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Go Magazine Interview

English translation[edit]

The following translation was posted on WATMM by "nene":

1. Does all the pre-Twoism material really exist?

The official BoC discography doesn’t begin with the “Hi Scores” ep on Skam, but much earlier. The Music70 reference list includes an album before even “Music Has the Right to Children” - “BoC Maxima” (96), limited to fifty copies on CD and even fewer on tape, the biggest part of the material was rerecorded and recycled subsequently for the debut on Warp - and a series of eps, of which no one had any notice and whose authenticity - the leaks on the web have always been incomplete, many tracks extracted and stolen from the curtains(?) of the duo’s official web - one could never fully guarantee. Has something titled “Closes Volume 1” ever existed? “They exist,” assures Sandison. “In their first incarnation they were cassette tapes, and we re-released some on CD, but the runs were very limited and they only circulated among friends. We make sure to give them to the right people, in whose hands they could be safe; we never gave anything to anyone we didn’t know very well. If one of those records has leaked on the internet it’s because we placed too much confidence in someone or because maybe we distributed more cassettes than necessary, there are twenty or thirty copies of some records, but there might be up to a hundred of others.” “In all these years,” continues Eoin, “only ‘BoC Maxima’ and the compilation “Old Tunes” have circulated widely on the internet. But it wouldn’t surprise me if next year “Acid Memories” starts to show up there. Anyway, that tapes of ours remain unreleased is a miracle; when we made them we never imagined that something called MP3 could be invented.” Now, a consolation for the fans: apart from an ep for 2006, Boards of Canada’s most ambitious plan is to release a box with an ample selection of material from between 1987 and 1995. “Maybe we’ll do it with Warp.” Please.

2. Why don’t they play anything live?

From Boards of Canada only three concerts are remembered: one at Warp’s tenth anniversary party, another in Scotland at a natural place and a third at an old edition of the festival All Tomorrow’s parties and at the earlier request of the boys of Autechre. Since then, nothing. But that stage silence is going to change, at least next year. “We want to play,” confirms Sandison, “but we want them to be very special and very well chosen dates. We still don’t know anything because we’re talking it over with Warp; they want us to play in North America and we prefer to do it in Europe, and we don’t know what it will be in the end. But if we play in Europe, we would like it to be in special places, in natural surroundings or at lovely sites. We’ll do some festival the same way, but they have to be festivals that attract us for some special reason. We want it to be an analogue and elaborate live show, without computers or software in the way. We don’t like laptop shows. Electronic music needs to take back a little of the physicality of back then, that touching of machines. We would love to go to Barcelona, why not.” Come on, then!

3. Do Boards of Canada include satanic messages in their tracks?

The facts: “Geogaddi” lasts exactly 66 minutes and 6 seconds - the number of the beast-, and one of the tracks is named “Devil’s In the Details.” The track “Amo Bishop Roden” alludes to one of the victims of the Waco bloodbath, when the sect the Davidians led by David Koresh committed collective suicide before the forced entry of the FBI on the farm where they were concentrated; listening closely in some tracks voices appear that could be played backwards, or psicofonías(?) appear; “Sixtyten,” on “Music Has the Right to Children,” includes a series of numbers recited by a child’s voice that some fans, as if they were interpreting the guess(?), have suspected that they hide some secret meaning or message, as if they were the numbers of “Lost Ones” you know them, 4 8 15 16 23 42. “Sometimes we do things on the records destined to provoke ideas or states of mind; others are tracks, tricks, or gratuitous elements that we put there so the people will ask themselves about them. We’re not involved in any kind of cult or occult religion; it’s all esthetics and play,” explains Michael Sandison. “A child’s voice, or a dialogue out of context, can help give that dark touch that we search for, with a subliminal component: you hear something very lovely and later, underneath, you’re hearing something so dark that it gives you chills. But most of the time we do things as a joke,” according to Eoin. “If Geogaddi lasts 66 minutes and 6 seconds it’s because we like to end the records with a long silence, and our sound technician saw it clearly and told us, ‘why don’t you take this opportunity to stretch the record out to 66 minutes and 6 seconds?’ and we said ‘well sure.’ It’s not a satanic message: it’s a big joke.

4. Are their fans crazy?

Boards of Canada fans do things that, for example, a Sean and Cake or Rocío Jurado fan would never do. Before the release of “The Campfire Headphase,” up to three distinct versions were circulating on Soulseek, and the three were fakes, records by imitating fans who, taking advantage of the situation and the minimal information provided about the record -number of tracks, track names- put their music on the internet to impersonate the real Boards of Canada. “A friend of mine from New Zealand sent me a mail,” tells Marcus, “and he said to me ‘I’ve heard your new record on the internet and it’s fantastic.’ I didn’t understand anything. It hadn’t even been sent!” There are also fans who become critics, like the one in charge of the blog Angryrobot, who published a track-by-track commentary of the completely fabricated record that other fans responded to with their posts, uncovering the trick, including a Marcus Eoin impersonator who told Angryrobot face to face that his review was fake. “But it wasn’t me,” assures Marcus. “They not only fake our records, but our identities!” Many Boards of Canada fans firmly believe that a maxi from 2002 titled “Lavender Trapezoids” exists, but what circulates on Soulseek is, in fact, an ep by the English IDM producer CiM. And this way to infinity. But if anything shows that the biggest Boards fans are out of their minds it’s in the prices that they can bring themselves to pay for some of their records. Two months ago a test pressing on blue vinyl, and with only one side of four songs from “Geogaddi,” went to auction on eBay. One ‘amtiskaw’ put it up for auction and one ‘lenapiem’ bought it for 215 pounds (some 315 euros). “We know ‘amtiskaw,’ he’s a former Warp employee who left the job and is now starting a business, he needs the money and that’s why he’s selling all those rare records. But he isn’t the problem,” says Michael Sandison between laughs. “The problem is the madman who pays more than 200 pounds for a piece of blue plastic.” The kind who, a little while ago, and without blinking, spent 70 pounds on the first Jega maxi and 120 on the first from Bola, both released by Skam, the label on which Boards of Canada came to be known by being signed by Autechre. Yes, there are fans who are very sick or who have too much money. Or is it that Boards of Canada are so great that there is no choice but to go crazy over them?

We fans are the worst, but at the same time we have -they have, rather- elevated Boards of Canada to cult status thanks to a position of power that not many groups manage to guarantee their followers: powerlessness. Boards of Canada is one of those few names of which it’s impossible to have it all -not even on MP3, for whom they search for rarities on the bird or on the mule (haha, don't know this saying)-, and much less know it all. You can’t because they don’t let you. The mystery that they’re still wrapped in, especially their past and their intentions, has given birth to a series of myths, speculations, and eccentric behaviors that Sandison and Eoin have accepted will clear up on their own. The moment has arrived. Ready?