To celebrate the launch of Nathan Fake and Wesley Matsell launching their new imprint Cambria Instruments we've been gifted a most excellent premiere and download from Wesley of a cover of an old Boards of Canada track; Numerator
One of the most consistently excellent artists within the Border Community fold, Fake is stepping out on his own. With his friend, fellow producer and DJ, Wesley Matsell, Fake has announced the launch of his new imprint, Cambria Instruments, with the first release set to be a split release between the pair.
“Cambria is a reference to both Wesley and I,” Fake explains. “He’s from Wales, and Cambria is an ancient English/Latin name for Wales, so we thought that summed up where the label was coming from.”
Details are yet to be confirmed on future releases from outside artists, but solo EPs from the co-founders can be expected in the future. With Matsell’s far-reaching tastes in everything from fifties electroacoustic, acid house and early Detroit, through to hardcore and rave, nineties techno and noise we thought it about time we quizzed him about the label and the release.
Let's download the track first:
First of all, thanks for the download. Very kind.
How did you first get into music? Are there any early memories of music that really stick out in your mind?
My earliest memories of discovering, and really engaging with music can be split into these three distinct categories:
- My brother's record/tape collection. Although our tastes don't overlap a great deal, I have lots of memories listening to tapes he'd made for the car, or just taping albums he'd got. I particularly remember one particular tape which had tracks from B12, AFX (Analogue Bubblebath 3), Plaid, The Black Dog and some other early Warp stuff. It had Nine by Autechre on there too. That stuff blew my mind, especially the B12 stuff. It sounded slightly melancholic to my ears, but totally futuristic too. I remember some old jungle pirate tapes, early deep house stuff, some dodgy trip-hop too ha
- John Peel. I listened to John Peel religiously from about age 12 right through my teens. I discovered so much amazing music like Boards of Canada and other Warp stuff, too much to list really. He used to play pretty hard Drumcode style 90s techno in between blues 78s and obscure indie bands – it was so hit and miss, and magical.
- free CDs and tapes with magazines – pre-internet days... So there are a few that stick out:
Mixmag – Best of Mixmag Live 1997 – A few proper classic tracks heard for the first time on this – F.U.S.E., Beltram, Jaco, Paperclip People, Aphrohead. I played the section from Bombscare to In The Dark We Live over and over.
Muzik – Old Skool Classics – Heard Energy Flash at the correct speed for the first time and it sounded so much heavier and darker. Nude Photo and Voodoo Ray sounded so timeless and perfect.
I can remember some tapes that came with magazines like Jockey Slut or DJ Magazine that I played to death as well.
What's Merthyr Tydfil like for music? Did you find yourself growing up amongst many similar-minded people?
Merthyr was pretty awful growing up, music-wise. I knew literally no-one who was into the same sort of music as me. When the Boards of Canada album came out, I remember a few of my mates being into it after I'd played it to them, but then when I'd play them something like Fold4Wrap5 or the Caustic Window LP it would always be a step to far... So my experience of music was always pretty insular – not exactly a social experience, which maybe suited me as a bit of a socially challenged teen.
Where has your musical journey taken you so far? Has there been a point where you've taken time to sit down and think about what you've achieved and if life has gone as you'd planned or hoped?
I never really planned to be a musician or a DJ actually. I just pursued it as a hobby, and never took it particularly seriously. At art school I was interested in discovering more stretching/difficult listening experiences... I obsessed over 'microsound' and 'lowercase' and other early 00s music. Curtis Roads, Francisco Lopez, Richard Chartier were my heroes. Then there was the noisier stuff Merzbow, Haswell, Florian Hecker etc. So I was totally in that world, not interested in making beats at all – then when I graduated art school I thought I'd try and make some stuff with beats, and that's when I wrote Bernwerk, which ended up on BC. I've enjoyed putting out the last few records, but it sort of feels like it's time to reconcile the more experimental side with the dancelfoor side. At the moment though, I'm super excited and focussed on Cambria Instruments with Nathan.
How would you describe your own sound?
