Memotone: The Ransom Note Mix
A multi disciplinary musician turns his focus toward a special mixtape which reflects a more recent direction of travel.
Memotone has been writing and releasing music for many years. He has worked as a composer often being asked to soundtrack everything from fashion collections for the likes of Palace through to films, art projections and beyond. His sound is broad and varied, channeling influences from Folk through to abstract Electronics and Ambient.
Originally from Bristol he has evolved as an artist, mutating through the ever fluctuating dynamic of experimental underground music in the UK. Over the years he has released albums on the likes of Black Acre, Diskotopia and Accidental Meetings whilst also offering a number of EP’s for the likes of Termina and Sähkö Recordings.
Often using a broad variety of instruments, you never know quite what to expect from a Memotone record. More often than not they are deeply provocative, built for pensive self reflection and channel an element of futurism. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t a sense of deep rooted nostalgia and heritage rooted throughout.
Take the new album on Impatience for example – a collection of music which is at times Classical in style, blurring the lines with influences from traditional Folk music whilst using elaborate electronics to elevate and recontextualise the entire listening experience.
We weren’t entirely sure what to expect from this mixtape, that’s perhaps part of the charm. It’s wild, eclectic and free.
Please introduce yourself…
Hello, my name is Will. I last did an interview feature for The Ransom Note in 2016, for the launch of my Chime Hours album. A lot has transpired in that time, especially considering it was April 2016 when the review was published, which was two months before the Brexit vote came in, and long before the world went into lockdown. It feels almost like we’re living on a different planet now, somehow the train of time we were all travelling along in changed tracks and we were off in a new direction entirely. – My music has followed this trend.
Who are you, where are you and what are you?
I am a 30-something Englishman living in Wales. The who is neither here nor there, but the what is fairly constant.
Your latest release, describe the influences and rationale behind that?
Hah – The rationale… I’d like to think music is a chance to escape rational thinking, it being the most universal and yet most abstract form of communication. There was no rationale. But certainly a lot inspires and influences me. Mostly I just want to explore with the freedom I hope people can experience from listening, and so defining concepts and singular influences are just fed into a genereal ongoingness of development, mixed into an unrecognisable polyphony that rises above any single idea.
What does your music sound like?
I always imagine places or locations when I’m writing music. Sometimes I’m imagining a moss covered stone, holding up beads of water, sitting in the mouth of a cave, nestled within a tangle of rhododendron, and if you use your imagination, the music sounds like that. Sometimes I’m imaging a ex council-house that been bought by a family and handed down through the generations, picking up knocks and scuffs as it contains the various lives that pass through it. I think you can choose.
Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?
Where was the mix recorded?
The mix was recorded in the “music room” of our house in Newport, South Wales. It’s a one take recording. I selected about 30 records from the shelves that had a kind of coherency and then just hit record and the rest was a sort of educated ‘luck-of-the-draw’ really…
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Not for me to say. Somewhere you feel comfortable, and somewhere relatively quiet. Not outside in nature, as you shouldn’t have headphones on out there. I could never compete with what you should actually be listening to.
What should we be wearing?
Again, not for me to say, but comfortable.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
The “music room” of our house in Newport, South Wales.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
I think it might be the Midori Takada track I played at the moment.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
Very hard one to call. This year though, I have really been enjoying Yohie’s mixtape for DDS.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
I don’t DJ, so it would be a massive blunder on my part.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
I have a pair of Stanton STR8.150’s and a Pioneer DJM-400. It was the first set-up and has remained. As I say, I’m not a DJ, so I don’t need anything fancy.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
The track you end on. Given your not playing to pedants who need to be mollycoddled from the outset.
What were the first and last records you bought?
The first vinyl I ever bought was Jan St Wener – Blaze Colour Burn. I didn’t have anything to play records up to that point (I was 23) but saved enough money from gigging to but a second hand ‘Hitachi’ hi-fi with a record player on top. I had put music out on vinyl before then, but didn’t have anything to play it on or the money to buy records really. But since that first one the collection began and has been growing steadily year on year. The last record I bought was… They haven’t been delivered yet, but last night I bought Montel Palmers new 7″ on South of North, and I picked up the Devon Rexi 12″ at the same time.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
A sort of bready, nutty, velvety oat flapjack with a weave of passionfruit reduction winding through it.
If it was an animal what would it be?
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
Does this record exist?
Upcoming in the world of…
Plenty to shout about. More LP’s bubbling away an not too far over the horizon. Got some really nice features too, tracks on compilations, guest appearences on records from great artists. And Original Sountrack work for an excellent documentary. Nothing has been announced by labels or artists yet though, so I can’t say more than that. The one thing that has been announced as is imminient is the vinyl edition of the UFO compilation I did a track for under my O. G. Jigg alias for ‘Folklore Tapes’. They make incredibly beautiful physical editions, and the music is also wonderful from a host of excellent artits. Oh, and I think another Palace promo is about to drop that I did the music for too. Also I’ll be dropping a live session beat tape with my man Soroosh Khavari on Memorecs in the new few months.
Anything else we need to discuss?
If it’s an excuse not to change your behaviour but instead feel better about the shit you’re doing, you need to check yourself.
Becoming-with in a compost society.