Your output is incredibly varied. Not many artists could release fully analogue, sci-fi-inspired techno, for example, while also contributing remixes of Sister Gertrude Morgan to the Miami Vice soundtrack – and that’s really just a small part of it. How do you approach all these different projects? Do you decide, ‘Today I’m going to make a Fhloston Paradigm record,’ or is it a case of making the music first then deciding where it fits best?
It all comes from inspiration. Like in the case of Fhloston, I was watching The Fifth Element and decided, ‘I need to make some sci-fi’.
It always starts from a pure inspirational place or intention and then I think of where it fits. But I sometimes don’t care where it fits.
I get the impression you’re the kind of person who draws inspiration from just about everything around you. Is that a fair assumption? What’s the strangest thing that’s inspired your creative process?
Very true. Everything around me inspires! I wouldn’t say this is the strangest inspiration, but Shibuya Station in Japan is just so inspiring. The movement of masses of humans via technology… Looking down from the Starbucks six floors above is such a great feeling.
You’ve remixed some iconic performers over the years. Not just for the Gertrude Morgan LP but also in remixing Tony Scott for the Verve Remixed project or your reworking of Edwin Starr and Curtis Mayfield. Does it take a certain different approach when you’re working with such highly prized source material? Do you feel like you have to treat it with a different kind of respect, for example, or that you should stay more faithful to the source?
Yes! I respect all artistic work and vision but the reason I’m hired is to bring my total sound to the project. So now I take it as far away from the original as possible to give a fully different experience. I also only remix what I like.
You’re never tempted to take on a project with some source material you hate and try to turn it into something you love?
No. I need to be inspired or it won’t work. There needs to be something in it for me.
You posted some photos of Stockhausen records on your Instagram recently. Are you a big fan?
Do you think there are comparisons between modern electronic musicians and the approach to composition and sound design taken by avant-garde composers like Stockhausen?
Those groundbreaking approaches were the basis of how most of us think these days. Everything from musique concrète to found sounds and sampling…
His ‘spatial’ music series is now revisited with the art of mixing in 8.1 and DJs like Francois K are experimenting with playing this way.
You’ve got a pretty big collection of music gear – vintage and more modern. I get the impression that they’re not just tools for you?
Each piece of equipment has a story in my life. They’re very much a part of me and my evolution as an artist. They also each have their own individual sound and personality, much like children in a way. Those characteristics definitely lead to inspiration in the creative process because they create limitations and parameters that shape the way a composition will eventually come into fruition.
Like, my Roland JX-3P is just my go-to machine, especially with the PG-200 programmer. I can make sounds so quickly and really create a sound for the whole song. Each element would be created from scratch which no other person would have, unlike software sounds…
I also admire great design and functionality of things. Like the Monome, just such an intuitive machine with MLR. The way I’ve incorporated it within Ableton has changed my whole sound recently. I just did a full Monome performance and it was so much fun.
What projects are you working on next? What can we expect to hear from you in the future?
I have a beautiful series coming out called The Buddy System, on which I’ve collaborated with a bunch of friends and plan to release an EP a month. The first will be in January with Parisian singer Rachel Claudio. It’s so 1984!
I’m also heading to Zimbabwe to work with Tendai Maraire on Dumi Songs, an album using his dad Dumi Maraire‘s masters as source material for a mind-blowing tribute. We intend to work with many of the original cats his dad worked with.
The Bee & The Stamen is out now. King Britt plays at Plastic People, London, this Friday, the 2nd of November. Find King on Facebook, Twitter and his own website.