Interview: Container

You’ll be performing in an abandoned police station at this Bristol show, which sounds like a great place to host your music. Are there particular types of venues you enjoy playing in most?

Lately I’ve been playing at such a mix of venues, from real dance club type places and legit festivals, to really shitty bars and dudes basements.  I appreciate the variety of that, it’s interesting to have to reassess the situation every night and find out what you’re going to be getting into. Basically I like it all. The comfort of the backstage and reliable sound system at the fancy club is easy to get behind, but also the feeling of playing a totally packed tiny room in someones house is hard to beat. Basically…what I’m trying to say is that I’m pumped to play in an abandoned police station.

Your live sets are quite brief compared to other artists creating rhythmic, recurrent music. Is there a reason for that?

I just don’t think it needs to be any longer. Thirty minutes is more than enough time for people to get the gist of what I’m doing. Normally I feel that sets start to lose their steam after that amount of time anyways. It’s a much better feeling when you wished someone had played longer than when you wish they had stopped playing twenty minutes ago.

Given that your music is very composed on record, what do you use to recreate it live in real time?

All my songs are written with the idea that I’ll be playing them live probably within a few weeks, so it’s never actually occurred to me to write a song that would only be used on a recording, or that was too full of studio tricks to pull off live. It’s all designed with live playback in mind.

Going by the track “Glaze”, your new release Adhesive is shaping up really great. It’s a bouncier, quicker cut than much of your previous material; is this indicative of the rest of the record?

Yes it sort of is. A lot of the tracks are at a faster BPM than I’ve used in the past, and I tried out a few new techniques which resulted in the record having a more ‘up beat’ sound. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

Where and when is the music of Container predominantly composed? Is there a time and place at which creativity strikes most potently?

The front room of my apartment is used as the studio. Unfortunately this room isn’t insulated, so in the Winter you have to wear lots of sweaters and bring a space heater into the room when you’re trying to jam, and in the Summer you just sweat like crazy. The new EP was all written in there during the Summer, and the writing process happened a lot faster than it has for some other releases of mine…I’m realizing now this could be due to my desire to escape the oppressive heat.

How do you achieve those really dirty, squirming vocal sounds on your tracks?

Those are tape loops, and the vocals are recorded by me saying a word slowly and then speeding the tape up. The loops are usually put together quite shoddily, so sometimes it gets stuck and I have to wiggle the tape around to get it to keep playing, which adds to the degraded quality and probably gives it this ‘squirming’ effect you mention.

What records are you listening to at the moment?

Had a heavy Weird Al session last night! Actually started looking into how much it would be to book him, but it’s quite a bit more than we were prepared to offer. “Taco Grande” is my all time favorite by him, but I rediscovered “White and Nerdy” last night, and wow, that’s a real gem as well. I’ve also been really into “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane. A lot of perfect executions in that song.

But if we’re talking real music, right at this moment I’m revisiting the Kontra Musik 12” series by Frak, and some recent favorites have been Powell’s “Fizz” EP, Wolf Eyes “Lower Floors” LP, and that new Helm one on Pan.

What’s next for you and your music?

Well, a lot is happening at the moment. My new EP on Liberation Technologies is about to drop, Four Tet is releasing a 12” which has my remix of his song “Kool FM” on it, my other band Form A Log just had a new LP come out, and I’m leaving in a couple days to tour Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and The UK. So that’s a bit of a heavy load all at once there. Once I get back from the tour I’ll be spending the winter working on new music, which will hopefully materialize into a release by the Summer.

Container tour dates –
Bunker performance web page (with Cut Hands, Blood Music and Black Amiga) –