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Gavin Brown Takes On Guy Andrews | Interview Special

October 29, 2020
photo credit: Mick Frank

Guy Andrews

Interview Special

With Gavin Brown

Guy Andrews is a musician and producer who creates vast soundscapes with an undeniably cinematic quality to them resulting in a vivid listening experience. His latest album Permanence is a perfect example of his music and we had a chat with Guy to hear all about it, the music he has coming out which is a companion album to Permanence and his journey through music so far. 

Your new album Permanence is out now. How did the creative process go and how was the experience of the actual recording of the album?

The creative process was actually really long but the actual writing of the material was reasonably quick. I spent a lot of time conceptualising the general theme of the album and part of that was creating a lot of demos. 

Can you tell us about the album and the emotions you wanted to evoke with the music?

Permanence is more a reflection of my own emotions over the past few years. It’s about understanding what feels permanent to me and accepting that within permanence lies change. I definitely don’t want to prescribe how people should feel when listening.

What have been the biggest influences on this album, both musically and otherwise?

Part of the thought process behind this was to channel influence from my life outside of music, and seeing if I could try to retell events through instrumental music. I listen to a wide range of music so it’s hard to pinpoint a single musical influence on this. 

Can you tell us about the striking artwork that accompanies the album’s release?

The artist who made the artwork is called Jenny Frances. I always give visual artists complete control but I try to explain what drove me to make the creative decisions in the first place, so they can bring that into their work.

What has the feedback on Permanence been like so far?

Luckily, it’s not my responsibility to think about this kind of thing.  

You have an ambient companion album to Permanence coming out in November entitled [MT][NT][ET]. Can you tell us about that?

Even though it’s framed as a companion / counterpart, it is its own unique piece of music. It’s an album based around the concept of sleep as a currency, and how its value is dependent on different stages in life.

Did you consider releasing both albums at the same time or did you always want them to have a bit of distance in time between them?

I did consider releasing them both at the same time, but [MT][NT][ET] felt like a darker sounding record that would be suited more so in Winter. 

You have said that both Permanence and [MT][NT][ET] are to be listened to in the same sitting, do both pieces of work tell a story?

In a certain way they do, but they’re essentially an ongoing narration of my life. They’re both very different chapters. 

Do you think that this is your most personal material yet?

I’ve really internalised the process of writing music to the point where it feels like another language, and found a lot of inspiration in simply writing for myself.

Were both of the albums completed prior to the lockdown situation we now find ourselves in? 

Permanence was actually completed in early 2019, and [MT][NT][ET] was written towards the end of last year. So, yes both were written before the lockdown. 

How has the worldwide pandemic affected you as an artist and how have you kept yourself busy?

I run two businesses outside of music, which have taken up a lot of my attention during the pandemic. However, throughout all of this I’ve really made the effort to look outwards to those around me, opening up channels of very honest communication and collaboration.

I haven’t really had any desire to write music in direct response to the current situation. Seeing some artists trying to capitalise on a pandemic has been pretty uncomfortable to watch.

You also released the Twenty Seven Inches Of Mercury earlier this year. How has that been received?

It prompted a few friends who I didn’t think would pay any attention to my music to reach out and say they’d been using it for meditation sessions, which was nice to hear.  

Have you been working on any other new music that you can tell us about?

I do write a lot, but I’m purposefully limiting my time working on music to only when I feel I have something to write about – I couldn’t picture myself writing solo music day-in-day-out for the sake of increasing my output. 

You have a remix album out next year. Can you tell us a bit about that and who features on it?

I haven’t heard it yet, but it’s by Kevin Drumm who’s remixing the entire two albums.

You have remixed tracks by Massive Attack and Ghostpoet. How were those experiences?

The Massive Attack remix was for Robert Del Naja’s side project Battle Box, which featured Guy Garvey. It came about fairly organically after they shared a release of mine on their social media. It was fun to briefly be in that world and work with them on this.

Working on the Ghostpoet remix I really enjoyed, as it featured a chorus vocal by Lucy Rose, who I’ve always been a fan of and actually remixed under my old alias of ‘iambic’.

Who else have you remixed tracks for in the past?

There’s been a small number of remixes I’ve done, but my all time favourite was my most recent one for the Lighthouse Family. I decided to go back to writing more dance focussed music, as I first connected with Paul from the band when I was very much in that world. I changed the narrative of the original from having hope to having a deep sense of loss – it was a really meaningful remix for myself and Paul. 

Who would you love to have remix your music in the future and who would you love to remix a track by?

It would be great to remix and by remixed by Nico Muhly. 

What is your favourite remix of all time and why does it stand out from the original version?

Doveman’s remix of Exploding Whale by Sufjan Stevens. I just think it’s a really like take on the original.

Your music has a very cinematic aspect to it, is that something you would consider branching out into on the future?

I’ve done some small bits, but the world of tv/film composition doesn’t appeal that much to me right now. I’m fulfilled trying to soundtrack my own journey.

What are your favourite films of all time and what makes them so special to you?

This seems to surprise everyone, but I don’t watch films! 

Will you be taking this new material in a live setting when the time allows?

There aren’t plans for this.

Who are your biggest influences as a musician?

The Smashing Pumpkins and Tool inspire my fundamental tastes in music, but I take influence from a wide variety of sources.

How do you get into electronic music in the first place and who were your formative influences as a producer?

I got a V Recordings mix CD on the front of a magazine when I was around 9 years old, and subsequently went to a record shop to buy a DJ Die record, the rest followed on from that, moving into making music and listening to more.

What have been some of the highlights of your career so far?

The BBC Maida Vale session was an incredibly special moment, but most of all, the real highlight has been the people I’ve met and grown close to.

[MT][NT][ET] shall be released on digital platforms on 11th November.Further details here:

Words: Gavin Brown

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