I don't know really... I guess most of the stuff that's been released has a slightly 'positive' sound – so I've been told. It doesn't really have an acoustic grounding at all, so I guess I would confidently describe it as 'electronic' – that's as far as I'll go ha
What does it mean to you to be a part of Border Community? What impact do you think it's had on you and your music?
Well, BC was the first label to put my music – so that's nice. I've made some good friends through the gig nights and stuff. I don't think Cambria Instruments would be happening either unless Nathan and I had crossed paths some other way... I'm super grateful to James and Gemma for pursuing me back in 2007 when those CDs were getting lost in the post and stuff. It very nearly didn't happen at all.
You've already played at some pretty impressive venues, which has been your personal highlight? Are there any that you're hoping to play in the future?
I think the last gig in Paris, at Cabaret Sauvage for Villettes Sonique, was my favourite in that it felt like my set sounded pretty much how I wanted it too. I got to play some more weirder stuff, which is satisfying. I have lots of pleasant memories, of special places and fun times, but also some hideous experiences ha – I think I'd like to go back to some of the places where it felt like I didn't play so well, and replace that memory with a decent one or something. But really, I'd love to play somewhere outside of Europe. I'd really like a tour in Japan or something – always hear such positive reports when people play there.
Who has impressed you the most musically throughout your life? Is there anyone you're determined to share a stage with?
Autechre, hands down. They have such an instantly identifiable sound, but always have enough surprises and blind corners in their releases to keep it completely engaging. I'm a total fanboy and have been ever since 777 thoroughly confused me when it was on a FutureMusic cover cd back in 1998 or something. The last two albums have dominated my listening time for months after they were released.
As for sharing a stage – no-one in particular. It would be easier to list the opposite, people I don't want to play alongside, but that's not at all constructive! The idea of playing alongside any of my musical heroes is terrifying though.
Who should we be listening to and how should we be listening to music?
I guess a list of recommendations would be appropriate to answer the 'what':
Gunnar Haslam – brilliant stuff on LIES amongst others. I've listened to the album so many times. Super nice atmospheric, intimate techno.
Not Waving – Alessio Natalizia (one half of Walls) is quite prolific, but he sustains the highest quality. Definitely recommended.
Bass Clef – the record he did for PAN recently is excellent. 'Raven Yr Own Worl' even has a brilliant title. I saw him play recently with Laura Cannell and Charles Hayward (This Heat) as Oscilanz and it was really special.
Joey Beltram – Caliber EP – this is the record he did on Warp and it's lush. Drome is so good. It's totally 90s, but not the sort of 90s stuff everyone is trying to recreate at the moment.
SFV Acid – there's a track called 'G Cids' on SFV #2 which is amazing melodic, lo-fi, broken techno. Simple and raw.
DJ Clent – There's not much footwork stuff that I'm into, but the Hyper Feet record on Planet-Mu is lush. The acid line is so thick and intrusive.
Listen to music however you like, as long as it's not lazily. Actually, it's good to be lazy sometimes.
Tell us about the track we're giving away - what was your thought process behind making it and what are you expressing through the music? Why cover Boards?
Ah, the Numerator cover is just a bit of fun really. It's a proper bizarre melody, like simultaneously euphoric and broken, and melancholic... I just popped that over a “dancefloor” beat and a bit of a breakdown. I actually wrote it a few years ago. Don't know if I'd have the guts to do something like that now haha Sacrilege... The original is amazing, but the version I have wasn't good enough quality to play in a set, so I did my own version. I have no idea what I'm expressing through this track...
If your sound was a visual thing, what would it look like?
Today: A cross between Ecco the Dolphin, a 1989 Vauxhall Senator, and box of Nag Champa.
Are you a kick drum, a hi-hat or a snare and why?
A snare. Because “I ran as me” and “A Seminar” are anagrams of “I'm a snare.”
What can we expect to hear from you in the next few months?
The first Cambria record sometime this year, a track each from Nathan and myself. Then at least one more record from both Nathan and myself in the next 12-18 months I reckon. Really looking forward to getting our musical vision out there. I'm in the process of getting my live show together too – not much longer. Looking forward to that. :)
Wesley Matsell & Nathan Fakes Cambria Instruments launches shortly.
More info on their Cambria Instruments Facebook