In an interview with Brooklyn mag Self-Titled, Warp Records co-founder Steve Beckett talks in-depth about the label as its celebrates its 20th anniversary year.
"As one of my friends said, ‘Sticking it out with any-fucking-thing for 20 years is amazing, let alone something in the music business.’"
In a loose A-Z format, Beckett discusses the label’s key artists and other aspects of its existence – including the seminal visual contributions of The Designer’s Republic and Chris Cunningham – with no shortage of tickling anecdotes.
"I remember suggesting Autechre [use MCs on an album] and they said, ‘Who the fuck do you think you are? James Lavelle?’"
Beckett, who started up Warp in 1989 with the late Rob Mitchell (the photo above captures the duo at the dawn of the 90s), also offers some tantalising info about forthcoming albums on the label. Of Boards of Canada he says:
"They’re definitely closer to [a new record], but their concept of time is different than most people."
Brooklyn’s own !!! meanwhile are "halfway through recording their next album with [former DFA engineer] Eric Broucek" and indeed premiered some of the new material at the New York leg of Warp’s anniversary tour last week. Flying Lotus‘s new record is apparently sounding good:
"We’ve only begun to hear what FlyLo’s capable of. I see him as an artist that could be as important on the label as Aphex Twin. He’s got it all — the attitude, the look and the attention to detail and design.
"He’s just about finished his next album. It’s pretty incredible. The word ‘depth’ just keeps coming back to me, because there’s just so much depth to it. At the moment, there’s just the basics of it, so he might [bring some guest artists in]. I don’t want to say too much about it yet, though."
So what of the daddy, Mr Richard James AKA Aphex Twin?
"How to describe Aphex Twin? I don’t know. I call him an English eccentric – always into creating for the hell of it. He isn’t bothered by what other people think of his music. In fact, the only reason he puts it out is for financial reasons, so he doesn’t have to get a proper job. A lot of artists say [they don’t care] but I’ve never me anyone who is that uninterested in the indstry side of things. He played the game in the beginning a bit, but as the years go by, he’s able to pull the drawbridge up more. I’m sure it’s affecting his sales – he’d probably sell a lot more records if he did some promo – but to him it’s important to be isolated and focus on what he’s doing creatively.
"If you ever hear him DJ, there’s always two or three tracks of his that have never been released. This one track I heard the last time in London…I’m dying to put it out.
"It seems like he’s gearing up for something, though, so one of these days I’ll probably get a call [about a new album] and that’ll be it, really. That’s literally how I’ll find out."
Read the full interview over at self-titledmag.com, and check out FACT’s recent guide to The Essential…Warp Records.