Resident Advisor 19th September 2002
Back in 1985 Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans met in Manchester as students of electronics and sound engineering and explored unique sounds of ambient / techno /electronic/ industrial/ rock. This long-standing relationship took a journey through the past ten years and exemplifies today, a rare breed of musical consciousness. After a multiplicity of musical tendencies and band names, The Future Sound of London returns with an album titled The Isness bringing back a recreation of their constant search for meaningful sounds and magic in making music.
Cobain and Dougans careers’ as well as their sounds progressed from a series of band names such as Art Science Technology, Intelligent Communications, Mental Cube, Yage. After several names and successful tracks such as "Papua New Guinea", this duo took on a name for their music, what is known today as The Future Sound of London.
On FSOL Current Musical Influences/ Tendencies
"At the moment, Brian and I have gone full circle musically speaking, after 10 years of doing this. We are not listening to pure electronic music anymore; we got bored with it. We feel that there is a new consciousness, a new tide [in terms of music]. As an artist before you make a new record, you try to find what you are missing personally in the history of recorded music, basically buying records.
"After Dead Cities, we began to look for spirituality, femininity, joy and positivism, all special elements found in other types of music we were not doing. I began to get turned off by sanitized electronic music that did not convey anything at all; [music] with no spiritual feeling to it.
"We went back to 1967’s psychedelia, where musicians were playfully using lyrics over sounds. I am talking about bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and from traveling to India for many years and getting into Indian classical music. There is a spiritual depth and joy that celebrates possibility and this precisely is what I found most fascinating about Indian music."
On Electronic Music
"Electronic music just like life; [it] became too intellectual and began to hide behind computer sophistication using double concepts, beautiful production, different sounds, all well programmed but meaning nothing or lacking a deeper spiritual feeling. There was a point where we felt imprisoned by a specific type of scene and quite frankly, I have never been into a scene but rather into making great music that inspires personal revolution. There is so much possibility into music. Basically, I am into music that makes your heart burn and does not limit personal expression!
"I do not feel that innovation is necessarily about technology, how about soul innovation? Sometimes in order to innovate you have to be able to express your soul. We need to get the soul back into some of our music."
On Internet and the Use of Radio Broadcast
"We did not choose the Internet, really. The whole idea was to offer more than a band scenario. Our intent was to incorporate images, sounds, television, radio broadcast; be a broadcast system and have music be a part of that. And not limit our performance to just our faces. As kids and adolescents, we grew up going to great rock and roll gigs and we were bored with the concept of doing gigs ourselves.
"I think the industry encourages people to be in front of an audience, stand behind a keyboard and do nothing. I did not find this to be particularly entertaining and tried to find a different way of doing gigs. We tried to broadcast images, movies and sounds around the world perhaps, we were ahead of our time and it was great experiment. Back then, our dream was grandiose and needed so much money that I got frustrated with that. I felt we were selling our dream short. This was the past. I am not sure we are using that now although at that point in our careers using the Internet was a great experiment."
On FSOL New Sounds and The Isness
"Our new sound is more organic. Once this album becomes rooted into people’s subconscious I will consider possibly doing a live performance. We are feeling out this idea. Ideally, we would wish for people to like the album and understand it first.
FSOL is an amorphous band. Our new album The Isness is a five-year project and marks a new beginning, a vision of two people who have gone quite far out in our personal [and musical] experiments. Personally, I have gone into a journey of fasting, meditating, doing yoga, practicing ancient healing methods. The nature of the album reflects this as well."
My conversation with Garry Cobain touched upon many areas, music, personal growth, spirituality, technology, music from other cultures and several other thought- provoking topics. As I finished this interview, the first thing I wanted to do was to listen to The Isness again and recreate Cobain’s thoughts and the refreshing essence of FSOL’s new title. The concept behind this new production all seems intriguing and unrestrained, essentially the sounds of the ever-changing FSOL.
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