Richard D. James has been releasing albums for over 20 years, and making music for even longer. The mysterious Irish recluse goes by the pseudonym of Aphex Twin (most of the time), and we hadn’t heard anything from the popular producer for 13 years before his album Syro dropped last year. Groove Magazine decided to make the most of their interview possibilities by asking 25 artists to think of a question for Aphex Twin to answer, and we have picked out a few of our favourite responses. You can read the full interview here.
Caribou: Are you ambitious? If so, towards what ends?
“I’m trying to do the best thing imaginable – that’s my ambition. And I try this by making music. When you make music and you listen to it, it changes you and then it gives you an idea of something new to do. It’s a constantly evolving process. Everytime you make music, if you’re on form, you should be imaging what you want to hear, which is basically how you want it to be.”
Nicolas Jaar: Have you ever had a ghost, a spirit or an accident speak directly to you through making music or while making music?
“Yeah, I always felt a presence or something, I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s just a human conditon, but it always feels like the gods are looking on us and are like: ‘Ah, let’s make him do this’. And it’s really weird, because the other day I got stoned and went to bed, and I had the biggest intense feeling of someone watching over me.”
Skrillex: Do you still own your tank and if so, can I come visit to you, try it out and drive it?
“He can come, yeah! It’s still at my sister’s house in Wales. It still works! Amazing old technology, when things were designed and they lasted forever. So, it’s 50 to 60 years old and it sounds fucking amazing.”
François K: As you’re getting into a phase of your career where you’re finding yourself among often much younger DJs and producers: Do you sometimes feel it is important to pass some of your ideas and techniques to those who are curious about them?
“Yeah, totally, it’s really important, I think! If people want to know, I’m not protective anymore about ideas. So, if someone wants to know, it’s fine. But people have to find me, it’s quite far away where I live in Scotland (laughs). I always tell people, if they’re asking me something. But I don’t really like to go into specifics like equipment or technical things. If I would teach, it would be purely philosophical. Because I don’t want to make someone good at using Traktor or whatever, I wouldn’t want to limit him to that. You want people to come up with something new and maybe make you learn something.
I have two children and they ask me all the time. They’re totally interested in music. They are six and eight and they’re just asking me more and more details. What software to use? How did I get this sound?”
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