After producing some of the most incredible music of the last decade Adrian Mules sought out Zomby for a chat about his astonishing back catalogue, work rate and his plans for this year.
Hi Zomby, thanks for chatting to us. How’s it going?
Hi, yeah I’m well thanks.
For any readers not aware of your exploits how would you describe what you do?
I write music mostly..and try to behave.
That’s good to hear, so when did you start making music?
I’ve had a few attempts, my dad writes songs too so there were instruments and keyboards around I’d play on as a kid, you know. But I was busy playing football really. Later, like 14-15 yrs old, I was making weird jungle with a friend of mine. But we never really had a clue, it was mostly a post djing thing. Realising the fx on the mixer we could do more with if we had the beat looped, so we got into that for a while.
I didn’t have any gear actually just turntables I had from my 13th birthday and records I’d been buying. I had a go at making some beat tapes on a twin akai cassette deck, I had more success with actually overdubbing to loop but didn’t really think a sampler was on the cards, you know. I just then carried on with my life really, it was only when a friend I was living with in Barcelona in late 2005 gave me a copy of reason it clicked with me really. I had an iBook so loaded it up and got to work, there’s a bit more to it than that but I’ve a private life too.
What were your early musical memories and have any of those gone on to influence you in what you are doing now?
Beatles and Beach Boys were really while I was young, but aware, you know. So I know most of their catalogues off by heart. Along with a mixed bag of classical, pop music and whatever else was around really. My dad he writes a lot of songs too. My brother was also a huge music fan alongside, so he opened my eyes to a lot of great music from his record collection along with my dads. You know, things like The Smiths. Mantronix, Massive Attack, Detroit and Chicago house, a lot of bboy records, allsorts man, just great fucking music.
It's all still great music, none of it has aged at all. I guess by the time I was out buying records on my own and listening for myself I had ears to detect shit music, you know. I mean really the pivotal records for me were by people like Goldie, Aphex Twin and Acen which again havent aged at all.
I think not only has that stuff not aged, but it’s so far ahead of it’s time people are struggling to catch up even now. You don’t seem to be bound by any genre or sound. Does your music come from experimentation or do you have a clear idea in your head of where you are going before you start working?
It varies a lot, you know. I write in a lot of different modes and mix with the palettes to cross reference the larger project. I don’t really get to curate my projects or say sit and plan a master release really, I just make a lot of music and that’s it. I would write a song burn it off to wav one after another, so we try and curate them by timeframe. But then again the modes might be different, so I wait until I go into that mode again. It's quite bizarre.
I was knocked off my feat by Where We U In '92?, there’s a really deep ethereal and emotional connection in the music; which is a rare commodity in any music, especially modern electronica. How did you get such an amazing atmosphere?
Thanks. Well that’s just the feeling I have for the music and period of that time in England, you know. To me it meant the world. I was too young to be involved really, but to spectate and feel the excitement was enough, you know.
The only other electronic artist that gets such depth to the music is The Aphex Twin. I saw a video on your Myspace of him DJ’ing ‘Tears In The Rain’ at BLOC. You mentioned him before, but how did it feel to know he’d chosen one of your tracks to play?
Yeah of course I’m a massive fan, it was a treat.
You’ve spanned a large number of labels in the last few years, do you plan to settle with one or are you happy to play the field?
Really I can’t release enough material, you know. It’s just that on the labels there are other artists, so I have to wait but mostly I’m ready to go with an album worth of material every month. People have misunderstood my work rate, but you have to understand I just write song after song after song its really not the case tha I sit and exact a song out over a week; rather everything is written once.
That's a breathtaking work-rate. Why did you settle on the name Zomby?
Well I’m Zomby
Fair play, is there such a thing as typical day in Zomby’s life?
Depends if I’m writing music or not if I’m writing a then ill be smoking, eating, working and thinking. If I’m not working ill be relaxing or thinking about writing something or out and about or whatever, you know.
What was the last great track you heard?
A new one?
I thought a few Natasha Khan wrote were great, and most of Lady Gaga's songs.
You probably get asked this all the time, as it’s really lazy journalism, but where were you in 92?
I was young, like in school being a nuisance really. I think back and its things like air jordan, suburban base, reinforced records, dance energy, bauer rollerskates, troop tracksuits and a lot of walkman and cassette business. I was busy actually.
Clubs and rave culture served up dance music to fans and then as that slowed a lot of people got into good quality dance music via videogames like Wipeout in the mid nineties. Do you feel you have enough outlets to get people to listen to your music?
There can always be more really. Soundtracking adverts or movies or whatever isn’t out of reach really, but then I'm not a careerist. I just gave into my love of music one day. But of course now that’s expanded but I really don’t want to come across like I want to do everything, but I do have other ambitions - I’m really looking to begin some sculpted work soon.
That sounds interesting. Do you think electonica is in a healthy state in the UK at the moment?
Probably. You know I’m honestly not sure, I think there’s more music now available easier, whether its better or not isn’t for me to say. In a sense I don’t have opinions on these things because I only really concentrate on what I like and its quite varied I suppose.
Thanks for chatting to us. What can we look forward to from you in 2010?
That’s cool. I’ve a few things on the menu, but I don’t play a hype game. If they’re good you’ll find out about them.. Peace.
So, even though we are none the wiser about what Zomby has planned this year, that just leaves us even more excited. But rest assured that whenever and whatever his next material may be we we'll be covering it here at The Music Fix.
Last updated: 18/04/2018 17:42:42