Gleich zweimal hat uns Stephen Wilkinson alias Bibio dieses Jahr schon verzückt und nach dem elegant zurückhaltenden „Vignetting The Compost“ Ende Juni mit „Ambivalence Avenue“ eindrucksvoll demonstriert, wo die Reise in Zukunft hinführen könnte. Sein Wechsel von Mush zu Warp, so scheint es, war der logische Schluss, aber lassen wir ihn lieber selbst zu Wort kommen…
AUFTOUREN: Compared to the LPs you released on Mush Records, the new one sounds way more electronic. So, is the signing to Warp the next, stringent step? Or do you see every album as one own work, that doesn´t give a hint to what will come next?
STEPHEN: Well, I don’t plan far ahead musically, so there’s even mystery for me, and that’s what excites me about music, it keeps me feeling inspired and refreshed; I may discover some new tricks or some new artists in years to come who change the way I work. Right now I seem to be having a lot of fun with a fairly minimal set up: an MPC, one analogue monosynth, microphones, a computer, a compressor, guitars and tape. There’s so much that can be done with those. If anything, my music will mostly always be a hybrid of acoustic and electronic, although when I’m in the flow of writing, I don’t consciously think about that, I think in sound, noise and other planes which I can’t explain.
AUFTOUREN: Listening to „Ambivalence Avenue“ is really exciting, even when you listen more than ten times, you´ll hear something that hasn´t come to the fore before. Could one call it your hobby to collect so much different sounds as possible and that all these could potentially be the missing brick to complete the next track you´ll write?
STEPHEN: Totally, it’s compulsive. Whilst working on a new track today, I was interrupted by a thunderstorm, I have an almost automaton response to stop what I’m doing to record it, pointing a microphone out of the window, hit record, then i’ll go downstairs and be quiet, just watch the rain… today it hailed! British summertime is over, and I can definitely feel autumn creeping in.
AUFTOUREN: There are lots of different soundscapes, with every single track the listener is carried to another place or venue. What seems to be equal in every individual song is the feeling of being outside, in the nature.
STEPHEN: Well, I’m hooked on nature’s beauty, there’s a lot to learn from it aesthetically, nature is all encompassing.
AUFTOUREN: The whole album seems to be permeated with warmth. Would you agree to the statement, the album´s red line is its constant summer feeling?
STEPHEN: I think it’s definitely a summery album, but I think it has dark wintery moments too, particularly ‚The Palm of your Wave‘. ‚Sugarette‘ for me is a dark space filled with colourful artificial lights.
AUFTOUREN: One of the most interesting aspects on „Ambivalence Avenue“ is its diversity. A pounding forward going hip hop beat based track could easily be followed by a silent acoustic guitar song with only your sad voice in the foreground. So was the process of collecting and, most of all, numbering the whole songs for the album hard work or just based on an idea you had in mind from the very beginning?
STEPHEN: I have lots to say, musically, lots of interests and I’m a bit of a multi instrumentalist, so I like jumping from one style or method to another, it prevents me from getting bored or bogged down with churning out the same stuff. To be honest, I was toying with many styles during the Bibio-Mush era, but I felt so strongly about that particular sound that I decided to focus on it and bring some of the best bits together across 3 albums. I haven’t abandoned that sound, I’m just incorporating it into my new stuff in a very different way. I like to think the Bibio-Warp era will be more diverse still, multi-faceted and exploring different aspects of music and different aspects of being human.
AUFTOUREN: Your last album „Vignetting the compost“ was released in Germany in this year´s March, the new one followed in June. That seems to be quite a short period of time for a new release. But when did you start to write songs for the forthcoming album and how long was the writing process for this complex work?
STEPHEN: The title track ‚Ambivalence Avenue‘ is the oldest on the album, it was wrapped up in summer 2007, it led forward a newfound confidence and I was buzzing off that track for a while, mainly because of the quality of production, it contained lo-fi graininess of older Bibio with weight, bass, width and a pop immediacy, something I wanted to achieve. I think the last song written on that album probably came late summer 2008, and then I was adding little tweaks and vignettes to the collection of tracks after that. I was rather prolific in the last 5 years, I’ve written enough tracks to release albums for the next 10 years, but as it’s a compulsive energy behind writing, I don’t like to sit still too long, there’s more to explore.
AUFTOUREN: For us it´s always interesting to get to know our favourite musicians´ favourites at the moment. Could you name a few bands you often listen to in these days?
STEPHEN: The Gentleman Losers, Letherette, Clark, Wax Stag, Hudson Mohawke, Grouper.
AUFTOUREN: Imagine, you started your own record label. Which artist or band could call themselves the lucky ones to get the chance to release the first record?
AUFTOUREN: Looking forward to the nearer future, have you got plans to tour a lot?
STEPHEN: I’ve got plans to DJ a lot first, then gradually work on a full-on live show.
AUFTOUREN: And will we get the chance to see you here in Germany?
STEPHEN: I hope so, I’m fond of Germany, Berlin in particular, and I like German culture and German beer is good too.
AUFTOUREN: Thanks a lot for taking the time, hope to see you here soon!!
STEPHEN: Danke Schon und Tchuss!