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Interview: Ian Pooley

Author: Alias
Sunday, January 1, 1995
Ian Pooley and his musical development goes back a long way. If you believe the stories, at the age of six Ian was listening to Kraftwerk's seminal Autobahn, at fourteen began purchasing early Detroit techno records with long time friend DJ Tonka, and at seventeen began producing rave anthems using a limited analogue set up at home. Such achievements seem worthy of the term 'child prodigy'.

After all, the history of Ian Pooley is fascinating. After hearing the sounds of early Detroit techno he was smitten with the sound. Shopping at his beloved Boy Record Store in Frankfurt he met up with Achim Szepanski, at the time the stores owner. Time passed and Pooley's interest grew, and four years after their initial meeting Pooley and Szepanski met again. The latter was setting up a label called Force Inc. Pooley and friend DJ Tonka began to spend their afternoons experimenting with sound using second hand analogue equipment, and recording the results under their T'N'I and Space Cube aliases. When Tonka was on holiday in 1994, Pooley grabbed some equipment and produced a few tunes at home. Such was the beginning of Ian Pooley the recording artist.Since then Pooley has recorded two albums (Meridian and The Times), released countless twelve inches, and remixed artists such as Daft Punk, Dave Angel, Green Velvet, Ken Ishii, Deee-Lite, Yello, and indie popsters The Cardigans. Most of his ground breaking work was done whilst still living at home with his father in Mainz. "Yes I was still living at home. I actually moved out of home about one and half years ago but living at home was cool. I had loads of space, it didn't make it hard or anything, because my Dad was working during the day so I had heaps of time to make noise, and I made loads of noise! My parents were totally supportive so the home environment was excellent."

As Pooley has grown older his own productions have also matured. His album of last year, Meridian, was an absolute masterpiece, a long player which showed that Pooley was fully capable of tackling a range of styles. From the lush atmospherics of the hip hop inspired Disco Love, to the soothing breakbeat of What's Your Number, and the infectious house grooves of Cold Wait and Followed, the album covered a wide area, yet managed to sound cohesive as a whole. "Meridian is more of a listening album," Ian asserts. "My AFU and Force Inc. tracks was more like a playing thing, y'know tracks that you would play out. There are about four or five tracks on Meridian that can be played out, it's not like it's just a listening album, but it has elements of each - listening and dancing."

The album also served as a snapshot of Pooley's musical interests. "It was just to show people that I am doing different stuff when I am at home. When I recorded The Times I basically just collected a whole bunch of singles together and put them on an album. This time I wanted to record an album in its own right - each track making up a piece of the whole to show a wider range of styles. There's still a lot of harder tracks on there, it's just that they have less dominance than on my previous album." At the same time, Meridian took a step away from the Detroit groove that Pooley grew up idolising. "Those guys from the first generation I still find inspiring but nowadays there is nothing really happening in terms of production." Nowadays Pooley finds his dance related inspiration from other areas. "There are some excellent producers coming out of England, and Germany, France, Denmark and Spain. There's a lot of great music coming out from over here in Europe, but not much coming from over there in America."

The liner notes of Meridian also indicate that Pooley's musical tastes are far from strictly dance based. His playlist shows bands such as the Verve, Manic Street Preachers, Stereolab, Beck, Windy and Carl, Mouse On Mars, Superg