Immersion’s Colin Newman and Malka Spigel gang up on the quick-fire question machine

Hello, where are you right now and what can you see?

Malka: “We’re sitting in our office, side by side, the computer screens in front of us and our nice Brighton street behind us through the window.”

Last time we were in touch, Colin talked about how he doesn’t produce other artists… does collaborating count as producing?

Colin: “Ha-ha! I see the producer as the person physically putting the music together. I spend hours coming up with something that reflects what went into the recording, the performances and the ideas of everyone involved. I guess that’s a kind of collaboration.”

‘Nanocluster’ is the album version of your Brighton night out of the same name.It’s been a while in the making hasn’t it? The first night was in 2017!

Colin: “The first collaborative Nanocluster and the first at our spiritual home, The Rose Hill, was 8 September 2017 with Tarwater. There’s a lot that goes into making these happen – we need to be free, our collaborators need to be free, the venue needs to be free!”

Care to sketch out the big idea?

Malka: “The artists stay with us and we develop and rehearse the collaborative material in our studio. You need to be able to stand on a stage and play new material with people you don’t normally play with. For some that’s way out of their comfort zone.”

The collaborations are written and recorded in the days leading up to the performance, but Ulrich Schnauss only took a day? 

Colin: “We’ve worked with Ulrich before, he’s very able musically and very good at finding his way very quickly in any piece of work.”

Malka: “He could only come the night before the show so we had to work fast.” 

Laetitia Sadier has such a wonderfully distinctive voice doesn’t she? 

Colin: “The first time we played with Laetitia was at one of Kenishi Iwasa’s Krautrock Karaokes. We both played guitars and Malka played bass.”

Malka: “I love Stereolab and the way her voice works in it. You never know if   a collaboration is going to go smoothly until you get into a room together, but she was easy-going and great to be with.” 

Scanner brought some of his trademark scanning to the project didn’t he?

Colin: “It was Malka’s idea for him to bring some of his ‘classic scanning’.”

Malka: “I thought it might bring a certain atmosphere to some of the music.   It felt like no time had elapsed since we were last working together on Githead.”

‘All You Cat Lovers’ with Tarwater is great fun. Who’s the cat fan among you?

Malka: “I’m a big cat fan! We had a cat, Samy, who died in November 2019, aged 21. Ronald from Tarwater noticed I was obsessed with him, always worrying   if he was in or out. So it was Samy that made Ronald want to sing about the cat being inside. The video for ‘All You Cat Lovers’ is a kind of homage to him.”

‘Vol 1’ suggests there’s more to come? 

Colin: “As a live event, it was meant to be an ongoing, if occasional series.   It all got rudely interrupted by the pandemic, but we are hardly alone in that!”

So are there plans for more shows?

Colin: “We don’t have a fixed idea about how to continue. The idea is flexible and we could make it work in another city, in another country…”

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