An esoteric, refined and cerebral sound that is culled from a life-long obsession with electronic music informs this industry tipped duo
Pulling together diverse references including early 80s industrial and goth acts like AC Marias, Konstruktivsts, German Shepherds and Throbbing Gristle, through to Detroit techno and dubstep, Joe Andrews and Tom Halstead - aka RAIME - are garnering heavyweight insider interest. Their first EP, released in September, was strongly pushed by Simon Reynolds, author of the hugely influential biography of Post-punk, 'Rip It Up and Start Again', profiled by The Big Pink's Milo Cordell in the NME and caused one of UK techno's founding fathers, Karl O'Connor (Regis), to remix one of their tracks.
With a live set secured for the brave and intellectually curated Unsound electronic music festival in Krakow, Poland, and a subsequent supporting set for Eyeless in Gaza, off the back of the first three track release, and the second EP appearing as a best selling single of the week on Boomkat, it looks like the future of electronic music is in their dark and foreboding hands.
Dazed Digital: The RAIME sound is very considered, where does that come from?
Joe Andrews: From how long we have been obsessed by music. I think we just take music very seriously. Artistically it comes from always being attracted to the serious and the austere, rather than the frivolous and, I guess, fun. Psychologically you can read into that what you want.
DD: What are the references behind RAIME, musically?
Joe Andrews: We have both grown up listening to techno, British urban music, British and European electronic music and American dance music. Over the last 5 to 10 years we have been into more avant-garde stuff, a lot of industrial and goth, made from 1979 to 1986.
DD: A lot of that early industrial was very much about live performance, and what you are doing is all studio based. Are you producing it to be heard at home or on headphones, or do you see it as becoming to a performance based experience?
Tom Halstead: Both. A lot of it is quite physical and I think it really works in a venue but at the same time if you have got it on headphones I think it can have a similar visceral effect.
Joe Andrews: That's definitely a key to what we are trying to do. To create something that can not only be a challenging live experience but can also provide a narrative.
DD: As well as being considered about your references musically your artwork is also very researched and thought out.
Joe Andrews: The artwork has definitely been thought about and pained over as much as the music itself. It is, almost predictably, based on modernist European and German expressionist work. I guess we just found that it chimes in with our, again probably pretty predictable (laughs), aesthetic. A slightly austere, considered and serious one.
DD: You have both been obsessed with music for a long time. Why has it taken you this long to produce something and put it out?
Tom Halstead: I think we are constantly learning but now we feel like we have digested enough to put something together. I guess it's the time it has taken to get it right, for now. It's taken quite a while!
Joe Andrews: I also think it's the first time we have felt confident that we have something unique to say. Even though some of what we were doing before was alright, none of it ever really felt like what we were saying actually referenced who we were. It wasn't until RAIME that it felt like we were using influences that were natural to us, within a middle class European background.
DD: A lot of what you have talked about is all pretty niche. Do you appreciate music that's a bit more commercial?
Tom Halstead: Yeah definitely, some of it. I do think things have become really flattened though and I don't really appreciate the level of compression in everything. MP3s are a flat wall and there is no real dynamic. For me dynamic is essential.
DD: What pop do you listen to?
Joe Andrews: I listen to a lot of of commercial R&B and hip hop. I love Rihanna's voice and the hooks on her records, for instance. I don't actually think anyone is making really good pop records, in totality, at the moment though. I'm into a verse or I'm into a melody. I don't know if any of that influences RAIME though. I have an understanding of why a hook works that comes from years of listening to that stuff, but I feel like I try to keep them apart as much as I can.
DD: Do you think it's actually possible to do that?
Joe Andrews: Yeah I do. I think it's brilliant. I love a bit of duality.
Their second EP release, 'If Anywhere Was Here He Would Know Where We Are', is out now on Blackest Ever Black