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Comatone & Foley - Pulling The Trigger

Author: Matt Unicomb
Monday, August 18, 2008

Trigger Happy is the result of a collaboration between Sydney IDM producer GL Seller and Alon Ilsar, aka Comatone and Foley. 3D’s Matt Unicomb spoke with the former.

Congratulations on the release of Trigger Happy. It’s still early days, but how is the feedback so far-
Good so far – String Thing has been put on rotation. I haven’t seen any reviews yet so I don’t know if they are going to be praising or damning of the music. We hope the former.

When and why did you guys first start collaborating- When did you decide to get serious-
I was asked by Alon (Foley) to do a remix for the now disbanded Gauche after he got my input as mastering engineer for his self-released album. I can’t remember how it came about, but somewhere he asked if I was up for writing some tracks together. We were both fans of each other’s work, so it was easy to say yes. That’s pretty much where it started. He’d come up the mountains from the city with some demos, I’d run things through my toys, change some sounds and we’d work on structuring. Then we got into writing some music together ‘in the studio’. That was pretty funny, only having the one computer, It’s an incredibly ‘edit heavy’ style of music, we’d switch driving seats. I’d have a kip, Alon would work on something then we’d switch again. We got serious with it straight away when it was turning out great!

The album’s soundscape is extremely diverse. A track like Electric Sheep alongside Prayer Bowel is very adventurous. Was it your intention going into the project to have such diversity-
We knew three things for sure when we started working together: it was going to be electronic, we were going to do a lot of work in compound time signatures and we were going to source a lot of sounds from stuff lying around, one of the first things we sampled was a tape measure that we then cut up, and that’s the ‘glitch’ sounds for CF1. Similarly, Prayer Bowl is made entirely from one prayer bowl. We were also going to use regular ol’ synths and drum machines. Adventure is part of the sound designing process, there are specific things that you can do where you know the outcome as a certainty. Then, there are things that you ‘try’ and if it’s being recorded, you keep.

Diversity – this is a fairly long-winded explanation but let’s try it. I use an analogy that different genres of music can be represented by a tree; you have the trunk, that is the base for the genre, then all the branches are the sub genres or styles within that; ambient down this branch, hardcore down that one… It can also represent accessibility and age, the start of the branch at the bottom of the tree, people have climbed to it, but there is all the stuff down the end that gets specific, then up the top new music that the majority haven’t heard or are too afraid of heights. Electronic music happens to be a particularly massive tree that grows rapidly, and we like jumping from one branch to the other. Hopefully, we’ve made an album that’s got all sorts of bits and pieces for people to like.

How does your live set hold up-
Live is fun, it’s difficult for me as all the work is done in the studio then you have to figure out a way of keeping it ‘fresh’ when you play it at people. There are a lot more ‘live drums’. We haven’t played together or even seen each other for over a year, and there has been big developments in the ways Alon can manipulate sounds. He has some custom built self designed ‘air sticks’ that are MIDI controllers, so he can hook up to a laptop and flail his arms/hands to trigger<