conquering animal sound - by julien barrat

Photo by Julien Barrat

Sometimes in the most unexpected places you find a real gem. At Naherholung Sternchen, an art space tucked away amongst the high-rises in the heart of Berlin, NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION came across CONQUERING ANIMAL SOUND. Comprised of Anneke Kampman and James Scott hailing from Glasgow Scotland, the duo performed a three-song set for Network Awesome earlier last week. Currently touring their second album, released on the biggest indie label in Scotland, Chemikal Underground, which boasts releasing early MOGWAI, CONQUERING ANIMAL SOUND is certainly making an impression. Taken by their ethereal sound, which is playful and somewhat reminiscent of broken radio signals sent from another planet, NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION sat down with the duo to talk machines, Sci-Fi and their organic/inorganic song writing process.

So, this is the first time I’ve heard of you guys, let’s start with the basics: who are you? And how long have you need playing together?
Kampman: We are Conquering Animal Sound
Scott: And we have been playing together for about five years

Is this your first major tour?
Scott: Well, this is our second time in Germany and we also did a bunch of stuff in Belgium, France and Spain.

What types of bands do you typically play with?
Kampman: It’s really a mixture. We play with indie bands, but also a lot of electronic ones as well.
Scott:  We also play with folk bands sometimes. When we first started playing we had a harp, so we immediately got tied to this folk group and we played with singer-song writers for a few years.

What happened to the harp?
Scott:  oh, we just couldn’t do it… it’s really really big. We were doing a festival in Holland and we just realized how there was no way we were getting it in the van. But it’s on the recording.

Playing with folk bands and electronic bands is a pretty different experience, where do you see yourselves fitting in?
Kampman: I think we fit into more experimental pop, like sci-fi pop-music

Ok, Sci-Fi pop, how exactly is it Sci-Fi?
Scott: Mostly the lyrical influences. I also like putting little things in the songs that sound like lasers. You don’t hear them very much at all but they’re in there—those little lasers.

Would you ever consider playing with a Theremin? That’s pretty Sci-Fi…
Kampman: Oh yeah, but you actually have to be really good at playing the Theremin, otherwise it sounds bad.
Scott: But if we had one in there, that would be amazing

What other types of Science Fiction genres influence you?
Kampman: So, we use a lot of machines and that’s where it comes from. I like to process my voice a lot and also get ideas from films, I really like Solaris and I just finished Dune, so mostly classic Sci-Fi.

So in combination with musical influences, do you have a particular style you focus on, or are you just guided by the machines?
Kampman: I really like the use of the voice in electronic music and how it sounds when treated through machines. So the organic process happens through the inorganic.
Scott: Karen from THE KNIFE is a really good example. She uses her voice in an intelligent and interesting way.

Are you also incorporating traditional instruments as well? I saw you had a guitar, but you didn’t actually play in this particular set.
Scott: When we started, it was a lot of toy keyboards, guitar pedals, and it was really things like that which we used as sound sources to then process further down the road. Now we’ve actually started using more synths, so I guess it’s more that the writing process is how you use the sounds.
That’s where we see the genesis of the song. Rather than just writing chords and melody, we start at the bottom with the sounds and work our way up.

So, one more: What does “hope” and “passion” mean to you?
Kampman: Hope is, girls making techno
Scott: I like passion fruit.