M station -----> interview: Blue Light Fever - June 02


Blue Light Fever aka anon talks

Blue Light Fever has an album out on S:alt Records right now.

Here is what the publicity blurb says ... 'Best described as dirty electro funk for the 21st century, the soundtrack spans Psychic TV, Coil, Sonic Youth and Butthole Surfers.

Collaborations on the album include Adam McConnachie (a shady Mancunian with a sideline in sensitive poetry), Little Annie (On-U Sound, Current 93, Coil, The Wolfgang Press) and G-Sharp (Diceman).

Blue Light Fever's prodigious talent as a classical musician led to an invitation to The Royal College of Music to study cello and piano. At the same time he made his first foray into the world of recording, singing on the St Georges' Church Choir vinyl classic Cantate Domino. Another forte was full time social miscreancy, in hindsight the first glimmer of a malevolent artistic flair. Pinballed from one South London school to another, anon was ripe for rock's revolution at the tender age of twelve. Glue sniffing, and punk duelled with LSD, fuelled choral meltdown. A collision course of diametric opposites was set - the Blue Light Fever die was cast. anon followed the example set by artists such as Future Sound of London and 808 State, embarking upon a sound recording course in Manchester's ugly sister, Salford. He served his time; an extensive tour of duty through the city's finest ghettoes followed, and the grimy streets died the music darker still.'

We talk to anon about the album, the gear used to put it together, classical training, and other things ...

M station: Blue Light Fever is quite an odyssey. Did you have a holistic idea of it before you started or did you add to it track by track? anon: Holistic eh? yeah, I definitely wanted the album to have an overall shape and structure. The idea was that there would be many layers of contrast and variety, allied to a feeling of having been taken on a kind of journey. There should be a strong sense of light and shade, of dynamics, of empty space leading to sensory overload. The album as a whole is a rollercoaster ride which also contains within it tracks such as Shutdown (1-4) which is like a microcosm of the overall picture. There are experimental passages, pop hooks, dance beats and psychedelia. Sometimes all of these battle each other within one track (as in Shutdown), sometimes one single aspect comes to the fore. There are peaks of commerciality, such as DJ and troughs of experimentalism such as Round and Round town”, and points where they all collide together. In the same way that you need a less interesting verse to make for an exciting chorus, I believe you need moments of abstraction to set the more solid sections in reliefsee the film taxi driver for a cinematic example. Trouble is, most people are so used to BAM BAM shitty special effects Hollywood/major label PAP that I seem to be out on my own a bit! Many of the tracks are quite complex in their construction. What gear did you use to bring it all together? The studio set up specifically to mix this album on was centred around a Yamaha 02R desk, cubase VST, akai s3000/3200 samplers, hardware effects units (lexicon pcm 80/roland space delay/roland space reverb/ensoniq dp4/tc electronics m2000/boss gx700...), spl charisma valve interface and mackie monitors. guitars were recorded through the boss gx700 and a marshall jmp1 valve pre amp, and vocals at a number of different studios. Bass sounds were created by recording the bass DI'd and then sending it through the gx700 for a clanky pre-amped sound, then adding sub harmonics with a DBX120 subharmonic synthesizer. I had to learn all the gear, along with the techniques involved, whilst mixing the album. I had to redo a few of the tracks, but all in all I'd say they turned out pretty well considering none of them were done in a "proper" studio with acoustic treatment or professional engineers. The key was having a wide variety of bits of gear, and experimenting. The downside was that it took forever! The complexity largely resulted from the fact that I was on a long and steep learning curve throughout the album, and each time I returned to a track I had lost touch with the things that originally buzzed me out about it, so I added more and more new ones! On a couple of tracks I was reminded (vaguely) of Felix da Housecat. He's not on your list of inspirations though. Are you aware of him? I'm afraid that, although I have heard of him, I have not actually heard his music yet. Having said that, tunes often sink into my consciousness somehow( through being played in clubs, bars or shops) and then I find out later who it is! For example...I slagged the Strokes off something rotten, mainly coz I heard one shit tune by them, and then got totally sick of all the hype. A month later, however, and I find out that a track I heard played before a PJ Harvey gig (by the dj) was them all along...and it is shit hot! So....I may be subconsciously aware of him(I suspect that was rather more information than required....you could always just print "no"). You can always send me some Felix da Housecat if ya want (hint hint). Adam and the Ants is there - what did you get from Ant Music? (I liked the drums!) What can I say about the once-sane ant man? He was my first love.. (in terms of music....although I do remember having an "I love Adam Ant" poster on my wall at one point)...I cried on my sister's shoulder when they split up, whimpering "what am I gonna do now...all I've got left is Madness and Ultravox!"...I was only nine. Adam and the Ants are way, way, way underrated. If they came out now they would be classed as alternative music, but kids loved it! Originality...in kid's music!??? oh my god, lets make absolutely sure it never happens again! Great guitar riffs, shouty choruses, big tribal drums, fuckin yodelling....come on!! I seriously want to do either a cover or a bootleg of "Dog Eat Dog"....I have tried one idea already, mixing a track on "Heathen Earth" by Throbbing Gristle with it...it gives it a big, sinister psychedelic feel with big wooshes of dark noise. the man needs a revival, and I feel it is only fair that I do my bit..tribute album anyone?----he shits on Gary Numan. There's some argument about classical training and 'popular' music in that some people say that the whole process refines creative and improvisatory skills right out. That's clearly not true but what do you think about the generalisation? Absolutely spot on....that's why I gave up classical music...its all rules and restrictions (much like most pop music, in fact), and more than a little po faced (or shit faced, in my case). I hated it...I made a deal with my old dear that if I got to grade 8 I could give it up. I like the sound of strings in music, I just can't stand the pathetic snobbery and utter pretence that goes with the classical scene. Most the audience haven't got the critical faculties to appreciate the music anyway! It's just a lifestyle choice, in a lot of cases, that goes with private schools, double driveways and the like. The media have given you some very nice comments for this release. Does that result in a 'phew, I can do more' feeling or doesn't it matter? I must admit that I have hardly seen any reviews at all...a lot of people who supported both singles have mysteriously not reviewed the album. Those who have seem to have a problem with the idea of the album as a "journey", getting the right arsehole with Adam and Annie's spoken word bits. It's amazing how people can focus in on the one thing they didn't like...they go "oh, its ever so unique and intricate, but there was this little bit I didn't like, and, its just too ambitious......FUCK YOU FUCK YOU and FUCK YOU! I do what I fuckin like ...I have my own reservations about the album I'll admit, but "over ambitious" in this day and age should be a compliment not a criticism. I'm an artist not a bleedin car advertiser. What have you got planned for the upcoming tour in the way of staging? "up and coming tour"??? First I've heard of it! At the moment we are still fine-tuning the musical side of it(I didn't have a band at all a couple of months ago ,and have had to recruit and train them very quickly). If, however, budget was not an issue(which, being on one of the only TRUE independants going, unfortunately it is at the moment) I would have a shit load of visuals done to the music to bring out the dynamics...massive contrasts between minimal lighting and explosions of colour and brain frying images(I used to be a big fan of Psychic TV and their sensory overload techniques)...I think the visuals and lights should really reflect the music, and that doesn't mean having them banging away all through the set, but pin pointing certain sounds or atmospheres....... Any dates set yet? As far as I know the only one booked at the moment is at the Subterania at Ladbroke Grove in London, on June the 14th (half hour set as part of a new electronic beats night backed by mean fiddler. Thanks a lot.

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