Having recently released an EP on DFA, we chat to the London-based trio about the upcoming album
Factory Floor is a band that occupies an unusual place in the current musical landscape. Having formed in 2005, the London-based trio has been on the periphery of mainstream conscious for a decent period of time, however, any concept of such a mechanism would be lost on an outfit that has such an insular perspective. While the three do listen to other bands – and DJ - any suggestion of an outside influence diluting Factory Floor is way off the mark – and they’re all the more interesting because of it. Having recently released single ‘Two Different Ways’ on DFA Records, and a new album in the offing, we caught up with the band at their London warehouse to find out more.
Dazed Digital: How far are you through the album?
Nik Colk: It’s hard to say, we don’t do it track-by-track, there are normally six or seven ideas on the go at the same time. It’s more like layers than a linear process. We’re aiming to have it finished recorded in January but because our live tracks are normally 13-18 minutes long, it’s deciding whether to shorten the tracks or leave them as they are. It’s a case of putting everything down and editing it back – that’s what we’re in a process of doing now. We’ve got a warehouse space where we work and it’s quite an intense place to be, very repetitive. It’s about battling it out.
DD: Is this the way that you normally work?
Dominic Butler: It is: when we did our untitled EP as a ten-inch, we recorded it but afterwards dismantled the whole thing and then recorded parts again. Since then it’s progressed to become more complex, fragmented and, for instance the track we released on DFA, was made over a process of eight months because of the re-editing and revisiting – it’s so easy to regurgitate what’s happened in the past – so you need to keep it fresh and keep going back again and again. If you listen to a repetition of notes for a long period of time you can hear it in different ways so you need to step back from the whole process. It’s not like a constructed song that just happens.
Gabriel Gurnsey: It needs more reflection whereas a song has more of a template with a chorus, verse but the stuff we do doesn’t follow that. So it’s never as straightforward.
Nik Colk: That’s our reason for not wanting to write a record and go into a studio and record it. We knew we’d have to do it this way, so we use our space in the way that an artist would use their studio – and work constantly for six months.
DD: Would you say it’s an organic process?
Dominic Butler: Yeah definitely, we naturally work that way – we’re not structured enough to work in any other style.
Gabriel Gurnsey: It’s the same as our live sets: they’re all different and grow individually. They need that amount of time to properly develop.
Nik Colk: We’ve been playing a lot over the last year and concentrating on that aspect and developing and growing our sound. It’s only now that we’re trying to hone that sound into recording, which is a completely different process. We try to get the most out of our instruments and don’t play them in a traditional sense.
DD: What’s the relationship like between your live set and on record?
Gabriel Gurnsey: They’re almost two different things, which is the same for a lot of the bands that we really respect. The recording process and turning a live set into a record are both different aspects of a band’s identity. You’re experience is different depending on whether you’re listening to a record or seeing a band live – it’s site specific – and when we play, it’s often very instinctive. When you’re in a studio, by contrast, it can be quite a sterile environment, all you’ve got is each other and you can backtrack, which can be great, but it can give you far more decisions and a very different way of approaching things. So you need to be aware of that and discipline it.
DD: Do you listen to other music while you’re in the recording process?
Nik Colk: Well we all DJ too so it’s important to know how different music works in a club environment and to be able to understand it in that place. But when we’re here it all tends to be purely Factory Floor.
Gabriel Gurnsey: The recording process can be quite intense, listening to the same fraction of the same song looped over again and again. You almost need an escape from the escapism.
DD: What’s next?
Dominic Butler: Just doing the album – we’ve got a load of shows towards the end of the year. This DFA release has opened up a lot more doors for us so they’re going to be explored as well as individual projects.