The Host: I’ll sneak in some spaced out interludes, depending what the crowd is like
Like most of the artists on Planet Mu, The Host’s sound strikes a balance somewhere between “thumbs up from a muso”, and “this makes me want to dance all night long”. Those who identify most with the latter will be able to catch the producer, also known as Barry Lynn, tonight in Shoreditch.
He’s performing alongside some of Planet Mu’s most successful artists of the last twelve months, Kuedo, Machinedrum, Rudi Zygadlo and Tropics, for a special one-off label party.
It will be the first outing for The Host and his ethereal, trippy electro, but playing to a crowd is nothing new to Barry, who is well known for his work under the guise of Boxcutter.
Your debut ‘The Host’, is pretty trippy – in places it reminds me of the Ozrich Tentacles (eg. Summer Solstice at Cape Canaveral) – what was your approach to making the album?
Thanks, I wanted to create lots of spaced-out nuggets, decorate them with lots of guitar and radiophonic sonics. And I wanted to find a way of using all the homemade TR-808 beats I was making too. I always liked those really worn out sounding drum machines on There’s a Riot Goin’ On, and the hyperspeed stuff Mtume did with Miles Davis on Dark Magus. So I tried combining the guitar and synth sound of the ambient tracks with those type of drum tracks.
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What would you say is the best environment to listen to this album?
Either exploring the remnants of an ancient webring, or surfing for chance moments of beauty and gnosis at 3am.
What bands/artists do you like that might surprise people?
It’d be easier to say who I don’t like that might surprise people, but griping about your peers never looks good. I think even a passing familiarity with my stuff should be enough to let people know I’m into a wide selection, I don’t think anyone would be surprised. Especially not in our internet age of availability and musical plurality.
What inspired you while you were making the album?
Computersclub.org, Sabrina Ratté’s video work, the springtime bluebells at Lough Neagh nature reserve, Planet Mu’s footwork crusade, Beaumont (the young artist I released on my label Kinnego last year), Not Not Fun, Steve Hillage.
What are the benefits of making music under two aliases?
The name “The Host” came to me one night, I liked how many meanings it had and how they related to the track titles and the feeling of the music. Most people haven’t copped on to one of the most obvious ones, despite the signposts.
The other reason is, I knew that if I released it as Boxcutter, people would dwell too much on previous form rather than digesting the album as a standalone project. So it was also intended to act as a “separator” from earlier work.
Are you a sci-fi fan?
I remember reading that the LSD chemist Owsley didn’t like Sci-Fi because it takes you on “weird trips”. I generally like stuff that uses the form to explore ideas, from an outsider perspective, so you can look at familiar things in a fresh way. I’m not so into genre exercises or kitsch or drama/adventure tales with spaceships. You can probably guess who I’m into from that description!
What would be the most terrifying parasite that could bury itself in your body?
That’s one of the meanings to “The Host” that I wasn’t thinking about, to be honest. Anything that would affect my ears or fingers probably.
What equipment did you use to record the album and where did you source them from? What do you prefer about analogue synths?
I honestly didn’t want the equipment or production methods to be such a feature. I did want to capture a certain sort of fidelity that you get on old library music records though, and I wanted to put the guitar to the front a lot more too.
How long did it take to write and record The Host?
It was done pretty quickly, although a few of the tracks were already written from 2009 or so. Most of it came together from January – October of last year.
What recent releases do you really rate?
The Traxman album is amazing.
The Planet Mu party looks like it will be a great night – what do you have planned? How do you think The Host’s music will translate in a club setting?
I’m gonna step it up a lot from the album sound, I’ve written quite a lot of new tracks this year so I’ll debuting a lot of them, rolling out a lot of footwork and jungle-styled stuff. I’m going to try and sneak some spaced out interludes in amongst it all though, depends what the crowd is like.
How did you end up working with Esben and the Witch?
Their manager gave the last Boxcutter album a good review over at the BBC Music site. He got in touch about me doing something for them. I think they’re a really interesting band.
When you were growing up, who were your favourite musicians/bands?
Jimi Hendrix, Spiritualized, Vanishing Point-era Primal Scream, DJ Shadow, Free, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Steve Vai (maybe that one counts as a surprise like?).
XOYO vs Planet Mu, 11 May, XOYO, London
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