Stereoklang: An Exclusive Talk With Synthesizer Pioneer John Foxx

I found this very good interview conducted by the folks over at Stereoklang. He talks about his personal relationship with his Roland CR-78 drum machine, as well as a bunch of other interesting topics. In this interview he also has some nice things to say about Tara Busch and Lowfish.

From Stereoklang:
Anyone with the slightest interest in electronic music has come across the works of John Foxx. John more or less on his own reshaped the electronic landscape with albums like Metamatic and The Garden. Starting off in the 1970′s forming the band Tiger Lily, that later morphed into the legendary act Ultravox. However, John left the band in 1979 to pursue a solo career and over the years, since then, John has been extremely productive – to say the least. John did withdraw from the music scene for a while to pursue other areas, but reappeared in the 90′s via Nation12 and then later on actively started to pursue his music career often in collaboration with others like Louis Gordon, Harold Budd and most recently with Benge (ben Edwards). Currently we are all set for a real treat with the new album called Interplay, featuring John Foxx & the Maths. Without further a due, and introductions, we dive deep into the mind of Mr. John Foxx….

Read more here.

A question about synthesizers…

Working in Benges studio with lots of analog synths – any new found favourites?

Oh yes – that big 1960’s Moog system of Benge’s – Hand built and unique. It sounds massive.

Also, a cheap little keyboard, which I’m not going to mention, because I want to buy one myself. It gave me ideas every time I used it. Beautiful.

You must be one of the most persistent user of CR-78 – are you using the real thing or samples? Could you explain the love affair with this machine?

Oh, I think we’ve come to understand each other very well over the years. The CR78 is a marvelous, accidental confection – a non-dancing Japanese programmer’s mathematical reconstruction of western dance patterns, intended for use as a cabaret accompaniment device.

Serious recording engineers despised it. But they were wrong.

I immediately realized that this machine offered an entirely new approach to percussion. Its rhythms are so bizarre that it is impossible to get anything conventional out of it. If you make it central in a recording, you immediately have a unique sonic layout and pattern – a new kind of matrix, in which you can easily position other equally delicious sounds, like a piece of abstract sculpture. That is how it demanded that you create something not heard before. Any instrument that can make such demands is infinitely valuable.


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