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Crewdson // The 405 Interview

July 21, 2011

Originally posted on The 405

The South London Goldsmiths alumni wowed us with Dust, an EP released at the end of last year with its beguiling 2-step, jazz and techno inspired superbly-crafted sound. Imaginative, playful and edgy – with a broad-range of sounds crammed into four tracks, it stokes intrigue in what turn would be taken with Gravity. Read our review here.

Crewdson talks us through the new album and provides an honest and enlightening assessment of his own recording processes and working methods in the interview below.

Hello. So, you must be pretty excited about the recent release of Gravity… I understand it’s been two years in the making? What can we expect from it?

Yeah, very excited! Its a collection of tracks that I have made over the last year and a bit really but with a couple of tracks on there that are two years old so there is a real range of my output on the record from the more song style vocal bits to glitchy beat pushing vibes.

Dust EP (which we loved at The 405) had a couple of remixes from Grasscut and Bass Clef. Are there any guest appearances on the album?

Thanks, glad you liked the EP. I was so fortunate to get two massively different but equally thrilling artists to remix me for that. The album is just me really, there is a little bit of live bass and drums that some friends contributed for me but apart from that its very much a solo effort.

You started out as saxophonist – how did the progression from sax to electronic sampling occur, and who/what inspired/influenced this transition?

I was playing sax in a few bands when I was at college which I loved doing but I really wanted to be able to write full pieces of music in my own time without having to answer to anyone else. My sister had an ancient version of Cubase on an ancient PC from when she did GCSE music so I plugged that all in and just started recording, that allowed me to build things up from scratch on my own. I certainly didn’t set out to make specifically electronic music at that point, I just wanted to be able to loop up as many saxophones as possible!

Do you play much sax on the album? Any jazz leanings?

There is some sax on the album, not as much as I would like if I’m honest but I am trying to bring the sax into my live sets more. Certainly there is some Jazz involved. I’m not a massive jazz geek or anything but a lot of my mates are and my sax teacher is Finn Peters who is certainly at the top of jazz/electronic crossover in the UK. I play electronics in a Jazz band as well called Saltwater Samurai so I am involved in that side of things quite directly.

How much influence did your Goldsmiths experience have on your musical direction?

A huge amount of influence, I have ended up working with people and styles of music that I would not have seen myself ever doing 5 years ago. Pretty much everyone that I am involved with musically at the moment has come either directly or indirectly through the people that I have met there.

You’re well known for using a variety of original samples recorded by yourself (joystick, handlebars etc). Any more new inventions? And why do you choose – or think it’s important – to record your own sounds as opposed to, say, using samples?

There are lots of new bits and pieces on the way, I have really got into building my own synths in the last year, they aren’t quite good enough to play live yet but I’m almost there. I’m going to put some pics up online soon of the things I have been building.

It’s incredibly important to me that I record new sounds to stop things going stagnant. Its quite astonishing to me how it’s still perfectly acceptable to use a generic kick drum sound that’s been used on hundreds of thousands of dance tunes before. If I’m writing a track and need a kick drum sound it should not be a process of going to the ‘kick drum’ section of your ‘glitch beats volume 5’ sound library, it should be a process of plugging your mic in and seeing whats lying around your house that could make a good noise.

How does the live experience and process differ from the recording process, do you treat them as two separate entities?

I increasingly try not to treat them differently. My aim is to try out ideas live on stage in the same way that I do in the studio. That’s easier said than done though and its something that I am always trying to progress with. Part of that is how much more comfortable I feel in the studio than on stage though, I need to relax a bit more when performing I think and stop being so scarred of things going wrong.

What artists/albums of recent have you been listening to and enjoying?

The Baths album has been on pretty solidly for a while, I love his writing so much. There is a guy from Leeds called Bambooman who I got introduced to through a friend, his stuff is properly fresh sounding, that’s certainly my tip of the moment! We have just remixed each other so watch this space…

You remixed fellow Goldsmiths-types La Shark (A Weapon), do you have any more on the horizon? (Not that creating an album would keep you busy or anything…) And is it something you enjoy doing?

Yeah I love remixing, especially if its for a track that’s pretty far removed from my style of music. I really enjoy getting free reign to do what I want with other peoples creations. I have been doing quite a few remixes actually, the Bambooman one, one for DFA’s ‘Planningtorock’, one for ‘Snorkel’ who are my label mates on Slowfoot and one for ‘Sound of Rum’ whose record just came out on Sunday Best. So yeah all those will be appearing soon.

And who would you love to work with in the studio, or remix?

Felix’s Machines is someone who I would love to work in the studio with. I would just watch him do his thing for days to be honest, he is a genius. Remixing, I don’t know really, Portico Quartet would be amazing. Are there any glockenspiel orchestras? That would be cool.

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