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Asciinoid Q&A on Discopia 06/11/2006

Posted by lmd64 in asciinoid.
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I was interviewed by Niall Connolly, editor of the excellent online magazine Discopia recently, here’s what transpired:

Being an Irishman, I take a keen interest in dance acts that come from the auld mother country. One such that has caught my eye recently is ASCIINOID, and through the power of the internet I sent him, aka Liam Dunne, some questions to find out what the crack is…

Who (or what) is Asciinoid?
Asciinoid is just me, Liam Dunne, a Dublin-based producer. In the past I’ve worked under the name Lmd64, using a sampling/pilfering/plundering approach to production. The Asciinoid project represents a step back from that, not in terms of lack of interest in sampling, far from it, but more because of two main issues: The hassles involved in sample clearance when you’re not a major artist with the clout of, say, Fatboy Slim, are astronomical. I also wanted to set myself the challenge of producing an album totally of my own making without relying on samples to provide the recognisable hook or backbone to the track (well, ok, apart from the White Stripes cover, that one was just for fun).

How did you get into making music? Any pivotal moments?
I took up guitar lessons in school at the age of 5, playing a tiny classical guitar with nylon strings. I hated it. I got blisters on my fingers. Was pushed into recorder lessons a few years later (which I also hated), and the school choir (again with the hate), then piano lessons, which I finally took to. Picked up the guitar again round the age of 13, me and a friend from school used to head back to my house at lunchtime, we started teaching each other chords and stuff. It wasn’t until I got my first PC that I began producing music myself, dabbling briefly with trackers before buying a Yamaha CS1x and midi-ing it up to the computer. I started mixing it up with samples of everything from Sister Sledge’s ‘Upside Down’ to the theme tune from ‘I Dream of Jeannie’, going briefly disco-tastic, before discovering Joey Beltram and Hardfloor. Produced some rather dodgy techno for a couple of years before I started listening to Air and Lemonjelly. I released the first Lmd64 ep about three years ago, a very small home-produced release sampling Shirley Bassey’s “Never Never Never” and a lounge version of “Brazil”. I’d been working on several tracks and remixes as Lmd64 for the past few years, sampling the hell out of pretty much anything that drifted past, but I wanted to try something different, something more original, and hence the Asciinoid persona was born.

What have been your major influences as an artist?
Specifically in relation to Asciinoid, definitely Daft Punk are a strong influence. I feel the album owes a lot to their sounds and styles. Also, various Get Physical artists like Booka Shade and M.A.N.D.Y., who have a particularly coherent electrohouse sound, that’s almost instantly recognisable, that’s what I was interested in acheiving. Also, strangely enough, the internet provides me with a lot of inspiration, that’s where the vocals for “Final Girl” and “Hip Hop Don’t Shop” came from (Popbitch and Wikipedia, respectively. That, and being an unabashed nerd of the utmost proportions. Also, Corrugated Tunnel (Edwin James), my label mate, I reckon I wouldn’t have had the push to release an album if I hadn’t been for him, his debut album ‘We Are Electronix’ was released early this summer and got rave reviews. So the pressure’s on now!

Do you have any heroes/anti-heroes outside of music?
I’m far too introverted to have a life outside music.

What labels have you worked with? How did you hook up with them?
So far, it’s mostly been just my own label, SeedyR, which I run with fellow artist Corrugated Tunnel, although I’ve carried out some remixes for the Invisible Agent label who we’ve been mates with for the past few years. I’ve also remixed the Dublin band Channel One under my Lmd64 pseudonym, they’ve made it available for download from http://channelonesound.com/ep_download.php (a shameless plug).

Tell us a bit about your album…
‘Spectrum’ is my debut Asciinoid album, I’ve been working on it for the past 6 months, just finally completed it a couple of weeks ago. It’s a twelve track album with a range of styles on it, from the squelchy electro-funk of “Hip Hop Don’t Shop”, to the proto-disco of Rollerball, passing through slick electrohouse on “Hi-Gloss” and “Glider” on its way to the Vitalic-influenced Italo-techno of “Oscillator Drift”. There’s also a couple of diversions on the way, “Acid Vs Techno” is a monster of a electrorock floor stomper, and Final Girl is a throwback to eighties scifi horror flicks from its Terminator-inspired bassline to the litany of slasher-flick heroines. Plus that White Stripes track!

I am an alien from the Planet Sexloss, arrived on Earth with only 12 hours and £100 pounds to spend. Try and convince me to buy your album…
If you’re not from this planet, then you don’t need to buy my album. You’ve already heard it! It’s, like, outta this world, man! Spend your money on hookers, poppers, uppers and downers instead.

