Andy Blake Cave Paintings Interview
With his Cave Paintings series once again seeing the light of day, World Unknown maestro and primitive beat factory Andy Blake generously daubs the low end low down all over Ransom Note. Little late on this one we know but it's been Christmas n' stuff… plus we've been away. Give us a break! There's also a chance to win a set of the 12"s and downloads to boot. Full info at the bottom.
1. You've got history when it comes to running cult record labels, namely Dissident and most recently World Unknown. What was the ethos and inspiration when setting up the Cave Paintings label?
Cave Paintings is simply an outlet for my own music made in my computer-free hardware studio. The name reflects the somewhat primitive and raw nature of the releases.
2. Each track is a ten minute or longer opus of analogue expression and nuance and, I believe, each one recorded in one take. Are they produced and formulated from pre-determined ideas or was improvisation key to the artistic process?
I very rarely have much of a plan in mind when I fire the studio up, just the feeling that I want to make some music. Occasionally I might focus on a particular piece of equipment or experiment with a certain working method but once I'm rolling I try to keep my left brain as far away from the creative process as possible and go with my instincts.
It's the way I make all my solo music at the moment and I don't really see things changing that much in terms of my working method so it's probably true to say that, for the foreseeable future, all Andy Blake tracks and remixes are essentially Cave Paintings material.
3. Their stripped-back and throbbing essence strike me as the perfect rhythms for the black, smoke filled environs of the World Unknown railway arch. Was the World Unknown dancefloor at the forefront of your mind when creating the tracks?
I don't think it was to begin with, although I'm sure I was influenced in some way by the kind of things we were playing there when I started making Cave Paintings tracks a couple of years ago. As World Unknown developed into the pitch-black temple of throb that it is now the Cave Paintings stuff seemed to fit more and more.
These days when I'm making music I am definitely more consciously aware of the World Unknown dancefloor and I do find myself drawn toward making things specifically for it, the Sons & Daughters remix is probably the best example of that so far.
I'd say in terms of clubs and spaces the Cave Paintings stuff is informed and inspired in equal amounts by World Unknown and Berghain, and in the case of Berghain not necessarily by the music most often associated with it but by the architecture, the sound system and the atmosphere, and the kind of music that it makes me think of when I'm there, which is usually late on a Sunday when it goes into that twilight zone between fantasy and reality.
4. Have you played them at World Unknown, did they go down a storm?!
Until recently I've always been a little reticent about playing my own productions when I dj. I'm fortunate enough to own a fairly large amount of what I consider to be some of the best dance music ever made and I find it hard to think of my own music in relation to that. But over the last year or so I've been playing more and more of my own stuff at my gigs and the reaction has been really good.
There's something very raw and primal about the Cave Paintings tracks that seems to work very well in that room and with the World Unknown crowd. A few months ago as a bit of an experiment I finished the night up with an hour of Cave Paintings 12"s and dubplates and the atmosphere seemed to get crazier and crazier and more intense the longer it went on. So I guess it's fair to say that they've been going down very well indeed, far better than I'd ever have hoped for.
5. For the first time you are providing digital releases at roughly the same time as the vinyl. Are you more at ease with the music existing in a digital format than perhaps you have been in the past?
I think it's a real shame that most releases don't come out at all on vinyl and I can't imagine ever having digital-only releases. But the cold hard fact is that nearly everyone goes for digital music rather than records these days. My distributor reckons that the cave paintings releases are the kind of thing that could do fairly well as digital releases so I'm happy to see if that's the case.
6. Is Cave Paintings going to be a continuing project for yourself, in other words, should we get excited about lots of future releases?!
I've already got loads of potential Cave Paintings tracks recorded and the plan is to release a 12" on the label every couple of months. Some other labels will also be releasing Cave Paintings related tracks as well in 2012; Photonz want some for their One Eyed Jacks imprint, John Osborn and Elle Eidelman's Jackoff label from Berlin have got a couple coming out soon and there are murmurings of interest from other quarters too.
And I seem to be working on a steady stream of remixes at the moment. the Sons & Daughters one is out on 12" now and I've got a couple of things I'm working on for the Horrors, a remix of a Timothy J. Fairplay track for Astrolab and something for the aformentioned Mr Osborn and October's Tanstaafl label in the pipeline. I'm particularly happy with the Cave Paintings Rewire i did recently for a band called Rayographs. It's a kind of stripped-back and pounding 808 warehouse take on Our Darkness by Anne Clark and will be out sometime this year.
Interview by Joe Duhig
Want to win the beauties below? We've got a set of the 12"s plus a full set of the downloads courtesy of Whatpeopleplay. Simply email us the answer to this little teaser. What was Andy's much revered label that he drew to a close in 2010? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with "I need these paintings, these Cave Paintings in my life… I know the answer".