Warp Factor Ten
Jockey Slut, 10/11.99
Words: Toby Manning

 

APHEX TWIN
Dance Music's Ultimate Maverick Grants His Last Ever Interview?
What Warp record had the biggest influence on you?
"Nightmares on Wax - 'Dextrous'. That was a gateway to what could be done, even though it sounds really basic now. Most British dance music was really po-faced before - it didn't have any emotional qualities at all. The American stuff did, but they're American emotions and I don't really get American emotions. Listening to that (Warp Classics) compilation, the stuff I didn't like I never liked, so it's held up well. It was really fucking refreshing to hear those three first LFO tracks in particular. The other day I had a tasty filtering session and chucked out six-crates-worth of boring early nineties techno. These days I wouldn't buy anything four-to-the-floor - I'd be brain dead. Or have committed suicide in the first half hour."
How should (Warp bosses) Rob Mitchell & Steve Beckett celebrate?
"I think they should commit suicide - that'd take everyone by surprise."
What'll you be doing ten years from now?
"Exactly the same as I'm doing right this moment: scanning the web, listening to some music and downloading some cracked software."
Weirdest Warp moment?
"I was in Japan with Rob and Steve, and these three Japanese girls were trying to get off with me. I wasn't into it - I was after this other girl. Every time I tried to talk to her, they pushed her out of the way and all they could say was 'I go to your bed' over and over like a voice-box in a mannequin. One of them tried to force her way into my taxi - so I put my foot on the top of her head and pushed her back out onto the street! What I didn't know was that Steve had given them the name of the hotel I was staying at because he wanted to film it all! They went on to phone every single hotel room until they found me: they were knocking on the door in the middle of the night - it was quite freaky.

Then, when I tried to borrow a rubber johnny off Steve to shag this girl, he said only if he could come and watch. He was quite stubborn about it, but I managed to twist his arm. There! That'll expose Steve's pervy nature!"
Who's your favourite Warp artist?
"Tom [Squarepusher]. There's a lot of people where you like the odd track, but he's up there with Gorecki and Stockhausen as someone I like everything he does - even the bad tracks."
What's happened to your album?
"It'll be out in about five years time, if at all. What about my fans? They'll have to wait till I'm dead - if I haven't taken all my tapes to the grave with me! It's too distracting when you release your music - you can't be honest. Sometimes you've got to duck out completely. I'm doing a short film with Mr Chris Cunnilingus though - and maybe a feature film.

Apart from that, the only thing that might come out is a massive old school selection on Rephlex on DAT - no copyright - I've made enough money out of copyright already. If you want to release it, just send me half the money. Or if you just want to copy it for your mates, send me some money if you can be arsed. I might send you some new tracks."
How have Warp reacted?
"Nobody bothers hassling me anymore. They know what I'm like. I don't want to have to listen to what other people have to say - it's impurities in the brain. I'm like 'shut up, just give me the money!' I cancelled a gig the other day and finally nobody phoned me up. I don't have to do anything I don't want to. Including interviews. This'll be the last one. This is my work phoneline - I hardly ever answer it, but after this, it'll be going down and staying down."

 

NIGHTMARES ON WAX
Leed's Techno Pioneer Turned Master Of The Smokin' Beat…
What were you doing ten years ago when Warp started up?
Georege Evelyn:
"Making the tracks! At the time we were all going out to Jive Turkey in Sheffield. There were all these people waiting in the wings and playing demo tapes in clubs: Forgemasters' 'Track With No Name' will have been one of the first I heard."
How should Rob and Steve celebrate?
"By giving us all bonuses - treating artists for supporting them through the years!"
What'll you be doing ten years from now?
"I don't like to predict. It's about living it and instinct and the moment. I hope to still be smiling, and still have a spiritual and positive outlook."
Weirdest Warp moment?
"In the midweeks 'Aftermath' had gone in straight at 28, so we went out to celebrate at Leeds Warehouse, got totally trashed and went on to this afterhours blues in Chapeltown. Then when we woke up in the morning the chart countdown came in and we weren't even in the top forty! That was the time when there was a lot of press about Gallup's attitude to dance music - when they'd kept Dee-Lite off the number one spot."
Who's your favourite Warp artist?
"Jimi Tenor - he could be a star even if only one person knew him. He's so tongue-in-cheek. He's the one person I can talk shit to for twelve hours and still have more shit to talk about."

