EoIpso: Your production work on "Spasm" has a very down-to-earth quality, it sounds direct and analogue, but surely you did use digital recording equipment?
Daniel: Thank you for the compliments on the production of "Spasm". There's nothing particularly special about the way we recorded it really, it was just a case of putting the tracks down and tweaking the sounds, adding or removing things accordingly until it sounded like we'd both envisioned it in our heads. We've never had a special formula to create with, just an old cheap digital 8-track!
EoIpso: I feel most of the computer-based productions sound very similar, you can actually hear it! In theory you have endless possibilities, but in the end most producers use the same methods and tools: it all sounds 'good' but lacks a personal touch.
Daniel: As for people who obsessively use computer-based equipment, perhaps they're more interested in the "technology" side of recording, rather than the creative/emotive side of the music they're making, but I could be wrong.
EoIpso: Talking about trends in popular music: in the 1980ies, the traditional band concept with guitar, bass and drum donkeys was considered to be dead by the turn of the decade. Now it seems electronic dance music has come to a point where it is regarded as being old-fashioned and boring. What will be next? Do you care?
Daniel: No, I don't care, to be honest with you and I don't really understand that kind of argument of "played instruments" versus "electronic instruments". I think it is the end result that really counts and if you do something that is really emotive and special using computers that's a far more valuable work of art than a really boring guitar pop song. I personally don't think it matters that much. However, when it comes to mainstream dance music, that has come to a stalemate in as much as it has become too ordinary, so there's less room for people to be innovative and daring.
But there is no reason why that means electronic music has finished, or that music made with trombones is going to take over! What is important is the intent behind the music and how many people with genuine, creative ideas there are, it's irrelevant which methods or equipment they use. As for Leisur::hive, we use a lot of technology in our recordings which may not seem obvious because we aren't a dance act. We use stringed instruments as well but I don't really see us as either specifically electronic or rock or anything, we just do what we do and hope that it sounds good and that it communicates something meaningful.
EoIpso: When you play live, do you have a fixed set of songs or do you prefer to improvise?
Daniel: Well, we usually have a fixed set of songs, which we often allow ourselves to expand upon. If the performance is going well, we find that we all just intuitively go off on a tangent and take a song into a different direction. Not so much in terms of playing fiddly notes or anything like that, but because most of the songs are repetitive they do become more trance-like when we play live. Again, if it goes very well then I personally find that I lose myself: The whole experience verges on being uncontrollable! Although we may sometimes break into looping improvisations, you have to stay disciplined enough to keep within the spirit of the song. So it creates an interesting dynamic to the live shows.
Really, it is a mixture of both and that's how a live performance should be because if you release a record and people come to see you, you are interpreting the songs you have written on the record, but at the time you have to allow for the fact that it is something that is happening in real time: something that comes alive, as well as just being a show. I think it is really boring when you pay to see a really good band or artist and they just replicate everything they've done on their record, except it's a bit louder! I don't see the point of that. There needs to be some kind of sense, especially with a band, that the people on stage are feeding off each other and being instinctive in the way that they are playing.