With Nadir, Steven Warwick made a short, personal and deliberately unfinished album.
I often have the impression that your music is as much about music than it is ‘real music’, meaning: your music makes me question what ‘dance’ means these days, or what ‘a song’ still means these days. It makes me wander about which role music plays in our culture right now. This way, I see your work more in the line of artists like Felix Kubin, Leyland Kirby, Goodiepall or James Ferrraro than in the line of ‘real dance producers’ or ‘real songwriters’. So to come to my question: what you you think about this? Does this make sense to you?
I don’t really want to follow what I see as a false binary narrative between real and .... what do you mean: fake? Or even worse: smart? If you mean: people/producers who play with forms etc, I think enough club music I hear right now which I would happily align myself with would fuck with things just by default, without having to be presented as something like ‘experimental’ or ‘intelligent’. Neither of those terms seem relevant nor interest me.
I’ve noticed that, when I travel on my own, I’m aware of my surroundings in a different way than when I travel with my wife and kids. When I travel alone, I hear and see other things, I pay attention to the music and adverts around me, and the effect they have on me. Because of the job you do, you must spend a lot of time on your own in airports, hotel rooms, backstages, and so on. Do you think living this kind of life effects your work?
You are definitely out of your comfort zone, so I agree you pay attention to different things. Also this can run in conjunction with being in a different time zone, which is also disorienting. I would also say that so called ‘non spaces’ also inform our contemporary landscape more and more. When you grow up with them, you might find them less alienating as you don’t know any difference.
About your latest record: you talked about Nadir in terms of: ‘made at an absolute low’. Can you explain to me why?
It was made following a personal loss and also the events of last year. I wouldn’t say it was *about that* but rather it was made under those conditions. Before I was travelling a lot and not processing any emotions so this was more of a acknowledgement of that.
Why did you choose to release Nadir using your own name? Is it because it’s personal?
I’d been making and exhibiting a lot more visual work in the last years so I felt like it was easier to have everything under one umbrella. Nadir was also more direct, shorter and simple than previous releases. There is a directness to it, yet also it was left deliberately unfinished.
Even though this record is out on PAN, which is a label I like because they put great care in the artwork and presentation of their vinyl, it’s not out as a physical record, only digital. Why?
Nadir ideally exists on the Delinear website (http://delinear.p-a-n.org/e09103c302), which was created by artist Harm van der Doerpel as part of his practice. I created and directed the images on the site whilst the stream plays so you can navigate through the images at your own pace, creating your own film as it were.
I saw you live for the first time with Birds Of Delay on an evening organised by Dennis Tyfus and Carlo Steegen. Do you think that noise still has an influence in the way you make music these days?
I don’t think in those terms to be honest. It’s not like when I was in Birds of Delay that I only listened to ‘noise’ music. To be honest, I probably listened to more dance music back then than I do now. You could easily argue that a lot of dance music is way more noisy or weirder than a lot of supposed ‘experimental’ music (I despise that term). I look for moments in music off all genres which was peculiar or that are interesting to me.
Me and my neighbour Bram (Ignatz) once asked ourselves the question: “Why did all those noise dudes turn into dance?” Bram’s answer to this question was: “Because them finally found out how their gear works” Is Bram right?
Part of the reason I became disinterested in the noise scene is I kept experiencing homophobia and got fed up with it.
I find your music often funny. Do you think your kind of humour is ‘typically British?’ Would you regard your work cynical at times?
No, I’m not cynical. Maybe satirical, but I’d say I’m optimistic, especially in the face of dark times.
Is the Casio synth still your main instrument?
- Joeri Bruyninckx
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