Tell us about the new live show. You’ve described it as “Jeff Mills drum jams meets golden era grime”, which is a phrase that could be applied to a lot of tracks on the album. The setup is pretty simple: just a 909 and an Octatrack, right? What’s the idea, that you want to take things back to basics a bit?
The idea with the live show was to just keep it as raw as possible. Lots of people are coming with big light shows and gimmicks at the moment and that’s all cool, but I wanted to show that you can wreck a club with the bare essentials. I chose to do my show as a sort of hybrid show, live jams interspersed with DJing, because I wanted to focus it on the dancefloor. It’s boring to watch dudes press a ton of buttons for an hour, so the way it works is I play a few tunes then mix into the 909, do some drum jams then start to build on the 909 with the sampler so I’m essentially building tracks live in front of you. They are very raw tracks, but that’s the whole point of it. Also it’s all improvised so it’ll never be the same show twice. I just feel my way through it and react to what the crowd like, then after I’ve done that for a bit I’ll mix out of the 909 into a couple of tunes and then to and fro between them.
Is it always going to stay as a live show blended with a DJ set?
For the moment I feel like I want to blend it with a DJ set. I’ve spent a long time honing the format and working out exactly how to do it as it’s a massive juggling act essentially. There’s a whole ton of things that can – and do – go wrong. I might take it so it’s 100% live in the future, maybe when I drop my next album, but I’m not really into live electronic shows where they’re doing renditions of existing songs. They don’t feel ‘live’ to me. I’m more into improvisation where it can and does go off on tangents and to weird places.
The mixtape’s bookended by the shoegazey ‘Demographics’ and ‘The Wash’, which are a pretty major stylistic shift from the other 11 tracks. What inspired those two? Was it a tough decision whether to include something slightly different on the album?
It wasn’t a tough decision to include them, it’s just where I was and how I was feeling a few months ago. It was winter and I was listening to a lot of shoegaze, so I just thought I’d try my hand at making some. The album was actually going to be a full shoegaze one for a brief period, but then in spring I made the track ‘Springtime’ and it set me on a different route. I never really thought about it before, but I think the seasons definitely affect the music I make. I’ve made a load of other shoegaze tracks which are at demo stage, so I’ll probably do a little side project or something when I get a bit of time to finish them all off.
Is that a direction we can expect you to head in in the future?
In terms of the future, I’ve just made a whole album which is entirely instrumental, so I think now I want to go back to working with vocalists for a bit. I’d really like to produce a whole album for a vocalist or maybe work with a band or something. I don’t really plan these things too much – there’s nothing worse for creativity than forcing yourself to do something. Things naturally present themselves, both in terms of ideas and opportunities. You just have to be switched on enough to notice them.