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)
Music and architecture are my main fields of interest. Producing an album like 'Chronos' is more or less like building a house from setting the foundation to final decoration. That’s why I’d like to present to you the places that we as AUSKLANG connect to the most and that inspired making this record.
This wonderful 19th century Church has become our musical home.
It’s the place where we had our very first concert and since two months we started a series of live sessions every Thursday night. It’s not a regular show but people can come in and stay for how long they want. Soaking in the atmosphere and tranquility of this space. When we start playing we don’t know what will happen as everything is improvised. There’s space for vulnerability and space for magic and conversation in the music that is being created in these fragile moments.
The building itself displays fragility as it was heavily damaged during World War 2 and you can still see the scars. During the peaceful revolution in 1989 it was a secret gathering place for political activist leading towards change. We feel very blessed to be able to play our music in this special place and it continues to inspire us for making new music. For example we share the recordings of our live sessions with our patrons on Patreon.
I‘ve discovered this brick building on my first walk through Berlin-Weissensee, a rather quiet district far away from the rushing and hip areas of the town.
What seemed at first sight like a rather usual side street later unveiled as a creative hub for many leading musicians. I found an open door and stumbled into an Italian guy who explained to me that this was his sound studio. He showed me around his place filled with analog audio gear of all ages. At this time I didn’t know that he was Francesco Donadello and had worked with most of my musical idols like Hammock and A Winged Victory for the Sullen. It feels to me like a perfect coincidence that we were later able to use the recording room in this building to record our album 'Chronos'.
Only one street away I’ve found my own little Studio for working on my music and sound projects. It feels like a hidden world, a pitoresque brick building in a side street backyard.
The turbulent world stays outside while I lock myself in this room to produce music. There are several audio engineers working here and we share a lot of knowledge and gear which is a great support. Here I’ve spend endless hours working on mixing and mastering the tracks for „Chronos“. Everytime I felt like I couldn’t continue working due to lack of time or creativity something new and inspiring came across my way. Like this one day when I’ve found an interview with Sigur Rós producer Alex Somers in a staple of old Sound magazines talking about his work on “Kveikur”. I’ve learned some very creative techniques that I used in Chronos straight away. On 'Abschied' for example I’ve slowed down the piano track to half speed and half pitch making it and slow-motion like second layer. Thank you Alex ;)
Hi Nick! How are you and how is life in Chicago?
T: Hello! I’m doing ok. It’s difficult to remain grounded when things feel so volatile and untethered. Though systemic racism, police brutality, and pandemics existed prior to 2020, they have been in the forefront this year and it’s frustrating when people resist doing what needs to be done in order to solve those issues in the long run (defunding the police, community investment, universal health care, etc.).
Tyresta started around 2016. Please tell us more about yourself and this project. How did the relationship with PITP start?
T: 2016 was a year full of ups and downs for me. I got engaged and was married to my partner. My mom was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer a month before the wedding and Donald Trump was elected president a few months after that. I sought refuge in music making as a way to cope with what was going on around me and hopefully help others do the same. I’m a clinical social worker/therapist so I think a lot about healing, self-care, and growth.
The idea for Tyresta came when I was on my honeymoon in Sweden that fall (Tyresta is a forest within the city limits of Stockholm). I listened to the audiobook about Brian Eno’s Another Green World by Geeta Dayal on that trip, which I found particularly inspiring. I definitely identify with the title “non-musician” which Brian Eno popularized. I took guitar lessons when I was younger but I am woefully inept when it comes to music theory and production, which is why experimental music is so appealing to me. Formal training shouldn’t be a barrier for creative expression.
As far as PITP is concerned, I was on Twitter one day in early 2019 and saw that Zach had posted about wanting “ambient tape recommendations”. I sent him a link for one of my tapes and the rest is history. Though my tendency to over-engage with social media is mostly detrimental to my mental health, I am grateful I was on Twitter that day.
Congratulations on the new album! It’s your first physical vinyl LP. It’s actually more than an LP it’s a 2xLP! How does it feel?
T: It feels very surreal. There are so many amazing artists out there that don’t get the chance to release their music on vinyl (let alone a 2xLP set) so I feel very lucky and fortunate. I am immensely grateful for the PITP team for taking a huge chance with this release. I can’t thank them enough for their encouragement and support.
‘All We Have’ is really intimate and personal to you. If you are willing to share, could you tell us more about this album and what it means to you? How did you put all the tracks together and what was your process for that record?
