Following his set at The Junction earlier this month, we had a chat with the Cocoon favourite to discuss his career and cinematic debut LP...
RR: Tim - your recent Australian tour celebrated the release of your first album - ‘Her Future Ghost.’ Talk us through the LP’s development. What’s the meaning behind its title?
Tim: Yes I was happy to be back! So my concept was to write a film score, but for a film that doesn’t actually exist. As an avid film score fan, I wanted to create a body of work that took certain typical soundtrack traits and practices, then apply them to this album. I wasn’t ever interested in just writing an album with 12 or so dancefloor tracks, for DJs that are not connected or telling much of a story.
It’s been a year in the making and started thanks to Cocoon being very supportive and patient. For a while they wanted an album from me, but I said I needed to have a concept... so they were nice enough to allow me total freedom!
RR: Great concept. Did you envisage a storyline to accompany it?
Tim: Yes completely. Although it was more a loose idea and story arc with characters involved, which is how I was able to piece the tracks together and know which direction to progress the album in. For example, having repeating themes and motifs for different elements from the story, like a love theme. Having each song represent a different scene in a movie gave me a new way to write and think about how to construct an album.
RR: You've worked with several big labels over the years - what drew you back to Cocoon's creative environment when it came to producing the album?
Tim: Firstly they have always released albums well and supported the artist’s vision, which you can see from their back catalogue. But mainly for me, because we get along so well and share similar opinions on music. It's always easy to work with them and a pleasure... in fact, an honour ultimately.
RR: There has been a lot of buzz around your brand new live setup - how would you compare it to a DJ set? Do the live elements give you more freedom during the performance?
Tim: It's currently more techno-orientated with the type of songs and shows I’m playing, which is really good fun. It’s interesting because you obviously have a limited amount of material to perform with, in comparison to the unlimited tracks you can DJ with. But it makes me think in different ways and perform better with my existing material, as well as writing a lot of new material exclusively for the show. I’m incorporating more MIDI keyboard when playing live also, which isn’t always possible with my existing songs, as I feel they are quite full and complete. So it doesn’t always warrant just jamming on a keyboard over the top.
RR: Ok, if we asked you to pick a favourite set from throughout your career, which one jumps to mind?
Tim: I always have so much fun playing in New York for the amazing Ebb and Flow boat parties - those are the first sets that spring to my mind. They are really good friends too, so it’s always so special to play there. I do their June boat party every year, so it's happening again in a couple of weeks with Holmar from Thugfucker.
RR: Now you established Disc Over Music nearly 5 years ago - can you describe the experience of managing your own label? Anything you would have done differently?
Tim: Well I’ve stopped the label now for a breather, mainly because I just don’t have the time to give my full energy to it. So I think it’s not worth it until I can really maximise and focus on doing it. I hope to start it up again in the near future.
RR: We hope so too. During the Bedlam party days, you brought some serious heavyweights over to play in your hometown of Chatham in Kent. What are your best memories from those events? Any chance of a reunion at the tunnel?
Tim: It’s a blur haha, but such fantastic times. It was always great because it’s near my hometown and so many of my close friends would be there. I don’t usually get the chance to see them as I'm travelling all the time, but this was always a great reunion. Unfortunately no plans to revive it again as yet... maybe one day though for sure!
RR: Your rework of Tim Engelhardt’s ‘Eyes Closed’ has been well received. How did this project originate and what process did you follow when remixing the track?
Tim: We had been talking for a while as we both love each other’s music. Tim sent me his album a long time before it was released, so I already knew which were my favourite tracks. This one I felt was the most interesting to remix because of its different tempo, but it also has such lovely chords and a lovely vibe to it. It was really simple to remix to be honest, because his music is so good and the parts sound excellent on their own.
RR: And what do you have planned for the rest of the year?
Tim: A whole lot of shows and I'm hoping to find time to get back into the studio in-between. Really looking forward to my US tour at the end of June, then I’m really happy to be going back to Burning Man again this year! So I'll be playing a couple of sets there; not too many, as I prefer to enjoy the experience for what it is, rather than be playing all the time.
RR: Final question. We hear you like to travel and pick up different instruments from around the world - what has been your best find? Will you be taking home a didgeridoo?
Tim: I already have a didgeridoo actually! Got one from Oz in the past. Although its only quality is to look good, as I’m totally unable to play it haha.
RR: Haha maybe you'll use it during a live set one day. Cheers Tim.
'Her Future Ghost' is out now on Cocoon Recordings. Available here.