MIXED BY Loops Haunt
The Scottish experimentalist turns in a "shadow of" his latest work.
THUMP: You've mentioned being an audio-visual artist around 2008, working on installations during your university studies. What made you leave that path in favour of a career as a musician?
Loops Haunt: Well, I'd been making and experimenting with electronic music since I was about 16 and if it was recorded, it was to tape, or maybe a Mini-disc. I eventually got samplers and drum machines, but still didn't really have any computer sequencing to hand until I got one for studying in around 2004. It just came from there: doing my university work by day, which was more sound-based than DJing, and making music at night. i had a good group of mates back in Dundee, and we all were into music and putting on club nights. There's also a fucking brilliant second hand record shop in Dundee. These things all contributed in their own ways. Also, it's nearly impossible to make a living as an audio visual artist (and just slightly less impossible to make one as a mostly unknown musician), so that sold it for me.
I've also read in the same interview with Laurent Fintoni that you're a record collector, and that you've also use samples on Exits. How do you relate to artistic concepts such as Matthew Herbert's - not using any prerecorded material?
Loops Haunt: I think that's fantastic. I'm sure there's an organic satisfaction that you can only achieve from that approach. I've recorded things myself being as strict as I could, but I doubt I was as thorough as Matthew Herbert. Nonetheless, it's certainly a positive thing to do if you have the means to do so, and it's what you want creatively speaking.
You've "designed" Exits to be listened to as "one continuous track". Why did you choose to split them up into individual pieces, when they're meant to be listened to all the way through?
Loops Haunt: Well, the split tracks are loosely like chapters. You can get quite a nice "take a breath" effect form splitting it up, especially if you are working with something that's pretty busy or intense. Some of the tracks have got recordings of family holidays and things like that in them. You can't hear a lot of them anymore as they got munched in the process of making most of the tracks, but they were there because they helped my vibe when I was making them.
I like your approach of contrasting dance or hip hop beats with nasty, noisey, distorted sounds - although the "beats" aspect seems to be more of a hint. Exits sounds very different when compared with your Zenith release from 2012 - far less approachable, or cheerful. Was this a decisive change in direction, or an accidental development?
Loops Haunt: Thanks. I think that was mostly accidental. Exits has some of the lightest and darkest things I've released to date. It was slowly developed as an album in this folder, and I assembled it as naturally I could until I was satisfied that it was all in there somewhere. The problems was not being able to just sit down and decide to make an album track. I had to almost happen upon a sound that I felt had the "vibe", and then it would go in the folder. A bit of a creative lottery. Essentially, I had no control over the lightness or darkness of it. I stopped writing for Exits when it felt right to finish. It turns out, there was more darkness than light in there.
The opener seems to date back until 2010, when you started working on a riff used in 'Howl'. When did you start developing this riff into a track, and towards the album?
Loops Haunt: That track just took ages. I knew I liked the sound, but couldn't follow it up at the time. It's gone through a whole bunch of versions. At one point, I was thinking about trying to work out the notes for that main lead melody and getting a few string to play it. It would have sounded great, but not being able to score music pretty much killed that idea dead. I didn't want to go down the "auto score" road. I had moved on idea-wise by the time I had a chance to try that anyway. That kind of thing happened all the time with 'Howl'. I'm glad it worked out the way it did in the end.
The drum pattern on 'Howl' reminds me of 'Atlas' by Battles. Is there a connection between your own music and Battles', or John Stanier's?
Loops Haunt: Yeah, that rolling drum beat style has got a really nice primal drive to it. I love it. It was actually written for that first 'Howl' melody, which really wasn't a Battles/Strainer thing, but as I was writing rhythms for it it came round that it was going to have to be rolling to sync with swing in the melody.i knew It would definitely sound like 'Atlas', but Balasz has his own thing for sure. All the same, I'd have no problem with being influenced by the Battles. I've been lucky enough to be on the same bill as them a couple times and see them play. They're brilliant.
I saw that the limited edition of Exits comes with a bonus track, 'IIo', on floppy disc. Given that many computers don't even have a CD-R drive anymore, this is probably nerdy stuff to listen to. I even had to look up how to boot a floppy. I haven't used them since my 486 PC days.
Loops Haunt: Aww shite - these are brand new in Scotland. I thought everyone would be totally blown away. Gutted.
Did you know that 5.25-inch floppy disks make great CD cases?
Loops Haunt: I hadn't seen that before. It's like a little obsolete sandwich. I like it.
How did you approach and record this new mix?
Loops Haunt: I've used vinyl, tapes, digital, and done some sampling and synth stuff. I usually get carried away doing mixes and end up on tangents, but I've tried to make the mix function as a kind of shadow for the album.
I'm curious: What's with the antlers of a stag on your record artworks and promo photo? What do you find interesting about deer? Do you go hunting?
Loops Haunt: Haha, no, I'm not a hunter. I'm actually not interested in deer at all - fuck 'em. I really like the antlers though. My grandad was a hunter and had lots of them. They're all still in my grandmothers house. Aesthetically, they just trigger something in me - much in the same way the melodies on the album trigger something that I can't quite pin. But it's there now, so maybe ill figure it out.
Excerpt from The Holy Mountain - Alejandro Jodorowsky
Loops Haunt - untitled
Reborn Ice Horn- 1991
Gescom - Cake Mic
Loops Haunt- IIon
Tod Dockstader- Eight Electronic Pieces Pt 8.
Craig Leon- Four Eyes To See The Afterlife
Andrey Tarkovsky - Solaris .15
T.A.G.C. - E.P.M.D
Ben Frost - Híbakúsja
Isang Yun - Glissees
Marc Clifford - Blue Fi
Geinoh Yamashirogumi - Dolls' Polyphony
Hans Reichel - Arrival of the Midnight Queen
Last Exit - Pig Cheese „live"
Dead Goldfish Ensemble - Dazzling One
The Conet Project- The Backwards Music Station
Skrapez666 - untitled
Fhloston Paradigm - Chasing Rainbows
SCB - Mace
Fuse - Train Traks
Weapons - Protect
Autechre – VekoS
Morton Subotnick - Touch Part 1
James Holden- Gone Feral
Alessandro Cortini – ACMN
Loops Haunt- Fissure
Costt- The Things I Do
Roberto Cacciapaglia - Floating Clouds