"I knew early on that I didn’t want to make Drone Logic 2..." hmv.com talks to Daniel Avery
Daniel Avery's 2013 debut album Drone Logic marked him out as something of a unique figure on the expansive landscape of electronic music, filling dancefloors with its techno-influenced, hypnotic grooves and earning near-universal acclaim for its creator.
In the years that have elapsed since, Avery has become a highly sought-after figure on the dance music scene and his eclectic, often marathon-sized DJ sets have taken him to all corners of the globe, but in between travelling he's been taking his time to craft a worthy successor to his stellar debut.
His sophomore album Song for Alpha finally landed this week and in the midst of his hectic schedule we managed to track down the man himself to answer a few questions about his new LP...
When your debut album dropped at the end of 2013 it did so without much PR fanfare, but a few weeks later it seemed to be on everyone's 'Best Of' lists for the year – were you surprised by the positive reaction to Drone Logic?
"I had no expectations for it but I knew I’d made an honest record. It felt like something of an outsider album, not fitting into any particular scene but I believe that is why it has lasted so long."
How much did the reaction to your debut shape the way you approached making Song for Alpha? Did you feel like you'd set yourself a tough act to follow?
"It’s been nothing but inspiring. I’m proud of how that album seemingly continues to find new audiences, even five years later. I’ve had kids at gigs come up and tell me it was the music that got them into clubbing or that it was the first vinyl they bought and now they go record shopping every week. The response made me feel that, as long as whatever I did next was true to me, I could go wherever I wanted."
What's the biggest lesson you've learned since you released your debut album? How did you want the new album to build on / progress from what you did last time out?
"I knew early on that I didn’t want to make Drone Logic 2, that idea didn’t interest me at all, it had to be something new. This album taught me a lot about patience. I’m a firm believer that eventually music finds you. You can set everything up, you can build your spider’s web, but you have to sit back and wait. When you give music its own space, that’s when the genuine moments hit."
Was there any particular track that set the direction for the rest of the new album?
"No, it felt as if the album as a whole came together. It took on a life of its own in the final stages. That feeling is totally euphoric."
It seems like you've been touring pretty relentlessly in the years and months since your debut, do you write on the road or do you need to lock yourself away somewhere to be creative?
"I get a lot of ideas on the road, both inside and away from the club, but I need my own space to be able to do anything with them. My studio is a very quiet setting in a secluded part of London and it offers me somewhere to take a breath, to escape the rush of the weekends. More so than any instrument, the atmosphere of that place helped shape the sound of the album."
Do you think of yourself as a DJ first, producer second? Or the other way around?
"Right now I don’t see much difference between the two as they feed into each other so much. I was making music before I even really knew what DJing was but it’s fair to say that both have taken a firm grip on my life. I need them both."
Your DJ sets can be pretty eclectic, but what sort of thing do you look to for inspiration as a producer? Were there any particular artists / records that have been a big influence on the new album?
"I’m a fan of psychedelic music and to me that means anything that can transport you somewhere else - music that can take you by the hand and lead to you an entirely different place. That could be an arresting ambient piece, a wall of sound created by a guitar band or a hypnotic techno record. They all occupy the same space in my head so I wanted to draw a line between all of them on this album."
What does the rest of 2018 look like for you? Lots more touring?
"Yeah, the road beckons. There’s also going to be a lot more music in addition to Song For Alpha. I made so much in the five year period that you will see various things coming up that were made during those sessions."
Anywhere you're really looking forward to playing?
"Every gig is unique and that’s the beauty of it for me. To be honest, though, I’m most looking forward to having some more time in the studio. I feel inspired right now."
Song for Alpha is available in hmv stores now, you can also find it here in our online store.