Outblinker make this rather fantastic heavy synth, motorik style krautRock, as evidenced by their recent, and rather brilliant Remains of Arthur Peck EP, which has shades of Fuck Buttons, along with a little splash of Godspeed! In there for good measure. We spoke to Chris and Luigi from the band to find out a little more.
Outblinker is Jason, Graham, Luigi, Chris and Dave.
We are from
We are based in Glasgow, Scotland, but hail from Stirling, Strathaven and Perugia
Chris – Jason and Graham (the brothers Costello) play together in the excellent noise duo Young Philadelphia. Dave and myself played together in post-punk group Hey Enemy and Luigi is one half of the insanely good no-wave group Kabobo. We’re all part of the Scottish underground scene so had become friends by playing shows together. The original four of us (excluding Luigi) had an idea some time ago to get out of our musical comfort zones. Noise rock had become second nature and, much as we all love it, to maintain your enthusiasm and appetite for music I think you have to keep yourself challenged and constantly try to innovate. So we attempted something a bit different, on a krautrock/electro theme, since we all listen to a lot of that.
Meanwhile Luigi had made a real name for himself in Scotland as a recording engineer (How To make Sushi Recordings) and given his passion for analogue technology as well as both abrasive guitars and creepy synths, he seemed an obvious choice to collaborate with on the first proper record (Pink/Blue LP).
Long story short, half-way through recording, everyone was having such a good time, chipping in ideas, plus we all got on so well, that it seemed pretty obvious we should invite Luigi to join.
Also, if you ever hear Luigi speak – not only his ridiculously thick, disarming Italian accent but the utterly baffling way his brain works and the madness he comes out with – you can’t help but want to have him around both to lighten the mood on tour and to thoroughly bemuse journalists.
We make music that sounds like
Luigi – I would define our band as a mixture between repetition-based music.
Chris – Ha. Like I said…
When people ask us who or what we sound like, we say
C – We act slightly offended and flustered at first and try to convince both you and ourselves that we have a totally fresh, idiosyncratic take on music, but then kind of run out of arguments and concede that we sound a lot like people who listen to Neu!, Holy Fuck, Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think, Fuck Buttons/Blanck Mass and Turing Machine.
L – We are five people playing lots of synthesizers through loud amplifiers, lucky enough to have a really good drummer who plays and studies jazz music.
So he can add poly-rhythms to the synth crap we make in our bedrooms .
We also play everything live, we choose arpeggiators and sequencers over laptops and nice looking frontman
We bonded over
C – As I say, noise rock is a big commonality in this band given our other projects, but there are some real eclectic tastes kicking around and some of the most played van-albums on tour include stuff as varied as Meshuggah (Chaosphere), Low (Trust), Melvins (A Senile Animal), Chet Baker (any), The Cosmic Dead (Easterfaust), Neu! (One), Joanna Newsom (Ys), Dirty Three (Whatever You Love You Are), Aphex Twin (Selected Ambient Works) and Do Make Say Think (Other Truths). If there was one album that really summed up the last tour, however, it would almost definitely be “Discipline” by Electric Electric. If you haven’t heard it, you’re wasting your life.
Our name comes from
C – An intentionally misspelled Afrikaans word for “luminary” which, given the origin of that language, we later learned apparently also means Man of the Match in the Netherlands.
L – I would change immediately our name on “Man Of The Match In The Netherlands”
We got together, and our first rehearsal was
L – I showed up with a Pro One with no case and a broken delay pedal, but the guys were already a band so I missed the first one…
I just remember tons of coffeine and that sense of panic like “ OKEYE, everyone is really nice, cool and talented but WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING? “
I still have some recordings from that rehearsals that we spent mostly trying to blow up a JCM 900 and the rehearsing room’s small PA
Our first gig was
L – Our first gig was in Bristol , and it was with a few really cool local bands.
I just remembering DESTROYING the first amp of a long series of destroyed amps simply during the soundcheck
Our new record
L – We made an EP choosing a nice song and two B-sides from our first record that is gonna be out later on this year (it’s out now-Ed, we did the Q&A prior to it’s release), and we are working on the live version of those tracks. We love our new material and playing live the tracks is much fun, especially because our drummer is solid like a sausage roll left in the freezer for 15 years.
