Interview: ISAN

From minimalism to melody and back again, isan have been on a musical journey since a chance meeting brought together Robin Saville and Antony Ryan in 1996 in London. Soon they became one of the most innovative and most important Producers of "Electronica". Their latest album is called 'Glow In The Dark Safari Set.'

How did you both meet, and how did you first start creating music together given that you lived in different countries?

We met through mutual friend in leicester, UK, in the early nineties and started making music together. isan started when robin moved to a different city - we wanted to keep working together so isan became the vehicle for remote collaboration. antony moved to denmark and then sweden  a couple of years ago, but it really doesn’t make any difference to how we work.

Can you explain the title of your latest album 'Glow in the Dark Safari Set', and tell us a bit about the concepts/themes/ideas behind the music?

The title came about at the end of a free association session between the two of us - we started with a vague concept and gradually drifted away from it until we arrived here.  there isn't an overarching concept to the album, it's really just a collection of songs and sounds which we like.  we tried not to overthink the compositional process and that seems to come through okay..

How did your approach to this album vary from previous releases?
This album started work away from the computers, mostly by throwing sounds onto home-made cassette loops on cheap tape recorders and then building songs from there.

How do you start a track, is there any composition involved or do they come together more through experimentation and evolution?
Sometimes they start from simple melodies or drum loops, other times they come from stumbling across an unusual sound through providence or accident. some songs then take on some kind of life of their own, some kind of natural evolution - these tend to be the ones that make it onto our records.

Do you work on tracks apart, or is it all done together in the studio?
We never work together in the studio, we found that it just doesn’t work! in the early days we each made our own songs from start to finish, with the other just providing the approval. Nowadays we share partially - or fully-developed tracks as FL Studio projects via the internet - we’re much more collaborative now.

How important is the process of creating the music for you as apposed to the final track?

The journey of creating each song is probably the most important, as we don’t really listen to finished material once it’s gone out the door. and it’s different with revisiting those songs for live work, as we like to put a fresh perspective on the tracks for performing.

Do you typically find it easy to give tracks titles?
That’s the easiest part of the whole process!

What music have you both been listening to recently, anything released this year which has impressed you?
Antony: it’s actually from last year, but i have been listening to nosaj thing’s “drift” for most of this year.
Robin: laura viers' album, "july flame" is magnificent, the books "the way out" and mt kimbie's "crooks and lovers".

Are you working on anything new yet?
We have a couple of things in the pipeline but we’ve mostly been doing remixes for people like autistici (audiobulb), inchtime (mystery plays), system (rump) and baths (anticon), we’ll start thinking about the next album when we stumble across a new interesting process! 



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