ARTIST ASK ARTIST: PETER GORDON interviewsNIK OF FACTORY FLOOR .
It all started with a fan letter
Hey Peter, just noticed you on a Rhys Chatham link. Just want to say I adore your work…Nik Colk Void x
Following on from last week's installment of Artist ask Artist (Nik interviewing Peter), the shoe's now on the other foot with Peter Gordon interviewing Nik Colk Void of Factory Floor.
As this sublime beauty makes its way into our ears we ask Nik and Peter to interview each other about the making of the record and other things besides. This week, Nik Colk Void of Factory Floor asks Peter Gordon… read on.
Peter Gordon asks: You seem to enjoy collaborations as much as I do. What do you feel you get out of the collaborative process?
Nik Colk Void: Collaborations are to me always fresh, I like the exchange. You have to be a good listener to be a good collaborator so it usually eradicates egos. I get to meet and work with my heroes, I find it healthy musically and it stimulates me & my dedicated work with Factory Floor.
Peter: Did you enjoy our performance together? What did you get out of it, if anything?
Nik: Yes very much so! It was one of Factory Floors biggest challenges to date. You brought sophistication, dynamics, in fact it was a shame you had to go!
Peter: Is there an underlying philosophy behind Factory Floor?
Nik: Mainly to keep an open mind and do things at our own pace. If it comes too easy then get rid. We make things hard for ourselves on purpose.
Peter: What music, if any, did you hear at home growing up? At what point did you realize that you had a taste for less-than-conventional music?
Nik: If I'm honest, I grew up on chart music. My Dad had a real to real tape recorder strapped to the dash board in his car with a microphone to record the charts while we were driving around. pretty nuts if look back at it now, how many times we nearly had an accident. He loved Michael Jackson and mum loved Randy Crawford, I loved 808 State. So, I guess things started to change when i heard Sonic Youth for the first time.
Peter: Which came first your interest in music or in the visual arts? Or was it simultaneous?
Nik: I started a photography internship at 14 with our local portrait photographer. He taught me how to use the darkroom which led to experimenting with film. I'd do everything hands on – shooting it, developing and then manipulating the film for installations later in college. Sound came simultaneously with it as part of the process. They've ricocheted off each other ever since.
Peter: What was your first piece of electronic music gear?
Nik: SoundLab handmade synth, encased in a white battered box. Now grey.
Peter: Do you prefer performing with knobs or with faders?
Nik: In combination with playing bowed guitar – using electronics, I much prefer knobs, it's impulsive.
Peter: Tell me about your relationship with the bow did you ever play a string instrument such as violin?
Nik: Funny enough the bow came before the violin. My mum assumed as I played with bows I wanted to play violin so she picked me one up from an auction, I've since dismantled it, experimenting with the bridge on my guitar but I prefer the drum stick. It is a 'body' thing with the bow, the relationship to its length, I use both sides and I put more rosin at one end rather than the other to give different levels of grip. Its playful and physical.
Peter: Economics aside, do you have a preference for large venues or smaller, intimate venues? Does this impact your performance?
Nik: I'm not into large venues, much prefer medium sized based on practicalities, for example I hate the feeling that if I step back I will trip over my monitor, if my amp is placed too close I can't walk back and forth, control the feedback, bend the sound with my bow. With Factory Floor we will consciously set up close so we can read each others eyes, this is very important in order for us to play
Peter: Have you traveled much in the US? What is your visceral impression of NYC and the US in general?
Nik: I think I did twelve US tours in my 20's. The usual sleeping on floors, traveling two days solid to play a coffee shop in Texas. NYC is the city I connected with; its heartbeat seemed in tune with mine. It is close in character to London, a place I love, if I chose to move to a different city, it would be NY.
Peter: Do you get nervous performing? Are you more nervous before, during or after a show?
Nik: I did, but not anymore because my attitude has changed. I really trust in my intuitive way of playing. Cosey Fanni Tutti said to me: at the very worst you'll make a fool of yourself . A small price to pay if it means moving forward.
Peter: Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?
Nik: Yes! I love Avalon by Roxy Music. Maybe its the White tuxedo..
We have one copy of Beachcombing for one lucky reader. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with "Factory Floor love Peter Gordon and so do I" in the title. Names pulled out a random hat in a few weeks.