L’HERBE À CHAT #01 – 17.10.2019 – SPECIAL DAVID MORLEY

Retrouvez le boss des Bamboo Shows dans « L’Herbe à Chat », sa nouvelle émission bimestrielle sur LYL Radio s’intéressant à différents artistes entre sophro auditive, réminiscences 90’s, rythmiques breakées et inspirations exotiques.

Pour la première édition, Erevan DJ retrace le parcours de l’anglais David Morley, figure discrète mais avant-gardiste des scènes ambient 90’s & IDM belges, et fer de lance des labels R&S / Apollo.

Interview de David Morley à retrouver en fin d’article.


LISTEN

SOUNDCLOUD / MIXCLOUD

Tracklist :
Space Opera – Andropolis (Part 2)
Extaesia – Bad Trip (Scalini Mix)
Space Opera – Electrowave
Spectrum – Brazil
The Project – Do That Dance
David Morley – Evolution
David Morley – The First Floor
David Morley – Phased Out
Two Sandwiches Short Of A Lunchbox – Too Good To Be Strange
Eo – Urban Ritual
Andrea Parker & David Morley – Frogspawn
David Morley – Frozen
David Morley – Being There
David Morley – Shining
David Morley – Biology
David Morley – Wall
David Morley – Nimue
David Morley – Re-Volution


INTERVIEW : David Morley (Septembre 2019)

David Morley
David Morley

Which place for music during your childhood? Music legacy from your parents? What about the band you were part of during teenage years?

My father was an amateur musician with a great love of music. Jazz, The Beatles, etc. so there was always music, but nothing active in the family. I did show interest at a young age in music and it grew from there. I passed through rock music (Pink Floyd, etc.) until around 1978 when punk became noticeable to me. With friends we practiced in my basement at home and this became a punk band, « Disease ».
But around the same time, I became aware of electronic music through Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk and especially Edgar Froese. Then I dove into the world of Krautrock.

What was the atmosphere in the musical field then (late 80’s, early 90’s)? You got involved in so many projects between New Beat and Early Rave (Extaesia, Section Three, Electric Avenue, Space Opera, The project, Guaranteed Raw, The Essentials, Spectrum, Digital Vamp…).

At the time I started working for Renaat Vandepapeliere at R&S Records, in Belgium, it was an amazing period for club music and electronic music in general. You could still hear Soul, New Wave as well as New Beat in the clubs, so anything went.
To be honest we were just experimenting in the studio and seeing what came out. One thing to appreciate is that the equipment played a central role. I was actively looking for older analogue synths and Modular synths. At the time we all wanted the latest digital synths, but analogue was cheaper, so we could buy great instruments used. Renaat however had an Emulator III sampler and that was amazing at the time. It still is, but that was central to the R&S studio.
In the late eighties, it was basically me, Cisco Ferreira and CJ Bolland working in the R&S studio. It was an important period that allowed me to try different things before I became comfortable with my own direction. When I first met Renaat, he asked me to help setting-up his studio and that was the day I started producing at R&S.

Space Opera – Mandate My Ass (1988 / R&S Records)

Which impact had the apparition of New Beat on the Belgian scene and the way music was produced?

It was a massive thing. I wasn’t the biggest fan of most New Beat but the energy and creativity it allowed was wonderful. It’s timing also coincided with home studios becoming good enough for releasing. A very exciting time to be a producer or artist especially as the whole club scene was huge.

Since 1992, you almost completely stopped working on collaborative project (excepting with Marcos Salon as Eo, and with Andrea Parker). Why? Was it because of the end of this crazy new beat era? Or the willing to specialize on more ambient / experimental projects of your own?

I stopped working as much in the R&S studio, because I became ill. I couldn’t travel for 6 months and so I built a studio at home. That meant I focused on my own music and only worked with people I chose. Also, my music became more personal. When I released « Evolution » (the first Apollo Records release) I felt it was a big step in my musical direction. So yes, I focused on my own music more and less on combined efforts.
Meeting Andrea Parker was something fundamental though. We became friends straight away and that led to a long-term partnership that was extremely rewarding musically. We are very different, but it worked well together and we had so much fun. I didn’t feel the need to work in other partnerships because we were totally free to go whatever direction we chose. But the main thing was being comfortable in the studio and as people and having strong ideas of where we would go and where we wouldn’t musically. So much fun and results I am still proud of. I’m hoping we can do a new project in the near future.

What about R&S Rec. and Apollo Rec.? Were you involved in the label? Are you still in touch with R&S and Renaat?

Renaat set-up Apollo Records to release « Evolution ». I gave him the track and he said it was too different for R&S, so a sublabel was created. I wasn’t involved in the label, no. I’m still in touch, but not very often. I get on very well with Renaat.

David Morley – Evolution (1992 / Apollo Records)

Most of your collaborative projects included also Renaat in it. A few words about him and your relationship?

