Interviu: Noko - Apollo 440

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Apollo 440 e una dintre cele mai importante trupe ale muzicii electro, cunoscuti mai ales pentru melodii ca Ain’t Talking ‘bout Dub sau Stop the rock. Ii vom vedea in Romania la B'Estfest, iar pana atunci l-am intrebat cate ceva pe Noko, pe numele sau real Norman Fisher-Jones.


Let’s not talk about Romania or Bucharest, tell us  something about U.K. What’s the best place to party (in a festival way)?

There’s so many festivals in UK right now – traditionally Glastonbury would have been the answer and demand far outstripped supply, but they can’t even sell all the tickets this year.

Our bass player Rej is also playing with comedians The Mighty Boosh (Do you get that TV show in Romania? – it’s really daft) and those guys are organising their own festival at The Hop Farm in Kent. That one should be a laugh.

When was the first time when you got paid for playing music ? You have a really long career, how do you look upon your begginings?

Yeah, we’ve seen a few cultural waves come and go since we started in 1990.

Personally, the first time I got paid for playing music was when I was 15 and was selling my first acoustic guitar through an advert in the local paper, The Liverpool Echo, to get the money to buy my first electric.

A woman came round to buy it and said she wouldn’t buy it unless I played her a song on it for her! – I played  "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath really badly because the guitar was a piece of shit with a really high action. She still bought the guitar.

What's your best song? And the one you feel the least happy about?

Good question – though they’re totally different aesthetically, both "Stop The Rock" (for its euphoric dumbness and sheer breadth of post-modern reference) and "Pain In Any Language"(for it’s languid beauty) are both immaculately realised and I couldn’t imagine them any other way.

Can’t really say what the worst one is – I wouldn’t want to spoil it for someone who liked that particular song. Invariably it’s the realisation or lack of it through the production process that makes you hate a tune at any time. You get over it in the end.

Why you don’t want to talk about dub? :)

We do want to talk about dub! – all of the time – The principles of deconstruction/reconstruction and generally messing about with the bits of things, changing the internal focus and re-contextualising are at the very root of all we hold dear – in music AND otherwise.

Your music has lots of cultural, artistic  references , for example Duchamp, Bukowski or Baudrillard. Who are your mentors and what inspires you most?

You have to ask yourself – who would you rather party with out of those guys – I reckon Duchamp would be the most fun! But I have a love/hate relationship with Duchamp – in some ways all the problems we have as artists stem from the position he first mapped out.

At best, the idea of art being a matter of contextual definition is liberating and exhilarating; at worst, everything is one big joke. The stranglehold that glib conceptual art has had over the visual art scene for the last 50 years is entirely his fault!

Do you see music  as entertainment or as a cultural act?

Obviously both – it’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice!

Talkin’ about Baudrillard, what do you think about the world as a sum of simulacra, as he says? How do you think music can help us remove the mask, the simulacra and perceive reality? Or is music another form of simulacra?

Following on from your earlier question, it’s the "job" of music or all art for that matter, to simultaneously remove the mask and re-create it all over again.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, "If you want a man to tell you the truth, give him a mask."

What do you like most – remixing or making music?

A lot of the appeal of remixing other people’s music has gone for me as technology has made it much easier for everyone to do it themselves.

Having said that, there’s something very satisfying and exciting about re-contextualising some hidden greatness in someone’s work and showing them a hitherto undiscovered path to beauty.

We tend to keep all our best remixing tricks for our own music these days

How do you define Apollo 440 aestethtics or philosophy ? What do you believe in? 

Absolutely everything AND absolutely nothing – in roughly equal measures.

You released only four albums in almost 18 years. How come? What’s the concept of the next album, if you can tell us?

Sorry, we get up far too late. We’ll try and speed it up a bit in future.

The next album, from which we’ll be playing at least 4 new songs in Bucharest @ the weekend, is called "The Future’s What It Used To Be"- the concept kind of speaks for itself.

This time round we’ve got a new lead-singer/frontman, Ewan MacFarlane, who’s sung on many  @440 tracks since "Electroglide In Blue" in 1997 and he has a phenomenal vocal range and truly charismatic stage presence. The live shows just get better and better.

It’s criminal that we’ve never played in Romania before - we’re all looking forward to it immensely. See you @ B'estFest.

Interviu realizat de Cristina Foarfa si Alex Cilibianu.

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Interviu: Noko - Apollo 440
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