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Sweet and Sour Melodies Wander Around between Positive and Celebrative Sounds and Swaying Sadness


"Sweet and Sour Melodies Wander Around between Positive and Celebrative Sounds and Swaying Sadness" is a 2005 interview by Masaaki Hara. It originally appeared in Vibe-Net.


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Sweet and Sour Melodies Wander Around between Positive and Celebrative Sounds and Swaying Sadness

Boards of Canada released their 3rd full album The Campfire Headphase. Containing a full of unchanged finest melancholy in this release, it is described by themselves as “a normal pop album that has been exposed under the sun for 20 years”. What’s the truth in it? I interviewed them about the background of the album including the production process.

What did you pay attention to when you made this album ‘Campfire Headphase’?

"Michael Sandison: It’s like a feeling of one note changing shape into another note in 2 different measures; non-repeated sense. Therefore, through the album, the textures are flowing and most of the songs have their climax or goals. That becomes the moving power of the songs."

In the Campfire Headphase, there are some instruments playing including guitars, aren’t there?

"Marcus Eoin: Yeah, we used a lot of live musical instruments in this album. Guitars, drums, percussions, strings, etc… We processed those sounds and made them unique, antiquated but beautiful. We thought that the core concept of BoC could have been adapted not only with electrically made sounds but also with other instruments. So this is a kind of destruction of sounds. The majority of the work we do is to bring the sensation of time and places to music; and we do not use the clean and perfect recorded sounds. Normally we record onto low quality cassette tapes to bring the quality down and then re-compose the music. We’re not interested in the clean and tight music although we could make them. We do much prefer to listen to acoustic guitar melodies from 30 years ago than terribly clean digital work stations."

Do any secrets exist in the titles like the previous releases?

"Marcus Eoin: Yeah, not as much as the one before. Titles always have the meanings of connections or codes. We used more distinct and bigger pictures, well, canvases, again this time. We want listeners to understand that. In this record, we intentionally did not fill up with mysterious vocal samples. We wanted you concentrate with the music itself. Sweet and sour melodies wander around between positive and celebrative sounds and swaying sadness."

How have the music making environments changed since your debut to now? And what hasn’t changed?

"Marcus Eoin: That’s a difficult question. If I have to say something, we turned our back to the horizontal grids, what they call sequencers. It feels to me limited. We used to make music only with cassette tape recorders in the past and there weren’t any restrictions in front of my eyes. There wasn’t the feeling of being “filled in” within the tight grids. Nowadays, most of the producers, including the orchestra composers, make music within the grids unconsciously and they have not realized that they’re limiting their creativities."

Do you not plan to play as a band again?

"Michael Sandison: We might do something in the future. We have been attracted to that direction for a number of years. There are merits and demerits though. However, Marcus and I want to control everything to excess, so when we make music, we sometimes want to make the sounds exactly same as the ones in our minds. It is hard to work together with other people when we make music with those extreme polarized visions. We want them to understand that’s how we create the best music which are personal and internal."

interview by Masaaki Hara, October 2005.
(translated by Naoko Ross)


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