Arp

Arp’s Alexis Georgopoulos fends off our barrage of quick-fire questions 

Where are you right now and what can you see?

“I’m on the island of Sifnos, looking out over the sea. The sun is setting, and the full moon is rising. Sounds over the top, but true.”

The ‘New Pleasures’ album is the second part of a trilogy, following 2018’s ‘Zebra’. Talk us through your thinking…

“Each part emphasises a different tone, subject matter and time period. ‘Zebra’ was an attempt to conjure a place as though it had just been discovered – a state of newness, vibrant, full of hope, promise, possibility. For ‘New Pleasures’, I focused on the notion of a pleasant dystopia, where all our desires are being met. There’s a darker subtext, of course… it’s an inquiry into our current predicament. Sometimes with a disco beat.”

Can’t begin to imagine where you’ll be headed for the third part…

“Does ‘the wreckage of humanity’ give you some idea?”

If ‘New Pleasures’ was a film, which one would it be? 

“Good question. In ‘New Pleasures’, there’s a collapsing of time, where the present, past and future whirr in and out of focus… perhaps a William Gibson novel with parts set in Tokyo, New York, Paris and Cameroon would be a place to start.”

You’ve studied ethnomusicology. How does that understanding affect your recorded work?

“I’ve always been inclined to think about how music works within a cultural framework, what it fulfils or doesn’t fulfil in society, how it’s utilised. I’ve always found it interesting to locate genealogies – compositional techniques, for example – that connect what we tend to think of as disparate cultures.”

You’re based in New York. How does a place like that influence your sound?

“Sometimes my inclination is to make quiet music, a reaction to the chaos and noise. Sometimes I move towards it, get caught in its flow and want to make music that’s of the city – more social and physical.”

There’s a Talking Heads flavour to the title track of the new record, or has that just seeped in via osmosis?

“It’s always interesting to hear what people hone in on. I wasn’t thinking of Talking Heads – it’s more Yasuaki Shimizu and Sakamoto, even The Knife – but I was using some of the same instruments they employed on their Compass Point stuff.”

There’s all sorts going on here – electro, Mick Karn-style rolling bass, kosmische, minimalism, cosmic jazz. Guilty as charged?

“The ability to fold different styles into a larger picture is something I learned as a DJ – trying to get from point A to D, say, and making it feel natural even though you’ve moved through various styles – even incorporating some that might clash if not done the right way. So yes, I think all those things are present in some form or other. Other things as well. Not sure if guilt should be involved, though!”

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Benge

Synthmeister Benge is all set for the inquisition provided as usual by our quick-fire question machine