T: The title was inspired by the idea in Zen that “all we have” is the present moment. The past is fixed and the future has yet to occur. Through ruminating on the past or worrying about the future we miss what is happening right in front of us, which causes us to suffer even more. I attempted to approach my mom’s three and a half year battle with cancer from this mindset. We didn’t know how long she was going to live and I wanted to be as present as possible for whatever time we had left with her. I wasn’t always successful but my mindfulness practice definitely helped me to show up for her even when it was painful to do so.
I started writing the album at a time when her cancer was relatively stable. We were somewhat hopeful that she was going to be able to live a lot longer than we initially thought, which is why Side A of the album feels a bit brighter and hopeful.
After a few months of writing and recording, her cancer began spreading again and she started a really brutal episode of treatment, which lasted up until her death in February of 2020. Sides B and C on the record are about the last few months of her life and what we were going through emotionally as a family. Both trying to remain hopeful while also knowing she was very sick and spending more and more time in the hospital.
Side D is sort of an epilogue and is a commentary on the state of the world as a whole. Fear drives things like racism, oppression, and hoarding behaviors (including wealth, power, and control) and we continue to devalue collectivism, mental health care, and the cultivation of emotional intelligence.
You invited a few friends on the record. Tell us more about these contributions! Do you like collaborating with other artists?
T: I really enjoy collaborating with other artists. Especially those that are more formally trained in music composition, theory, and production. Nick Adams provided string arrangements and had two of his friends record cello, viola, and violin parts for some of the songs. Not all of those parts made it onto the album but a few did. Jayve Montgomery plays Saxophone on the final track “We Need Each Other”. This track took many forms over the course of the year it took to write and record the album. Jayve’s sax added another layer of emotional depth to the song, which solidified the track for me and it ended up being one of my favorites on the album.
The mix of guitar and mellotron is really well crafted on the album. Do you have a go to setup or favorite instruments/gear for making music?
T: I try not to have a “go to” set up for music making. I mostly just see what I’m compelled to pick up in the moment and then start experimenting. For this record, I focused on guitar, mellotron, and my Marantz PMD 222 field recorder/tape player. I also used an Electro-Harmonix looper on many of the songs. Though much of the music I have released as Tyresta has been focused on modular synths, I barely used them on this record.
Let’s talk about Fallen Moon Recordings [a PITP digital only sublabel]. Please tell us more about it and what is your goal managing that label?
T: PITP receives a lot of demos and some of them are great but don’t really fit the sound palette we are going for as a label. In May of this year, I suggested that we start a more experimental side label and offered to head up the project and the others on the PITP went for it. My goal is to showcase a broad range of artists and as much as possible try to transcend the confines of contemporary ambient and drone music. I am also trying to find ways of collaborating and showcasing artists with marginalized identities. It is often the case that white, cis-gendered, male artists (myself included) get the spotlight in experimental music, which doesn’t accurately represent the wealth of diversity amongst artists in the scene.
Thank you for talking with us today. Any last words you want to share with people out there?
T: No problem. Thanks for the interview. Interviews like these help me understand myself and my music better. And for those reading this interview, thank you for your interest and please take care of yourselves and others.
Missing my family
Sometimes it’s hard to live far away from my family. This year I couldn’t visit them ( I live in Brooklyn, they are in Italy), and often I’ve been thinking of them. This album is inspired by my first memory of us as a whole. I was three years old, just visited my mom late at night at the hospital, my brother was born. Walking home with my dad the wind (Vento in Italian) blew out of my hand
a comic book and all the pages flew around. I remember trying to catch them and crying, being very confused about everything that was happening around me. From this very vivid memory, I composed all the songs as a tribute to Celina, Ferruccio and Stefano, each track being somehow a transposition in music
of the faded images I have in my mind.
A dear friend of mine found a Revox A77 tape machine on the street. When he left NYC he gave me that and for a long time I kept it in a corner, with no intention to use it. Then one day I turned it on and started washing my music through it. Instant love.
Since that moment I use different kinds of tape medium (mostly cassettes and reels ) to obtain a particular sound. I embraced the limitations of single take recordings on tapes, preferring the spontaneity of the performance rather the perfection of a postproduced sound. This idea freed me in an incredible way and helped me produce a lot more music that is true to myself. Some artists that influenced me are William Basinski, r beny, and Amulets.
Vento has been composed in March and April 2020, during the lockdown. Being forced home, with no social pressure, pushed me to explore new possibilities in music. Ambient music and soundscapes became a sort of necessary tool to evade my apartment room. Dilated time and days allowed me to learn and experiment, Music was a meditation and a healing process. The urgency of filling time with something meaningful pushed me away from distraction and made me focused on using my instruments as a daily journal. I now spend at least four hours a day composing or experimenting.
A Playlist of Favorites: