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Dazed Mix: Nik Void of Factory Floor

The UK techno punks drop a mix of leftfield club tracks and discuss their latest album 25 25

Earlier this year, Factory Floor returned with their second album 25 25. The UK band – previously a three-piece, now a duo comprised of Nik Void and Gabe Gurnsey – had become a semi-regular fixture in the touring and festival in the three years since they released their self-titled debut album, and their experiences on the road ended up feeding into the sound of 25 25. While in the past their music drew from the legacy of post-punk, industrial music, and acid house, here they fully embrace the sound of the dancefloor.

While their debut was recorded in a since-demolished warehouse space in North London, Void and Gurnsey relocated to a silk mill in the north of England for 25 25. Both were living apart – Void was in Norfolk, Gurnsey in Los Angeles – coming together to improvise the album’s tracks and edit remotely. “I would send a file at night to Gabe, and this would then be his morning in LA,” says Void, “So in a way, it became a 24-hour living project.”

The next single to be taken from the album is “Wave”, which comes backed with a remix by footwork experimentalist Jlin. The band have also collaborated with French avant-garde artist Philippe Parreno for an exhibition at London’s Tate Modern, running until April 2017. Alongside this recent burst of activity, the band have provided our latest Dazed Mix, and also spoke to us about recording 25 25.

How has your workflow changed since slimming to a two-piece?

Nik Void: We’re a lot more transparent. If we don’t like something or if we think something is great, we’re quick to say – so our workflow is more prolific. Before we would stick to our own areas as a three-piece, now we merge our ideas. I can put drums on Gabe’s drums and he can put synths on my synths. Having said this, this may be more to do with the development of our sound and experience of working together for a longer period of time. When we collaborate with other artists we continuously adapt in the aim to progress into something new and accommodating. I guess this was similar to being a three-piece to a two-piece. Change is good.

When I saw you play live around the first record I felt it was a pretty different experience to listening to the album – a lot more active and rhythmic. Did your experiences performing live feed into the new album?

Nik Void: We always try to take what we learn from our live shows and bring it back to the album. We spent much of 2014/15 playing late night slots in festivals and clubs all over the world. With 25 25 we set out to interpret the energy we observed from the dancefloor by consciously noting down sequences and changes that provided us with the reactions we found interesting. I wouldn’t say our records are like written reports, but it’s difficult to record that adrenaline you feel when improvising in front of an audience, knowing that the sound we produce exists in the air for only that given moment. In the studio we do track live, but we’re able to go back and refine via editing. I find in these moments you have to have a lot of imagination to replace what’s lost when performing live. Knowing this we purposely make our records a different listening experience.

“It’s difficult to record that adrenaline you feel when improvising in front of an audience, knowing that the sound we produce exists in the air for only that given moment” – Nik Void, Factory Floor

How did the transition from your Seven Sisters warehouse space to the silk mill affect the way you approached the LP?

Nik Void: The transition was needed at this point as we had been there close to three years. We loved Mono House, and the fact we had space to invite people to collaborate and the Victoria line was on our doorstep. But this also led to distractions. What we wanted for 25 25 was a space that we could box ourselves in after being exposed to so many at shows were we were semi improvising, this can put you in a vulnerable but brave position. The silk mill ten miles out of Manchester was a large building with no windows downstairs. We set up our recording base with a club PA and tracked live. We were able to track for hours without distractions, then leave everything at the end of the day in a mess of cables, knowing that the modulars and levels would be the same for the next session.

Considering your music can be quite improvisatory, how did you find working apart from each other?

Nik Void: After spending six weeks tracking together I think there comes a time when you need your own space! The key was to keep everything simple. First of all we set ourselves up with the same equipment in the individual location – so we have the same desk, compressors, interface, use the same programs and monitors. I’ve moved to the countryside, the closest shop is five miles away. I have a satellite system to upload large files because normal internet is so bad here – no mobile reception – so yes, another change, but it’s worked out so well. To come to place like this, everything is calm, which is good to deal with the chaos of our sound that we ‘harness in’ for the records. I would send a file at night to Gabe, and this would then be his morning in LA. So in a way, it became a 24-hour living project.

“I’ve moved to the countryside, the closest shop is five miles away. I have a satellite system to upload large files because normal internet is so bad here” – Nik Void, Factory Floor

Gabe, what were you doing in LA?

Gabe Gurnsey: I wanted to get out of London and experience a new environment and having spent time over there (mainly in a jacuzzi in Palm Springs) when we toured the West coast a while back, I felt like that was the place I needed to be. I love LA, but I missed the grittiness of the UK.

Did you pick up any odd habits making the album?

Nik Void: I reverted back to collecting magazines and ripping out pages to pin onto my walls. I also develeoped an expensive habit of buying Eurorack modular systems.

What’s going on in this mix?

Nik Void: I had fun with this mix. There are my heroes like Laurie Spiegel who opens the mix, Aphex Twin who anchors it down, to Jlin who has just dropped a remix for Factory Floor. I feel like all these tracks are created via an investigative foundation by their curators, powered by the joy of making beautiful intelligent music.

TRACKLIST

01. Laurie Spiegel – “Drums”
02. NHK yx Koyxen – “1070s”
03. Aphex Twin – “Cheeta2 ms800”
04. Aphex Twin – “CheetahT2 [Ld spectrum]”
05. Marcellis – “You”
06. Mickey Oliver feat. Shanna Jae – “I (Never Let Go)” (Air Max ‘97 remix)
07. Jlin – “So High”
08. Mafia Boyz – “Toyizi Ley’ngane”
09. Karen Gwyer – “Alien James” 
10. Container – “Insulation”
11. Anthony Parasole – “Off the Grid”
12. Simbiosi – “Huldra”
13. Aphex Twin – “Cheeta1b ms800”
14. Laurel Halo – “Out”

DFA release “Wave” on October 7