For this instalment of The Maker, Adelaide-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Lang joins the conversation. Andrew Lang will be familiar to most regular readers, having recently released his second album, ‘Momentary Senses’, on RTR at the beginning of December. Prior to appearing on RTR, Andrew’s debut album, ‘Burnt Shades’, was released via Harry Towell’s Whitelabrecs in 2016. Andrew has also self-released the ‘Strangers EP’ in 2013.
In this feature, Andrew discusses his early introductions to ambient music, the simple act of creating, welcoming new opportunities, and the imperfection of cassette tapes. Andrew also reveals his favourite releases of 2020.
How did you first get introduced to ambient/drone/experimental music?
As odd as it sounds, my first introduction to the form was Coldplay – I was obsessed with their music in high school. They worked with Brian Eno on their two best albums, and they pulled in a lot of influence from shoegaze & ambient music. From them I discovered Radiohead and Sigur Ros… which led to Stars of the Lid. From the opening moments of ‘and their Refinement of the Decline’ I was hooked.
What inspires you to create a new body of work?
I find I’m less about “inspiration”, and more about the process of just sitting down every day and making something. The act of creation is more important than anything else, even if the outcomes aren’t what I expect. Inspiration is fleeting and fickle. That being said, I do what I can to refill my creative juices. I try to read as much as possible, go for walks, shoot photography, and spend time with my loved ones. The time spent creating is as important as the time spent away from it.
How do you approach working on a new release?
It differs a bit with every release – but the element of surprise usually is a major component. Being open to new ideas and not closing myself off to opportunities – the moments where things take me by surprise tend to be the most joyful. I’ll often improvise an idea and record everything – then later start to hone the idea down into something more fully formed, adding and removing elements as needed until I have something that feels good to listen to.
Can you tell us about your favourite new release from the last 12 months?
Too many to list! This year has been wonderful for new releases. One particular favourite of mine is ‘Ingrid’ by Klara Lewis. It’s one piece but contains a universe – like William Basinski joined a black metal band. Destroyer’s ‘Have We Met’ is great as well – twisted lyrics paired with haunting instrumentation. The final seconds of ‘foolssong’ are delectably eerie.
As RTR is a tape label, we have to ask: What attracts you to the cassette medium?
No two mediums are created equally – each brings their own subtleties. The imperfection of cassettes is something I really adore – anything to get out of the hyper-accuracy of the digital space is something great. They’re are also way more economical – both financially and space-wise!