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Loops Haunt: Soundscapes from the Scottish countryside

Loops Haunt is an electronic music producer from Dundee who has been putting out experimental sounds since the tail-end of the 00s. The release of his brand new LP, Exits, on 7 April is definitely a date for the calendar, as his fresh and interesting music continues to crush genre boundaries and pre-conceptions. As with the previous two EPs, Exits will be released by Black Acre Records, who have been lucky enough to aid the progression of this fantastic artist. How would you describe your sound? Exits is the first time I have released a record that I could say has a specific sound. My previous releases have a familiarity in the production styles but track by track the agenda has been different – fringing if anything. There are definitely tracks I have made where you can hear a beat and start to call up genres, but when you take a step back and look at all the releases, it’s quite nomadic. The intention is that people would focus on the music rather than the genre. I think that’s important. It's a risky game plan as people can question the music's integrity. It can take a long time to get a body of work out that paints the bigger picture but there is a silver lining in that the people who appreciate it tend to be the kind of people you hope would. One million FaceTube points isn't worth 30 seconds chatting to someone outside a gig about an obscure record you both have. Exits, however, does have a sound, albeit quite personal. It's inspired by the last four years exploring around, being isolated and living in my own bubble as much as possible. I'm fascinated by abandoned buildings, structures and any kind of natural obscurities. There’s a dream-like haze to a lot of the record. It's also steeped in my own nostalgia. There are VHS samples from family holidays in ‘93, right through to field recordings from the woods around my house. Audibly they contribute very little, but they are there because it’s a vibe for me. The sound is actually second fiddle to the source in their case but it helped develop the overall feeling of the record. I hope I’ve made something that evokes different things for each person who can take the time to get into it. It’s not easy to put your finger on sound wise. Some of your most recent work, including the new album, seems to have taken more of a turn towards soundscapes. Is this something that developed alongside your beats? Mostly beats are secondary for me – unless I’ve had a drink, then it’s just kick drums till bed time – but I make music constantly so the majority of it is soundscapes or tonal jams. It really depends on what feels inspiring at the time. I love jamming with just a drum machine but equally I’ll happily sit with a bunch of oscillators and reverbs just ringing away for hours. How important is it for you to keep your music changing? An absolute fundamental. It has been essential and goes back to what I was talking about earlier. Finally it’s chilling out. I’ve got enough outlets with aliases and collabs to work comfortably, feeling I can make whatever I like. It’s nice as well with Exits to have something more solid. I’m fairly sure any future Loops Haunt material will follow suit with Exits. Exits sounds like a single piece of music. Was it written that way? Yes and no. It wasn’t written all at once, but slowly collated over a period of time. When I managed to make something or translate the vibe of something that I felt inspired enough about it went in a folder. Eventually I knew it was all in there so I began to build the album. I think it took about three attempts start to finish but it came together finally. Tell us a bit about the recording and production process. Right from the start there was an idea and it all came from a loop I made that you can hear on the track ‘Howl’. It’s the melodic one right at the beginning, made in about 2010. That was the first point I felt I had captured the sound I wanted for the album. Oddly enough, the same loop is part of the reason I’m in collaboration with Mark Clifford [of Seefeel]. We were talking about production at our mutual mate’s party. I was referencing that loop and we got chatting. Probably the most productive piece of music I’ll ever make and it didn’t see the light of day for four years. From the conception then, to finishing now, I’ve no idea how many techniques or approaches or the equipment that was used. There has been a lot – each song sketched differently, made at different times with different stuff then grouped and forged together, working on all the songs at the same time over the space of six months or so, turning it slowly into the record. Is there anybody else currently making music who you aspire towards? I think people doing things with sound rather than just making music I mostly aspire to. Chris Watson [of Cabaret Voltaire] or Alan Lamb are good examples as I literally listen to an interview or recording and feel fascinated. It’s inspiring, like when you see a nature documentary about insects and then a science fiction film. The parallels are wonderful. Who or what were your main inspirations for this album? I dream a lot and I remember them vividly. They are never bad, mostly just strange, surreal concoctions of places and I’m just there. The track ‘Trapdoor’ is very specifically about this. ‘Hollowed’, for example, is from a burnt out kind of guest house dream I had where everything was just fucked and psychedelic but kind of old as well. A sample I found triggered the memory of the dream and I sketched the track. Are you planning to hit the festival scene this year? I’d like to. I love some of the festivals. I’m currently working on the live set. How do you approach live performance? It has been different all the time. One thing I try to do is make sure there’s something in every performance that I won’t do again, apart from the mistakes. I do always have some unreleased tracks or improvised sections amid remixing or jamming over tracks, but I’m going to bring something new to the table for Exits. Anything else on your agenda for this year? There’s heaps. I really hope it all works out. I’ve got collaboration projects with Mark Clifford, Sam Annand (Architeq), [Hungarian drummer] Balázs Pándi and Richard Devine that I’m hoping to finish. I have an audio/visual design and facilitation collective started with my good friends Craig (Grampian Mountains), Sam Annand and CP. We have produced the artwork and videos for this record and we have a good few projects lined up so it’s hopefully going to be busy. Looking forward to it all. Black Acre )
by Tasha Franek (she/her)

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