Renaat gave me the chance to make music professionally. For that I will be eternally grateful. He’s a unique man and we had a lot of fun. I think very few people could work in the studio with him, because he is non-stop energy and a bit over the top, but for some reason I just was able to deal with him.
He had a vision and he made it happen. He is very impulsive too. I remember we were both in the R&S office/studio when a tape arrived from Cornwall. It was Aphex Twin. We both listened and were so excited to hear something original and he signed him straight away. He brought over the Detroit Techno people. Most labels thought he was crazy but he was much wider-thinking than most « New Beat » labels. I feel sometimes I was a bit of an oddball on R&S and hard to promote, but that was my choice musically. I think I wasn’t as appreciated sometimes as the more commercial artists at R&S, but that’s not his fault. 
I also have to add that Sabine Maes (Renaat’s wife) was also critical to R&S at the time and I always got on with her too.

Sabine Maes & Renaat Vandepapeliere
Sabine Maes & Renaat Vandepapeliere (R&S founders)

Any inspiration/mentor for your music?

I have a lot of artists I love that have influenced me: Edgar Froese and Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Can, Brian Eno, Black Sabbath, Alan Holdsworth, etc. The Subhumans and Crass from the Punk world. Mainly 70’s music to be honest. Music made in the analogue era seems to have more attitude and a natural sonic side as well as a real-time capture that I appreciate. But these were things that influenced me when growing up. All music influences me, if I am moved by it. I think everything builds up inside and comes out somehow. So, most music that moves me inspires me in some way.
A great friend of mine is Leon Lhoest who is a musician and teacher. I first met him when I worked in a studio that he co-owned and where I studied music. He’s inspired me over the years simply by enjoying music together and him explaining concepts and fundamental that I still use. So he is a big part of me evolving. 

Which differences between your solo project and the one with Andrea Parker? Darker atmosphere, more breakbeat?

Very different. Being on your own in the studio is challenging in different ways. It is more painful because you have nobody to bounce ideas off of. I put a lot of time into my projects and they tend to evolve over a longer period. The music itself can happen very quickly, but the process is long. Creating sounds and listening to music. Finding new gear, new processes. That is my work. The creating of music is the coming together of that. When a sequence or chord or sound you have fits with an aesthetic you like and at the right moment, where everything works in the mix. That’s when the music comes out.
With Andrea it was similar but she has a very definite ear. She will listen when I’m creating sounds and when she says « STOP! » I trust her ears. On my own I carry on endlessly. With Andrea there was also more humour in the music. We would laugh a lot and the crazier the better. Some happy accidents or unplanned elements would be kept in because they made us laugh. But we took it very seriously when it came to mixing and arranging. So very creative but not accepting anything until it was right in our ears. Demanding but rewarding.  But we both have to be happy in the end and that makes it unique. Something I might like but she doesn’t go in the bin. So, it’s a true collaboration with a unique outcome. 

Andrea Parker & David Morley – Too Good To Be Strange (1994 / Apollo Records)
David Morley & Andrea Parker
David Morley & Andrea Parker

Your LP “Tilted” (released in 1998) is way more IDM-oriented, industrial and aggressive than your previous EPs. I also feel a big step has been reached concerning sound-treatment. New inspirations from your collaboration with Andrea? Or simply the willing to create something different? Was it also the main evolution in the electronic scene?

« Tilted” was I think just a natural progression. It was simply what I felt like creating at the time. I’m a fan of big productions like Trevor Horn, etc. and in my home studio had got to a point where I had found enough equipment that could give me a bigger sound. So, I used it. The sound is where it starts with me. So, I was looking for the solid low-end and wide stereo panorama. It’s also where I was « free » from the R&S scene somewhat, in that I lived in Germany. So, I wasn’t influenced by anything current. 
Also, it was probably a point where I feel there was a peak in old school music technology. It was before computers became powerful and digital audio became easy, so the limitations drove me to explore my equipment fully. « Tilted » was made on MIDI sequencers with a sampler with limited memory and some nice synths, but it was mixed live to 2 track and the mix is also a performance.

David Morley « Tilted » LP – (1998 / Apollo Records)
David Morley in his studio

Can you tell me more about your label URSA Major? Why did you only release the LP « Ghosts » on it?

Well, I needed a label to release « Ghosts » (in 2007) so I made one! My live recording at Fuse (Brussels’ most famous club) has also been released on the label. I intend releasing more projects over the coming years though. I don’t consider it an active label as such, but I have had thoughts about releasing other people’s music too, but nothing has come my way.

David Morley – Ghosts (2007 – URSA Major)

Is »Re-volution » (from « The Origin Of Storm » EP, released in 2016 on Carpe Sonum Records) a « clin d’oeil » to your first EP « Evolution »?

Yes, I felt a circle closed with « Re-Volution ».


Tips & Tricks w/ David Morley
Tips & Tricks w/ David Morley