Like Matmos, Ben Frost makes something quite different than what many people think of when they hear the term “electronic music”. Before his return to Mutek, I talked to him about his new record, meeting Tim Hecker and giving it all up to become David Guetta…
Brendan Murphy: Your 2008 Mutek show was a huge hit. Happy to be coming back to Montreal?
Ben Frost: “I adore Montreal and am extremely excited to return. It’s definitely on a very small list of places in the world I know I could live in…The day of that show at Mutek actually marked the first time I saw a chipmunk and the first time I saw a Tim Hecker. I can’t work out which was more exciting- strangely similar experiences actually.”
BM: Do you try to create a live show that will draw an audience in or does organizing all that gear take precedence?
BF: “The gear, well, the gear is easy and fun… nothing better than playing with big amplifiers. But the real work is in setting out a space for myself to play sonically and metaphorically… it sounds terribly self-involved, and to a large extent is, but the simple fact is that if I don’t feel it, nobody else will. My shows sit on a knife’s edge of being fine, or a complete and utter prolapse.”
BM: You moved from Australia to Iceland- how has that affected you and your music?
BF: “I try not to think about music like that. I try to allow my decisions to be instinctual ones… and that is a struggle. I find myself drawn to things and I go with them, chasing rabbits down holes and seeing where I end up. Often it’s somewhere I never expected…I’ve spent the last week in Italy eating nothing but pasta and fish. If I end up making a techno record later this month, is it because I absorbed all of that? Was it the fish? Or will it be because I saw Richie Hawtin play the other night and thought it was appalling? Or is perhaps none of it particularly relevant at all and that everything has as much or as little relevance as the next- that the point is what do I do with that information, how I process it, what I focus on and how I feel about it.”
BM: How would does your new album, By The Throat, differ from Theory of Machines?
BF: They are inherently different records because they came from different times and different experiences. They are both very romantic works- I mean romance in the true sense- romanticism, that both of those records are not reflections of the world as it is but worlds as I imagine them to be. If Theory of Machines was the emergency room, all blown out in fluorescent light and sterilization, then By The Throat is the burning inferno the body came from.”
BM: Do you ever think to yourself- forget this, let’s move to Ibiza and make some David Guetta (http://www.davidguetta.com/en) party tracks?
BF: Oh hell yes. I just spent my day off in Italy diving in the Mediterranean- you only get to actually play in places like this by creating vapid trash whose sole purpose is to fuel a dance floor. I often wonder what it would be like to be able to create music without it meaning something. Must be nice.
Show: SATURDAY JUNE 05 07:00 PM at S.A.T
Panel FRIDAY JUNE 4, 3:00PM Monument-National ( free)