Interview: The Asphodells

Interview with The Asphodells

The Asphodells


Legendary producer and remixer Andrew Weatherall’s back, and for his latest project he’s working with DJ Timothy J. Fairplay under the pseudonym The Asphodells. We had a quick chat with Tim to find out the inspirations behind their psychedelic debut, Ruled By Passion, Destroyed By Lust.

Questions and answers

Hi Tim, can you tell us how the two of you first met please?

We first met at a night Andrew used to do called ‘Haywire’; I was pretty regular there.

What were your first impressions of each other?

I guess I was a bit nervous ‘cause I was a big fan… But I found Andrew just really easy to chat to. We both have very wide music tastes, and there are many more things we both like than dislike. Though Andrew likes Thin Lizzy, whom I genuinely can’t see anything likeable about…

We don’t only have music in common; we’re both very much into literature and share a sense of humour which flits from very high-minded to incredibly immature…

So what was the goal for The Asphodells, sonically?

We didn’t particularly plan the sound; it was partly based on the sound which we’ve developed doing remixes together since the Grinderman remix, which was the first one I did with Andrew a few years ago. Apart from that it was influenced by early industrial music, cold wave, dub, Krautrock... Klaus Schulze’s Innovative Communication label really influenced me during the making of the album, and also things like You, Chris Carter, Pete Shelley, Severed Heads

How does the creative process work for you guys?

Either Andrew has an idea and we start from that, or he walks into the studio while I’m playing something I have started on my own and asks, “What’s that?” Generally we start with some drums and bass, bass guitar and my 808 or something. Then come the synths and arpeggiators.

Dance culture tends to focus primarily on singles; why is the album format important to you?

It’s nice to do a collection of tracks; a group piece based around a theme. The problem with dance records is that usually people feel they need to have lots of guests etc. There were some great albums on Warp back in the 90s though. I suppose they set the standard.

What are your all-time favourite dance albums?

I am often more of a fan of the 12", but probably something like the first Chicago Shags album on Bunker or Unit Black Flight’s Escape from Indianapolis. Those two I-F albums The Man From Pack and Fucking Consumer were big for me too.

‘Ruled By Passion, Destroyed By Lust’ is a great title. What’s the story behind it?

It seemed a fitting title… It’s actually the tag line from a Roman-themed, gay porn movie from the 70s called ‘Centurions of Rome’. I was looking at its poster in an old film poster book I have and thought it was amazing. I have wanted to use it for a club night flyer or something for years, but Andrew pointed at the tagline and said, “That’s the name of the album.”

Do you have a favourite track on the album?

That’s a tough one, though I think for me it would be ‘The Quiet Dignity (Of Unwitnessed Lives)’.

Is The Asphodells purely a studio project, or do you have plans for any shows?

Haha, we’ll see… Our bassist, Andy Baxter, has disappeared off to India at the moment, so maybe when he gets back. Even though I have a history of playing live with Battant, I don’t particularly like live dance music (though some people do it very well). It is very hard to get right; you have to be very aware of how your own music moves an audience apart from anything else.

And can we expect another Asphodells record or do you see this is as a one-off?

Yeah, I think there’s gonna be another one at least.

How’s your club night ‘Crimes Of The Future’ going?

Crimes is going very well – we have Plaid live for the next one!

What are your top five, must-play tracks at the moment?

They would be Black Merlin ‘22.05’, Barnt ‘All Worlds All Times’, Unit Black Flight ‘Shadow Scope’, Willie Burns ‘Duh Duh Dunk’ and C.A.R. ‘HIJK’ (Timothy J. Fairplay Remix).

What’s the plan for the rest of 2013?

I imagine lots of DJing and lots of remixes. There is going to be a remix version of this album, and then I expect we shall start work on the next one...