Hi Gavin! It is a pleasure talking to you today. How are you doing?
W: I'm doing good, thanks! A little tired and a little sad that summer is kinda tailing off, but all good nonetheless.
We are really excited to welcome worriedaboutsatan in our PITP roster.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and how did you come to release this album on PITP?
W: Well, I'm Gavin – I make music from a little home studio in Saltaire, a little village in the north of England. It's a world heritage site as it was a model village built in the Victorian times, so it's a bit weird living here, but I grew up just down the road in another little village, so it's not the biggest change in circumstances I guess :) I started making music as worriedaboutsatan in 2005, and have been kinda chugging along ever since. I think PITP popped up on my radar as we both swim in the same ambient circles, and I just got chatting with Zach one day I think – I had loads of material I remember, and I kept looking at that lovely logo and thinking “god damn I wanna be on that label!” haha!
‘Europa’ is amazing, congratulations! Let’s talk about it.
What is this album about and what does it mean to you?
W: Thanks! I really like it too. It kinda happened by accident, as it was Zach that floated the idea of a little introduction album, so Europa is somewhere between a re-issue, a best of, and a new single. It's a nice mix of the older satan catalogue and two new tracks too, but it's been programmed to flow like an original record, which is awesome. Who Is A Hunter? & Cloaking were actually part of a single from a few years ago, but a label that was supposed to put it out on vinyl never did, so I was always a little annoyed at that, as those tracks were made especially for the format, so when Zach suggested including them on Europa, it was one of those full circle moments! Beautiful how it all fell into place.
The album is a perfect blend of ambient, drone, techno and post-rock. What is your approach when it comes to mixing these different genres?
W: It's a strange one, as I started out in a post-rock band – y'know, the OTT overblown type, so when that band split up, and I started making electronic music, I kinda had that post-rock vibe in mind, but was trying to replicate the emotive quality through something other than a band format. I think I was a bit fed up with bands in general, and just wanted to experiment with electronics, which is how satan was born – coming at ambient, drone, electronica and techno, but from a post-rock background, so it's all I've ever known how to do! I'm always up for having a little look at a certain genre and seeing if there's anything I can pinch or bend to the satan sound, so it's nice to keep a fresh ear as to what's happening.
Tell us about your process and influences for this album.
W: As it's a compilation, the influences range a little more than usual, but the processes were still the same – just turn on bits of gear and see where they take you! Influence wise, Shift (part 1) was born out of a project which was attempting to make something long, flowing and free- form, rather than strict four-to-the-floor stuff like, say, Who Is A Hunter? Vex and Sunk, the two brand new ones, were more experiments in synthy, slow-core techno stuff and floaty ambience
respectively. I guess most satan stuff starts as an experiment in something, and then it kinda falls into place as it goes along.
Let’s talk about the beautiful artwork and ‘Europa’.
What is your relationship with space and how did ‘Europa’ end up being the album title?
W: Zach suggested Europa, and I think at one point he didn't know if it was any good or not, but I loved it straight away! I always think of myself as more European than English anyway (that's what a German side of the family will do to you), and I just really loved that word and the stark image of the moon itself on the cover – which is some more incredible work by Zach. Oh, and also – Europa is the moon they travel to in the not-so-successful-but-I-still-love-it sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010. Properly underrated film, Helen Mirren's great in it.
What is your favorite track on the record and why?
W: Ooh, tough one. I really like Shift, but I'll say Vex as it's a new one. It was the first time in a long time where I sat down with a guitar and played stuff that was hovering around the same key as the synth, but wasn't necessarily the same chords or notes – I remember thinking “oh shit, yeah – you can do this can't you?” haha! Really nice guitar bits on that one.
In general what inspires you to write music?
W: Kind of anything really. I think I'm a melancholic person in general, so when it comes to making stuff, I'm never going to ply a trade in major chords, so I like to try and see what I can do with the more subdued end of the musical spectrum. Sometimes I'll just get an idea and think 'yeah, I should try that!', and see what I can mold it into. Other times I'll just sit down and try to kick off with a small idea and see where it heads.
What are you listening to these days?
Any artists that you admire and continue to be inspired by?
W: Yeah, I'm listening to quite a fair bit at the moment. I like to listen to a lot of stuff across genres as well, as I think it keeps you on your toes a little more. You can always tell when people only listen to techno, or just ambient or whatever. I think I'm too restless for that, so I will load up a Carly Rae Jepsen album or something. I mean, she's amazing – something like Too Much, or Gimme Love has had more impact on me than a lot of the big ambient/ drone guys. Also really like FRKTL, she's awesome. Her new record is just incredible – it sounds so ferocious, yet has this heart to it as well. Also really like that new Hayley Williams album, that new Charli XCX one as well, and more often than not I'll bang on a bit of HTRK – I could listen to them all day, I really could! Their atmospheres are just beautiful. They have a real yearning quality to them that's so hard to replicate - they just leave stuff up in the air, and only bring it back down when it's totally needed.
A live show/tour for this record would be such a great experience.
Do you miss live shows?
When we can put social distancing behind us, is playing ‘Europa’ live something you want to do?
W: Hell yeah! I think 2020 is the first year since 2004 where I've not played a live show, and it's horrible! Playing live was always something I really believed in doing, and making it much more of a live show than a lot of electronica guys do. There's a tendency to just load up a laptop and sit there, poking at buttons for an hour, so when I first started looking at a new live set, I ditched the iPad, and bought a drum machine, as I wanted things to look and sound a lot more organic – I wanted to get away from just triggering loops of Garage band, and get a bit more hands on. I've been doing a few live-streams on Instagram & YouTube, but it's not the same as being on stage in front of people. It's nice though, don't get me wrong, and it's been great to play some guitar for people over the past few months, but I'm really itching to get back onstage with all this stuff and play for people. I'm not going to be one of these douchebags who play gigs during a pandemic though, that's just so daft.
Thank you for taking the time.
Any last words you want to share with people out there?
W: No worries! Hmm... last words? Erm. How about Up The Villa? (it's a football thing)