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In terms of your reference points, you’ve experimented with lots of styles but there’s a Kowton signature that feels quite consistent. How do you think you’ve evolved as an artist over the past eight years?
I think when you’re working with such a minimal selection of sounds all you really have to work with is the way that you fit them together, and it’s almost the bits that you don’t notice that make the tune great. If you could give three or four producers the same sounds and asked them to make a track, not only would the rhythms be different but also the way that they interact would be different. I think if I’ve learnt anything it’s that nuanced way of gluing everything together and presenting a cohesive whole from quite different ingredients.
I hope I’ve got better at answering the challenges of writing minimalist records: how do you propel the music, how do you engage the listener when nothing’s happening, essentially – that’s the hardest thing I think. When it doesn’t work then it’s back to the drawing board. I’ve got so many tunes that could’ve worked but didn’t, and there’s not an obvious reason why, but hopefully I’m better at spotting at what point it works and what point it doesn’t.
What I’ve definitely done is cut down on all the peripheral noises and all the shite that goes in. When I listen to those early records there’s so many incidental sounds it’s almost like punctuation – every 32 bars, have a new noise. Or let’s have another breakdown, let’s have this, let’s have that, and I think as I get older, more and more I gravitate towards this ideal of music that just flows – direct and concise exercises in rhythmic repetition.