How have your live shows been going? Where’s the best place you have played?
The live shows have been going great, been playing around Dublin quite a bit. I try not to keep everything centred on the laptop, it’s never terribly interesting to watch someone onstage gazing intently into a PC screen, so I work in some live vocals/vocoding, and play a bit with the keyboards too. It makes it a lot more enjoyable to perform too, as it feels more like a live performance. The best place I’ve played so far would have to be the main stage in Temple Bar Music Centre, at the House Vs Techno charity night. From hearing lads at the front of the crowd joining in for the vocal in the “Acid Vs Techno” track, to hearing the entire crowd singing along to the White Stripes cover at the end, it made for a hugely enjoyable night.

How is the dance scene in Dublin/Ireland at the moment?
Dublin’s come on in leaps and bounds, there’s a load of small club nights popping up everywhere, putting on quality local and international acts, like Hospital, Acii Disco, Electricity, Big Dish Go and the Stereotonic guys to mention but a few. It’s quieter outside Dublin, but Cork and Waterford have been pulling in some big name acts in the past couple of years too. Techno has always been pretty big in Dublin with D1 Recordings being the big hitters for many years, but it’s starting to diversify quite a bit now. There’s an increasing number of rising new acts/producers popping up, from The Japanese Popstars to Corrugated Tunnel, Dancepig to Sourcecode, not to mention the longtime stalwarts of the scene such as Fish Go Deep, Rob Rowland, Donnacha Costelloe and Decal. And there’s been more big music festivals this summer than you can shake a stick at, Garden Party, Electric Picnic, Oxegen, HiFi:Ireland, Castlepalooza, the list goes on and on.

Are there any improvements to be made to the Irish scene?
I think more support for emerging local artists would be a big plus. There’s a huge amount of talent coming up at the moment, more venues are beginning to take an interest in getting live acts to perform, but it’s still a lot of work to get your music out there. Many of the major distributors are reluctant to take on new artists who aren’t signed to any of the bigger labels. When you’re putting out your own album, this can be a major disadvantage in getting your music into the shops. Good/positive press coverage can help with this, although it’s not always forthcoming. I think there can be a tendency for some journalists to occasionally try to define the music scene by their own current tastes, to shoot down anything that doesn’t fit into their picture of what people should be listening to. Which in turn can make it hard for the lesser-spotted artists to get a break and have their material listened to by the general public.

What’s your favourite bit of music kit, that you possibly couldn’t live without?
Would have to be the laptop running Ableton Live, I definitely couldn’t function without that, but aside from that I’d have to say the microKorg. It’s an incredibly ubiquitous bit of kit, EVERYBODY seems to have one these days, from the Neptunes to the most obscure of indie folk artists, but it’s also really flexible to use, and you can get a fantastic range of sounds out of it. Plus, its really small and portable too, great when you’re hauling everything homewards.

What’s your all time top 5 records?
Don’t make me choose!
1. Daft Punk’s “Homework”, a classic. Discovery is great too, but this was the all-time groundbreaking genre-buster, Da Funk, Revolution 909 and Burnin’ being my favourite tracks.
2. Lalo Schifrin “Bullit Soundtrack”, I could listen to this on repeat for a year, fabulously funky arrangements.
3. Bjork “Post”/”Telegram”, Post is classic Bjork, a great album with all of its quirks. Telegram is Post remixed by various artists, including a stunning version of Hyperballad by the Brodsky Quartet.
4. The Doors “Morrison Hotel” – I grew up on a diet of albums by The Doors, Morrison Hotel was my favourite, with the funky Peace Frog melding into Blue Sunday, waltzing and capering through the kookyness of Ship of Fools and Land Ho!, and finishing up with the ballsy blues strut of Maggie M’Gill.
5. Orbital “Insides”. This album is my favourite of theirs, from the John Barry-eqsue Girl With The Sun In Her Head, to the dark atmospheric brooding of the zither on The Box, to the organic Welshness of Dwr Budr.

What does the future hold for Asciinoid?
Plenty of more shows, including launch gigs in Dublin, Limerick and Cork over October, November and December. I’m releasing an extended mix of “Rollerball” from the album around the end of the year, with a few names interested in remixing it already, that’ll be released on SeedyR and will be available on Beatport, iTunes and Audiojelly.

And finally: Britney’s boobs or Kylie’s arse?
Kylie’s arse. No contest.

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