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Friday, March 2, 2018

Factfile

Who: Middex
Where: London
What: Musician

The main thing we thought when we listened to this is that it sounded like the history of electronic music (particularly very DIY almost post-punk era music) but without seeming nostalgic. It’s still sounds like now but then, which probably makes any sense. Actually, can you make any sense out of what I’m trying to say?

I’m glad it doesn’t sound nostalgic, I’d hoped it wouldn’t. I’d hoped the lyrics and some of the sounds and choice of arrangement might reveal a side of it that is something else. I think I know what you mean though, I think the primitive nature of the sounds and and the basic use of them probably gives it a definite foot in the past but I hope the other foot is reaching and stepping out somewhere else.

What kind of equipment was used to make ‘No Home’? Do you have a lot of analogue gear or is some of it emulated or a mixture of both?

I used a Bentley Rhythm Ace drum machine from the 70s. I think it’s made by Acetone, it predates the Roland machines. It’s a big clumsy thing. Quite limited as in it’s not programmable but it’s fun using the sliders to bring things in and out. I wanted to be limited in that way and I really like the sound of it especially when it’s recorded on to tape. I used an Arturia Microbrute. This machine was a revelation to me and enabled me greatly. I didn’t want to cast myself adrift on the infinite tide of synthesis. To be honest I wanted to find horrible and different sounds and construct something with them. Part of the album is me completely deconstructing songs I had written already. I was quite aimless writing with a guitar and the Microbrute was a nice introduction to synths for me. It has a basic sequencer and even a tiny modular patch bay which amuses me. This machine combined with my drum machine gave me a voice really and my route to make a record.

We liked that there was hiss and sounds of interference mixed with really smooth synth tones. Do you think it’s important to mix those two together to get some sense of physicality of a medium. Was it intentional to try and take quite digital sounds and to put them through the kind of analogue wringer sometimes?

The drum machine is quite hissy. I own a third of a Tascam 388 eight track. It’s at my friend’s Lindsay’s (Oblate) home studio. I basically ‘demo’ everything at my house with Garageband and then go over to Lindsay’s and re-record everything to tape. But I found that some of the noises and some of the vocals I didn’t want to change or re-do so we dumped that on to tape also. I think this is where you get that mixture of smooth tones and horribleness you have noticed. I mean there’s all sorts of digital distortion going on with some of that Garageband stuff. Garageband on my ipad I should add.

You have chosen to go with more descriptive words for the titles of the tracks and not say mathematical or scientific type terminology. How important do you think the title of a track is to how people listen to the music?

The lyrics and the track titles are very important to me. Everything on this record is about something, even if it might appear abstract in places it is meaningful and important to me. I must admit I wasn’t thinking about what people who listen to the music think of the track titles but I imagine it’s a default thing if I am myself giving it such consideration.

This seems to be such a good fit for the Polytechnic Youth label? Was the label’s aesthetic in the back of your mind at all during the process of making the album?

Yeah Dom (Polytechnic Youth) was incredibly supportive and encouraging to me when I only had the one song. At that point, with the first single “Space Sorry” I definitely thought about the label aesthetic and hoped my vision fitted with Dom’s. But when I made the album not at all. I actually thought about it as a different project and found myself wondering at times if the label would like the direction it would go in. Luckily Dom loved it and I felt happily justified to have been so free with approach.


‘No Home’ by Middex is out on Polytechnic Youth

More Info:

Middex on YouTube
Polytechnic Youth 

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