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Talking Billy Corgan, Björk and ‘The Bling Ring’ with Oneohtrix Point Never

Producing seven albums and scoring films is not enough for OPN.

Oneohtrix Point Never, a.k.a. Brooklyn-based electronic musician Daniel Lopatin, is one out of a handful of artists pushing the experimental boundaries of the genre. He's put out seven albums since 2007, including last year's ambitious R Plus Seven on Warp Records, not to mention a handful of EPs, scored movie soundtracks, and collaborations with everybody from Animal Collective to Tim Hecker. His latest release Commissions 1 is another absolutely stunning effort from him; some of the dreamiest, most evocative electronic music we've heard of late.


Following his set at this year's MUTEK Festival in Montreal, Lopatin (who also plays Toronto's NXNE Music Festival June 20th) took the time to answer a few questions about what's been keeping him busy lately.

THUMP: This was your first time playing MUTEK, how did you feel it went? How would you compare it to another electronic festivals that you've played in North America and Europe?
Daniel: It was a great experience; the audience was dead silent and seemed genuinely into it . You can't really ask for much more than that at a festival, especially considering that often times electronic music festival audiences can be fickle. MUTEK and its fans are definitely cut from a different cloth.

Your set was with your longtime collaborator Nate Boyce. How did you meet him and how do you guys come up with the visuals for your live set?
We were introduced to each other by our mutual friend Robert Beatty, who is an artist and musician from Lexington, Kentucky and has done a tonne of artwork for me over the years. He thought we would click in terms of style and attitude, which was true. Nate is a sculptor, which is awesome for me because I like the object-oriented and formally specific approach he brings to live video. I like to think of his stuff less as "effects," but almost as if they were staging environments or scenes, like in fighting games for example, in which each level contains highly stylised objects in an enclosed space.


Nate's idiosyncratic style is totally unheard of in terms of what people generally expect from concert visuals. His stuff tends to provoke the audience to form all kinds of abstruse connections between the sound and the video that simply would not be possible with the classic bells and whistles of synchronised lights and lasers, etc. That is also the same reason I have never really used straight ahead drums or rhythm. It's all about the emergent possible affective relationships that happen when you reduce, twist and morph recognisable forms.

R Plus Seven came out last October, how has your relationship with those songs changed now that you've been on tour for a while, playing them every night?
They are totally altered. Some of them have morphed into frameworks for new pieces. Others are more direct. It's really great presenting that to an audience especially when they have intimate knowledge of the records. Somehow the music continues to be alluring. I got tired of the [2011 album] Replica shows much faster.

You worked on the score for Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring last year with Brian Reitzell. Tell me about that process and whether or not you approached the project differently from making an album. Would you like to do more scores in the future?
No one is mediating aesthetic choices on an OPN album other than myself. Film scores are complicated puzzles that you need to figure out and solve very quickly, or else you're basically fired. You're hired to enhance the film and you only have a couple tries to prove that you are capable of that task. I can keep trying to enhance my album ad infinitum.


Tell me about your label Software Recording. When did you decide you were in a position to start a label? Who are some of the artists you're working with?
I had a CDR label called Upstairs. I co-released the first Autre Ne Veut LP (with Olde English Spelling Bee). I was doing CDRs between albums and tours. Eventually Kemado approached me to do an imprint and put my own record out on it as well, which happened. We put out Autre's second album Anxiety and produced it in the studio at Kemado HQ. Check out our website for everything we've been doing.

What possessed you to live-tweet Billy Corgan's "Siddhartha" performance? What did you learn about yourself/humanity from the event? Any thoughts on his recent PAWS?
I won't even open that… I'm scarred from the live-tweet. I did it on a whim and then realised it was going to be a great publicity stunt. But it also satisfied me on the level of being a sort of poem or something. It was fun.

You recently DJed in New York with Bjork, did you get a chance to speak to her?
Yeah, she's funny and super smart and energetic. I'm happy we got to hang out.

What else do you have planned for the rest of 2014 in terms of new music, shows, etc? I saw you post on instagram of you and Hudson Mohawke together, can we expect a collaboration between the two of you soon?
I scored a film which I hope comes out in 2014. It was shot in Eastern Europe and is an apocalyptic coming of age story, I'm really happy about it. Hudson and I are just getting warmed up.

Max Mertens is a writer who lives in Toronto. He's on Twitter: @Max_Mertens.