 

TWO LONE SWORDSMEN
Acid House Legend Weatherall's Limelight-Shunning Duo…
What were you doing ten years ago when Warp started out?
Andrew Weatherall:
"I have trouble remembering life events, let alone records! I do remember my girlfriend of the time playing me 'Testone' though, and my brain had gone so soft on ecstasy that I wasn't into it - I thought it was too dark! Then again, back then you'd find me dancing to Chris Rea records!"
How should Rob and Steve celebrate?
"Call me old-fashioned, but probably getting ripped to the tits on drugs and alcohol."
What'll you be doing in ten years time?
"Exactly the same as I'm doing now. Hopefully one of the whippets will be good enough to use as breeding stock and I'll have a bit more money in the bank."
Who's your favourite Warp artist?
"There's never been a duff release. You come home and put the latest Warp record on and it's like 'oh bugger, someone's shifted the goalposts again!' One of the few that's still in the box though is The Step's 'Oh Yeah' - a really minimal deep house thing that did fuck all at the time."
Weirdest Warp moment?
"The whole set-up is worthy of a sit-com. But I do remember coming up with the title 'Gay Spunk' and thinking I could never use it. Then Rob told me, as head of the company, that I had to call it that! That sums up what they're about."
What's happened to your album?
"We've got a mini album called A Virus With Shoes out very soon - that's Bill Hicks' description of the human race. The album will be out next year."

 

SQUAREPUSHER
Sheffiled-Based Madcap Jazz-Head And London Refugee…
What Warp record had the biggest influence on you?
"'LFO" by LFO - that's what got me into electronic music. It had a depth to it I hadn't heard before. There was something very English about it. It was more open and emotional and less portentous than the American stuff. And it had a sense of humour, which is pretty fucking essential! When I started making music, I sent Warp tapes and I always rib them about the fact they never replied. It wasn't until Aphex played them my stuff that they signed me!"
How should Rob and Steve celebrate?
"I don't reckon they should bother - it's not worth celebrating. It illustrates too much self-interest. they put out good music - that's all that matters."
What will you be doing in ten years time?
"I was thinking a few years ago that hopefully we'd have migrated into space 'cos the planet's gonna cave in. So if I'm still alive, I'll be making music in a space-ship."
Who's your favourite Warp artist?
"I respect most of Warp - but I don't necessarily like it. I reckon Boards of Canada is what I'm into most, although Autechre are smart. Aphex - if he made any music. I like the hermetic nature of what Boards are doing - they're not fazed by what's going on in the real world."

 

AUTECHRE
Awkward, Sheffield-Based Soundscaping Duo…
What Warp record had the biggest influence on you?
Sean Booth:
"Like everyone else on Artificial Intelligence, we were just kids who'd had our heads done in by Warp first time round. I was in a bus shelter when Rob played this track he'd taped from Stu Allen the night before on his walkman. 'Testone's futuristic even now - well-lush blocks of squarewave nastiness right in your face. Detroit stuff always had loads more swagger to it. 'Testone's more restrained and English. It reminded me of those really nasty futuristic club scenes in Buck Rogers where they're wearing skin-tight lycra. I thought that's what clubs would be like in the future. They were - for about six months!"
How should Rob and Steve celebrate?
"They should take no drugs at all and not go out and not listen to any music - have a night off, chill out together and talk about the past."
What will you be doing in ten years time?
"Looking for ways to make money, 'cos the music industry certainly hasn't provided any. By then, with the internet and everything, who the fuck is going to go out and buy music?"
Who's your favourite Warp artist?
"Boards of Canada. That sense of nostalgia - it's like I was at school with them. It's very obvious, it should be heavy-handed, but it isn't."

 

BROADCAST
Youthful Birmingham Post-Rockers With A Sound Non-Work Ethic…
What were you doing ten years ago when Warp started up?
Roger Stevens:
"DJ-ing in Newport. It's such a weird place that everyone who was into decent stuff knew each other, and this record shop recommended Warp. Things like Sweet Exorcist had their own thing - it was slightly sinister. A lot of dance music was more one-dimensional."
How should Rob and Steve celebrate?
"They should write a track - then we can all come and tell them to hurry up with it."
What'll you be doing in ten years time?
"Probably releasing our second album. It's taken us three years to do our first, after all!"
Who's your favourite Warp artist?
"Through the last ten years, Autechre. I don't see why people find them so difficult - some of their stuff is just beautiful."
What's happened to your album?
"We've finished it finally. So the celebrations for that will probably merge with Warp's birthday celebrations, which is a frightening thought."

