TRACK BY TRACK – daniel avery
Daniel Avery's debut LP Drone Logic feels like the natural culmmination of the artist's last couple of years – with a rapidly evolving presence in the world of electronic music thanks to his impeccable, lithe machine music released on Erol Alkan's Phantasy Sound pared with his Fabric residency and an increasingly globe-trotting DJ schedule, Mr Avery's star is most certainly on the rise and the time for a full LP feels ripe. With the LP being released to pretty much universal acclaim, we asked the man himself to sit down and break down the ideas and life cycles behind each track on the LP. From tracks made specifically with Weatherall's ALFOS in mind, to shape-shifting Kraut Rock numbers, here's the lowdown…
This has taken so many different incarnations over its existence. It started life as some kind of krautrock track but a day in the studio with a SH-101 made me rip it up and start again. The vocal is by Rebekah Rah who was in a band called Stricken City a few years ago. I always liked her voice and the attitude which which she sang things. The track was made specifically with Fabric Room 1 on a Friday night in mind. I know that room very well and the first time I played it there, it worked exactly how I wanted it to.
I really love shoegaze music and enveloping walls of noise so I was keen to get some of those sounds into the club music I was making. I want to be clear that, with this whole album and everything I do, there is no intention to marry "rock and rave" music, that idea doesn't excite me in the slightest. I have, however, let a lot of the early influences that got me excited about music in first place flood into what I do. This track is a good example of that. Definitely for/from the nightclub but with bursts of noise and live drums to give everything a human soul.
The story goes like this: I've been making some music down in Andrew Weatherall's Shoreditch bunker for a little while and am lucky enough to be able to put my music directly into his hand. Just over a year ago, I decided to make a track specifically for his A Love From Outer Space parties. The slow, druggy, acidic music he plays with Sean (along with everything else the man does) has been a big inspiration for me over the last few years. I went into the studio and this track happened extremely quickly, I think it was finished in less than two days. I went to see Andrew and gave him a CD on a Friday afternoon as I knew he had an ALFOS at Dalston Superstore that weekend. On the Monday he called me and said it had been the biggest track of the night. I immediately called Erol to tell him and he said "I think it's time you started to think about an album." The whole thing gave me enough confidence to agree as I knew I had a solid anchor for the rest of the record with this track. It's a good representation of what I do and there was only ever one choice for the title of the album.
These Nights Never End
I wanted something that would work next to Drone Logic and push some of its ideas further. A big turning point for me in the studio was when I started putting the machines through guitar pedals and that process is all over this track. It gives everything a trippy quality and the second I did it, I felt incredibly inspired as I was finally able to make a lot of the sounds I was hearing in my head. I also really like the drones it creates over everything that seem to have a life of their own.
The original track was Reception and I made a totally new version for my Fabriclive CD last year called Naive Reception. After a year of road testing and tweaking, Naive Response was ready for the album. I mixed the whole record with Erol in his Phantasy Sound studio and this track really demonstrates the pulse and energy he can bring out of things. The vocal is by Kelly Lee Owens who actually appears throughout the album. I got bored of looking for the right samples so I started to make my own and she nailed them all first time.
The first half of the album is pretty relentless so this serves to break things up. The record is designed to be listened to as a whole, some sort of trip or a dream and this is a reminder that you're somewhere else. As a less pretentious notion, I always like my DJ sets to have a 'middle section' and I knew from the beginning of recording that this album wouldn't be peak after peak, I see no point in doing things that way.
The first track I made for Phantasy and, again, one that has been chiseled away at over time from playing it on different sound systems around the world. I'm extremely happy with how it now sounds. Before I got signed, Erol asked me to make two demos for him and this was the first one that came out so it's very important to me; it literally marked a turning point in my life.
All I Need
This track was inspired by travelling and playing around Europe for the past year. I've had some really special experiences in clubs like Trouw in Amsterdam and Lux in Lisbon; places where the party feels like it could go on for ever and there's a real warmth between the crowd and the DJ. The Taste vocal was included simply because I kept singing it over the track in the studio and it seemed to fit perfectly. We didn't have the file on the computer we were using so had to actually sample it from the locked groove on the Need Electric EP.
This began life as a pop song but I realised quite early on that the album had to represent the last year of my life and the majority of that year was spent DJing. I'm glad as I feel as if the finished record has a good focus. I took the strings from the pop track, went crazy on a Space Echo unit and I really liked the intensity of the sounds that came out. It's an interlude that marks a change of gear on the album and sets things up for the more euphoric sounds of the final straight.
I rented a shipping container down in East India docks to make this album. It was literally metres away from the Thames and you could see the financial district across the water. Travelling and being there really made me feel like I was making a 'London record' which I was happy about. It was a very creative time, the whole area was filled with artists (Richard Fearless has the container next door) and, despite the freezing temperatures, the sunsets and views across the water lent a very unique and inspiring atmosphere. To me, this track captures that feeling.
New Energy (Live Through It)
This actually started out a really fast house track with loads of cowbells but it never clicked. In fact, it was in the 'bin' pile up until a very late moment. I've been listening to a lot of Neu! and Harmonia as well as modern guys like Barnt who I think channel that same spirit and it was those records that resurrected this track. Again, I didn't want to make anything throwback, it still had to have a modern techno pulse but as soon as I put the live drums over it, things began to move and when the overly distorted synths started literally shaking the walls of the shipping container, I knew I had something.
Knowing We'll Be Here
This was recorded in Club Ralph through Connie Plank's original mixing desk, a thing of pure beauty and I think it shows with the warmth of the synths. It's one of my favourite tracks on the record and another good summary of what I set out to achieve with it: a club sound punctuated by psychedelic, euphoric moments. It felt like the perfect way to end things.
Drone Logic is out now on Phantasy Sound, purchase the LP on this here link.