The Ottawan Empire

title The Ottawan Empire
author Toby Manning
publication NME
date 1998/04
issue Apr. 18th, 1998
pages p.33

"The Ottawan Empire" is an interview by Toby Manning originally published Apr 1998 in NME magazine April 18th, 1998.

Original Text[edit]

This is an original text copied verbatim from the original source. Do not edit this text to correct errors or misspellings. Aside from added wikilinks, this text is exactly as it originally appeared.

Who are?
An enigmatic duo holed up in a rural bunker somewhere near Edinburgh, from where they emit languorous, airy electronica with the charm and simplicity of cartoon theme tunes.

What’s the name about?
Like their music, it comes from a shared past in front of the TV.
When we were kids a lot of our favourite TV programmes, particularly wildlife documentaries, were made by the Film Board Of Canada,
says Mike Sandison, the elder and more vocal of these two bearded urchins whose woolly hats seem to be surgically attached to their heads. He and Marcus Eoin have been friends since they were toddlers, growing up in Scotland before sharing a brief sojourn in the Canada when their parents moved there for work.

Documentaries? Yawn...
We just loved the soundtracks,
counters Mike.
It's something people don’t normally pay much attention to. Like the strings at the end of programmes, the corporate logos with a little flourish and a little happy melody. They’re ultimate in psychedelia, but no-one ever notices them or talks about them. Whereas a pop song disappears after a few weeks, a jingle will be repeated for ten years and end up subliminally lodged in people’s brains.

Boards Of Canada attempt to create their own versions of these tunes -soundtracks for imaginary wildlife documentaries, jingles for invented corporations. Or, as Marcus puts it:

An image of something you can’t quite remember, but that sounds like it should be familiar.
Not exactly banging club tracks, then?

Hardly. Their debut album for Warp, Music Has The Right To Children, is equally reminiscent of forgotten TV themes, all powered by rhythms distantly related to hiphop. It’s a strangely rural sound, infinitely less mechanised than the average Warp record.

We kind of see what we do as folk music - just made electronically,
says Mike. That said, there’s also a distinctly sinister undercurrent inherent in their stuttering, cut-up vocals.
Subliminal messages at play, perhaps?
You’ll probably find all these Ozzy Osbourne fans committing suicide after listening too deeply to our music,
chuckles Mike. Then there’s that malicious psychedelic edge, too, hardly all hippy vibes and sunshine.
Psychedelic experiences are more attractive to us if they’re creepy,
says Mike, adding that such chemical shenanigans have already lost the band one member to date.
Let’s just say it got to the point where it wasn’t recreational any more,
explains Mike, grimly.

And what’s the kiddy connection?
We’re totally nostalgic about childhood,
admits Mike, before Marcus chips in,
Not that we’re that far removed from childhood. Sometimes you look at people and it seems like growing up is just the process of giving up everything you enjoy. The source of all our music is that we’ve refused to accept adulthood.

The nappy hardcore revival starts here!

Toby Manning




External Links[edit]