The sounds of the club, from the gutter beneath: that’s Nochexxx, lurking, half-hidden, surveying civilians in their midnight play. An ally of the night, a stealth player equipped with analog armor, he has emerged above the surface. For almost four years, he has remained one of the UK’s most shadowy synthesists, revealing very little in his wake but a series of excellent EPs and collaborations, ranging from earlier, disjointed rap-vs-video-game-techno showdowns to looming Sputnik funk. It’s not easy or appropriate to pin the Nochexxx sound down, nor should it be. The man behind the ‘psychotronics’ of it all is even more elusive - so naturally we were drawn to one another’s lunar-lit projects like two unholy moths. Nochexxx and Nightvision delve undercover together to bond over late-nite Bloody Marys, aesthetic agony, sudden legal migraines, and his upcoming debut LP. Plus, check out his warped, brittle and cathartic ‘Guided Subways’ Nightvision mix here, and also below.
What does Nochexxx mean?
At first it was meant as a joke, creating faux hip-hop personas. but also that hip-hop thing of taking a brand, and claiming it as your own. Also, i thought it was funny that Nochex (at least to my mind) was a failed electronic payment system - no where near as successful as Paypal. The irony of it, being a electronic musician and never getting paid! Then, I added another two X’s added and created in this super ego.
Speaking of which, I went to your website - what’s the deal with Nochex vs Nochexxx?? Are you planning to do anything about it?
I received a ‘take down’ letter for trademark infringement. My legal team advised me to delve into the black arts and unleash the hounds of Cthulhu. I’ve placed a ChexxxHexxx, so we’ll see where the storm takes us.
Do you have an update on your Nochexxx full-length LP? When can we expect it?
Yeah, the record is called THRUSTERS - out this spring on Vinyl Gatefold/ CD alongside an animated movie by Plastic Horse (the same amazing animators who created the ‘Charro’ video). The record is comprised of my favourite ‘GTO’ tracks i.e. dubplates I’ve spun out over the last 3 years.
What attracts you to a sound?
The ‘scratch and sniff’ economy of noise.
How do you feel when you listen to your own music?
The phantom appears and scribbles over the illusion, mocking me at every turn. [Laughs.]
The creative process is one of pain/suffering/sacrifice, so being my biggest critic, the shortfalls always reveal themselves.
Why do you prefer analogue equipment for your recordings?
I love lots of computer music, but I don’t have the head to produce on a DAW. It’s great hearing Holly Herndon championing the use of laptops, but I’m not sure I would ever be part of the revival. I love the fragility of analogue tech. And it’s incredibly warm! I’ve heard producers say you can make digital sound just as cosy, but I’ve never figured that out. To my ears, digital sounds different - it serves as a useful counter balance to analogue sounds.
Are there any dream machines you are swooning over/want to experiment with?
Labcoat, beards and socks with sandals aside, I would really like to have a go at modular synthesis. But I’m afraid of the endless possibilities and the paralysis effect that comes with having so many options.
Do you work in long, deliberate sessions or feverish impromptu bursts? What role does discipline play in creating your music?
Less discipline, more maniacal obsession! Long hours would be a luxury *sigh* but I have a day job to contend with, so ‘feverish bursts’ it is! Although due to listening fatigue, distance is necessary.
What headspace are you in when you record? It’s different each time, but ideally I’m being sucked into a vortex. I try to control the controllables, but inevitably they become uncontrollable.
What is the ideal way you imagine/anticipate your listeners to experience your music?
If I secure any singular moment of complete focus, disorientation or wild naked abandonment, then that’s great!
How did your geography influence your musical learning?
During the early 90s I was living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia„ so some things got missed. Obvious LPs didn’t make it over. Hard to pinpoint exactly what drives you but K.L. was my first introduction into grassroots independent scenes - DIY etc. Big metal scene, underground as well. Was kinda crazy, ‘cos in certain areas, the poorer shopping districts, you could find ‘jam’ studios’, which you could rent out for a couple of hours. So, as a teenage reprobate I used to go every week and hire an hour, and jam with mates. Inevitably, you’d end up meeting other bands.
