LUCKY US! Memotone has prepared for us a mix of the music that has inspired him to grow as an artists and influence his original sound. Some classics and probably a few things you’ve never heard before, check it out below.
How did you get into making music, and what were your first influences?
I was introduced to music and musical instruments at a very young age. Probably before I can even remember I was hearing good music being played every day. I remember when I was about 3 years old, my favourite song was ‘Buffalo Soldier’ by Bob Marley. When I was about 5 I was given a ukulele by my Dad and I loved it. It was not long until I had moved on to a mini nylon strung classical guitar. From that point on I was picking up new instruments when ever I could. Finally, the house got it’s own piano thanks to my Grandmothers’ kindness.
When I was 14 me and my friend Alex Holbourne formed a guitar duo called ‘Marble Roundhouse’. After Marble Roundhouse, me and Alex joined up with a bass player called Jack Kellythorn and formed the band ‘Cockpit Affairs’.That was a lot of fun… It was at this time the idea I may like to make music for a living took light in my mind. During this time I had got my hands on a Digital 8 track recorder and starting writing my own music in my bedroom, recording it all live. Memotone sprouted from there.
Talk about your live setup, what role does live instrumentation play?
When I play live, I try and keep it so all the sounds the audience hear, they can see my make. So if a guitar line comes in, they can watch me play the guitar rather than just trigger a sample.
The one thing I do not always play in front of your eyes are the beats. It just makes a track sound so much better if I can drop a beat and play some keys or bass guitar over the top simultaneously. Obviously, without the pre made beat, I would have to build a beat and then drop the extra instrumentation. Sometimes that works, but other times you need that punch.
My set up is as follows: Guitar/MPC/Keys/Microphone into a 4 track mixer, then the mixer is run through a Kaoss Pad 3 and from there into a Boss RC-50 loop station.
For an example of the sort of stuff I do live you can visit my youtube page here
What situations and processes do you find to help you be the most creative? How do you get comfortable to produce your music?
A cup of tea and half an hour at the piano usually does it, but failing that a loop pedal is great for inspiration and reinvigorating me musically.
If I feel a little uninspired and generally unable to produce anything sat in-front of my computer with pre recorded parts. I can go and sit down with the loop pedal and run a keyboard phrase though it then over dub some simple instrumentation and then built a beat on-top of it. After a while I usually have something that I want to transfer onto the computer and properly produce as a whole piece.
Creative block cleared and I’ve had fun in the process. That can’t be bad!
You’ve got a new release forthcoming on the Black Acre imprint ‘Team Acre’, how did you go about getting involved with them?
Well, at the end of 2009 I got in with a great little label called ‘A Future Without’. They released my first album which is called ‘Friend’ (you can find it on Boomkat, Amazon, iTunes etc…) and generally promoted me to the underground music world.
After making a track called ‘Multicolour’ Ross (one of the two top heads at AFW) posted the tune on his facebook page. At the same time Carlo (Dark Sky), who is a friend of mine from our home town Shaftesbury and had already had a release with Black Acre, posted it on his page too. After a few hours, Ian (Top Head at Black Acre) had got in touch and asked if I wanted to do a release. I said yes indeed I did, and now the ‘Multicolour EP’ is coming out as a 12” in March.
Signature sounds… What elements of your music define yours?
One of the things that separates me from others producing a similar sound is the live instrumentation. Also, I try to record everything I use in my music myself, from percussion to filed recordings. So each piece has sounds from my own environment. Giving it a personal touch.
I would say my music was very human. I try and write everything on hardware, so much so that even though it sounds like I use compression in my tracks, I am actually manually turning the volume up and down. I am not really computer savvy, haha… I think every musician has their own style because it is almost impossible to avoid. Producers can sound like other producers, but people who play instruments most commonly develop there own playing style.
Once you have found your style your production just sort of follows in step. Until you have your own sound altogether. I am not quite there yet, as I have a lot of growing to do as far as production and musicianship go. So I am just excited to see where I am in 5 years or so…
Which artists are you feeling at the moment?
At the moment I would say my top 20 artists are (in no specific order):
Mount Kimbie, Radiohead, Murcof, Lukid, Matthew Barley, Burial, Flying Lotus, Four Tet, Shlohmo, Thom Yorke, James Blake (Klavierwerke EP), MF Doom, Talk Talk (Laughing Stock Album), radicalfashion, Colleen, Susumu Yokota, OL, Spor, Sam Amidon and Brian Eno & Harold budd. But anything under the Electronica umbrella put out by the ‘Leaf ‘ label is pretty good. And obviously ‘Black Acre’ has some great artists. Not forgetting some of the amazing sounds coming out of A Future Without. Check them all out.
What do the next few months look like for Memotone?
I am writing towards releasing an album when ever I get it together, and in the process I will probably release another EP and maybe a single. We shall just have to see how it goes.
A few live nights on the Horizon, one in Old Street up in London on the 14 of April and another in Brighton at ‘JAM’ on the 30th of April. Always writing and producing, so just keep an ear out!
Give us a rundown of your Raised By Records guest mix
It is pretty much an overview of all the music that has inspired me since I started to write music on my own. It starts with a track from a band called ‘Eels’, who when I started to write music on my 8 track, were the band I was listening to most of all. A great mix of interesting and accessible sounds, and a very interesting story behind the front man Mark Everett.
From that it drops into a nasty track from Akira Kiteshi which is something more up to date with my listening habits of today, and slowly it develops into quite a good example of what music I listen to, what inspires me and what has helped to form my sound.
And finally, what are your top 5 tunes at the moment?
1. Granny Diner by Grizzly Bear. Included in the mix
2. Machine by Akira Kiteshi
3. Teeth by Shlohmo. Included in the mix
4. Technicolour Anneka (Fybe Remix) Included In the Mix
5. Us by Soosh
Pick up a copy of Memotones new ep OUT NOW on Team acre, but for the mean time listen to his exclusive RBR mix!