We recorded it
C – The EP (and the album sessions it was drawn from) were part of a fairly ambitious recording project we embarked upon to a remote island in Orkney. We applied for some help from Creative Scotland, a government-based funding body with a mixed track record in Scotland, but one we were grateful to for the help on this occasion as it made the venture a little bit less financially formidable.
We set off from Glasgow in the old tour van with our producer and friend Ben Power (Blanck Mass / Fuck Buttons) and our engineer (and obligatory Italian Stallion) valerio Massucci. We collectively took a fairly jaw-dropping (and exhausting) drive, way up through the Scottish Highlands and caught a couple of ferries to skip across the various islands. It was quite an adventure.
The destination was a converted church, now a recording studio, on Rousay, an island with one shop that opened for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, where there were no police and where the bar owners give you the keys to lock up and put you on your best honour to write down any drinks you take so you can pay them at the end of the month. It’s a pretty special place and was conducive to really getting us out of our city head-spaces.
The main source of entertainment there is conversation over a campfire and whatever you have to drink or smoke and, as a result, the creativity flows pretty much un-hindered. We wrote and recorded for 14 hours a days for an entire week. Tagging in and out when one person got too tired. Taking turns to cook huge meals for the group. Working in shifts when someone was flagging and needed sleep. It was one of the hardest weeks of work I can recall but a total pleasure from start to finish.
As a form of inspiration we had the added bonus of beaches populated by seals (“slimy sea dogs” according to Luigi) and a pod of killer whales about 500m offshore. Not to mention a series of buildings along the shore of the islands, the last of which was older than the pyramids. No security guards. No admission fees. Just a short walk through a field of sheep and you are standing in this unbelievably ancient dwelling, blowing your own mind.
In those circumstances, writing trippy, psychedelic krautrock is pretty easy.
The writing process for us is
C – Much of what we write is the collective brain-spill of improvised jam-time in rehearsals which we record, pick apart and later assemble into something with a stronger structure to be worked down in more detail. The last track on the EP is a prime example of this, with Ben composing a central riff as the band modulated it and improvised live, then it went back to the studio and was knocked into proper shape in production.
The rest of the songs are the result of one of us sitting at home on a keyboard or mobile phone app effectively doodling out an idea which that person will put into rudimentary demo form and submit to the hive mind. The results can often vary quite significantly from the original kernel, but sometimes it takes that initial bit of direction to get everybody’s imagination working.
We tried to make it sound like
L – I remember Chris telling me pretty serious that our new sound should have been more disco and dancey and we ended up with music that is totally impossible to dance unless you really wanna shake your body for reasons I don’t wanna know….
You could say our live show is
C – Much looser and more improvisational than that of most electronic acts due to the strong organic elements – especially the drums – which enables us to be much more spontaneous than many acts in that genre. It also enables us to be much more out of time than many bands in that genre. You be the judge.
You can catch us
L – Straight after the summer we want to bring our kraut techno music everywhere that is legal to play with six loud amplifiers
Look out for
C – There are numerous excellent bands that we are lucky to consider contemporaries. In Scotland there are just too many. I’m reluctant to play favourites and I work in a venue, so to avoid any politics, I would say that some great SOLO acts from there include Blood Blood, Wolf, Siobhan Wilson, Chrissy Barnacle, Kapil Seshasayee and the absolute legend that is Adam Stafford. In Europe we are close friends with some incredibly talented folks, in the bands Marvin, Electric Electric, Papier Tigre, Pneu, La Colonie De Vacances, Gatechien and Picore.
This year, we are going to try to
L – Mix the record, play lots of live shows, find more stability and love each other despite everyone in the band wants to kick me out because everyone thinks I play like Mozart then they understand I forget the structure of the songs like someone who has never heard music in his own life.
I call this process THE HATE CAMPAIGN
Keep in touch with us at
C – The easiest place to track us down is via outblinker.net but please feel free to buy our music via outblinker.bandcamp.com and interact with Luigi via Twitter and Facebook. The stupid spelling makes us easy to find. Let it also never be said that we didn’t consider search-engine optimisation when we were mis-spelling Dutch words.