Late last week, Pitchfork’s Philip Sherburne sat down with Richard D. James in London for a rare interview about his first proper Aphex Twin album in 13 years, SYRO, along with his influence on electronic music and what he’s got in store for the future. The full Q&A will run in the weeks ahead, but here are some choice bits in the meantime:
- The title SYRO is pronounced “sigh-ro” and it is a made-up word one of James’ children came up with.
- Of the several albums he’s been working on, SYRO is the “most accessible one.”
- He’s not behind any of the SYRO fakes on YouTube but he has seen them: “I saw the first one that got up, it's got like 26,000 views already, so obviously there's a lot of incentive for people to do fakes. It's like, ‘Shit, I should have put the real one up there.’ I can't put it up yet, though, can I? How much do you get paid for a YouTube thing?”
- SYRO features unintelligible vocals from James, his kids, his wife, and his parents.
- On Kanye sampling Drukqs’ “Avril 14th” on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’s “Blame Game”: “Is it a sample? I actually don't know what it ended up being in the end, I'm so slack. I know that he tried to fucking rip me off and claim that he'd written it, and they tried to get away with not paying. I was really helpful, and when they first sent it to me, I was like, ‘Oh, I can re-do that for you, if you like,’ because they'd sampled it really badly and time-stretched it and there was loads of artifacts. I was like, ‘I'll just replay it for you at that speed if you want.’ And they totally didn't even say ‘hello’ or ‘thanks,’ they just replied with, ‘It's not yours, it's ours, and we're not even asking you any more.’” [laughs]
- SYRO’s track titles mostly reference machines James used to make the album.
- He’s currently making new music with electro-mechanical instruments including MIDI pipe organs, a Disklavier controlled piano, and computer-controlled percussion.
- On the Kickstarter campaign to distribute audio files of his unearthed Caustic Window album, which exceeded its goal by more than $50,000: “The whole thing is just really touching. When they reached that goal on Kickstarter and it kept going up—people just wanting to give it money, even though they didn't need to do it—it's like, ‘Oh wow. Humanity is nice after all.’ Fans were just so happy to get it, fucking hell. I've got thousands more like that at home. I should release all that stuff as well.”
- On his resemblance to Spanish politician Pablo Iglesias: “He does look like me a bit, doesn't he.”
- The limited-edition version of SYRO will include an extra track printed in ink on heavyweight cardstock: “I tried it a few times, and it sounds like noise, but you can hear music in there, somehow.
- He still DJs anonymously: “The good gigs are always the smaller gigs. The few I've done recently, just for fun, totally anonymously, were so much better than a normal gig. The soundsystem's usually shit, but it's really nice when nobody knows who you are.”
- He confirms that he was the artist behind the much-rumored-about Melodies From Mars album, which was made circa 1995 and has been circulating online for years: “There's a really bad copy of it on the net. I think I gave the tape to Warp, so one of those fuckers leaked it years ago. I actually went back and re-edited it, because I almost released it again, but then I got distracted again. Each time I go back to it, I realize there were loads more tracks. So it started off like a double album, but I think it's about four albums' worth. So it's really hard to pull together. I just need Warp or someone to come around and say, ‘Come on, let's fucking get these things out.’ But they don't, so it's just up to me. And nobody else hassles me.”
- James’ five-year-old son recently taught himself how to use a music software program that he downloaded off Pirate Bay and even uploaded some tracks to Bandcamp.
if Richard is willing to help you Kanye, you take it ..Aphex Twin >>>>> Daft Punk imo