As we all try to recover from our over stretched bellies and the consistent usage of livers, we thought it would be a nice idea for us to treat all of you with Q&A time this fine New Year. Here we have an interview that fills us all in on the past and present life of IDM duo Plaid. From hating on anything that is cloned to scoring the soundtrack for a Japanese Anime film and even working with the lovable Bjork. Plaid gives us all a piece of their mind.
PlanetNotion: Your return to the Soundcrash stage at the end of January for Videocrash and your performance is set to focus on your audiovisual work. Can you tell us a little about what the crowd can expect from this?
Plaid: We will be playing some new pieces with our evolving reactive video setup.
PN: Talk us through your production set up – what sort of equipment do you use to make your euphoric electro?
Plaid: Logic and Ableton are our main sequencers. It is possible to really customise Ableton now, using an add-on called Max for Live which enables the use of homemade devices.
This opens up a lot of possibilities for sound design and performance.
PN: You’ve been in the industry for a fair while now, your wiki says since 1991 – is this true? So have you got any musical pet hates?
Plaid: We started in a band called The Black Dog in 1988, inspired by Chicago/Detroit electronic music and raving.
Musical pet hates would be anything that is just cloned.
PN: And how do you feel your music has progressed since you first started performing as Plaid?
Plaid: Apart from technical improvements we are still trying to learn restraint and subtlety.
PN: In 2006 you also scored the soundtrack to a Japanese Anime film entitled Tekkonkinkreet. How on earth did that come about? And what was the recording process like?
Plaid: The director, Michael Arias, had heard us play in Tokyo in the late 90′s and when he finally started making his first feature film in 2006, asked us to score it. We were naturally excited by the idea! It is a beautifully animated film so writing music to it was relatively easy. We were given a musical guide that incorporated our own music and then given a fair amount of freedom to write. The difficult part is pleasing everyone in a large team and finishing on time. We spent a month in Tokyo mastering, sleeping on camp beds in the studio.
PN: Would you like produce soundtracks again in the future? If so, what films would you ideally like to work with? (They can either be upcoming movies or just imaginary ones)
Plaid: Soundtrack work is appealing because of its collaborative nature and the demands of working to a narrative structure. Animation has the advantage of complete freedom of imagination so a teenage desire would be to work on something like an animated version of Neuromancer.
PN: On top of creating your own music, you’ve also produced an extensive repertoire of remixes for artists such as Goldfrapp and Red Snapper. Which do you prefer crafting and why?
Plaid: Remixes are harder because there is a deconstruction stage that’s not there with an original track. It’s especially difficult if the track is really good because a remix then seems a little pointless. Once a track is finally broken down, the process is similar, trying to construct a stimulating sound world.
PN: Online there’s a brief mention of you collaborating with Bjork? Can you tell us a little more about this? When was it? What was it like?
Plaid: We helped produce a few tracks with her and toured as her support and band members in 1996. Bjork is inspiring to work with, very energised and positive. We learnt a lot during the touring and had some wonderful experiences.
PN: Are there any other artists out there you’d love to collaborate with in the future?
Plaid: There is some one new every few months!
PN: What are your New Year’s resolutions?
Plaid: Sit up straight, be more friendly, think less, do more, etc. etc.
PN: What are you most looking forward to for 2012?
Plaid: Every single moment of it and a new mattress.
Check out the soundcrash gig info here