Audio adventurer Kit Monteith puts down his world map and faces up to our quick-fire question machine
Where are you right now and what can you see?
“I’m in my studio, with a new reel-to-reel tape machine that I can’t wait to use.”
Oh, happy New Year! Can’t be worse than last year, right?
“This year is going to be great, but I’m often accused of being overly positive, so I wouldn’t trust a word I say.”
You’re a filmmaker and you play in Foals’ live band. What a life, eh?
“I’m so pleased I’ve been able to make playing music part of my career, and performing with Foals is a particularly amazing way to do that. I’m also very glad I’ve developed the film-making side too. Turns out pandemics are no good for live music, but kind of great for editing music videos.”
The album came out of touring with Foals didn’t it?
“We toured the world for almost all of 2019 and I knew it was going to be one of the most interesting and exhilarating times of my life, so I decided I would attempt to capture the experience.”
How did you approach the recording?
“It’s pretty much all done on my iPhone 6s. All field recordings were made just with the inbuilt mic as I never had time to connect anything more fancy. In every city we visited, I made recordings of the spaces and streets we found ourselves in, then on each flight I composed musical pieces. I love making music on my phone. Your fingers are too big to be precise and your battery is always running low, so you’ve got to be quick about getting an idea down. Also, your ears build and release pressure throughout the flight and that does strange things to sound. Whatever you’ve done is totally different once you land and your ears pop.”
Did anything in particular inspire the album?
“I share a studio with a friend called Al who has the most amazing record collection. He’s my own private radio station. He introduced me to Andrew Pekler’s ‘Sounds From Phantom Islands’, which gave me the confidence that a cartographic-focussed concept could work.”
What appeals about field recording?
“It’s like when you carry a camera. You somehow acquire these times in your day where you find a detachment from the moment. It’s very meditative. You stop focussing on yourself, your inner monologue keeps quite, and you listen.”
Any particular favourites?
“I love that recording of my niece so much, as my whole family was there. The ‘LA Hotel Protest’ recording is great too. It started at about 6am so they would wake up the hotel guests. I just hit record and went back to sleep. I was so tired I slept through it while my phone captured the entire thing.”
The album also captures a lifestyle that now seems on hold…
“Absolutely, and that adds a poignancy. I love the idea of people hearing this in anticipation for their own upcoming adventures, or listening to the album later in the year while they’re actually travelling themselves. That’s the ideal way to listen to it.”
Any plans for more work along these lines?
“I’m planning an ‘Audio-Cartographic Experiments Vol #2’ at the moment. A lot of it has been recorded already… it just needs sending through that reel-to-reel tape machine now.”