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My Philosophy: Andrew Weatherall

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Whether it was helping Primal Scream achieve a higher state of consciousness with Screamadelica, or sowing the seeds of big beat—the good kind, mind you—with his Sabres of Paradise project, Andrew Weatherall has taken his e-rock brush and gone all Jackson Pollack over every last electronic genre, from techno to electro to straight up pop. (Anyone remember One Dove?) With a Two Lone Swordsmen greatest remixes package already on the shelves, Weatherall and collaborator Keith Tenniswood emerge From the Double Gone Chapel, guitars and bass in tow, with a unearthly batch of short, sultry tunes.


The teacher will now speak…

I’ve suddenly realized—after spending years making ten-minute tracks—that the short, sharp statement is sometimes a lot more effective than the triple concept album. Leader of the Pack says more in two minutes than Yes could say across an entire lifetime.

We used to play PGA Tour Golf skins games for money whilst smoking Philly Blunts and listening to techno music. It was fantastic, a very formative part of my life 10 or so years ago.

I’ve stamped my identity over people’s songs because they’ve asked me to. When it’s finished, they want to listen to it and not know what’s going to come out of the speakers. I think they want the element of surprise, which is why we don’t get asked to [remix] many huge artists. Yes, fear and surprise are two of our weapons, without lapsing into old Monty Python sketches.

Eclecticism for eclecticism’s sake is boring.

It’s very helpful to reign back from treating interviews as a psychiatrist’s couch. Try and steer away from the personal side of things…And never tell a journalist you’ve given up cocaine, then disappear into the toilet to take shit loads of cocaine.

I get the same feeling from a booty electro record as I do from a rockabilly record. If it swings, if it sounds like a woman walks, then it’s rock and roll.

For some reason my dreams seems terribly prison-based, but let’s not go there.

The best hangover cure? Irnbru from Scotland. An advertising campaign says it’s made from girders ’cause it’s this rust orange color, but it’s absolutely superb. I think it once saved me from certain death in a toilet in Edinburgh Airport where I thought I was going to be found with my trousers around my ankles.

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The more I polish it, the less I believe in it.

Big beat was engineer’s revenge, I think. It was made by a lot of engineers that worked with DJs or people that weren’t very experience in the studio. The engineer would get paid his engineering fee, and the DJ would get a lot more money and a lot more fame, so the engineer would think, ‘I can do this.’ But because he didn’t have the musical knowledge, they were put together in a very rigid way with no swing and no dirt, and that’s what big beat turned into—really lumpy, soulless, swing-free engineer music. And everybody lapped it up. End of story.

If ever we get multi tracks and it says, Track 24. Mistake. Do not use, that’s the first thing we pull out and listen to.

With everybody knowing everybody’s business, it’s nice to have secrets. A lot of my song titles represent secrets that only me or two, three other people might have. It’s kind of like giving someone a picture but putting your hand over half of it so they can’t see the other half.

I like a little bit of living on the edge at times, but I don’t want to live on the edge with the threat of falling over. I’ve got all I can out of acid without ending up in some kind of secure institution, so we’ll stop that now and we’ll take that onboard and let that influence us rather than the drug itself. However, reggae does sound really, really good when you’re smoking good grass at the end of the day.

If you’re an apprentice on a building site or you’re doing a trade, they send you to get something that doesn’t exist; something stupid like some elbow grease or a bubble for a spirit level. It’s an in-joke that’s part of the culture here when you’re a new guy that works in the building trades. A bag of blue sparks is one of those things that people would ask you to get. I’m not trying to play it cool here or anything, but I did work in that trade for quite a long time and I didn’t fall for any of that kind of thing. I was nailed with a staple gun by my clothes to a big, flat, 8x4 hardboard screen, however. I was never actually sent to the shop to ask for stupid things, but I was made to look very stupid.

Renegade Cossacks kidnapped a member of the Russian aristocracy, and held her captive and she fell in love with the leader of the gang and they were called the Sabres of Paradise. Why do you ask? Are you doing a thesis on it or something?

As soon as I got the confidence to start singing again, Keith picked up the guitar and started playing a lot more. The more I saw him enjoying playing guitar, the more I enjoyed singing. It’s mutual encouragement with the ability to tell each other what we’re doing is rubbish sometimes.

I did six months of detox. Ate nothing but rice and vegetables and drank nothing but water and aloe vera. My tastebuds returned, my ears unclogged, people were coming up to me saying, What the fuck are you on? You must be on wild shit. And it’s like, No, I’m not on anything. That’s the point. I think your perceptions can become crystal clear, and drugs are a bit of a shortcut, but perhaps I’m a shortcut kind of guy.

Stopping taking ecstasy was the best decision I ever made in my life.

American history is not that old. Sometimes you feel quite rootless, and you look to God and religion to provide you with an anchor because you’re lacking in history. I’m not passing judgment, everyone needs roots. As long as your lack of history doesn’t make you think you can ride roughshod over the world with the shield of God.

I don’t actually get home and sit with a cigar and a brandy reviewing my past triumphs or anything, but if it comes on, I still think Screamadelica sounds alright.

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