Q&A | Guy Andrews likes to make things hard for himself

Dissatisfaction with the known drives the heady melancholy of Guy Andrews’ new album, Tåke. Travelling through Scandanavia last year, the Londoner found himself inspired by the moody expanse of unfamiliar landscapes, and the seeds of creativity took root. Fresh out on Houndstooth, the album blends electronica with elements of techno and post-rock, and features vocals from German-Turkish songwriter Alev Lenz on two tracks.

Sarah put some questions to Guy about the album, and why he purposely sets out to break his musical brain.

You’ve said that Tåke is about exploring new environments. What triggered this for you as a theme?
I was travelling around a lot during a sustained period of being quite disillusioned with the state of the UK, and in particular London. I kept finding myself feeling a lot more mentally refreshed when outside of these places, especially when visiting the natural areas other countries have to offer.

I found myself being more creative musically the more I travelled about, so actively decided to draw inspiration from these experiences.

The album was in some ways inspired by 65daysofstatic’s No Man’s Sky soundtrack. How does the concept of that game – and the way the music was produced – tie in with the themes in your own work?
Some people I work closely with to release my music have drawn similarities of my recent work to newer 65daysofstatic material, but this wasn’t a conscious thing when writing at all – it just happened!

Read “Soundtracking the biggest game ever, No Man’s Sky”

They’re a great band, but I’m not overly familiar with their latest material. A lot of the post-rock elements to my songs are influenced by older post-rock, such as early This Will Destroy You and Explosions in the Sky.

The video for ‘It Cannot Surface’ features some incredible footage from Chad Cowan. How did you come to become aware of his work, and work together?
We came across his work on Vimeo. Myself and the label – Houndstooth – were all really taken aback by how he captures nature’s force with so much detail that we got in contact to see if he’d be willing to make a video for one of my songs.

We’re living at a time when man and nature seem to be battling it out like never before – what do you find inspiring, and threatening about Mother Nature?
Nature creates things of beauty, but can easily destroy them.

What do you find inspiring, and threatening about humanity?
Humanity creates things of beauty, but can – and probably will – easily destroy them.

You seem to challenge yourself in terms of how you approach music-making – for example by live coding tracks, and making music while sleep-deprived. What excites you about making electronic music at a time when technology is evolving and updating at such a fast pace? What drives you to keep pushing yourself in different directions?
My fear of music composition becoming a routine act pushes me out of my comfort zone naturally. My interests are gradually leaning more towards how I create in different scenarios and I deliberately make writing music a hard thing for me to do. I’m really comfortable with technology and its advances – this is something I fully embrace – but I sort of know what kind of ideas I’ll come up with in the studio.

To challenge myself personally I need to have external factors influencing what I do. Whether this be sleep deprivation, limited time, writing to concepts or improvising new tune ideas on stage.

What’s some of your favourite software, and tools?
I use a mixture of Logic, Bitwig and Ableton Live. I swear by UAD plug-ins and FXpansion synths.

Who are some of the artists you worked with on Tåke, and who are some artists you’d like to work with in the future? Why?
I worked with Alev Lenz on tracks ‘The Clearing’ and ‘Feelings’, who added vocals to my composition. These tracks also feature Oliver Knowles from Snow Ghosts on the violin.

Purchase Tåke via Houndstooth

Legendary London club fabric was shut down late last year, when it had its licence revoked, but has subsequently reopened. Given your relationship with the fabric crew, can you give us a bit of insight into that scenario, and what it would’ve meant to dance culture to lose the venue?
That whole period was filled with high levels of uncertainty for everyone involved. If fabric had closed, there undoubtedly would have been a large void in London’s dance music nightlife. The most distressing part for me was seeing a number of passionate people at fabric rapidly lose their jobs.

Purchase Tåke via Houndstooth. See Guy live in the UK:

Thursday 28 Sept – Rialto Theatre, Brighton
Saturday 30 September – Brudenell Social, Leeds*
Thursday 5 October – Soup Kitchen, Manchester*
Friday 6 October – Club Ifor Back, Cardiff*
Saturday 7 October – Art School, Glasgow*
Friday 27 October – Islington Assembly Hall, London**

Support for Vessels*
Support for Ulrich Schnauss**

Sarah Illingworth is a freelance journalist and Editor at Impolitikal. She has an MSc in Poverty & Development from the University of Manchester. Read more by Sarah.