“Why limit your expression to certain sounds? If the world was full of purists, music would go nowhere…” Andrew Weatherall in 1994
It’s a little under three months since we said goodbye to musical alchemist Andrew Weatherall (sadly, not the only legendary figure to depart this mortal coil recently), and in the weeks since, a myriad of mixes, interviews and documentary footage (in particular the impressive Weatherdrive project) have underscored just what an influential figure the Screamadelica producer was.
Doing a bit of a clear out the other day, I came across an interview in 27.08.94 (put together by the makers of the influential CODE magazine), which a) I hadn’t seen before, and b) delves brilliantly into Weatherall’s creative process.
“My sounds, my inspiration come from everywhere,” he explains. “From sitting in taxis and hearing mad tracks – like around my way there are these African cab driers playing cool tracks – from just walking around a city, any city, all the sounds.
“Walking past record shops, hearing the radio, watching the television, from anywhere and everywhere really.”
On his studio process, meanwhile, Weatherall admits that things don’t always work out they way they are first intended.
“The entire studio process is very haphazard. Basically, we start with inspirations – samples, anything – and we experiment with it: twisting, turning affecting it. But it can go in any direction.
“Just last week, we were messing around with a Throbbing Gristle breakbeat with every intention of making a 150bpm mental banging techno track, and somewhere along the line you think, ‘let’s just drop it down to half the speed’, and we ended up with a slow, chugging number.
“Just like my intention due to this weekend is to do an old school, pumping house track – but odds on, it won’t end up that way. It’s very spontaneous.”
And as for those that limit their musical expression to the same, repeated tropes?
“If the world was full of purists, music would go nowhere. Where the f*ck does your music come from if it has not been a mish mash of styles. There wouldn’t be hip hop without Kraftwerk, for example. Purists get really uptight whenever there is a progression or innovation But you have to keep moving.”
Wise words from the great man. The full interview can be found below.