Sunset Graves: The ‘Shine A Light On’ Mix
Andy Fosberry exists behind the scenes, behind the spotlights and away from the often glamorised culture often associated with electronic music in the present age. His focus remains firmly rooted upon music, ambience and it's ability to encompass all things. As a musician he dabbles in the cinematic and the enigmatic, experimenting with instrumentation and sound in a charmed fashion. Following a recent tour in which he appeared in London, Manchester and Bristol we caught up with Andy to talk about the backstory of Sunset Graves, his musical inspiration and the future which lies ahead. Listen to his mix and read the interview below:
Tell us about the mix you’ve done for us.
It’s all vinyl, straight from the decks. I recorded it in mid August around the end of the last UK tour, which was when I also began writing the next Sunset Graves album, so it definitely fits in with those themes or emotions.
If the mix was a building/piece of architecture, what would it look like?
A skyscraping cathedral. When you push open the vast, creaking, oak doors, the inside space is infinite… full of stars, spiral galaxies and ghosts.
If the mix was an animal, what would it be?
That urban fox you only see after dark, crossing the street between parked cars, avoiding street lights, sat in your garden, watching you as you watch it.
If the mix was something edible, what would it taste like?
You’re on a date, and having the second glass of amazing, comforting, but slightly intense red wine. It tastes exactly like that.
What’s the best ‘late night’ album of all time?
Bohren & Der Club of Gore – Sunset Mission. Hands down, forever. (Can someone please reissue this on vinyl?)
If your record collection was on fire and you could only save one item…?
I’ve actually thought about this before you asked me. The first record I fell in love with is an original pressing of Jeff Wayne’s ‘War of the Worlds’. It has this inviting, compelling gatefold package, and I remember finding that in the house as a kid, listening to the music, Richard Burton’s very grave, haunting narration and staring at the incredibly detailed, utterly terrifying double page paintings inside. It’s a perfect combination of art and music that totally absorbed me. It’s pretty heavy when you’re about 7 years old. I still love it today, it’s full of great writing, sonics, nuance, playing and mad, early synths making mad early synth sounds. Despite its subject, there is always a beauty to the music. If my house is ever on fire, it’s coming with me. But if my house is on fire because of an alien invasion, I might just put the record on and appreciate the irony.
What were the first and last records you bought?
I really wish I could remember the first record I bought, but I can’t. It would have been in the 80s, so let’s just say it was at Woolworths and it was probably raining. I’ve got the Ghostbusters theme on a 12”, so it might be that? I like to think I had the economic wisdom to buy the 12” instead of the 7” when I was like 4 or whatever. Who knows?
The most recent record I bought was Sendai – ‘Geotope’ from Discogs. It’s such a magnificent album, sounding like someone shattered techno by throwing all of it at a black hole. The fragments are orbiting the event horizon, occasionally sending barely recognizable transmissions.
What was the first electronic record you heard and how did it make you feel?
It’s tough to answer with certainty, but I guess I would have heard stuff like ‘Axel F’ when I was a kid. Thing is, there have been several times that I can think of where a new record has kind of swept the board and been a complete reset for me. So there are many touchstones, like Goldie ‘Timeless’, DJ Shadow ‘Endtroducing’, Photek ‘Modus Operandi’, Boards of Canada ‘Geogaddi’, Burial’s first album. The most recent one was Rob Clouth ‘Hidden Structures’. But I’m hearing tunes and albums all the time these days that are blowing my mind. Musically, it’s a good time to be alive.
How did your tour go last month?
It was great, and weirdly vindicating in a way because we put it together ourselves. The tour was worriedaboutsatan, myself and Tom from WAS played a solo set of his music to open the show. We took two cars and did a week and half across as much of the country as we could book. A huge amount of work goes into it and we really care about what we do and how we present it. WAS are good people and our music, although quite different, combines well as a package. I could be wrong, but there don’t seem to be many electronic underground acts touring right now. Playing shows and clubs, sure, but not going out on the road like any other band. Manchester and Bristol were definitely the high points for me. Just killer shows. The long, dark drives on empty 1am motorways, along with experiences and encounters have unavoidably nestled into the music I’m writing now – and onto this mix I’ve made for you. I found myself an invisible observer to geography, topography, gentrification, economic discrepancies, architecture, human nature… It definitely stuck with me. And it wasn’t always a pretty picture.
What’s your favourite city in the world? And your favourite new place you’ve discovered as a result of being on tour?
Someone who knows me well said I would probably hate LA, but I loved it. The west coast in general, or my experience of it, presented a kind of sun soaked mysticism that got under my skin and remains there now. The light is so different in California.
Berlin stole every part of my heart when I visited and I cannot wait to go back. The sooner the better, and I’m absolutely dying to play there, spend some time, meet people. Here in the UK, as much I love London, its Bristol that inspires me the most, there’s just something in the air and on the streets that I respond to. It was my favourite spot on the tour. Its bass city.
Honestly though, when travelling by road, it’s the places between the cities that my memories will mostly gravitate to when time has passed. That pine forest in Wales, the radio telescope on the high plains in New Mexico, the gas station in the desert, the bacon roll on the east coast of Scotland.
When it comes to music-making, could you describe your hardware setup to us? Do you have a favourite piece of kit?
When I play live, it’s all hardware. I wired my gear into a flight case so when I turn up for a show, I basically just flip the lid off and I’m good to go. In the box are an Electribe EMX-1 and an Electribe ES-1 synced together. Old school, but wonderful, expressive instruments. I also have a Roland SP404SX sampler and a Novation Circuit that I sync myself. I have to be razor sharp with tapping those in or it sounds like crap. There is a mixer in there which I have to play as an instrument too, because I work with up to 4 layers on any given track, and each of those layers is made up of different components. My reverbs are on in the mixer as well. The whole mix goes through a KaossPad on its way to the PA.
I could probably do everything with one Octotrack, but I don’t have one so…
Rehearsing the set on this gear has lead to loads of new music being written, a lot of which I only play live because it works better in that domain than in the studio. I like that though, I like to bring something unique to what is really a unique environment – playing in front of people.
Favourite bit of kit? It still has to be my studio computer. It’s where everything gets tied together and probably more composition happens in the box with soft synths and various instruments, plugins and sound design options I have available. I then worry about how I’m going to play it live later. With the music I’m writing now, a future clash with Ableton and a laptop on stage is becoming unavoidable. At the moment, Ableton and me don’t get on very well and it’s not my DAW of choice.. so, we’ll see.
Could you show us an image of what you think your music sounds like?
Follow @sunsetgraves on Instagram. There are over 2000 of them.
What’s next for Sunset Graves?
The new record is nearly done, so that will be out in early ’17. I’m actively looking for a label for this as it gets tough doing literally everything yourself all the time. Collaboration is positive. The next tour is booked for February, dates will be announced soon. I’ve worked on a couple of things either with, or for other people recently and that are ongoing. I don’t think I can talk about them yet though but my enthusiasm is high.
Aside from that, I keep writing, keep listening, keep working. If what I make tomorrow isn’t better than what I made yesterday then I’m not really interested in it. I’m still climbing the mountain.
Anything else we need to discuss?
Outside of what I currently do, I just want to compose for film. Short film, independent film, feature length, documentary. Everything I write is to a scene in my head, it all gets visualised. It’s how my mind works. I see music. So I want to take that to a project which is all moving image.
Follow Sunset Graves on Facebook HERE.