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60 seconds with… Daniel Avery

Daniel Avery premieres a brand new collaboration with Flat-e at this year’s Leeds International Festival, Rob Chadwick sits down for 60 seconds to chat about adapting his ’Song for Alpha’ album to his illustrious ‘Falling Light’ concept.
Now your last album is a year old, how do you reflect on it and the events you performed at?
Ok, ‘Song of Alpha’ is in its adolescence, it’s been a year since it came out now, and to say this last year has been a really interesting one for me is an understatement. The making of ‘Song for Alpha’ took five years of my life, right from when ‘journalogic’ was done, and it kind of dominated my life in a lot of ways; so for me it was a real rush, a very exciting rush, for me to finally get it done, and in so doing make an album I’m really proud of and which I wanted to make.
In retrospect it really needed to take five years. But then the last year has been interesting too seeing the reactions, people have responded very positively to it …and I’ve been playing more than ever and doing some way out different things. I did quite a few shows were I was playing open to close; all night dance, the longest I think was 10 hours and people have been responding very well to them, and they were something I’ve loved to do because it somehow reflects what I want to do with ‘Song of Alpha’ were that album was intended to be a record influenced by the nightclub, the rave, but more than that I also wanted it to spread its wings further, well beyond that concept; and to be able to please all night sets with that music and, in so doing, gives me the chance to express myself, that’s been very rewarding for me. Similarly I did two tours off the back of ‘Song of Alpha’ one supporting John Hopkins, touring around America, on which I did something similar to my all night sets, so I played from when the doors opened until Johns very first note, that was just an idea I had to bring an element of what I do in a club to his live set, it was a really new experience for me and a real cool one too. Next I supported Nine Inch Nails on some of their American tour for that I also opened, but, there were these huge seated theatres and for that I wanted to express something beyond the club scene so I created a live set mostly of ambient and drone music that I felt would begin the night properly. I think most of those things, in fact, I would say all of those things I’ve just mentioned were supported by, if not instigated by, the release of ‘Song of Alpha’, so it’s a record I’m very proud of; it feels as though it’s continuing to have an effect.

How did your collaboration with Flat-e start? 

My collaboration with Flat-e began with ‘Song of Alpha’ and this is a another huge thing that happened off the back of the album. I had this idea that I wanted to create a visual element to every track on the album. I wanted it to be a visual album as much as anything, and Flat-e pitched an idea that I loved, so we met up. Turns out we had very similar reference points, we also shared a similar sense of humour, and what they made together was truly beautiful; you can check it out on line, it’s all there to see. It was just a very easy, organic and natural process, so much so, that we’ve been talking ever since; they actually did some of the visuals for my ‘live at London’ shows, and, we had this idea that we wanted to do something beyond a live show, something that felt immersive.

Tell us about the Falling Light concept? 
The name ‘Falling Light’ has been knocking around now for around two years. They, Flat-e, were in contact with Leeds International festival so they approached me and said it could be the perfect opportunity to try this ‘Falling Light’ idea, and again it’s come together very easily, it’s been a lot of hard work but it’s coming together very naturally which is the best way of putting it. It is an installation; it’s a collaborative process and project, it’s not a live show of mine it’s an installation we have worked on together. I’ve created exclusive music for it, it’s all brand new music from me, and they have created brand new and exclusive visuals for it. I’s a concept which is intended as something you can get lost inside, it runs for about 20 minutes, it deals with light that can envelop you and also light that can form its own structures around you.
Apparently for this show there are some exclusive installations in store for the forthcoming to Leeds, what can you tell us?
We are encouraging people to go inside and walk around it and just feel a part of it. This is something Flat-e and I talked about a lot during the ‘Song for Alpha’ days, this idea that club music can take over your soul in a very positive nurturing way, that when your in a club the outside world doesn’t really exist, and you feel safe and it can transport you to another place this is one of the ideas behind ‘Falling Light’ and to have it in this installation setting feels perfect. There is no kind of timetable or the general pressures of a night out, this is something you can go in and take your time with, and hopefully get lost inside!
Do you feel as though your own experiences reflect with both the album and the art installation combined?
Definitely, It’s very much like what I’m into at the moment, and this is something that ‘Flat-e and I share, there are techno elements to it, there’s rave elements to this installation too but, that is only one part of it. It’s not intended as a dance floor that’s for sure, it’s something where you can go and stand in the corner and then walk to the other side and get an entirely different experience, you can lie in the middle of the floor and get another experience; and we encourage people to do all of this, the sounds are intended to be as intense as a nightclub but it’s not just a few beats strung together, it’s far from a DJ set, this is something we have created with this space specifically in mind and I’m really excited to see how it all comes together.
The installation is not only there to marry your music with the art but is the message that there is more to just going to a club and watching an artist perform?
So this idea of us, music and technology coming together I think can only ever be exciting. For me it all comes from the same place, and it all has the same intention of creating something that is beautiful, and if that is the true intention of the artist then nothing can can go wrong. Personally I can’t be bothered with the idea that something like social media, as a form of technology, is creeping into what we do.
There are lot of different aspects to music, art and technology as its develops even further? Is that a good thing or should we not take away from the music? Or is that just the way its going now do you think?
To me that seems like a different world entirely and something I don’t have any interest in, it is a part of the wider world but there is far too much negative energy flying around it for it to be anything more than a frivolous exercise, it’s not what I’m interested in but, if you can take the technology and marry it with the art, the music, the visuals and create something positive and beautiful that’s much needed in the world right now, probably more so than ever, then I’m happy to play a small part in it.
Do you see this becoming an even bigger project between yourself and Flat-e?
I would love for it to become a bigger project, it does feel like the first step of something. In truth we really have already started our journey together with Song of Alpha, this is just a further step, so yes it feels like a long term collaboration and we are going to keep going, it feels good right now.
And you’ll be in such a historic venue here in Leeds, so the must be an honour?
And yes it feels really cool to be part of this venue, this Corn Exchange, I know that Flat-e have been working very hard to make something that works specifically for the room, this is not something that has been made then shoehorned into a space, everything about it has been created with this space in mind and yes, it’s an honour and I can’t wait to get up there and see how it all comes together.
Thanks for your time.
Thank you for your time, Cheers, see you at the launch!
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