What was the first thing you ever read that changed your life and views?
Wendelle C. Stevens UFO Contact from the Pleiades.
What/who was on your wall as a teenager?
Cut-ups of Tom Penny
How has the Internet fueled or challenged your creativity?
It’s probably improved and harmed my life in equal measure. I’ve discovered tons of great shit. It’s often a major distraction tho. I tend to live by intuition, and when you have a bulk of intuitives hitting you at the same time, well, it’s unmanageable!
How much attention do you pay to contemporary music culture? Is it important to you to be ‘in the know’?
I’ll always keep an eye out there and see what new releases I’m feeling. There’s always a bit of glint to be found in a sea of muck. It’s really important to research the past, and draw connections between musical forms. Figure out, and listen to the proto records that shaped the music of today, and don’t always be duped by history books! Lots of great art can be developed outside the margins of culture tho.
What do you hate?
Hatas. I was just thinking today how funny it would be if all the people on Youtube who clicked ‘dislike’ were allocated their own planet. That would be very funny.
Based on what they dislike?
I realise I’m being harsh, but there’s a lot of wonderful stuff on Youtube. Most of it loved by common decent people, and then there will be like 2 out of a million who insist on spreading their negativity.
Someone has to be the prick - always.
They tend to have a voice. In the UK, we have a program called Points of View which is just people writing inane letters to the BBC. i also hate the term UK bass.
I guess I respect anyone who takes the effort to write a letter these days vs the passive ‘thumbs down’ approach.
Not to say there’s not plenty of haters more than happy to vocalize their ire.
Sometimes it’s very warranted. my dad recently told me that he’s been hounded for the last 4 years by the TV licensing people. he doesn’t have a TV, and has letters sent every month basically calling him a criminal. I told him he should write a letter [laughs].
Is a strong visual important to your overall identity (even though you yourself are shrouded in mystery as an artist)?
I’m a total control freak - therefore I’ve been largely responsible for my own designs. But recently I’ve been working with other artists, and have been fortunate to find kindred spirits like Plastic Horse. Painting me as this Joe Spinell a la Maniac type figure in THRUSTERS (THE MOVIE) is genius. Also, props to 2nd Fade and Daniel Ward - both have created wicked covers for my last two CHXFX tapes!
Do you have any plans to do music videos?
I’ll occasionally throw up the odd bit of Youtube detritus, but I’m weary of becoming too caught up in all the self promo work.
Anonymity and/or a remote appearance is fairly common in electronic music. Why do you think in this genre specifically do artists favor this approach - and do you relate your own reasons to that legacy?
It’s difficult to nail this question down in a couple of sentences. There are lots of electronic artists who quite happily ‘out’ themselves. Personally, I’m very camera shy! I’ve always held the view I shouldn’t put my ego in front of the speaker - there’s nothing new in that, it’s the same Detroit Techno philosophy you read over and over. Plus, I think having photos of myself everywhere undoes the alchemy. I like performance art et al, but it’s not for me. It’s a real shame many artists have to rely on gigs for their bread and butter. Some days I’d rather not represent my own music.
Electronic music also is a great tabula rasa to build ideological platforms upon. To me, your music hints at broader ideas, a personal/social manifesto, a hidden world. What universe is Nochexxx coming from?
As I said, it started off as a joke persona, and good jokes are always serious! Ha. In a world that is set up to destroy creativity, Nochexxx is my god-given right to combat the dictators and exercise my rights to never grow up. I’m exploring the inner freak and being ‘the driver’ in a parallel universe. Formative causation is self perpetuating, and the script is now writing itself, rah!
What have you learned about your own creative process over the years?
It gets harder.
What is a lesson you wish you’d learned sooner?
To be yourself.
Who is someone who has surprised you in person?
Gaeoudjiparl always blows my mind.
What will you be focusing on in 2013?
More psychotronics - some self released records. Let’s see what happens!
All art courtesy of Plastic Horse.
© 2011 - 2013 Nightvision