Some accompanied notes by Dub-O-Rama
on this place in the next days!
What have you been doing since the last album?
Burial: It was a bit weird people hearing the first record because most of
those tunes were made without me expecting them ever to be heard. So I've
How long did it take you to recover?
Burial: About 2 years [laughs]. I've just been trying to get back to why I
wanted to make tunes in the first place. The first one got slightly out of
where it belonged, and I found it a bit difficult to just block things out
and make tunes in a low key way again, and it took time to just get back
to doing that, and liking it, and doing it fast, and not trying to be a
perfectionist. Just trying to dream up tunes again without worrying what
people were going to think.
The tracks on the first album had taken about 6 years to make in total.
Burial: Yeah, that was tunes from 2000 hand picked by you out of loads. So
doing the second one was never going to be as easy as that, and also I
wanted to try and learn some new stuff but I couldn't, so I just gave up
and went back to the old ways [laughs]
Kode9: Were you surprised by the reception of the
Burial: Yeah. I think it promised something, but if you listened to it, it
didn't really get there. But I think some people liked it because it was
just a no fuss bunch of tunes. I want to do low key records so i got
uneasy if there was attention. my tunes aren't for everyone but thats the
point of it, it's for those people. But I still want people to like it, Im
not some ice cold fretless bass playing psychopath.
Don't you think, that whatever you felt about it, people liked it because
it made a consistent album.
Burial: Why, 'cos it was all moody?
Not that it was moody or not, but just that the whole thing had a
Burial: Yeah, it was just a sad, eerie, night time thing. But the new
stuff has changed a bit. No it hasn't. Don't listen to me [laughs]
What do you think is the main difference between the two albums?
Burial: This one is a bit more buzzin', glowy. It's a bit more uplifting.
It doesn't hang around. It's a bit more up. The tunes were made quite fast
in the middle of the night and they had to fight for their right to exist.
but they came out of nowhere. Its a bit like an unwanted pregnancy, i
wasn't always in a good place, but most of the tunes had to be faith
restoring somehow to me, but they still take a while to get into.
Its still pretty melancholy record. But now I think its downcast euphoria,
as opposed to just downcast like on the first one.
Burial: Yeah, the first one was quite a pissed off basic record, downcast.
But this one has more little bits of vocals glowing in it, flickering
around and burning in the tune, messed with.
Why did you end up doing something a bit more 'glowy'?
Burial: It's always been difficult for me to make tunes. i'd just sit or
walk waiting for night to fall hoping i'd make something i liked. Or come
back in and try to make the club echo in my head from going out. I'd
chosen certain vocals because the mood I was in. I wanted more vocals cos
they attempt to form songs, its kind of sad but they get to you in the
end, i don't want a singer i want something else. Also all i listened to
for a year was Black Secret Technology. I still made most of the tunes in
the dead of the night, and when you do that you have to let the tune kind
of hypnotize you otherwise you'll just fall asleep or play Playstation.
The tunes just lulled me, and you need a vocal to do that, and a certain
type of sound to echo and circle and sway into a pattern. The moodiness
made the tunes, not me. Now when I listen to them, they're ramshackle, DIY
and rolling but I know there is a thing trapped in them so that when I
look back on them, even if its dry, I know when it was made, I know what
was going on that day, its like stapling real life to the side of the
tune. I can't get a singer or some session musician to come in and play or
sing some dry song, so I've got to get people singing acapellas or just
mates singing in their phones and re-cut up what they're saying. Sometimes
I run out of a vocal and I have to re-cut up each word and make them sing
a whole new verse, and you cant tell what they're saying. But I feel I can
make them say certain lyrics.
the puppet master ha ha
Burial: I love the sound of 'girl next door' vocals. The way it used to
be. Give me that any day over a really talented trained person that can
actually sing. There used to be a girl who used to sing in the flat next
door but I didn't have the guts to ask her. That would have been kind of
awkward to ask.
Why don't you do gigs?
Burial: I'm not that kind of person who can step up. I just want to make
Why don't you want to do pictures?
Burial: Same reason. I like the old records, where you didn't know who
made them and it didn't matter. You got into the tunes more. I don't want
anyone knowing i do tunes.
And the drawing on the front of the new album.
Burial: I've been drawing that same one since I was little. Just some
moody kid with a cup of tea sitting at the 24 hour stand in the rain in
the middle of the night when you are coming back from somewhere.
Why didn't you use a sequencer on the album?
Burial: I tried. I did one tune before. . .Unite. With someone showing me
how to use it, and it worked out nice, but in the end I wasn't ready and I
wanted to do another record without a sequencer again.
You like that ramshackle thing, don't you?
Burial: Yeah, I admire people who understand complicated programs or
whatever. But I'm not that into tunes that are so sequenced that all you
can hear is the perfect grid, e ven on the echoes. With those kind of
tunes, sometimes I just hear Tetris music, i always know where i am in the
tune so i cant get lost in it, no rough edges in some tunes even when they
try hard to sound rough. I want to learn one day how to make tunes
properly , but I wanted to do a tribute to my rubbish, dying computer. It
starts smoking sometimes and the screen flickers like a strobelight, it
mashes your eyes. The tunes are made where they're made, somewhere in my
building, the roof or wherever, but not in some airtight studio. Loads of
the album was made with the TV on. I wish i could make technical proper
music one day but people who want technical music maybe won't like my new
tunes but its not for them.
What don't you like just now?
Burial: fiending and fakery. Sometimes you get people who don't seem to
really enjoy tunes theyre just checking what other people are into and
ripping it or slating it . just because..no reason. some people just talk
mostly about things they hate like it matters, like they are fighting
through a crowd that isn't there. i liked the world before it was so easy
for people to find out stuff and get at it. i like it when people are
genuine, they like tunes, they want a dance.. i don't get it when people
are ploughing in with negative claimage to something. Sometimes you just
want music to stay where it is from. I love drum&bass jungle hardcore,
garage, dubstep and always will till i die and i don't want the music i
love to be a global samplepack music.. I like Underground tunes that are
true and mongrel and you see people trying to break that down, alter its
nature. Underground music should have its back turned, it needs to be
gone, untrackable, unreadable, just a distant light.
There are more vocals on this album.
Burial: When I was growing up it was hardcore or jungle tunes and you
would catch people singing them while doing the washing up. Like 'Music is
the key' 'Thru the vibe' 'inner city life', 'finley's rainbow' guy called
gerald, kemet crew. People would be playing them from cars. But deeper
tunes too not just big tunes . They tried to put a vibe into the room.
They didn't just walk in and stamp on your head. Or they worked hard to
take you out of where you were, make you get lost, steal away. They
weren't just serving up an element that you could instantly get into. They
would put an atmosphere in the room that wasn't there before, or maybe had
never been there, not take the atmosphere out the room. Vocals . . .it
needs to be glowing, swaying, but I want the tunes to be likeable. Not
dark for the sake of it.
Why is the album called 'untrue'?
Burial: When you are not acting like yourself . . .that's an everyday
thing for everyone, but it can be a bit sinister . . .It's like the
opposite of Unite.
interview was led by KODE9, musician, friend and labelmate of
Friendly courtesy by RALPH BUCHBENDER, Cargo Records, Nov 2007