pieces of music to chill to?
Klaus Schulze “The Crystal Lake”, Roedelius “Fou Fou”, Walter Carlos “Timesteps”.
Can you name three pieces of music to start a party?
Electric Soul “X2”, Oppenheimer Analysis “The Devils Dancers”, Polygamy Boys “Wake up”.
“Somebody, Somewhere” by Timothy J. Fairplay is out now on Emotional Response and his “How The Machine Was built” EP is due for imminent release on Craig Bratley`s Magic Feet. You can listen to clips here and read a short review here.
You can hear Mr Fairplay DJing, alongside fellow Bird Scarer Scott Fraser at “Crimes Of The Future”, this Friday (26 / 10 / 2012) at Transmission, The Berkley Suite, Glasgow.