Interview With Ben Power from Fuck Buttons

Fuck Buttons' Ben Powers talks with Northern Transmissions

We recently caught up with Benjamin Power (one half of British duo Fuck Buttons) while he was in LA preparing for the group’s upcoming North American tour.

Northern Transmissions: Fuck Buttons have experimented with many different types of equipment, from Casiotones to Fischer Price karaoke machines. Are you constantly on the lookout for new instruments or technology to create music?Fuck Buttons' Ben Powers talks with Northern Transmissions about the duo's approach to making music. Their latest LP 'Slow Focus' is now out on ATP RecordsFuck Buttons' Ben Powers talks with Northern Transmissions

Benjamin Power: We never really make conscious decisions when it comes to writing, and we feel we can make musical sounds from almost anything. There are so many wires, sound effects, and machines so the original sounds always changes in the end and it’s great because we don’t get boxed in or rely on certain equipment for our sound. About seven years ago, I used a washing machine as a drum and a piece of bamboo with long springs attached to create a sound that resembled thunder, it was quite exciting.

NT: Your music was once described as “the end of the world”. How do you interpret that description?

BP: It’s quite encompassing and a bit dramatic, but I think it’s an interesting way of describing our music. We’re always interested in how other people interpret our music, or how they would describe it.

NT: Your albums have really changed directions with each release. Are you guys making a conscious decision to explore new landscapes with each release?

BP: Yes, exactly. Our mantra is to never make the same record twice. I think it’s much more challenging and fun to create and experiment with new sounds. It’s also a way to discover new ways of creating new sounds.

NT: Your songs “Surf Solar” and “Olympians” were featured in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. How did you guys get involved with that? Was it a bit of a trip having your music played in front of millions of people?

BP: We were approached by Rick Smith from Underworld and we felt that it was a unique opportunity. However, we really didn’t hold our breaths as we weren’t sure how or if the tracks would even be used. We were lucky enough to see how our songs were going to be used at the rehearsals and watched the opening ceremony with a bunch of friends. It was an enjoyable experience.

NT: Looking back at bands like Silver Apples or Kraftwerk, are you surprised at the quality and innovative music that was being produced with such minimal technology?

BP: I think it’s amazing what they had done as it shows that anything that be used to make music. Forty years ago, the way control voltage was used has stood the test of time. I really appreciate how difficult and nearly impossible it was to generate certain sounds at that time. I’ve delved into modular synthesis recently and enjoy working with the tools and what they can produce.

NT: You latest album Slow Focus was self-produced. Do you guys feel comfortable working without a producer?

BP: This is actually the first album where we had a studio space that was manageable and easy to work in. We really wanted to do it on our own as it’s something we have wanted to do for a while. The production and writing go hand in hand when we make music. In the end, we had our good friend Jimmy Robertson come in and help with the mix.

NT: Your music has many layers and different effects in it. Do you find it challenging getting your sound out the way you want in a live setting?

BP: I mean, none of our music is made for a certain room or venue. It’s kind of nice to have that type of challenge or variety as it keeps things interesting for us. The machines are an extension of us, it’s quite enjoyable and I have no complaints.

NT: Which five albums are still inspiring you guys?

BP:

Kraftwerk – Computer World

Kate Bush – Hounds of Love

Scott Walker – Scott 4

Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygene

Einstürzende Neubauten – Silence is Sexy

http://www.atpfestival.com/recordings.php

 

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