Squarepusher on Thinking Outside The Box
Sunday, July 22, 2001"When my partner Grant Wilson-Clarriage saw Tom spasmodically twitching in order to play a funky baseline in time to a 347 bpm drum & bass track, he thought he should be either committed or recorded. Fortunately he chose the latter." So said Richard 'Aphex Twin' James recently, speaking of his fellow sound experimentalist Tom 'Squarepusher' Jenkinson. That even James considers him potentially bonkers, pays testament to his originality which itself has transformed him into a globally recognised name. His new album 'Go Plastic' is out shortly on seminal electronica label Warp Records, and he's also recently invited fans to have a go at animating the new album, via the Warp website. Skrufff's Andrez Bergen caught up with him last week, just before he set off to Australia for a tour.
Skrufff: What are your principal influences for the new album-
Squarepusher: "As much as jazz, I acknowledge techno, jungle and acid house. The movement of jazz is one of the things that's always excited me - it's so kinetic. Musicians like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were writing new forms of music as they were going along. But in terms of musical influences I've listened to so much stuff over the years it's hard to define just one or two definitive things there... I just get a vibe and throw in a sample here or there. As far as I'm concerned there are a million other things floating around in there. I can quite happily say to anyone who's not heard it, 'It'll blow your brains out!"'
Skrufff: and how did you choose your record label-
Squarepusher: ""I don't really care where it comes out - I don't care about the identity of the record labels; as far as I'm concerned my music's got its own identity. If it was released on f*cking EMI it wouldn't make any difference to me."
Skrufff: What's your mentality in the studio-
Squarepusher: "Approach-wise, if I get a new piece of software or a new bit of gear, I'll learn that thing inside-out so that I pretty much know anywhere it can go. Then, when I sit down to do a track, the way it develops is an intuitive process rather than a composition. There's so much freedom with electronic gear, and I thinks it's vital that you should let intuition guide what you do rather than stamping down a particular template."
Skrufff: Do you feel much in common with other experimentalists like The Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert and Plaid-
Squarepusher: "Ermm... I don't feel like I've got much in common with anyone, really, in terms of my musical approach and my music in general. I can obviously see the connections between people like me and Richard (Richard James aka Aphex Twin) and Luke and Plaid, but I think in terms of what I do I feel completely alone. I'm not part of any scene at all. That's it, really. I feel dead lonely in that respect - I'd love to meet someone who I felt was barking up the same tree."
While Jenkinson sounds genuinely disappointed when he says this, he's even more horrified when he hears that Australia's in the depths of winter. "Oh shit," he mutters. "I was having images of me standing on a beach wearing a hat with corks on it, with a can of Fosters...!"
Andrez Bergen (Melbourne, Australia)
Squarepusher played in Melbourne last week, where he was supported by Skrufff's Andrez Bergen (wearing his Little Nobody hat).