Beachball aliens, Rugrats and 808 snare rolls… The brothers in arps take on our quick-fire Q&A.
If you weren’t making music what would you be doing?
Al: Working as a researcher (I’ve got a humanities PhD).
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Al: “It’s better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t done.”
What inspires you?
Paul: I’m not sure that it’s anything tangible. David Lynch refers to art that “thrills his soul”, and I find there are moments in music and film that give me a feeling much like what he’s describing. If I don’t get that feeling, I quickly lose interest.
What’s the next big thing?
Paul: Something that sounds like the theme from Rugrats, but with more 808 snare rolls.
Best club experience?
Paul: I’ve never been big on clubbing but seeing The Advent live at Sankeys in ’98 really sticks in my mind. I still have the sound of that 909 hi-hat ringing in my ears.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Al: Working in a call centre, cold calling shopkeepers and trying to sell them soft drinks (usual response: “Fuck off”).
When did you realise you could give up your day job?
Al: When I finally understood that all I really enjoyed doing was making music and DJing.
Which song do you wish you wrote?
Paul: Autechre’s ‘VLetrmx21’ springs to mind. Just a Juno 106 having its cutoff and resonance tweaked through a reverb unit for 8 minutes, and one of the most phenomenal pieces of music I’ve ever heard.
What’s the easiest way to make it in the music industry?
Al: It would appear at the moment that its having a rich daddy.
What’s the worst track you’ve ever released?
Paul: ‘Loader’, from the Golden Traxe album. It sounds horrible. The rest of that LP was made with FL Studio 5 on a shitty Advent laptop. I’d just purchased a MacBook and Ableton Live 7 and I decided I’d better justify the expense by getting accustomed to producing with them. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Live didn’t handle digital clipping at all well, and there’s loads of it on that track. I can’t listen to it any more without an overwhelming sense of embarrassment.
Recommend us a film.
Paul: Dark Star by John Carpenter. It’s a very haunting, tragic study of loneliness, failed aspirations and the onset of madness. Albeit with a funny script, beachball alien and superb soundtrack by the director.
What or who is underrated?
Paul: Electronic music as a listening experience, beyond the club aspect. Headphone music, if you like, with little details that grab your attention with each listen, adding to a track’s longevity. There’s still plenty of artists continuing the more melodic traditions of – sorry – IDM, but I do feel they’re overlooked. Hopefully, this may change with the hype around the new Aphex Twin LP (which I haven’t heard yet). Although it might also lead to a load of inferior, glitchy-to-the-point-of-missing-the-point RDJ copyists.
Al: A lot of producers we respect and whose tunes we play in our sets seem to get little recognition generally, though I would argue that there’s no difference in quality from hyped big names (apart from their stuff usually being better!).
What or who is overrated?
Paul: The loudness war. We’ve ended up with producers being more concerned with how loud their music is than whether or not it’s actually any fucking good. I’m convinced it’s a big marketing ploy conjured up by plugin developers in an effort to sell repackaged, identical dynamics processors again and again.
What are you addicted to?
Al: Music, coffee, beer.
What is your greatest regret?
Paul: Spending nearly ten years making music before even sending any demos.
Al: Not having more self-belief.
What one thing would most improve your life?
Al: If people listen to our new album.
Art or money?
Al: Art. With just enough money to make doing the art possible.
Paul: Many producers are ending up concentrating less on experimentation and more on the simplest way to guarantee shitloads of cash. I could rant for hours about this…
What’s your single biggest frustration within the music industry?
Al: Still feeling like an outsider.
Paul: Warp Records. I didn’t really understand more contemporary electronic music until hearing Autechre, Polygon Window, B12, Reload, The Black Dog, Sabres Of Paradise… After that, it all made sense. Although I’m not so keen on their more recent output, their 90s releases constitute a large portion of my favourite albums of all time, so they remain at the top.
Tweet us a tip. What’s the best production advice you can give in 140 characters or less?
Paul: Keep your levels low, avoid EQ boosts, give each element space, watch them find their way into the mix. Keep going. Repeat until death.