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5 Minutes With…Clark

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Chris Clark is one of the UK’s most interesting producers. If you knew nothing else about him the fact he has been long signed to British electronic institution and experimental imprint Warp Records would tell you that.  Known more commonly by only his second name of Clark, Chris quickly forged a reputation during the mid noughties as act to watch with the release of two boundary pushing albums Furniture and Body Riddle, (both which took 3 years to make) as his meticulous production style and complex beats began to gain him a cult following. Still defying genre classification and crafting complicated sonic structures for our aural pleasures we had a brief chat with Clark online ahead of his return to London on April 20th at Koko for a massive show alongside massive show alongside Daedelus, Hidden Orchestra and Kelpe.

Are you still based in Berlin? If so then how’s it going? Do you have your own studio space set up?

I do. It’s been delicious. I had to faff around in Australia with a laptop and an awful kawai digital piano for 3 months. It was useful, in that I pushed myself very hard, and learnt a bucket-load of new techniques.

But now getting back to the Berlin space ship, all these glowing valves and synths, it’s a joy, it makes life so easy, you don’t have to work as hard with analogue gear, it’s the thing itself, rather than an approximation of it, which is what purely digital/laptop music tends to sound like. I think computers are used best when don’t try and emulate the sound of old gear. 

Have you spent much time working on new music recently? Have you got any Idea what the public might hear next from you?

I’ve got lots of new tracks, it’s just a matter of choosing which album to release. There are about 3 at the moment.

Do you play out much in Berlin?

I do. Not too much though. I’ve got a show at the Berghain again later this year ( that just spell-checked itself as ” Bargain ” what does that mean? Is there some kind of subtext to be gleaned from that? Yes this is an email interview. 

You’re a fairly rare creature in that you’ve stuck with just the one label. It’s clearly a good fit can you point to any factors that have kept the relationship going for so long and so healthily?

I’m glad you see me as a creature. Warp are very nurturing of artists who are in it with a vision for the long term. I can’t think of any label that would suit me better. Plus there is all of that bribery/blackmail something akin to if you threaten to leave the church of Scientology all of your wicked deeds get made public etc. Steve Beckett is actually mates with Tom Cruise though, no joke.

Were you a fan of Warp stuff long before you got your demo accepted? Does it seem odd now being signed with them?

I was a massive Black Dog fan. It doesn’t really seem odd because I’ve got no other point of reference. It’s just ancient biography now, I don’t think about it so much.

Did having the Designers Republic do “Empty the Bones of You” have any part in making you feel one of the Warp family?

Not really. I mean I love their other work for Warp but the artwork for ETBOY was a bit of an aesthetic tangent really. It was more of a personal thing with me and Matt, he got to use some imagery that he might not otherwise have considered for an album.

Have you got much interest in the multimedia around your releases in terms of artwork etc. ? Have you worked closely with artists who’ve done work on your record sleeves?

I worked very closely with Julian. I’m a big fan of his work. We got to recently use some of his video work for my visuals and the Iradelphic sessions which I’m really pleased with.

A few years ago you spoke about perhaps getting more involved with videos for your music, you’ve had a couple of well received visual accompaniments before but have you had any more input in this area recently?

No, I haven’t found the time, so busy with music. I tend to pool my energies into learning instruments/new software. I come up with visual ideas but in terms of committing time to the craft of creating visuals, it would probably be the straw that breaks this camels back.

It’s all about finding people you implicitly trust to accompany your music, it has to be a happy marriage. Vincent Oliver has done some top notch work for my live show visuals, and I’ve also recently found an amazing photographer who we are hoping to use for artwork in the future. 

We’re aware you are friends with Bibio. How did the two of you meet? I, personally, think I can see occasional similarities between both of your work. Do you communicate much about your music or is it perhaps a degree of shared perspective, which could have caused the crossovers?

We met through shared friends in Birmingham, a long time ago now. We do communicate a lot, actually. He’s a good friend, stubbornly persistent in piquing my musical curiosity as well. We’ve got a similar drive. We use pretty radically different means to achieve our nefarious ends but there is a certain shared ground. My synth lines work well when he fingerpicks them ( as on Ted remix ) and his melodies sound great as synth sequences to my ears. 

This whole electronic/organic boundary is silly. And his multi-faceted, imposing body of work is testament to that, it breaks those boundaries down

Catch Clarke live in London Saturday April 19 April 20th at KOKO for Soundcrash Presents alongside Daedelus, Hidden Orchestra and Kelpe. For more information and tickets click here

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