 

PLAID
Former Black Dogs Turned Media-And-Bjork-Friendly Melodicists…
What were you doing ten years ago when Warp started up?
Ed Handley:
"Living in Ipswitch. I first heard Nightmare's 'Dextrous' in this rich friend's bedroom. It sort of fitted into things I was into like Detroit stuff, if a little simpler."
How should Rob and Steve celebrate?
"By doing a compilation with mixes by other artists. Oh, they have? They always know exactly what to do!"
What'll you be doing in ten years time?
"I reckon we'll probably be in shacks in allotments with portable set-ups so we can do both gardening and music. Plants definitely respond to sound: I've got this prayer plant which is partial to a bit of bass frequency."
Weirdest Warp moment?
"We were playing in Holland as Black Dog once and this bloke got on his bike and cycled behind our van for ten miles afterwards shouting - praise I think, but I'm not totally sure."

 

RED SNAPPER
Real Instrument Techno With The Biggest Double Bass Sound Around…
What Warp record had the biggest influence on you?
Richard Thair: "'LFO'. Ultimately it prompted me to put out my own records and then get Snapper together."
How should Rob and Steve celebrate?
"I think they should get off their arses and go to some night club and meet some young people and maybe have some fun."
What'll you be doing in ten years time?
"We'll be on our fifteenth fucking album! I'll probably be on a zimmer frame or hospital bed having just had a terrible stroke!"
Who's your favourite Warp artist?
"Andy Weatherall, no contest!"
Weirdest Warp moment?
"There's a track from the next album that's the cheesiest thing we've done and Steve Beckett hates it. But when we were all in Japan Steve started pogoing on the bed to it and cut his head open on the ceiling...."

 

LFO
Pioneers Of The Bleep Groove Turned Solo (Non) Recording Artists And Occasional Bjorkbeater…
What were you doing ten years ago when Warp started up?
Mark Bell:
"Going out dancing and DJ-ing in Leeds Warehouse and Kiki's in Sheffield. They didn't realise anything before we signed, but we were all playing early cassettes of ours and other people's stuff in clubs."
How should Rob and Steve celebrate?
"Buy everyone some champagne and we'll have a big pub meal."
Weirdest Warp moment?
"I remember Steve Beckett drove us to Eclipse, near coventry - on the way back we'd fallen asleep and he suddenly put his foot full on the brakes. We woke up and thought we were going to die - and he was just laughing his head off."
What's happened to your album?
"I've been doing loads on tour with Bjork - in hotel rooms when you have loads of time off. It'll be out in a year at the latest."

 

BOARDS OF CANADA
Nostalgic Pastoral Electronic Duo, Holed-Up In The Scottish Highlands…
What Warp record had the biggest influence on you?
"Polygon Window (Aphex Twin) - Surfing On Sine Waves. I first heard it at a bonfire in the hills - friends used to make us tapes before we knew what it was. We were Warp pirates - we probably did them out of a lot of money before we started making money for them."
How should Rob and Steve celebrate?
"By presenting a cheque for ten million pounds to every artist with 'Canada' in their name!"
What'll you be doing in ten years time?
"Publishing books and releasing movies. That was the masterplan before we started doing Boards of Canada."
What's your weirdest Warp moment?
"We were in Germany with Autechre and we were all pissed off 'cos we hadn't been provided with a trailer. Sean from Autechre broke into someone else's trailer and stole loads of champagne, distributed them to everyone then got so plastered that he rugby-tackled a certain electronic artist into the mud!"
Who's your favourite Warp artist?
"Slum - they did this limited 7" called 'Twilight Mushroom' - like a hybrid of Ween and My Bloody Valentine. It's a very un-Warp track - that's probably one of the reasons why I loved it."
What's happened to your album?
"It'll come out in the spring of 2000. It'll be more organic - we're using a lot of vocals and flutes. It's not hippie shite though - it's all synthesized. It's a huge psychedelic behemoth!"

 

STEVE BECKETT
The Big Boss Man…
Where will you be in ten years time?
"We'll be an internet company. CDs and vinyl will be a specialized thing - as the bulk of sales will be on the internet, the shop and the label will be joining together again. The only question is whether people will pay for it. What annoys me about it is when people say it's going to wipe out corporations, but they'll just shift their money around. It's the artists who're going to lose if we can't find any way to protect copyright."
Why move to London now?
"It's time for a change. We're not going to sit on our arses and do the same thing for the next ten years. You hold out so long and then you get ground down. Increasingly in Sheffield there's no clubs, music shops or bands - it's just become a student campus town. London's still the heart of the music business - no one can change that. But we're going down there to kick people's arses."
Weirdest Warp moment?
"Aphex Twin had been given a six figure sum for that Pirelli ad. He's taken in to view the second advert, and afterwards they switch the lights on and he's fast asleep in front of all these executives!"