You can probably share a few clichés about Berlin’s infamous night club Berghain. Mostly everybody got its own opinion about the hedonistic heart of German’s capital. But you clearly can’t deny one aspect of it – the fantastic sound of it’s Function One soundsystem. For probably every band with a certain love for good sound this really marks the spiritual home. And London-based trio FACTORY FLOOR clearly is such a band.
Whenever they are in the city, they prefer to play their experimental and hypnotic electronic constructs inside the holy temple of techno and whenever they do the audience won’t regret this decision. With the songs of this year’s long awaited self-titled debut album FACTORY FLOOR gave the city another visit recently. NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION took the chance for a little talk with Dominic Butler, one third of the band, after the show. And of course, this chat mainly centres around sound and structures.
How satisfied are you with the performance here at Berghain?
We really enjoyed it, for me it was the high light of the tour, home from home!
What marks the special feeling of this venue for you? I could guess that it might have something to do with the ‘Function One’ system.
Yep! the Function One system is out of this world, it really gets the hairs on the back of my neck tingling! But it’s not just that, the Berghain is such an inspiring place, from its attitude and ethos to its architecture and aesthetic. Its completely unique and the feeling and atmosphere in there totally fits our style of performance. We are always looking for complete escapism with us and our audiences…
You always look very concentrated and focussed you look on stage, Dominic.
(laughs) I’m always slightly alarmed when I see pictures of me playing.
But you’re still having fun, are you?
In a performance situation I’m totally immersed in the sonics and mechanics of what we are doing, its like we are having a debate via our instruments. But yes I am having fun, lots and lots!
I really like the way you changed your sound over the years towards a more dance-orientated sound without assimilating the usual structures of club music. Is it even possible to define your music?
I keep coming back to the word primitive, I think that’s what our common interests are. Stripping thngs back to there most instinctive form. Back to basics.
“Structure” and “sound” seem to be two key elements of your music. Which of these two comes first?
I think for me its probably sound , but I could be wrong. So placing one sound followed by another then another.. only then does a structure starts to take a shape, all on its own. It’s a very instinctive process. Songs are usually formed in a live or rehearsal situation, from improvisations. It then comes back to what feels right between the three of us.
How do you manage to not get lost within the sound. More specifically asked – how do you know when a song got the right length?
At the time we don’t ! Some of the recordings for the album went on for hours.. we then edit out the bit that seems to be the right part of that recording. It can be a nightmare! (laughs)
I’d like to know what sounds, artists and bands inspired you and especially your attitude towards music composing?
I think I have always gravitated towards the alternative route in life, especially in my creativity. I think we missed the boat on being pop stars!
And how did your quite unconventional music ended up on DFA Records? It’s an interesting combination.
It all started with a mutual friend sending Jonathan Galkin a copy of Two Different Ways, the rest is history!
Is there temporary music that makes you really excited? Any special bands we should know about?
I’ve been listening to L/F/D/M on Optimo traxs a lot recently. Check him out, he’s an old friend. I guess any music that has an honest intent.
Your debut has just been released but I would like to know what musical plans you have in the future? Any new directions you want to try out?
I think all three of us are so inquisitive in our creativity so who knows what will happen with album number two.
And, finally, what about hope and passion and your view on these aspects.
I think its all you have left when everything else has gone