Published Apr 26, 2016Andy Stott's revelatory 2012 album, Luxury Problems, was the product of a number of important changes for the Manchester producer, including establishing a new working relationship with vocal collaborator Alison Skidmore, and quitting his day job at a Mercedes factory. Perhaps the biggest revelation, though, was a realization that to keep music exciting for him, he'd need to make big changes for each album.
The process that led to Too Many Voices (out now on Modern Love), was no different. According to Stott, it was a mix of a desire to keep changing his working methods and "the result of one synthesizer, basically," that led to the increased softness, warmth and melodicism of the new album.
"I bought this Korg Triton for a specific bank of sounds that's used a lot in grime, and I just found these other presets that really, when I started playing them, lent themselves to this other style," Stott tells Exclaim! "It's kind of made me play in a different way, really. Just the sound of it, the machine, is really strange... Keeping space in the record was really a conscious thing. I really wanted to put more space in there."
Though Stott's method of capturing and utilizing field recordings became a trademark in the making of last year's hardware-centric Faith in Strangers, he said that this time, it was "not as much" of a focal point. "I'm definitely still using them, but I've not been out purposely to record textures in a while. I take it with me everywhere, and I will use it, but yeah, I need a purpose for it."
Lately, he's scouring recorded music, not the real world, for the sounds that inspire him. "You know, music itself is very influential, and shapes the record just as much," Stott explains. "You're continuously writing music, but you'll hear a couple of new, striking things every month that really grab my attention. I really want to know how these people are making these tracks. I try and figure it out. Interesting sounds, as well — I'll hear sounds that people are using in tracks, and I've just got to know where it's from, or if I can engineer something myself.
"There was this Dizzee Rascal and Slimzee thing that they did, I don't know what year, but it was the first wave of grime, and I kept hearing this certain sound, like what they used for the bass line, and I was like, 'What is that?' It was the stuff that Zomby used on his eski material, that same sound. I found out what it was, and it was this patch on the Korg Triton, and that's why I got it, so things like that really grabbed my attention. Interesting production styles as well, like Theo Burt's Gloss; I wanted to figure that out. I was like, 'What?' I mean, obviously I've people pitch-bend stuff before, but not to that extent."
Overall, though, Stott follows his instincts. "I've not really got any big vision to the end. I'm drawing influences, and I'm moulding it into something I want it to be, but I'm just trying to push forward with what I've learned, and I'm keen to learn about new stuff I'm hearing, trying to figure it out.
"My personal life, at the moment, especially with not having a nine-to-five now — I feel like I'm using my time wisely, to invest in progression, and movement forward, challenging myself; hearing what I'm hearing, taking it in, taking it on. I'm trying to move forward all the time."
Watch the video for "Butterflies" below.